Traditional Stuffed Peppers

Traditional Stuffed Peppers - Served 1.2

It’s been awhile since we’ve talked Italian food.

And I could sense you’ve started to get anxious.

It’s all because of this healthy eating, low-carb kick I’m on, and yes it’s as lousy as it sounds.  Apparently Penne alla Vodka, Lasagna, and Eggplant Rollatini are not the way to a bangin’ bod.

Who knew, right?!  I mean, Mario Batali is such a studmuffin….

~2" of water in the pan...   ... & each pepper filled 1/4 the way with water

There’s nothing like a new eating regimen to remind you that being healthy is super annoying.  I’ve replaced my morning oatmeal with plain greek yogurt, a breakfast that’s about as exciting as a Jets! game (re: not exciting, mostly depressing, and with a side of anger/resentment).  My lunches have pretty much stayed the same – a homemade sandwich – but my snack habits have really taken a beating.  No more Wheat Thins, Goldfish, or Pita Chips in my life – now there are carrots, and celery, and tears of mourning.

chicken + onions

chicken + onions

Unfortunately dinner has been kinda messed up too.  What’s a stir-fry without rice?  Roasted chicken without potatoes?  Pasta without pasta!?  I mean, what the hell am I supposed to eat?!

Traditional Stuffed Peppers, I suppose.

adding the diced peppers & sauce

adding the diced peppers & sauce

I’ve covertly been pushing my new lifestyle on you for weeks, so thanks for playing along and not noticing.  Toasted Sesame Shrimp, Southwestern Turkey Burgers, and Caprese Poached Eggs?  All low-carb options!  Even my Cinco de Mayo recipes were made with low-carb tortillas, so extra points for me on that.  Come to think of it, I guess this low-carb thing isn’t excruciating so hard, you just need to be creative.  And that’s why Traditional Stuffed Peppers are the ideal low-carb dish.

mixing with the mozzarella

mixing with the mozzarella

The key to the perfect stuffed pepper is all in the preparation – the peppers must first be steamed till tender, then filled and baked all the way.  This little trick not only makes all the difference, but it doesn’t cost you any time.  While your peppers steam, cook your filling on the stove – the timing will match up exactly.  My additional trick is this – rather than discard the pepper tops, dice them up and add them to your filling!  This way there’s no waste, and you eat more veggies – a true win, win.

time for the oven!

time for the oven!

I kept my peppers skinny by utilizing extra lean ground chicken, fat-free mozzarella cheese, and just a cup of rice (traditional recipes call for 2 – 2.5 cups).  To maintain flavor, I added a slew of Italian seasonings in addition to my marinara sauce.  And for extra pizzazz, a few dashes of Pecorino lent the perfect sharp, nutty finish.

Overall my Traditional Stuffed Peppers came out just as I hoped.  Wonderfully savory and filling, this dish tastes so good, you won’t believe how healthy it is – only 28g net carbs and a whopping 32g of protein per serving!  The only thing that’s missing?  Maybe just a teeny tiny side of pasta ;)

Traditional Stuffed Peppers

Yield: 5 servings

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cook Time: 45 mins

Total Time: 55 mins

Ingredients:

  • 5 Medium Bell Peppers (Any color)
  • 1 lb Extra Lean Ground Chicken (I used Perdue)
  • 1 cup Diced Yellow Onion
  • 1 3/4 cups Marinara Sauce (I used Francesco Rinaldi)
  • 1 cup Ready Rice (I used Uncle Ben's Whole Grain)
  • 3/4 cup Fat Free Shredded Mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup Grated Pecorino
  • 1 tsp Crushed or Minced Garlic
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 1 tsp Basil
  • 1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt & Coarse Black Peppercorn - approx.
  • PAM Cooking Spray to grease

Directions:

  1. On cutting board, slice tops off bell peppers and clean out insides. Fill hollowed peppers 1/4 full with water, then place in ~2" water bath inside baking pan. Steam at 350F for 25min until tender but still firm. Drain in colander and allow to cool.
  2. Dice tops of peppers, then set aside.
  3. Saute onions in well-greased skillet over medium-high heat until translucent and lightly browned. Reduce flame to medium, then add chicken, turning constantly until no pink parts remain. As chicken cooks, add salt, pepper, garlic, basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Next stir in diced peppers, followed by sauce, rice, and mozzarella cheese. Combine all ingredients thoroughly, then lower heat and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. When ready spoon filling into each pepper, then top with percorino cheese. Return peppers to baking pan, this time filled with a shallow layer of water. Bake at 450F for an additional 20min until melted & browned. Allow to cool slightly, then serve.
Nutrition Information:

Calories: 285 Fat: 6g Carbohydrates: 34g Protein: 32g

 

Traditional Stuffed Peppers - Served Profile

 

Traditional Stuffed Peppers - Out of Oven

 

Traditional Stuffed Peppers - Zoom 1

 

Traditional Stuffed Peppers - Cut Open

 

 

 

The big green pepper is for Dave, duh.

 

 

 

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