This recipe is so versatile! It can be a freezer meal and made ahead, thawed and cooked in the crock pot! (Or of course the oven, too.) The ingredients can be easily adapted to suit taste preferences. I used soy tvp in place of the beef. I am trying to learn to cook more vegetarian dishes, and so am playing around with a Meatless Monday idea in my menu planning. As I play around and learn, I'll post my experiences so you can come along for the ride.
The versatility of this recipe attracted me to it. In fact, the filling made so much that i froze 4 cups of it in two freezer bags to bake over some spaghetti squash for another meal!
The time to make the peppers was worth it! This would be a great freezer meal during the summer when your garden or local farmers market is overflowing with peppers. Make a huge batch and freeze them for many meals to come!
Feel free to adapt your recipe. I did use Soy TVP (Textured Vegetable Protien) crumbles
instead of a pound of hamburger, to make it meatless, but it is not necessary at all. The black beans are a great source of protein on their own. If you are not familiar with TVP, it is a dehyrdrated seasoned soy product that when rehydrated is the texture and taste of hamburger. You can buy it plain with no seasoning, along with beef, taco, bbq, chicken, etc. You can buy it many places but one place to start with is: Emergency Essentials type TVP into the keyword search and it will get you started.
Ok, on to my recipe:
1 cup beef tvp rehydrated into 1 cup hot water
1 cup instant brown rice
1 (15 oz) can black beans drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz.) can corn drained
1 medium onion diced
1 (24 oz) jar spaghetti sauce
6 -12 green peppers (6 for dinner now, and 6 to freeze for later)
1 1/2 -2 cups shredded cheese
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
Rehydrate tvp in hot water in a small bowl for 10 minutes. In another small bowl, mix 1 cup instant rice with 3/4 cup hot water and let sit 10 min. also.
While those are hyrdrating, make sure all green peppers can sit upright, if not cut bottoms even so they sit flat. cut the tops off the pepper.
Pull the center seed pod out of the pepper:
Set the empty pepper shell aside. Repeat process with remaining peppers. Dice the pepper tops you trimmed off and set aside.
Drain TVP (and the rice, too) and pour into a large mixing bowl:
Add in : black beans, diced onions, diced peppers, corn, cheese, mix well:
Stir in spaghetti sauce. Stuff shells and set in side a baking pan.
To Bake in Crock pot right away:
Nestle as many peppers as will fit in your crock pot into bottom of pot. Pour in 1 cup spaghetti sauce into bottom of pot around the peppers. Cook on low 6-8 hours or high 3-4 hours. Optional: top with more shredded cheese during the last 10 minutes of cooking remove lid from crock pot to melt cheese.
To Bake in oven :
surround peppers in a baking dish with about 1 cup of spaghetti sauce. Bake in 350 degree oven for one hour till peppers are tender.
To Freeze for cooking later:
Flash freeze individual peppers by placing stuffed peppers on a baking sheet in the freezer for 1 hour till individually frozen. Then store peppers in a ziplock storage bag in the freezer.
To Bake: CROCK POT: Thaw in the fridge overnight. Follow crock pot directions above.
OVEN BAKE: Pull peppers out of freezer in the morning, and thaw in the fridge during the day. Follow the baking directions above to bake in oven.