Saturday, February 25, 2012

Stuffed Peppers...And More Ways to Use Barley

My wonderful co-op, Community Helpings, has been delivering tons of green peppers lately! I love them, but I've gotten more than I can slice and eat for lunch before they spoil. Solution? Yummy stuffed peppers. If this is not one of your favorites, don't turn your nose up just yet--this recipe just might surprise you. Stuffed peppers are a versatile, tasty and filling dish that can also be super nutritious. And they're a cinch to make! The following recipe will make leftovers if you're a smaller family--which is great, right? Freeze the extra, eat it for lunch or make a second meal out of it a few days later. Nothing beats having the work done. I make stuffed peppers differently every time and this time I really had a craving for barley.

Talk about comfort food!

Beef and Barley Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups barley, cooked
  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice, cooked
  • 6 green peppers, sliced in half lengthwise, seeds and stem removed (slice the pepper, then cup the seeds in your hand and pull, the whole mess will come out and it's faster!)
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 10 mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 cans low-sodium diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning mix (or basil and oregano)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Instructions:
Prepare barley and rice according to package instructions. (You will probably have to use separate pots). Meanwhile, sauté onions in a medium to large-sized pot until they begin to brown. Add ground beef, season and stir. When beef is browned, scoop out any grease, then add mushrooms and tomatoes. Stir it all together. Lay peppers down in a large baking dish. When barley and rice are cooked, scoop out appropriate measurements and stir into meat mixture (you might have extra, depending on how much you prepared). Stuff the peppers--they should be heaping! It's optional to add a sprinkling of cheese across the top--I had a little extra Gruyere, so I used that this time.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove cover and continue baking for 10-15 minutes, or until cheese begins to brown. Enjoy!

A few extra comments: Whenever I cook barley, I always make extra. It takes so long to cook that I don't have time to do it often! In the winter, I love to add it to my oatmeal in the morning (P.S. Watch for a recipe coming up soon). You could always add it to soup or enjoy it as a side dish too. Making a big batch is a great way to save yourself some time during the week and it's easy to freeze for convenience.

I also said that stuffed peppers are versatile. What's that mean? You can stuff them a variety of ways and they're always a bit different! My husband's request this time was Mexican style. He suggested stuffing the peppers with yellow rice, black beans, the onion, ground beef and tomato mixture, and topping them with cheddar cheese. Good one, honey. Next time for sure.

Try the recipe and let me know what you think!

You'll always find my recipes included in my Pre-Planned Menus, available for purchase on my website.