Stuffed peppers are a timeless favorite, but crafting each individual pepper can be time-consuming. Our Easy Stuffed Pepper Casserole recipe streamlines the process, delivering the same comforting flavors with added convenience. This hearty casserole combines seasoned ground meat, fluffy rice, and the vibrant colors of bell peppers. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the steps of making this crowd-pleasing dish. From gathering the ingredients to layering the casserole, you’ll have all the details you need to create a delightful meal.
Preparing the Ingredients
- Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Brown the ground beef or turkey in a skillet over medium heat. Drain any excess fat and set the meat aside.
- Cut the bell peppers into small, bite-sized pieces.
- In the same skillet, sauté the chopped onion and minced garlic until they’re translucent and fragrant.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, cooked rice, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper. Stir well to combine.
- Add the browned meat back to the skillet and mix it with the tomato and rice mixture.
Layering and Baking
- Grease a casserole dish.
- Layer half of the bell pepper pieces at the bottom of the dish.
- Spoon half of the meat and rice mixture over the bell peppers.
- Sprinkle half of the shredded cheese on top.
- Repeat the layers with the remaining bell peppers, meat and rice mixture, and cheese.
- Cover the casserole dish with aluminum foil.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes.
- Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Let the casserole cool slightly before serving.
- Garnish with freshly chopped parsley for a burst of freshness and color.
Expert Tips for Success
- Use a combination of red, green, and yellow bell peppers for a visually appealing casserole.
- Feel free to customize the filling by adding vegetables like corn, peas, or diced tomatoes.
- For a spicy kick, add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the filling mixture.
Q: Can I use brown rice instead of white rice? A: Yes, you can substitute brown rice for white rice. Just ensure it’s fully cooked before adding it to the casserole.
Q: Can I use other types of ground meat? A: Absolutely! Ground turkey, chicken, or even a meat substitute can be used as an alternative to ground beef.
Q: Can I make this casserole in advance? A: Certainly! You can assemble the casserole ahead of time, cover it tightly with plastic wrap or foil, and refrigerate. Bake it when you’re ready to enjoy.
Q: Can I use different types of cheese? A: Yes, you can use cheddar, mozzarella, or a blend of cheeses based on your preference.
Q: Can I freeze the leftovers? A: Yes, you can freeze leftover casserole in an airtight container for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
Q: Can I add more spices to the filling? A: Absolutely! Customize the seasoning to your taste by adding herbs like thyme, oregano, or cumin.
Embrace the convenience and flavor of Easy Stuffed Pepper Casserole, a dish that captures the essence of stuffed peppers without the fuss. With layers of seasoned meat, tender rice, and the vibrant hues of bell peppers, this casserole offers comfort and satisfaction in every bite. Follow the steps and tips provided here to create a delicious meal that’s perfect for weeknight dinners and family gatherings.