I made up this recipe and this being my first time making them, I learned a few things…and let me tell you, these babies are scrumptious!
Do you see how big they are? One of those huge stuffed bell pepper halves, the whole thing, is low carb, loaded with nutrition, high protein and about 200 calories or less each.
Have two and it’s still a diet meal.
I will say that they are slightly more labor intensive then many of my recipes, prep time is about 30 minutes, but I have an idea on how to bake them faster.
My family enjoyed these for three days, so it was well worth the time, plus you can freeze them and re-heat them.
I did bake them for an hour and twenty minutes to an hour and a half, but I have two short cuts up my sleeve.
Are any of you southern, because girl, this contains cream cheese! It sounds weird, but trust me on this one. It just acts as a creamy binding agent with the meat and veggies.
Ingredients: (Serves 10, feel free to cut the recipe in half)
1.) One pound lean ground chicken or turkey. I used organic ground chicken at 480 calories per pound.
2.) 5 medium to large bell peppers, any color. I prefer red, they have more vitamin C than an orange!
Mine were organic and I think that’s best if you can find them. I’m not a huge fan of green peppers, most of the time, but they would work.
3.) One bag baby spinach leaves, I used organic, (or 6 cups or 6 ounces, raw.) 60 calories.
4.) One bag sliced white or brown mushrooms, or 10 ounces of mushrooms. 70 calories.
5.) One half of a medium to large onion, skin removed, finely chopped. I used a yellow onion, but white or brown would be good, too. 25 calories.
6.) 8 ounces light whipped cream cheese. I used a whole container, it was 560 calories, but don’t forget, it makes 10.
7.) One tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 120 calories.
8.) Olive oil spray, maybe 60 calories, but a lot of it stays in the dish.
9.) One clove minced garlic or one teaspoon garlic powder. 10 calories.
10.) One half cup shredded mozzarella cheese. I buy the kind made without hormones or antibiotics, but regular, not low fat on this cheese. About 160 calories.
11.) One fourth cup whole wheat seasoned bread crumbs (pretty much any kind will do, Panko, etc…I used 4C Italian this time.) About 80 calories.
12.) A few splashes of water or chicken broth for the bottom of the dish- I used organic chicken broth. Maybe 5 calories.
13.) Garlic salt or salt and pepper to taste.
Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.
If you do 10 halves, you may need two baking safe dishes like I did, these suckers are big.
Wash the veggies and pat dry, peel and dice your onion, chop up the baby spinach as finely as you can, and chop up the mushrooms finely, too.
Put the tablespoon of EVOO in a large non stick skillet or a large pot. Turn heat to medium and add the onions first, stir a bit and add in the other chopped veggies.
The way I did it was to add the cream cheese to this large pot after the veggies cooked down a bit and melt it all in.
You have two choices: Shortcut #1: Brown the chicken or other ground meat in a separate pan and add that fully cooked into the veggie mix, OR just add the raw meat into the pot directly.
Since I baked mine for a full hour and a half, the meat was fully cooked through inside, even thought I didn’t brown it first.
Add in minced garlic or garlic powder now, about a teaspoon of garlic salt or salt and pepper and mix it all in well.
Meanwhile, I cut my peppers in half from top to bottom and washed them, scooping out the seeds and stem.
Spray your baking dish well with olive oil spray and again, you have two choices:
Shortcut #2 pop your washed peppers in a pot of boiling water for 2-3 minutes to pre-soften them if ya like. Drain well and pat dry.
(I didn’t boil them, because I baked them so long.)
Simply lay the cleaned peppers boat side up on the baking dish and scoop a large amount of the meat mixture into each one, all the way to the top.
Splash a tiny bit of chicken broth or water in the bottom of the pan and give the tops of the stuffed peppers a light spray with the olive oil.
Cover with foil and bake about an hour at 400.
Remove foil carefully and sprinkle the tops with a mixture of the bread crumbs and one fourth cup of the mozzarella cheese, I like to finish with the fourth cup of remaining cheese on top.
You can shake on some garlic salt or add dried parsley and/or hot seasoning- hot sauce is great on these!
I give the tops one last light spray of olive oil and bake for about 20-30 minutes or until the tops are lightly browned.
Calories: My estimations have these at approximately 200 calories each or less!
These are very hot, so let them cool before you burn your mouth. Serve alone or with rice, etc.
Note: If your meat is fully cooked going into the peppers and you pre-soften them, this might take only 30 minutes to bake- use your judgement, and I’ll report back from my test oven on my next round.
Update: I like the peppers better without boiling them first, just bake them longer if you have the time.
These were a huge hit and I’m dying to try them in other new, delectable ways, soon!
Enjoy and thank you for “Liking” Skinny Mama Meals on Facebook.