Nothing like freezing cold weather and the holiday hangover to come up with a million excuses to just order takeout. But eating/ordering out statistically has at least 200 more calories per meal than cooking at home. Plus, when eating out there will be hidden cholesterol, sodium, and FAT. Last night I just wanted to order Chinese food and call it good, especially since I was able to squeeze in a full-hour workout in the morning. However, I knew in doing this all my hard work would be thrown right out the window. Instead I wandered to our kitchen and prayed that we would have something everyone in the house would enjoy.
I absolutely LOVE stuffed peppers. Everything from the filling to the peppers itself make me happy. In my opinion its a great comfort meal because it is warm, filling, and a classic dish that so many of us have enjoyed over the years. I was delighted to see we actually had almost everything needed to make it and I could substitute the missing ingredients. As I was getting ready to get down, my husband reminded me that he isn’t the biggest fan of peppers himself. *Insert heavy eye roll here*.
Instead of letting this discourage me I thought, well let’s have UNSTUFFED peppers. Essentially we turned this stuffed pepper recipe into a plain casserole that was completely pepper-less. By removing the peppers, I was able to gain another audience member because it became toddler approved. If any of you have young children you know that anything green is definitely not happening. So here is the recipe we used! I personally think it would have tasted great with small peppers chopped up and mixed in or actually stuffed inside of the peppers, but what do I know lol. This entire dinner only required my attention for about 20 minutes, then I could walk away while it cooked the remaining 20, which gives me time to feed the baby. Although it took about 45 minutes altogether it was delicious and fairly simple.
***Since we try to watch our cheese intake, we go light with the cheese mixed in and on top of the casserole (gotta save calories somewhere, right?). If you are a cheese lover, knock yourself out.***
1lb hamburger meat, 1 cup rice, 12oz can Italian diced tomatoes, 12 oz can tomato sauce, 1 onion medium onion chopped, 3 cloves garlic, 3 Tbsp ketchup, 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp salt, 2 tsp pepper, 1 Tbsp oregano, 1Tbsp brown sugar, 2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce, 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella, 1/2 cup shredded cheddar jack cheese. *peppers optional, if you plan on stuffing them I recommend using at least 5 because this made a LOT of filling*.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook rice as directed on box. Brown hamburger. Drain and set aside. Add chopped onion and garlic to skillet where hamburger cooked and allow the onions/garlic to simmer for 2-4 minutes. Return hamburger to skillet. Pour tomato sauce and diced tomatoes over the rice/burger and mix in. Add in ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, brown sugar, oregano, soy sauce, and mozzarella. Mix ingredients together and cook for about 3-5 minutes. Spray casserole dish with oil, and poor the mixture into the casserole dish. Place in oven for 20 minutes. Remove and top with cheddar jack cheese, return to over until cheese is melted on top. When cheese is melted, allow dish to cool for 5 minutes before serving.