Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Like stuffed peppers?

I must warn you for future columns. I'm in a soup-loving mood. And this week's recipe is a good one; I promise.

I love stuffed bell peppers. It's been years since I made my own because my family and I really enjoy the frozen Stouffer's version. I serve them with spaghetti topped with cheddar cheese. It's a favorite meal at my house.

Imagine those wonderful flavors in a soup. It's as delicious as it sounds.

I read several recipes before deciding how to make my soup. You can certainly do the same to fit your family's tastes.

The recipes I read used anywhere between 1/2 pound of ground sirloin to 2 pounds of ground beef. I opted for 1 pound of ground beef (it was on sale).

A few recipes used tomato sauce. I chose tomato soup.

Some called for onions and 1/2 cup of chopped bell pepper; others suggested 2 cups. I used 1 cup and didn't add onion.

Most recipes used water and beef bouillon. Some used chicken broth. I used a can of reduced-fat beef broth.

I also added a little bit of brown sugar, as suggested in one recipe, and I added the cooked rice at the end of the cooking time rather than letting the rice cook in the soup. The rice was the perfect texture that way. And to make the process even easier, I used a bag of microwave rice.

I was also lucky enough to have locally-grown bell peppers for my soup, thanks to farmer Tom Griffin's Saturday morning vegetable stand on Ward Boulevard.

To make this delicious soup even better, we sprinkled grated cheddar cheese on top, once it was poured into our bowls. The cheese melted beautifully and stuck to the spoon. Just the way I like it!

Stuffed Bell Pepper Soup is really delicious, and it's so easy to make. The entire process takes less than an hour. Serve with some bread and fruit, and you have a complete meal.

Stuffed Bell Pepper Soup
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 141/2 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 103/4 oz. can tomato soup
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1 14 oz. can beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 cups cooked rice (I used Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice in the microwave bag)
  • Grated Cheddar cheese
Brown beef, drain and rinse.
In soup pot, mix beef, tomatoes, tomato soup, salt and pepper, bell pepper, beef broth and brown sugar. Let come to boil; reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until peppers are tender. Mix in cooked rice and stir to blend.
Pour into bowls. Sprinkle with cheese (about a tablespoon).

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