ITEM OF THE WEEK: Sun-tan Bell Peppers

red orange yellow bell peppers

Bell peppers, also known as capsicums in many places formerly colonized by Britain, but not to be confused with sweet peppers - a less pungent variety of the capsicum annuum species. The name “pepper” is in fact a misnomer attributed to Christopher Columbus, who wrongfully labeled them as pepper when he brought the capsicum seeds to Europe from their native Central American environment. Call them what you will, these plants produce fruits in beautiful array of colors, including red, yellow, orange, green, chocolate/brown, vanilla/white, and purple. While the ribs and seeds inside bell peppers are edible, some people consider them to be too bitter to eat and merely eat the “outside” flesh.

This incredibly low calorie fruit is also low in sugar, which is good for people with diabetes and anyone watching their blood sugar and/or weight. Bell peppers are an excellent source for the all important Vitamin-C, which helps the body to absorb Iron - but isn’t stored in the body and has to be consumed as part of a well balanced diet. It is also an good source of vitamin-A, which contributes to healthy skin teeth, bony and soft tissue maintenance; vitamin-K, essential for blood clotting, and vitamin-B6 which promotes antibody production and nerve function. Bell peppers are also a decent source for fiber, crucial for a healthy gut and digestive system.

A wonderful combination of tangy taste and crunchy texture, this fruit is delicious served as a snack with some dip, but for a hot meal, these peppers fit well with almost anything and so are perfect for leftover night.

 

Last Night’s Stuffed Peppers

 

  • 4 large bell peppers (any color)
  • 1 lb ground beef/chicken/pre-soaked black beans
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 2 tbs cooking oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped (or substitute with garlic salt)
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ can (7 oz) tomato sauce
  • ¼ carton (7 oz) vegetable broth
  • ¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese (3 oz)

Directions

  • Heat oven to 350°F.

  • Cut of the stem (top) of each bell pepper, then cut lengthways in half to create two symmetrical halves. Remove seeds and ribs then rinse the peppers.

  • In a pan/skillet on medium heat, fry the onion until soft then add the garlic and beef/chicken/black-beans and onion over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is brown/chicken is cooked all the way through.

  • Stir in rice, salt, and tomato sauce and broth; cook until hot.

  • Stuff peppers with rice mixture and place onto a lined baking tray (use foil or parchment paper).

  • Cover tightly with foil. Bake 10 minutes. Uncover and bake about 15 minutes longer or until peppers are tender. Sprinkle with cheese.

**PRO TIP: Stuffed peppers will work with most things like mac’n’cheese leftover spaghetti bolognese and even scrambled eggs!