Stuffed peppers are often soggy and tasteless, and freezing them only makes matters worse. For a recipe that delivers great-tasting stuffed peppers that freeze well, we use potent stuffing ingredients like sausage, Parmesan cheese, and fresh herbs. We find it best to bake the frozen stuffed peppers straight from the freezer, and to prevent them from swimming in a sea of juice while baking, we stuff half of the peppers and elevate them on a broiler pan. We roast them skin side up (covering the filling with foil to hold it in place) and poke drainage holes in the foil to keep the skin from becoming tough. We then simply turn the stuffed peppers over to melt the final layer of cheese.
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Classic Stuffed Bell Peppers
4 medium red bell peppers, yellow, or orange, 1/2-inch trimmed off tops, cores and seeds discarded
1/2 cup long grain white rice
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine (about 1 cup)
12 ounces ground beef, preferably ground chuck
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained, 1/4 cup juice reserved
5 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (1 1/4 cups)
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley leaves
Ground black pepper
1/4 cup ketchup
Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large stockpot or Dutch oven over high heat. Add 1 tbsp salt and bell peppers. Cook until peppers just begin to soften, about three minutes. Using slotted spoon, remove peppers from pot, drain off excess water, and place peppers cut-sides up on paper towels. Return water to boil; add rice and boil until tender, about 13 minutes. Drain rice and transfer to large bowl; set aside.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees.
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Meanwhile, heat 12-inch heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat until hot, about 1 1/2 minutes; add oil and swirl to coat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, about five minutes. Add ground beef and cook, breaking beef into small pieces with spoon, until no longer pink, about four minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer mixture to bowl with rice; stir in tomatoes, 1 cup cheese, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.
Stir together ketchup and reserved tomato juice in small bowl. Place peppers cut-side up in 9-inch square baking dish. Using soup spoon, divide filling evenly among peppers. Spoon 2 tbsp ketchup mixture over each filled pepper and sprinkle each with 1 tbsp of remaining cheese. Bake until cheese is browned and filling is heated through, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve immediately.
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