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Not Your Mama's Stuffed Bell Peppers

Everyone has a slightly different way of making stuffed bell peppers, but most recipes are time-consuming and include green peppers, ground beef, rice, and tomato sauce. Not so this recipe. Microwaving the vegetables gives you a head start on your stuffed pepper production process and shortens the preparation and clean up time considerably. This recipe uses orange bell peppers, which are sweeter and riper than the green variety (although yellow or red peppers would work here, too). Rather than ground beef, this recipe incorporates Italian turkey sausage for less fat and more flavor. I've kept the rice, but this time, used tumeric rice instead of the usual white rice (see my previous posting for the recipe). Instead of tomatoes, I've included chopped apple, onion, and celery along with sage and thyme. Raisins amplify the apple's sweetness, and just a little allspice and fennel compliment the vegetables and fruits. What you end up with is a savory-sweet stuffed pepper, different from the usual version, and perfect for cool fall nights. Serve the stuffed peppers with a green vegetable and salad, and you'll have an economical, nutritious meal and a happy, full tummy.

Savory Sweet Stuffed Bell Peppers

Savory Sweet Stuffed Bell Peppers -- Serves 4-6

3 orange bell peppers, halved, stems removed, and seeded

1/2 a large onion, chopped

1/2 a large apple, chopped (about a cup)

2 ribs of celery chopped

1 - 1 1/4 pounds of Italian turkey sausage, casings removed

1 cup of tumeric rice

1/2 teaspoon ground sage

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon of allspice

1 teaspoon of fennel seed

1 egg

1/4 cup light sour cream

1/4 cup raisins

1/2 cup shredded Italian cheese blend

Put the halved peppers in a large casserole dish coated with nonstick cooking spray. Add a tablespoon of water, cover the peppers with plastic wrap, and microwave them on high for 3-5 minutes or until crisp tender. In a large bowl, combine the onion, apple, celery, and a couple of tablespoons of water. Cover the bowl and microwave the onion mixture until crisp tender, about 3 minutes. To the onion mixture add the ground turkey sausage--crumbling it in--and the rice, sage, thyme, parsley flakes, garlic powder, salt, pepper, allspice, and fennel seed. Stir the mixture until everything is incorporated. Add the egg and sour cream, stirring to bind the mixture together. Mix in the raisins. Divide the turkey mixture among the bell pepper wells, mounding it as needed. Bake the peppers for about 50 minutes. Remove them from the oven and sprinkle each of the stuffed pepper halves with some of the shredded cheese blend. Return the peppers to the oven for another 5 minutes until the cheese melts. Let the peppers cool a little before serving them.

Not Your Mama's Stuffed Bell Peppers

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