Nature’s Lunchbox: A Stuffed Pepper
Want a portable meal that’s delicious and nutritious? Forsake the chili bread bowl in favor of the stuffed pepper.
You can fill this guy with whatever suits your fancy—pork, chicken, beef, scrambled eggs—and you can also pack it with flavor and texture. Where else can you find protein, carbs, veggies, and taste all in one convenient, edible package the size of a man’s fist? Nowhere!
To make one stuffed pepper like the one in the picture, you’ll need the bell pepper (any color works, but I prefer to use green), half of one small onion, one garlic clove, a little bit of olive oil, a few ounces of ground beef, about three tablespoons of uncooked rice, 4-6 tablespoons of chicken broth, two tablespoons of tomato sauce or tomato paste, three tablespoons of parmesan or romano cheese, and seasonings to taste (basil, salt, pepper, etc.).
If you like your pepper really soft, you can boil it in water for a few minutes before you get started. Even if you don’t do that, though, you can expect it to be tender enough to cut with a fork when it comes out of the oven. Preheat your oven, by the way, to 400. Slice off the very top of the pepper, and scoop out the seeds.
Slice up your onions and garlic, dump a little bit of olive oil in a pan, and heat the oil. When it’s hot, drop in the onions and garlic. Sauté them for about five minutes, or until they are just beginning to brown. Crumble the ground beef in the pan, and cook until it’s browned but not crispy.
Pour in the uncooked rice, and add the chicken broth. Slap a cover on the pan, reduce the heat to very low, and let the mixture simmer for about 10 minutes. The broth should be pretty much gone by then, and the rice should be a little tender but not cooked through.
Add the tomato sauce/paste and two tablespoons of the cheese to the pan, and mix it in thoroughly along with the seasonings. Turn off the heat, and scoop everything you have in the pan into the bell pepper. Sprinkle the top with the remaining tablespoon of cheese. Pop the pepper into a baking dish, and cover it with a sheet of aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes, then savor your delicious portable dinner after it’s cooled.