Healthy Lunch Suggestion #1 is Emma’s Stuffed Peppers!

Hi everyone!

Welcome to our first post in our  Kid Healthy School Lunch series!

Emma, an eight year old third grader, took this dinner leftover and suggests using it as a school lunch. She made it herself!!!

Here’s what her mom says:

I had told Emma I wanted to make stuffed peppers for dinner because I bought peppers since they were on sale. I didn’t have a recipe but said I didn’t want to make them like my mom’s because I hated them!

She asked if she could make them. So I said, “Sure. What should we put in them?”

She didn’t use measuring cups except for the rice. She just kind of eyeballed it and threw stuff in (hence the handfuls in the recipe) but with this kind of dish you can’t really go wrong—you’re really making it to taste!  I wrote the recipe up from what she did. They were better than my Mom’s which were always soggy and mushy, and John Paul said they were even better than his mom’s.

At the end, after she’d stuffed them, I asked her what else she could have put in them and she said an egg because she said it would make them taste like Fried Rice! We also thought you could make vegetarian ones and stuff them with other vegetables mixed with the rice instead of meat. And toasted pine nuts would be good too.

Emma also makes great stuffed mushrooms and zucchini pancakes. She likes to cook with vegetables because then her twin brother who doesn’t like vegetables really has to at least try to eat them. Emma likes lots of vegetables and fruits!

Emma’s Stuffed Peppers

5-6 large bell peppers, green, yellow or red
1 cup uncooked jasmine or brown rice
1/2 lb ground beef*
2 sweet italian sausage links*
1 onion, chopped
2-3 gloves garlic, chopped
8-oz part skimmed mozzarella chopped coarsely

8-oz. can tomato sauce

2 handfuls grape tomatoes, chopped coarsely
2-3 handfuls Italian seasoned bread crumbs
2-3 handfuls of grated parmesan/romano to taste

Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil

1 egg, optional

*Can use ground turkey or chicken with turkey or chicken sausage instead of ground beef and pork sausage.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cook rice according to directions and set aside.

Cover bottom of a high-sided baking dish with a third of tomato sauce and a little olive oil. Slice off tops of peppers and remove seeds and core. Trim bottoms off peppers if you have to so they stand up in a pan, being careful not to cut peppers open on bottom.

Saute onions and garlic in a little bit of olive oil in a pan. Add beef and sausage squeezed out of casing and broken up and saute until browned. Drain any grease. Chop up any left over pepper and saute too.

Mix meat mixture with rice. Mix in bread crumbs, and parmesan/romano. Add in chopped mozzarella, reserving some for top of each pepper, and add in grape tomatoes, plus remaining  2/3rds of tomato sauce—enough so that it isn’t dry. Season to taste with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Can also add egg if you want it to be a little more wet. Mix well.

Stuff each pepper, mounding up on top of each. Top with reserved moz. Place in baking dish without lid and bake for 30-45 minutes. Can bake at 425 if you want it to go faster. Peppers should be cooked but still have a little crunch, not be mushy.

Cut each pepper in half in bowls. Serve with sauce/olive oil mixture from bottom of pan.

Can also skip the meat, chop up and add in another pepper and also add in toasted pine nuts.        YUMMMMMMMMY!



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