Sausage Stuffed Peppers

During my kid years, stuffed peppers were in the regular dinner rotation at my dad’s house.  I hated them.  My step mom would fill crisp green peppers with a beef mixture in the morning, pop them into the slow cooker with some tomato sauce, and when we got home in the evening we’d find the crunchy green peppers had been transformed into a slimy mushy mess.  Back then, I had deep-rooted hatred for lots of cooked veggies—carrots, celery, and tomatoes to name a few—but cooked green peppers took the medal for most loathed cooked vegetable.  To my young taste buds, cooked green peppers had this toxic unnatural taste to them—like they’d been marinating in a puddle of Windex for a few hours.  It just wasn’t right.  Luckily, peppers were pricy so my step mom was more than happy to make me a meatball sans pepper for dinner while the rest of the family subjected themselves to green pepper poisoning.  I love a good meatball.

To this day, I’m still not a huge fan of stuffed green peppers.  As I aged and grew wiser, I discovered that other types of peppers could be stuffed just as easily and infinitely more deliciously than green peppers ever could. 

Case in point:

Sausage Stuffed Peppers (10 of 11)

Some of my favorite peppers to stuff are banana peppers, cubanelles, and Anaheims.  I usually buy whichever variety is the biggest (i.e., most stuffable) at the grocery store that day.

 

I had a hankering for some stuffed peppers this weekend, so we picked up some nice size Anaheim peppers at the grocery.  Only 10 minutes of prep time is needed before these puppies bake in the oven for an hour.

Sausage Stuffed Peppers (2 of 11)

Sausage Stuffed Anaheim Peppers (makes 4)

Sausage Stuffed Peppers (8 of 11)

You’ll need:

  • 5 Links Chicken Sausage (such as Harris Teeter hot chicken sausage or Jennie O’ Hot Turkey Sausage)
  • 4 Anaheim peppers (or cubanelle peppers or banana peppers)
  • 1 cup chopped white onion
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups tomato sauce (I used Prego Smart)
  • Seasonings of choice (I like onion powder, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes)
  • Shredded Italian Cheese blend

Step One:  Spray a skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium high heat.  Once hot, add onions, garlic, and sprinkling of S&P and sauté until soft.  Remove from heat. 

Step Two:  Remove casing from sausage.  In a medium bowl, combine sausage, sautéed onions and garlic, egg, breadcrumbs, 1/4 tsp each black pepper and salt.  Mix until combined.  Cut tops off of peppers.  Use a butter knife or melon baller to remove the ribs and seeds from the peppers, taking care not to rip or tear the pepper.  Stuff peppers with sausage mixture, using your fingers or melon baller to push as much meat inside as you can.  Shape any excess meat into 2-inch meatballs (see note below).

Step Three:  Spray a square baking dish with cooking spray.  Add 1/2 cup tomato sauce of choice.  Add stuffed peppers then top with remaining pasta sauce and season with herbs of your choice (I like to add a few shakes of Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, and red pepper flakes).  Top with shredded cheese. 

Step Four:  Bake covered at 375 degrees for 50 minutes, remove foil, then bake 10 minutes more.

Note:  If you had extra meat from step two that you shaped into meatballs, spray a separate cookie sheet with cooking spray and place the meatballs on top.  Bake covered in the oven along with the peppers, flipping half way through.  Remove foil for last 10 minutes.

Stats on 1 pepper (and ¼ of extra-meat meatballs):    315 calories, 30g carbs, 9g fat, 32g protein, 6g fiberSausage Stuffed Peppers (5 of 11)

Crisp AsparagusSausage Stuffed Peppers (7 of 11)

You’ll need:

  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • garlic salt
  • onion powder

Instructions:  Hold asparagus length wise between both hands.  Bend the asparagus gently until the asparagus snaps in half at its natural breaking point.  Discard the tough end piece.  Repeat.  Lay asparagus on large piece of foil, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with garlic salt and onion powder.  Toss gently to coat.  Fold edges over and pinch the edges to enclose foil packet.  Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.

Sausage Stuffed Peppers (4 of 11)

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