Summer is begrudgingly giving way to autumn. The days seem shorter, the temp stayed in the 60’s today, and humidity is gone. The top is still off the Jeep, because I’m denying this is actually happening, so I blasted the heat on the way to brunch this morning. Sunday afternoons are made for a cooking project, and today it’s the prep for stuffed peppers. Chop – chop – chop … I’m happiest in my kitchen with my veggie-loving friend close by. She’ll eat anything: radish stems, bell pepper scraps, and the tough ends of asparagus. (Just no onions, garlic, avocados or grapes, because they’re toxic for dogs.) Cairns are vermin-lovers, but she’ll eat a tomato core as eagerly as she gobbles up a mole.
The U.S. Open Championship is on in the background as I sauté ground beef, onions and mushrooms for the stuffed peppers. I recognize the different pitch of their groans, as Nadal and Medvedev each strike the ball.
I glance at the TV, to see Nadal perform his pre-serve ritual: back of the pants, front of the pants, shoulder, shoulder, nose, left ear, nose, right ear. Bounce the ball at least 10 times. Serve. It’s painful to watch.
Huge props to this amazing athlete, who has managed to handle his crippling OCD within the confines and pressure of world-class tennis. I’m rooting for him.
Back to dinner prep: Soften the peppers first, by boiling them in a covered dutch oven for 5 minutes, cut-side down. After that, let them cool, and sauté clean, organic ground beef with onions and mushrooms. (Mushrooms and onions are part of the “clean 15” that don’t need to be purchased organic.) Measure out 1 cup of organic, low-sodium tomato puree, and add the spices to it. Mix the tomato mixture with the beef/onion/mushrooms and spoon them into the cooled peppers. Place a little cheese on top; the original recipe called for cheddar, but we’re lower sodium, so … Swiss.
Bake the peppers in a dutch oven, uncovered, for 30 minutes at 400º. We added a little hug from the tin foil, to keep the peppers upright. Husband wants two, I stick with one. Extra veggies tonight are roasted broccolini and broccoli, also part of the “clean 15.”
Great dinner, super healthy, and … Nadal won! Woot woot!!
- 1 lb ground beef, 93% fat free
- 4 large bell peppers
- 1 medium diced yellow onion
- 1 cup sliced white mushrooms
- 1 Tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp chipotle chile powder
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp granulated garlic
- 2 tsp Turkish Aleppo pepper flakes
- ½ cup tomato puree
- 2 oz mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 400º.
- Slice top off peppers and remove seeds and membranes.
- Place peppers cut side down, in a covered Dutch oven with 2" of boiling water, for 5 minutes.
- Remove from pan and let cool.
- Brown ground beef in a skillet, stirring often, for 5 minutes over medium heat. Add onions, mushrooms and continue to stir for another 5 minutes.
- Mix together tomato puree, cumin, chili pepper, cinnamon, garlic and aleppo pepper flakes. Add to beef in skillet and stir until well mixed.
- Fill peppers with the meat mixture, top with Swiss cheese, dividing evenly.
- Bake peppers for 30 minutes at 400º. Serve.