Sunday, April 10, 2011

KITCHEN KREATION: Unstuffed Pepper Bake

Tonight's menu was inspired by a sample eaten at the grocery store this weekend. The lady at the counter told us that the name of this delicious concoction was the Unstuffed Pepper Bake. It was really tasty, so of course I quickly grabbed one of the recipe cards, looked it over and realized I already had all of the ingredients at home and started plotting how I could put my own spin on this tasty treat.

This recipe was an easy way to get the taste of a stuffed pepper without all the work! I hope you like it, because it was really good.

*NOTE: I used a combination of ground beef & ground turkey and less rice than the original recipe called for. Originally, the recipe was for 1 pound of lean ground beef and 1.5 cups of rice. Since I doubled the meat, I also doubled the seasoning, so if you are going to use the 1 pound of meat, divide all seasoning (including the Worcestershire sauce) in half for your recipe. The tomato, cheese, and 15 oz can of tomato sauce amounts are the same as the original recipe. I also added the additional 8 oz can of tomato sauce since there was more meat included in my version and we didn't want the casserole to be too dry.

1 lb ground beef – extra lean
1 lb ground turkey – extra lean
1 bag frozen Onions & Three Pepper Blend - chopped
2 garlic cloves – minced
1 tsp seasoning salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
14.5 oz can Petite Diced Tomatoes – drained
1 cup Instant Brown Rice
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 tsp Italian seasoning
8 oz package Finely Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese – divided
15 oz can Tomato Sauce, no salt
8 oz can Tomato Sauce, no salt
Cooking spray

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, sauté ground beef & turkey with the chopped onions/peppers blend and garlic for 10 minutes, or until meat is browned & vegetables are tender.
  3. Drain off excess fat and water and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes, 8 oz can of tomato sauce, rice, Worcestershire sauce, and Italian seasoning.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in ½ of cheese.
  6. Spray cooking spray into a 13x9 baking dish.
  7. Spread mixture evenly in baking dish and top with 15 oz can of tomato sauce and remaining cheese.
  8. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes on center oven rack, until heated through and cheese is melted and bubbly.
  9. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
  10. Enjoy!

Makes 8 servings.
According to the handy dandy Sparkpeople recipe calculator, 1 serving was only 307 calories! Eureka! I think I did a pretty good job adapting this recipe to make it healthier with less calories.

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