I hope you are all having a great Halloween! I know these are a little late for anyone to really enjoy this year, but I thought they were way too cute to wait a whole year to post! The family I'm staying with in Nebraska has a 6-year old boy, so we enjoyed these for our Halloween feast tonight before he left to go trick-or-treating. The only thing that I'm a little disappointed about was the lack of orange bell peppers at the store today. Nevertheless, it's kind of fun to have a child around as a reason to be festive =)
I didn't really follow a recipe in making these. The basic idea for a jack-o-lantern came from a recipe I saw yesterday on allrecipes.com. However, I modified it because the filling in this recipe called for bread crumbs, and I was really looking for a rice-based filling. In the end, I ended up using pieces of recipes from Betty Crocker's Cookbook, epicurious, and Delicious Living. My end recipe isn't close to any of them, so I'm just going to call it my own. That's one thing I love about stuffed peppers. You can really change them up however you want, and you'll still end up with something delicious!
Keep these bookmarked for next year! I know that we had tons of fun with them tonight, and I'm definitely going to keep these in mind for future Halloween's at our house!
Jack-o-lantern Stuffed Bell Peppers
The Cookin' Chemist original
6 bell peppers, orange or other colors (that will stand on their own)
2 tsp. olive oil
1-1/2 c. chopped red onion
6 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 c. cooked rice, cooled
1 Tbsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. allspice
2-1/2 c. canned tomato sauce
3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 lb. 93% lean ground beef
1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Cook the rice according to package directions. Set aside.
Cut of the top 1/2-inch of each bell pepper. Scoop the seeds from the cavities. Cut around the stem to save the edible top of the pepper. Discard the stems and chop the pepper tops. Using a small knife, cut jack-o-lantern faces into one side of each pepper. Add enough water to a large stockpot to cover all of the peppers; bring the water to a boil. Add the peppers and let simmer for 5 minutes to pre-cook the peppers. Carefully drain so as not to disturb the faces on the peppers and set the peppers in an 8x8-inch baking dish.
Heat the oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the chopped bell pepper pieces, onion, garlic, and parsley for 2-3 minutes. Add the ground beef and cook until the meat is cooked through.
While the meat is cooking, add the Worcestershire sauce to the tomato sauce and mix well. After the meat is cooked through, mix in 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce, the paprika, the allspice, the salt and pepper, and the rice. Fill pepper cavities with the beef mixture. Pour remaining tomato sauce around the bottom of the peppers in the pan. Bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the top of each of the peppers and return to the oven for 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Serve over the tomato sauce to make it look like it is coming out of the jack-o-lantern's mouth. Enjoy!