Stuffed Peppers

I found this recipe I had hidden away in a "recipe box" online. I don't remember ever trying it before, but it sounded good so I gave it a shot. The whole family loved it so much, it's become a regular menu item! Though, with a few alterations, of course.

For a family of four (two adults, two minis):
  • 3 green peppers
  • 2-3 pork sausages 
    • alternative: season ground pork with garlic, onion, oregano, salt & pepper
  •  tomato sauce 
    • any old kind will do fine, last night I used leftover spaghetti sauce
  •  mozzarella cheese
  •  rice (here I used 3 cups cooked basmati rice)
Follow the jump for more instructions

 1.  Wash & slice the green peppers in half (from top to bottom) and remove seeds & other guts.
    • I tried something different this time around. First, these peppers have been frozen. I had cut & cleaned them earlier and froze them in a large freezer bag (removing as much air as possible). They had only been frozen a week or so when I made this, and I really didn't notice much difference compared to previous (fresh) versions. I had only partially defrosted them when I did this. I find it was actually easier to fill them; they didn't wobble or flop around, though that also might be due in part to this next bit:
    • This time around I tried laying them on a bed of rice. I meant to cook white long grain rice but in my zombie-rice-cooking-state I grabbed basmati. It worked fantastic, though. I cooked the rice in advance, with a little bit of chicken/veg stock I had made & froze earlier. The rice helped balance the peppers nicely in the pan, and they also soaked up extra juices from the peppers and tasted extra yum. The rice along the edges got a little dry/crispy, though. 

 2.  Brown sausage (or pork & seasonings) in a pan. Add tomato sauce. I can't recall how much I needed, I used all I had left. Enough to coat it like a thick sloppy-joe mix.

3.  Lay peppers in baking dish, fill with sausage/tomato mixture. Top with cheese. Cover with foil. (Cheese and foil not pictured).

4. Bake at 400 for about 40 min. Remember everything but the peppers are cooked, so you could take it out as soon as you feel they are ready.
Cost breakdown:
  • 1 cup uncooked Basmati Rice: $0.60 (white rice would be approx. half this)
    •  I bought a 10lb bag of bazmati for $15, which breaks down to about .60/cup uncooked
  • 4 pork sausages: $2
    • I buy 12-packs when they are on sale for just under $6. I then divide them into bags of 4 and freeze.
  • 3 green peppers: $3 (at most)
  • tomato sauce: .50 (I'd say even less, but this would be if you had to buy a new can and used half)
  • moz. cheese: .75
    • This estimate really could vary. I used a fancy favorite mozarella that I had on hand (and bought on sale). It also depends on how much you use, I'd say it really doesn't need much.
Total estimate: $6.85 - This could vary a lot depending on the rice, cheese, and sauce you choose and the sales you find on the ingredients, though it shouldn't go over $10. Not bad for a family dinner.

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