Stuffed Red Bell Peppers with Basil

I have been a little lazy in the kitchen lately. I admit we’ve been eating a lot of grilled cheese, frozen pizza, and (gasp!) Easy Mac. None of those things are exactly blog worthy (or terribly healthy).

Because of that, and because I have the best husband ever (he made me chocolate chip pancakes this morning, shaped like Mickey Mouse!) I decided I should actually make something substantial for dinner even though I REALLY didn’t feel like cooking.

Here is my (strictly inexpert) advice: if you don’t want to cook, if you just aren’t feeling it for whatever reason, do not take on a meal that is going to take an hour and require you to do more than one thing at a time. Just don’t do it. Make something easy. In other words, don’t make this recipe.

Stuffed Red Bell Peppers with Basil

Ingredients:

3/4 cup long grain white or brown rice (I used white)
4 large red bell peppers
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
4 shallots, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
3 Tablespoons chopped, toasted walnuts (I left these out.)
2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup raisins (I left these out, too.)
4 Tablespoons grated cheddar cheese
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
Fresh basil sprigs and lemon wedges to garnish (optional)

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) Cook rice in pan of lightly salted boiling water for approximately 20 minutes for white rice or 35 minutes for brown rice. Drain rice, rinse under cold running water, then drain again.

3) Using a sharp knife, cut off tops of bell peppers and set aside. Remove seeds and white cores, then blanch the peppers and tops in boiling water for two minutes. Remove from water and turn peppers upside down on towels to dry.

4) Heat half the olive oil (1 Tablespoon) in large skillet. Add garlic and shallots and cook, stirring consistently, for three minutes. Add celery, walnuts, tomatoes, lemon juice, and raisins and cook for an addition five minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese, salt, pepper, and basil.

5) Add cooked rice to skillet and stir into tomato mixture.

6) Stuff peppers with rice mixture and arrange them in a baking dish. Place the tops on the bell peppers, drizzle with remaining olive oil, cover loosely with foil and bake for 45 minutes.

Chad and I both really liked this dish, but making it was a complete mess. I was trying to cook the rice, blanch the peppers, cook the veggie mixture at one time. I made a huge mess of my kitchen.

Then, when it was time to put the peppers in the oven I realized I was out of aluminum foil. I ended up baking the peppers in an oven safe pot with the lid on it, but while putting the pot in the oven I managed to burn my hand.

Basically I was a one woman disaster tonight.  But dinner eventually did get finished and eaten. This is a husband approved dish, which means I will be making it again.

But next time I am in the mood I was in tonight, we will be having Easy Mac. 🙂

**This recipe came from the Perfect Vegetarian cookbook I got for Christmas!**

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