I was out of town last week helping a friend get ready to move. Before I left I pulled some pasta sauce out of the freezer for The Honey (as my grandmother refers to him) to make at least one dinner easy for him. He’s a great cook, but he’s about to get his graduate degree in addition to working full time so most of his time is earmarked.
When I got back on Friday I took stock. Here’s the Leftover Roundup:
Top to bottom:
- A handful of ground turkey (he likes to have it for breakfast sometimes so there’s always some hanging around, this had been chilling for a week and a half)
- Half of a yellow/Spanish onion: I use these almost exclusively, this one went into a creamy mushroom sauce over medium London broil
- A handful of black olives: From pizza night the week before
- Aforementioned pasta sauce: with ground turkey
- Tomato sauce: also from pizza night
A handful of shredded parmesan cheese (I put it in a lot of things, but I knew it was getting old), about 1 & 1/2 cups leftover white rice from Chinese food that we got sent home with us after a family visit over the weekend, two-week-old yellow and red bell peppers (three total), and several baby bella mushrooms – also hanging around for two weeks.
- 2 Tablespoons Olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon Minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon (ish) Italian seasoning
- A dash of Crushed red pepper
- Shredded cheese: 1/2 – 3/4 cup mozzarella inside and colby cheddar on top
Here’s how I put it together:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and chop the mushrooms and olives while sauteeing the onion in olive oil on medium heat. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, usually less than a minute. Add chopped mushrooms and saute about 2 minutes until tender.
- Add the ground turkey, pasta sauce, 1/2 cup tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper, black olives, and parmesan and stir occasionally until it’s all nice and hot and bubbly. Then add the rice and stir until it starts to come together, followed by the cheese. You’ll know you’re done (and you’ve added enough cheese) when it’s hot, stringy, and sticky.
- Meanwhile, slice the peppers in half from top to bottom, pull out the seeds and the white parts so they’re like little bowls and set aside.
- Take a 9×13 baking pan and line with foil, add about 1/4 cup of the tomato sauce, a dash of Italian seasoning, and about 1/2 cup of water and shuffle a little until it’s combined. (If you like more sauce with your stuffed peppers just increase these ingredients until it’s the amount you want.)
- Stuff the halved peppers with the rice mixture until they have slight domes on top and lay them in the pan with the sauce. Top with a good layer of colby cheddar, cover with tented foil (so the cheese doesn’t stick, you could wait on the cheese until the uncovering part, but that’s another step so it’s up to you), and bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until the peppers reach desired tenderness. You can check them by poking the side with the tines of a fork, it should pierce fairly easily. Then uncover and broil on low until the cheese is nice and bubbly (usually less than 5 minutes).
- Serve topped with the sauce from the bottom of the pan (or not) and enjoy!
Recipes like this are the reason I chose the name of this blog, you can make a version of it with just about anything. I’ve done carrots, cauliflower, green beans, a vegetarian version with lentils and quinoa – and even a barbecue version with shredded chicken and corn! So just experiment a bit, this one’s hard to mess up (I’ve burnt the cheese, pulled it off, and added more), and please let me know what you come up with!