Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Stuffed Peppers

I never like being a "debbie downer" but lately I just can't get my mind off loss. Sure, we all lose things, games, jobs, etc. But human life is a whole different story. A few weeks back, I read the story of fellow food blogger Jennie, who shared news that she had suddenly lost her husband to a heart attack. Her story left me in tears for days, literally paralyzed at the thought. The ten year anniversary of 9/11 is coming up. Again, more loss of human life to remember. Then we have earthquakes and hurricanes ransacking the lives of those out east. It's all just a little too much right now - but it's suddenly a big fat reality check that I sure have a lot to be thankful for in my life.   And it's certainly a reminder to hug those we love a little more often.

Despite my haze, I've still been cooking - life must go on after all.  We have been getting some beautiful peppers in the farm share the past couple weeks and I was so excited to use them up.  One of the things I always love to do with them is stuff and bake them off until soft and brown around the edges.  I usually do a stuffing made with meat but this time I went all veg.  I sauteed some onion, summer squash, zucchini, and tomato {all from the farm} in extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and a dash of dried basil.  Then I steamed up some brown rice and added that to the mix.  I then stuffed the peppers, topped with a sprinkling of shredded mozzarella, and baked until the cheese was just golden and peppers were soft.  The key is to cook the peppers for about 10 minutes before stuffing them.  That way the cheese on top doesn't burn and the insides just finish in the oven.

These were excellent - fresh, light, and full of flavor.  My husband and I devoured them for dinner - and ate them for lunch the next day.

Stuffed Peppers
Recipe by A Toast to Taste
Photos by A Toast to Taste

Ingredients Needed:
2 large peppers - any color {I had green and purple}, seeds removed, sliced in half lengthwise
extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 small summer squash, diced
1 small zucchini, diced
1 small tomato, diced
1 cup brown rice, cooked
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp dried basil
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
kosher salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with tinfoil and spray with cooking spray.  Place peppers cut side down on foil and bake for 10 minutes.

While peppers are baking, heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion, squash,  and zucchini.  Cook for about 5-7 minutes, until onions are translucent and the squash and zucchini are just cooked {you don't want them too soft}.  Add garlic, basil, salt and pepper.  Stir and cook for another minute.  At the very last minute, add in tomatoes and brown rice.  Cook on heat for about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Remove peppers from oven and flip them over to stuff {careful, they will be hot}.  Spoon in veggie and rice mixture to each pepper half.  Top with shredded mozzarella.  Return to oven for about 5 minutes or until cheese is just golden on top.

Serve and enjoy!

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