Un-Stuffed Pepper Skillet

Un-Stuffed Green Pepper Skillet {Two Healthy Kitchens}

My dad loves stuffed peppers. And when I was growing up, my mom used to make them all the time.

As a kiddo, I was always stumped when that large bell pepper appeared on my plate, shoved full of tomatoey rice and meat. I would sit there and think to my seven-year-old self, “What’s the best way to eat this? What’s my plan of attack?”

Honestly, I’d scoop out the inside goodness and eat that first. Then I’d take my two or three obligatory bites of the green pepper, and give the rest to my dad. He’s always loved ‘em, and was more than happy to get the bonus pepper from me. And at the time, I didn’t particularly love peppers – especially cooked ones. (I know, I know … but I love love love them now, so you’ll forgive me, right? And I guess my mom was right – those “no-thank-you-bites” really did the trick!)

Un-Stuffed Green Pepper Skillet {Two Healthy Kitchens}

It’d been years (YEARS, I tell you!) since I’d had stuffed peppers. My hubby mentioned once, early in our married life, that he liked them, too. Maybe I ignored that?? Not sure what happened, but they never made an appearance on our dinner table.

Until lately.

Now we eat stuffed peppers all the time. Sort of.

Ya see, on those hectic nights when I have to get a hot meal on the table rightthissecond before we dash out the door to the next activity, I need a speedy-quick dinner solution.

Enter … the UN-Stuffed Pepper Skillet! (Aaaaaaaaaahhhhh – that’s a little choir of angels, my friends. And they are singing just for you.)

Un-Stuffed Green Pepper Skillet {Two Healthy Kitchens}

It’s so super quick and easy!

Brown your meat with the garlic and onions! SHAZAM!

While that’s cooking, heat up the rice! BAM!

Dice up the pepper! KAPOW!

Mix it all together with your favorite tomato sauce and a little splash of hot sauce to keep things interesting! KA-CHING … and … YIPEE it’s ready to eat!!

And that’s what my family says when I make this … YIPPPEEEEE!!! (There may or may not be cartwheels that occur. I can’t tell with all the celebration!)

Un-Stuffed Green Pepper Skillet {Two Healthy Kitchens}

I was a little nervous about this the first time I made it. What if my kids didn’t care for cooked peppers like me, when I was kid? They are made up of half of my DNA, and what if they inherited the “I-don’t-like-cooked-peppers” portion??? As I approached the table with great trepidation, my littlest said, “Are those peppers?

Oh no.

I gulped.

“Yes, and I would just like you to …”

“YAY! I love peppers!!” (I love how kids’ tastebuds change from one day to the next! Pretty sure peppers were on the bottom of the list over the summer when I had an abundance of them! Love peppers, too? Be sure to check out our Rainbow Pepper Salsa!)

Whew. Even my oldest who has been known to be ever-so-slightly picky (ok … fine … quite picky) was really happy with this dish and asked for seconds.

When Shelley’s family tried it, her husband exclaimed, “This is AWESOME!” (I wasn’t there, but she texted me that’s what he said. I believe her. Because … this is awesome, after all.)

In typical THK fashion, we like to bring you family-friendly and quick-to-prepare meals. This one, my friends, totally fits the bill.

Un-Stuffed Green Pepper Skillet {Two Healthy Kitchens}

It tastes like childhood, when times were easy. When the only drama in life was who got the best swing at recess. (And if you didn’t get the best swing, you had to stand in line and count to 100, then it was your turn. What? You didn’t “count on” people? Hmmm … interesting!)

This classic dish has a whole new lease on life, now that it’s so quick and easy! And if our kids are any indication, this generation loves it!

THK by Gretchen

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When you were in elementary school, what was your favorite recess activity? Were you a dodgeball jock or a hopscotch champ? Or did you stand and count to 100 to get your favorite swing? :)

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Un-Stuffed Pepper Skillet
Shared By: 
Yield: About 7-8 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound extra-lean ground beef
  • 1½ cups chopped onion (from about half of a large onion)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 24-ounce jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce (such as Frank’s Red Hot) (see note)
  • 4 cups cooked brown rice (see note)
  • 1½ – 2 cups green pepper, chopped into 1-inch pieces (from 1 large or two small green peppers)
  • additional hot sauce for serving
Preparation
  1. Preheat a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat and add beef, onion, garlic, salt and black pepper. Cook until beef is browned and cooked through, stirring to crumble. Drain if needed (although if using very lean beef, you likely won’t need to.)
  2. Add spaghetti sauce, using water to swish the residual sauce out of the jar. Add hot sauce. Cook for 10 minutes to allow flavors to meld.
  3. Add rice and green peppers, cooking just until peppers are hot and crisp-tender.
  4. Serve immediately, passing additional hot sauce as desired.
Notes
This recipe is extremely flexible for families with little kiddos or families in which some people like their food spicier than others. Our younger taste testers love this dish with just one tablespoon of hot sauce – it adds a hint of pepper-y-ness without being spicy. The rest of us prefer to add extra hot sauce at the table for a delicious kick that further heightens the pepper-y flavor. So you decide how much hot sauce to add and when – but we recommend just passing additional hot sauce at the table so each person can enjoy this their own way.


This dish actually comes together much more quickly when you cook the rice separately. Use whatever cooking method is easiest for you. We’ve used instant brown rice, instant boil-in-bag, and even the pre-cooked microwave packages of brown rice. If you have rice leftover from another meal, that works just fine, too!

 

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Comments

Un-Stuffed Pepper Skillet — 34 Comments

  1. Ha! I can totally relate to the stuffed pepper sitting in front of me as a kid….honestly it was never my favorite meal back then but now sounds delicious!! I love this unstuffed version and can’t wait to try it. Much easier for my kids to pick out the pieces of pepper (they will only eat raw) or for me to just leave it out of theirs entirely! Thanks so much for sharing at SNF!

    • Hi Cathy! Yeah … it just seemed … kinda daunting as a kiddo!! This version is WAY easier for kids to eat – and mine are super excited when I make it! :)
      You could serve your kids’ peppers on the side – and not stir them into the meat and rice mixture. That way everyone is having the same meal – theirs is just deconstructed! The peppers cook so fast, it would be simple to serve their dinner, then stir the peppers in for you! Hope you make this – it’s really yummy! ~Gretchen

    • Thank you for your sweet words, Julie! Come on over and I’ll fix you a big bowl! Really – it’s so simple! :)

      And hmmmm … with sour cream?!? I’ll have to try that the next time I make it (which will be in just a few days – my family can’t get enough of this)! I haven’t tried that yet, but I bet it would make it deliciously creamy! Great suggestion!! ~Gretchen

    • Hi, Debi! We’re so excited you stopped by! We love Saturday Night Fever – such fun! Thanks a million for pinning this! It really is terrific, and we hope you’ll love it every bit as much as we do! Can’t wait to check out your blog next! :D ~G&S

  2. Personally, I never enjoyed the “stuffed pepper” meals, not the stuffing of nor the eating of the large green container of other yummy foods.

    Un-stuffed Pepper Skillet solves both issues in a delicious way!

    • Yep – spoken like a mom, for sure! It’s not always very enjoyable taking the time to stuff those peppers, right!?!? Kinda tedious (especially when they end up falling over in the baking pan, anyway! :D). And clearly you’ve experienced the conundrum of “How do I tackle this pepper to get to the yummy goodness inside?!?!” Well, we’re just glad to solve BOTH your problems at once! And you’re so right – it really is a mega-DELICIOUS solution, at that! ~G&S

  3. I love stuffed peppers, my kids not so much. They don’t like the green ones so I should start making them with red ones. This reminds me that I haven’t made any in a while. This un stuffed version looks just as good!

    • Totally great idea to swap in red peppers if your kiddos would like that better! And yeah – the unstuffed version is every bit as good, but just sooooo much quicker and easier! It revamps old-fashioned stuffed peppers into a super-fast weeknight solution! :D We’re betting it’ll become a new go-to for you, just like it is in our homes! ~G&S

  4. What a perfect recipe! I do love stuffed peppers, but they take so long to make that they’re a big no no on most weeknights. I adore how quick to make your version is, and how delish it looks!
    When I was younger, I didn’t care for peppers either. Nor did my brothers… Guess it must be a kids thing hahaha ;-)
    Enjoy your weekend!

    • Hi, Consuelo! For sure if you love stuffed peppers, you’ll loooooove this … especially on hurry-up weeknights! I just made a quick stop at the grocery store this afternoon with my family and asked, “Hey – what do you guys want for dinner tomorrow?” I’ll bet you can guess where this little story is going – they excitedly asked me to make this recipe (which will be the third time in about two weeks – no kidding!). You’ve gotta try it! Hope you’re having an awesome weekend, too! :D ~Shelley

    • Cindy you are so right – this recipe is just ridiculously super-easy! I wasn’t expecting such a simple recipe to be so darn good, but it really is! Ever since Gretchen made this up and handed it over to me for testing, I’ve been totally hooked. My whole family is so happy when I make it! My husband and son and I gob on extra hot sauce at the table, and my daughter is just happy as can be with the milder version straight out of the pan – everybody eats it just the way they want! Yay – happy family! :D ~Shelley

    • Oh, Kristi – if you love stuffed peppers, then you’ve gotta keep this little gem of a recipe in your back pocket for busy nights! All the yummy flavors you love in a stuffed pepper recipe, just much, much quicker and easier! Yummmmm! Hope you’re having a fab weekend, girlfriend! :D ~Shelley

    • Thank you for the sweet comment! These are SO much easier to eat! I never could solve the large-pepper dilemma when I was younger … and now I don’t ever need to! Simple, fast, delicious – that’s all I need! :) ~Gretchen

  5. Hello, Gretchen! Are you from a Greek family? Stuffed peppers are such a staple here in Greece, where I’m living. I’ve been planning to make a version soon, but in the meantime this looks wonderfully easy and tasty!

    • Hello Helen! Thanks for stopping by! No, I’m definitely not Greek … I’m German and Irish. But … I could make up a wonderful (yet not-at-all true) story about how I learned to make this dish while I was visiting my family in Greece over the summer. Ahhh … that sounds positively dreamy!!
      I hope this dinner fits the bill for you … my family loves it! And I love how simple it is! :) ~Gretchen

  6. This sounds so good. I have to tell you though that my mom never made stuffed peppers growing up. She made stuffed cabbage, but I never liked the cabbage leaf, even though I like cabbage. Now I make unstuffed cabbage which reminds me that I should do a post about that!

  7. Sounds like one for Food Network! Yes, the deconstructed stuffed pepper – I can see it now. And you have the BAM! KAPOW! and SHAZAM! to go with it, Emeril would be proud. Looks like another yummy one from you two and versatile as well. You could add/subtract whatever your family likes to this one.

    • Haha Lori! I guess I just feel like a superhero when I make this dinner! It all happens so fast, it’s like it just magically appears on the table! And hmmmm … Food Network?? That’s quite a compliment!! Thank you, dear!! ~Gretchen

    • Yes, exactly, Pamela!! On busy days when I’ve got to go in 50 different directions right after dinner, this really fast dinner solution saves the day! Yummmmmm – with mozzarella?? I’ll have to try that! This has become one of my family’s favorites, so I know I’ll be making it soon! :) ~Gretchen

  8. My dad LOVES stuffed peppers. He requests them for his birthday meal every year and hoards bell peppers from their garden all summer explicitly for stuffed pepper purposes. I was just like you when I was younger, scooping out the filling and pushing the actual pepper onto my dads plate (with ZERO complaints from him)! Real stuffed peppers take too much effort, but I think I’ll have to make this for nostalia’s (and deliciousness’s) sake with some faux-beef crumbles subbed in. Yum!

  9. I have never cared for peppers raw or cooked. Just don’t like it in my mouth. I like the flavor it gives but not the pepper itself. This would be easy to pick the peppers out. HA!!! Might have to try this. I saved the recipe.

    • Charlotte, you’re hilarious! We’re so honored that, despite the fact that you’re not a pepper fan, you still thought this looked delicious enough to try! I can tell you it really and truly is! When Gretchen created this recipe and finished testing it, she handed it off to me to test at my house. I gotta tell you – I was SHOCKED that something so deceptively simple tasted THIS GOOD! My family gave it huge, enthusiastic thumbs-up … and I made it again just a few days later because I was totally craving it! And you are so right about picking out the peppers – my daughter isn’t a huge pepper fan either, but she likes this meal, too! She just has her couple of “no-thank-you” pepper bites, and then goes on to enjoy the delicious meat and rice mixture. Trust me – if my non-pepper-loving daughter likes this – I totally think you will, too! :D ~Shelley

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