Monday, February 25, 2013

Stuffed with Love

Ryan and I aren't big celebrators of Valentine's Day. I really have nothing wrong with the holiday, it's sweet but it's just not for us. I try to do exceptionally sweet things for Ryan through out the year and the word romance gets lost in translation with Ryan (and this is one of the reasons I love's confusing, I know). And this Valentine's Day was really no different other than I wanted to make him a yummy meal, not really because it was love day but because our lives have been so busy between his travel and my volunteering (and our social lives, did you see my last post?) and I couldn't remember the last time I cooked a yummy meal that wasn't one of my go-tos (ie tacos, spaghetti, taco soup).

Debbie loaned me one of her Food Network magazines a few weeks ago and the recipe on the front caught my eye immediately so I added it to my must try list. I had most of the ingredients except for the peppers and a few smaller things so this was a no brainer when deciding on what to cook...just needed a quick run to the grocery store. I omitted the dried currants/golden raisins but they didn't sound that good to be in the recipe and the bag at the store was way more than I'd ever use and I don't like wasting. I also did half brown rice/half time I'll go all quinoa, it's the healthier option and it is so yummy. And each pepper comes in at just under 500 calories. Enjoy!!

Turkey and Rice (or Quinoa) Stuffed Peppers (Greek Inspired)
Active: 40 min, Total: 2 hr 40 min
Source: Food Network Magazine

1 1/2 cups short grain brown rice (or quinoa)
1/4 cup dried currants or golden raisins (I ommited this)
Kosher salt
1/2 cup of walnuts
1/2 cup of dill (I didn't use this much)
1/2 cup fresh parsley (I didn't use this much either)
4 scallions, roughly chopped
6 medium bell peppers (any color)
8 ounces lean ground turkey
2 cups schredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 8 oz)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Freshly ground pepper

1 15 ounce can tomato puree
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cinnamon stick
Kosher salt and Freshly ground pepper

1. Make the peppers: Combine 2 1/2 cups water, the rice, currants and 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low; cover and simmer until the water is absorbed, about 45 minutes. Let stand, covered, 10 minutes. Fluff with fork, then transfer to a large bowl to cool, about 20 minutes. *** Because I omitted the currants I just cooked my rice and quinoa as I normally would.

2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F (177C). Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and roast until lightly golden, 6 to 8 minutes.; let cool, then finely chop. Pile the dill, parsley and scallions on a cutting board and finely chop.

3. Cut off the top of each bell pepper and reserve the tops; discard the seeds and white membranes. Put the turkey in a large bowl; add 1 cup of mozzarella, 1/4 cup feta, the rice mixture, walnuts, all but 2 tablespoons of the chopped herbs, the garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, 1 1/2 teaspoons slat and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Gently mix with your hands. Stuff each bell pepper evenly with the turkey-rice mixture; cover with the pepper tops.

4. Make the sauce: Whisk 3 cups water, the tomato puree, brown sugar, olive oil and cinnamon stick in a wide, deep saucepan. Arrange the stuffed peppers upright in the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cover and reduce the heat the heat to medium low; simmer until the peppers are soft and the filling is cooked through, 50 to 60 minutes.
I don't think my sauce pan was quite wide enough but it did the job with just a little mess.

5. Preheat the broiler. Carefully remove the peppers from the sauce and transfer to a baking dish; remove the tops and set them aside in the baking dish. Toss the reserved 2 tablespoons chopped herbs with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella and 1/4 cup feta in a small bowl and sprinkle over the filling. Broil until melted, about 2 minutes. Replace peper tops, Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Serve the peppers in shallow bowls with the sauce.


  1. Looks delicious! I will have to try this but sadly there's no ground turkey here, so I will have to figure something out.

  2. Yum...Quinoa stuffed bell peppers is one of my favorites. I make a vegetarian version that is super delicous and healthy. Here is a link to where I blogged the recipe if you're interested in different variations:

    1. Thanks for the link, Laine. I've printed it off and added to the must tries!