Where do you get your inspirations for cooking? This is the question frequently asked from newly made friends. When I started to cook, I always have this mentality from my parents that we should buy ingredients when it is only on special. It helps narrowing down my decision of which dish that I should create. SOSCuisine is the ultimate reference website for Canadians to seek out deals of the week of all the supermarkets in your hometown. Pretty convenient, isn't it?
It does happen that I lack of inspirations especially if I have to respect the cooking theme. Just for a heads-up, the cooking theme for tonight will be any dish that are "stacked", "skewed" or "layered" like crostinis, brochettes, lasagnas and mille-feuille. I usually end up going through my pile of cookbooks or food blogs for inspirations. I usually tweak the recipe according to what's available in my fridge and my pantry.
Nothing beats the good old taste of home cooked food especially for this stuffed bell peppers, a classic North American dish. It is essentially meatloaf inside a bell pepper. These bell peppers are usually baked with a coating of olive oil or a pool of sauce. I decided that my sauce should be the classic Italian American marinara sauce.
Preparation Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 20 mins
Baking Time: about 60 mins, depending on the size of the bell peppers
6 bell peppers, any colour
1 medium onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes, liquid drained
1 can (14 oz.) tomato sauce
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
1 garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
Salt and pepper
1 egg, beaten
2 tsp Worchestshire sauce
1 1/2 lb ground meat (I use 1/2 ground beef and 1/2 ground pork)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cup cooked rice
Salt and Pepper
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat.
2. Meanwhile, cut the tops off the bell peppers. Chop edible part of tops and set aside. Remove seeds in cold water. Submerge bell peppers in boiling water and cook for 5 mins until the flesh has slightly softened. Drain peppers and set aside to cool.
3. Preheat oven to 350F.
4. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Sauté bell peppers from tops, onion, celery for about 5 mins, until onions are translucent.
5. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, garlic, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 mins.
6. Meanwhile, in another bowl, combine egg, Worcestershire sauce, ground meat and Parmesan. Mix in cooked rice and 1 1/2 cup of the marinara sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
7. Stuff peppers with meat mixture and place in a 13'' x 9'' baking pan. Create a 1/2-inch hole in the middle of the stuffing to ensure even cooking. Pour the remaining tomato mixture over the stuffed peppers.