Growing up, I remember eating these exact stuffed peppers with ground beef and rice at least once a month. Although back then, my mom only used green peppers. I assume that the cost of red, orange, and yellow peppers were too expensive for our families budget that or this is the way my mom’s mom aka my grandma made it and my mom never steered from the recipe. I don’t think my mom started making the tri-color variety until I was in high school.
This is one of those recipes that I make a few times each year. It’s a tried and true recipe that goes into my cooking rotation; although my cooking rotation is not like the average persons rotation since I practically cook a new recipe every night! That’s not a lie–even when I have company over I almost always try a new recipe. We do not get bored with dinner in our home!
On this particular evening that I cooked the stuffed peppers it was extra special. You see, the green peppers pictured were grown from our garden. I didn’t want to just dice them up and have them blended into another dish–I wanted them to be the star of our dish. So, I gave them the respect and attention that they deserved and stuffed them with lean ground beef, rice, zucchini, and tomato sauce and during the last few minutes of baking I topped them off with shredded mozzarella cheese.
Stuffed Peppers with Ground Beef and Rice
- 6 bell peppers
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1/4 cup onion diced
- 2 cups leftover white rice
- 1 zucchini diced
- 4 cups tomato sauce
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- Fill a large stock pot with water and bring to a boil. While the water is heating begin cleaning and hollowing out the bell peppers. Once the water is to a boil carefully place each bell pepper in the boiling water and boil for 10 minutes. *You want your peppers to be firm not mushy. Remove the peppers from the boiling pot of water and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Meanwhile, In a large skillet begin browning the lean ground beef on medium heat. Half way through the browning process as your breaking up the bits of ground beef add the diced onion and zucchini to the skillet.*Because you are using lean ground beef you should have little to no oil created in the pan therefore you don't need to drain the fat from the meat. Once the ground beef is cooked through add the rice, and begin stirring until rice and beef are incorporated. Then add 3 cups of tomato sauce and mix well.
- Carefully begin spooning the rice/beef mixture into each of the bell peppers until the pepper is packed full. Using the remaining rice/beef mixture place it on the bottom of the baking dish. Then begin nestling the peppers in the dish. The remaining rice/beef mixture makes for a good base to hold the peppers up so they don't fall over, plus the crispy rice and beef is a nice addition to the already stuffed pepper. Tent a piece of tinfoil over the baking dish and bake for 20 minutes. During the last 5 minutes of the baking, remove the peppers from the oven and top equally with the 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake uncovered for 5 minutes or until cheese has melted.