Let me preface this by saying that sometimes I cook things that Mr. Grumpy does not understand. For example, he does not understand that when you cook peppers they become soft, because they are no longer raw… Therefore, Mr. Grumpy did not feel super pumped about tonight's dinner. However, I was, and I must tell you how delicious this recipe is. If you're in the mood for a meal that is both healthy AND tasty – (oh, and done as soon as you get home from work) – you're in for a real treat.
I love crock pot recipes – they are so convenient. Especially when two times a week you don't get home until 7:45 because you're busy getting your butt kicked by Bill at Zumba. Coming home to a crock pot dinner is ah-mah-zing, and a relief because if you're coming home from Zumba, you're muscles are spasming and you no longer can feel your legs which makes cooking dinner seriously difficult and uncomfortable.
Usually on Monday night, and then again on Wednesday night, I'll prepare my crock pot and put it in the fridge. Then when I leave for work in the morning, I'll plug it in and put the timer on. Now, if you don't have a timer on your crock pot, do not fret. Sometimes I use my tiny crock pot which has no timer. So, I'll cook it while I'm sleeping and set my sleep alarm for when I'm supposed to turn off the pot and put it back in the fridge befoore I leave for work. Then when I get home that night, I'll just put it on low, go to Zumba, and when I come back it's all ready to eat!
Also, don't let Mr. Grumpy scare you… stuffed peppers are amazing – they're like having meatballs in a jacket of flavorful veggies. And even though they sound really hard to make, they're probably just as easy to make as Kraft mac 'n' cheese… especially when you're doing it crock-pot style. So… let's get started!
What You'll Need:
- 5-6 bell peppers (I did a variety of colors, but the red peppers are probably the tastiest. Now, it is important that the peppers have nice bottoms because they'll need to be able to stand upright in your crock pot. So make sure you check the junk in their trunk…)
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 can diced tomatoes (I used the basil, oregano and garlic flavored kind – the small can, not the large can)
- 1/2 cup rice (measure out 1/2 cup, and then cook it. You should have 1 cup when it's cooked, and that's how much you need. I accidentally got excited and cooked an entire cup of rice, meaning I had about 84 cups when I was done…)
- 1 lb sweet italian turkey sausage
- 2 tbsp ketchup
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/2 cup shredded low-fat (part skim) mozzerella cheese (plus 1/4 more for sprinkling on top)
- 2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
- Red pepper flakes to taste (I did about 1/4 tsp)
- 1/3 cup water
(Are you seriously ready, because this is going to take like 5 seconds to get ready, and then like 7 hours to cook but that part doesn't matter because it'll be in your crock pot).
Cook your 1/2 cup of rice. Combine everything, except the water and 1/4 cup cheese. If you're asking me if the meat should be cooked prior to putting it in the peppers, the answer is no. Trust me – I know this feels weird, but it is all good.
Cut the "lids" off your peppers, and remove all the seeds and what I call the "fat." That's like the flimsy stuff in the cracks of the pepper that are white-ish looking? Pepper fat. It's a real thing.
Fill each pepper to the rim with your meat mixture, and place each in your crock pot. Put the lids of the peppers back on.
Right before you're about to cook your peppers, add 1/3 cup of water to the bottom of your crock pot. Then, cook on low for 7.5 hours.
Remove the lid of your crock pot, and the lid of the peppers. Cook on high for an additional 15 minutes. Then, sprinkle each pepper with the remaining cheese, and turn on your broiler. Cook the peppers for about 5 more minutes in the broiler oven (that will make the cheese get nice and brown and bubbly).
And… enjoy! See? I was not joking when I said this would be ridiculously easy.