I made an attempt at this recipe last night with my “first draft” version from my first week of meal planning. It was good but overcooked and too juicy! There was over an inch of “juice” at the bottom of the crock pot when we’d all finished eating. The taste was great and the consistency (other than the really soft peppers which was good for the toddlers involved) was fine. The recipe was very close to perfect and I’m anxious to try it again to perfect it! Here’s the new version I will be attempting.
This recipe fed four adults (with one extra serving that was eaten later as a midnight snack) and four small children.
All changes are marked in BLUE so you will be sure to note them. Also note in the sausage section that I’ve made suggestions for subbing ground turkey or making this totally vegetarian without losing the fabulous flavor!
Take 2: Sausage and Veggie Stuffed Peppers
4-5 peppers–red, yellow, orange or green, tops removed (and retained) cored and seeded (I used a combination of colors and managed to fit 5 into my crock pot–I tested how they’d fit BEFORE I filled them)
28oz can of diced tomatoes DRAINED to avoid the extra liquid
15oz can of kidney beans drained and rinsed, who needs the extra salt? (this was from the veggie recipe but I love the added protein without being an expensive or high fat meat)
1 large onion
1 1/2 Tbsp diced garlic (I use the jar of minced from my fridge but this would be about 3 cloves of fresh, use your discretion)
8-12 baby bella mushrooms (probably no more than 12 unless you’re going completely meatless, again, use your own discretion)
1/2 lb loose sausage (I used a mix of mild and hot italian sausage that was in links. I just squeezed the meat out of the casing, ew.) **If you’re looking to lighten this recipe a bit you can switch to ground turkey or skip the meat completely BUT I found the sausage spices really added wonderful zest to the meal so if you’re skipping/subbing this step be sure to replace it with good flavorful seasonings like some fennel and red pepper for a little kick. You can always add more meat than I’ve suggested here but we’re on a tight budget and trying to watch our health, 1/2 lb was PLENTY.
1 Tbsp salt (approximate, I never manage to find a measuring spoon when I’m tossing in salt)
1 tsp black pepper (again, approximate)
1 1/2 cup uncooked rice (I pre mix my rice: white long grain and brown, close to half and half) **One of the recipes I was using called for canned rice (I didn’t know that existed) and the other for quick cooking rice. I had neither and precooked regular rice. Mistake! That’s a huge part of where the excess liquid came from. I believe that using uncooked rice will work fine, even if you only cook for 3-4 hrs on high. It’ll soak up the juices and be imbued with delicious flavor!
Directions: Mix all ingredients together in a bowl (how easy is that?!). Pack filling into each pepper and place peppers into crock pot. Replace tops onto peppers. Add extra filling in around the peppers (I had quite a bit, it filled in around them right to the top without quite covering them).
In crock pot for 3 hours on high then 3 on low (one recipe said 4 on high and another said 6-8 on low so I compromised. If I were leaving for the day I’d just do 8 on low) **3-4 on high hours is plenty for this recipe, even with the meat, I definitely went overboard on the cook time. Be ready for your peppers to be mushy (they didn’t hold together well when we took them out of the pot) if you’re packing filling in around them, they just get really well cooked. Don’t worry, they tasted DELICIOUS!