Do you have a not-so-pleasant food memory from your childhood? One of those things that your mom MADE you eat? You pushed it around on the plate and prayed that it would disappear. It never did. And my mama wasn’t one of those “Just eat one bite, honey!” kind of moms. Oh, no. I come from a “clean your plate” family.
There was one thing that my mama cooked that just…
Well, it just made me want to…
I swear, Stacey and I would walk through the door after school and the smell of it cooking would stop me dead in my tracks.
I know people who love rutabagas, but rutabagas and I have never been friends. I seriously gagged down every bite and immediately chased it with a big swig of sweet tea. It didn’t matter what else was on the menu. If rutabagas were included, they ruined the entire meal.
The Redhead was just reading over my shoulder as I typed and she commented that she has never eaten rutabagas. I told her that she would probably never eat them in this house, so she would need to ask Mammaw about that.
There was one other thing that my mom – and my grandmother – made that I never liked as a child. Stuffed bell peppers.
I’ve never been a fan of green bell peppers. They just have a bitter flavor to me. And when I was growing up, green bell peppers were the only kind of bell peppers that I knew about. Mama would saw off their little tops and clean them out. Then she’d boil them for a few minutes to soften them. And then she would stuff them with a meat and rice mixture and set their little tops back on like jaunty hats before covering them in foil and baking them. I’m surprised I don’t remember more about that meat and rice mixture because that’s the only part I would eat. Everyone else in the family would be eating the peppers and I just ate the filling and left the sad little wilted peppers on my plate. My mama really didn’t make them that often because she, too, didn’t care for the bitterness of the green bell peppers. But my grandmother made them a lot.
I’m surprised I got away with not eating the whole peppers!
Years later, Michael said something about loving stuffed bell peppers when he was younger, so I thought I would try making them for him. I’m a pretty good wife when it comes to stuff like that.
Because I had since discovered the sweet flavor of red bell peppers, I decided to use them instead. And because I wanted to lighten up the mixture a little, I used ground turkey, ground turkey sausage, and brown rice. I also sliced the peppers in half instead of beheading them. Not only does that make them easier to eat, it also makes a nice serving size. And they’re pretty!
Stuffed Bell Peppers
- 8 large red bell peppers
- 1 pound of ground turkey
- 1 pound of ground turkey sausage
- 1 cup of chopped onion
- ½ cup of chopped celery
- 3 cups of cooked brown rice
- 2 cans of 98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup
- 1 can of tomato sauce
- Salt, pepper, and garlic salt to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Fill a large pot with salted water and bring to a boil over high heat. Slice the bell peppers in half, scoop out the seeds, and place in boiling water for five minutes. Remove from the water with tongs and place – cup side up – into a large baking dish. In a large skillet, add a little olive oil and brown the turkey and turkey sausage together with a little salt and pepper. When the meat is nearly done, add the onion and celery and continue to cook until the vegetables are soft. While this is cooking, cook the rice in the microwave. When the meat is done, use a spatula or spoon to break up any clumps (turkey tends to clump more than beef because of the lower fat content and texture). Stir in the undiluted mushroom soup and cooked rice. Add salt, pepper, and garlic salt to taste. Spoon a generous portion of the rice mixture into each pepper half. Pour a little tomato sauce over each pepper. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 1 hour – or until the peppers are as soft as you like them.
Well Duh #1: If you want to freeze the peppers, follow all of the directions, except for baking. I place them in disposable aluminum pans and cover them tightly with foil before freezing.
Well Duh #2: If you really, really, really don’t like bell peppers, this mixture makes a great stuffing rolled inside a tenderloin or stuffed inside a pork chop or stuffed inside tomatoes and baked.
Well Duh #3: You may have a little of the stuffing left over. Just store it in the refrigerator. It’s great eaten alone or stuffed into something else!