Sunday, February 24, 2008

Orzo-Stuffed Bell Peppers

I have a few rules about the meals I make for my customers. They have to, at the very least:

1. Taste great
2. Be healthy
3. Be easy to reheat
4. Incorporate protein, starch, and vegetables
5. Be as appealing to the eye as it is to the mouth

I think this recipe for orzo-stuffed bell peppers really fits the bill:

½ cup orzo
4 bell peppers – any color you prefer ( I like assorted colors)
½ lb ground turkey
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
½ red bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed and diced
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
1 tsp tabasco sauce (optional)
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 400° F.
Slice bell peppers in half, longwise (from top to bottom). Set aside.
Cook orzo to al-dente as directed. Drain and set aside.
Brown ground turkey.While cooking, add worcestershire sauce. Drain and set aside.
In the same pan, saute garlic in olive oil for about 2 minutes over medium heat taking care not to burn.
Add the diced red bell pepper and cook for another minute.
Slowly add the diced tomatoes, crushed red pepper, tabasco, and 1 tsp salt and simmer for about 2-3 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the orzo, ground turkey and tomato mixture. Mix well to combine.
Scoop orzo mixture into each bell pepper half. Place the peppers in a large casserole dish. Carefully pour about 1 cup of chicken broth into the bottom of the dish.
Cover dish with foil and bake for 35-45 minutes.

While the diced red bell pepper in the stuffing is not necessary, it did add a nice bite. I added it because I had some left over from my salmon cakes.

Also, you don’t have to add the crushed red pepper. We like things just a little spicy around here, so I like to add pepper and Tabasco whenever I can.

To make this vegetarian, you can leave out the ground turkey, double the orzo, and use vegetable broth instead. You can also add spinach.

Lastly, you don’t have to use orzo. Using brown rice would work as well. The only drawback is that brown rice takes a long time to cook. Orzo, being pasta, cooks in about 9 minutes.

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