Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Some dinners follow the recipe to a "T" and are the result of a plan I map out days in advance.  Then, there are meals that happen like this.

I really needed to make a run to the grocery store but didn't know how that was going to fit into my day, so I went scavenging in the freezer.  It didn't take much more than opening the door to remind me that what we had in excess was CHICKEN.  So, I grabbed a small one and allowed it to thaw awhile as I set out to see what I could do to it that would make it presentable for the dinner table.
I found a few half-used bottles of stuff in the fridge that basically approximated barbecue sauce, so I threw it in the Crock Pot, along with the breasts, legs, and thighs of the chicken.  (If you're not sure how to throw together your own BBQ mix, a good one to try is just a bottle of cheap barbecue sauce and a can of crushed pineapple.)

Okay, now I had chicken being prepared.  But, how was I going to serve it?  I had no rolls, bread, or chips in the house.  I did have some white rice.  That could work to sop up the sauce.  Rice it is!

But there's still no veggie.  What veggies have I got coming out my ears?  Peppers.  Oh, now I'm seeing this all coming together!  I'll stuff bell peppers with the rice and chicken!  That will even solve the Little-Boy + rice-for-dinner = pushed-around-all-over-the-plate-until-it-falls-into-the-floor dilemma!

So, I set the peppers upright to halve them (stems and all -- it just looks cuter-- that's important, right?) and removed seeds.  Then, I shaved just a little bit off the backs (as seen in the photo above) so that they wouldn't rock in the baking dish.  I browned them a little on all sides in a hot cast-iron skillet.  This just gives the peppers a head-start on cooking so that they're soft enough when the dish is complete.  If you'd rather, you could submerge them in boiling water for a minute or two to achieve a similar result.

Then, I stuffed the peppers with rice and shredded barbecue chicken, topped them with cheddar cheese, and cooked them in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.

I served them up with some fresh garden greens with oil, and they were delicious!  -- Not bad at all for a day that started with, "I have nothing to serve for dinner tonight!"

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