Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Meat bells w/ asparagus

These are actually stuffed peppers but my daughter, Madison, aptly named them "meat bells", so it stuck! It's kinda funny that I chose this as one of my favorite recipes because I never liked the stuffed peppers my mom made when I was a kid (sorry mom)..they were quite plain and rubbery. These are packed with flavor and soo moist.

A word about flavoring the meat...

Let's talk filling. Since most stuffed pepper recipes are quite simple- a bit of rice, ground beef, some seasoning- so I decided instead to fill the peppers with my homemade meatloaf. Now wait! Before you dismiss this I have to tell you that delicious meatloaf really does exist! My secret ingredient fills it with flavor and moistness. I call my meatloaf "everything but the kitchen sink" meatloaf because there is literally nothing you can't put in meatloaf. I use whatever's in my fridge or cupboards....olives, onion, grated carrot, chopped celery, tomatoes, mushrooms.. anything and everything! My secret ingredient? Spaghetti sauce. It's got all the seasoning and moisture you need. Feel free to add more of your favorite seasonings, but spaghetti sauce will give you succulent, savory meatloaf every time.

Here's what you'll need to get great stuffed peppers:

6 bell peppers
1 lb ground beef or turkey
1 Tbsp parsley
1 egg
2 cups spaghetti sauce (your own recipe or jarred)
1 Tbsp italian seasons
1/2 c parmesan cheese

Your favorite mix-ins:
bacon bits

Mix up ground beef or turkey with seasonings and additional ingredients...I don't measure most of what I put in..just use handfuls of yummy stuff. Toss in spaghetti sauce towards the end (I like to make my own marinara but this time I used a store-bought jar brand). Mix well (I like to use my clean hands) and set aside while you prepare the bell peppers.

I use ground turkey

I love tons of onion in my meatloaf

add spaghetti sauce at the end

Wash and core out the stem, rinse out seeds. Pack each bell pepper with meatloaf mixture and place in pan that has a few tablespoons of sauce in it. When all peppers are filled, spoon spaghetti sauce on top and sprinkle parmesan to cover.

clean, cored and rinsed peppers

fill em up

top with sauce and parmesan

ready for oven!

(I make an extra pan for sandwiches)

Bake at 350 for about an hour. Some like to blanch their peppers for 10 minutes in boiling water before filling, but I haven't noticed a big difference in texture after baking, so I omit this step.

I thought our favorite veggie, asparagus, would be a great side for this meal, so I tossed some in the oven 15 minutes before the 'meat bells' were done. Here's a simple way to get delicious asparagus:

2 Tbsp olive oil

Drizzle the oil in your baking dish, then sprinkle in salt and pepper. Toss in cut asparagus, roll back and forth to coat all the sprigs. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.

olive oil, salt and pepper

toss and coat well

I love meatloaf served like this..the bell pepper flavor seeps into the meat and makes it so flavorful. While the bells cooked, I whipped up some mashed potatoes, which go perfectly with meatloaf! A hearty and simple meal.

a homey meal

son Jesse enjoying stuffed peppers


  1. Sounds soo good!! Every time I mention stuffed peppers to my husband he cringes. I haven't made it yet because of him. I will definitely make some soon because not only do they look flavorful, but they also look so comfy. Great dish bobo! Lovely photos :)

  2. Thank you Sommer! I'll admit I never liked them either, but the meat turns out so moist and yummy, they became a fall favorite. Definitely comfort food!