Thursday, December 16, 2021

Making Much With Very Little: Stuffed Pepper Casserole

This is one of those recipes that was born out of necessity for me.  See, those of you who live in other climates might be able to go down and get cheap bell peppers, but in Alaska...I've never run into such a thing.  For the most part it seems like you can run into cheap peppers once in a long while, but for the most part you are looking at 1.00+ for a green bell pepper no matter the time of year up here.  So, stuffed peppers weren't really part of my budget.

So, I got a good deal on mini sweet peppers at the store one day recently and decided to try and stuff mini peppers to make stuffed peppers as the daughter wanted to try them.  Results?  Flat pepper halves that were incapable of holding any filling at all.  So, I punted.  I made a batch of stuffed pepper filling and then made the peppers work to make a casserole.  It worked well and the daughter enjoyed the new casserole.

Now, a quick note on stuffed peppers.  I remember my grandmother making stuffed peppers a bunch when I was a teenager and I once asked her why she thought someone had come up with the idea.  She smiled and talked about her mom stuffing every veggie she could think of with meats that were padded out with rice, or bread crumbs or oatmeal.  Anything to make meat stretch and give the family more filler and nutrition from the vegetables and the grains.

I have read a bunch of articles that are saying the produce is going to be going up in price due to a fertilizer shortage, so I wanted to mention a few alternatives here.  One, you can dice up the peppers like I do here and place them in the bottom of your casserole dish so you end up with a bit of a crunch to your peppers.  Or, you can use a bag of frozen onion and pepper mix and use that in with the stuffing to give you the pepper flavor, but yield you a softer pepper.  Or you could cook your peppers with your meat along with your onions if you are using fresh and yield softer peppers that way.  Sky's the limit here.  Go with what you prefer for flavor and texture.

Now, other flavor variations.  You can use diced tomatoes instead of tomato sauce in this recipe, which will yield a different texture, but I think it would yield a drier casserole, and I prefer mine to be moist, so go with what you prefer.  If you like it spicy you could add a bit of red pepper flake to the meat, or add a can of sliced chilies...there's a lot of play here and the nice part is that since you are putting in your main casserole all cooked up you can taste your mixture as much as you need to before putting it in the oven :).

So, here you go folks.  Stuffed peppers without stuffing peppers.  Stuffed pepper casserole!

Stuffed Pepper Casserole


  • 1 Cup diced sweet pepper (colored or green, your choice.  I had mini sweet colored peppers so I used those).  This amount can be adjusted up if you want more pepper in your casserole :).
  • 1 cup cooked rice (great use for leftover rice)
  • 1 pound ground beef, cooked and drained
  • 1 medium onion, diced fine (I used a sweet onion)
  • 1 to 2 TBS butter or cooking oil
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder 
  • 1 TBS Italian herb seasoning
  • 1 tsp. salt (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce (or more to make a moist mixture.  This may vary depend on what type of rice you are using)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, separated



1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2,  Clean, seed and dice peppers and place in bottom of an 8x8" baking dish.  Set aside.

3.  Place butter or cooking oil into a preheated skillet.  Add onion and turn heat to low.  Sweat onion until it is translucent.  Turn up heat to medium and add ground beef, garlic powder, Italian herb seasoning, salt and black pepper.  Stir constantly until mixture is heated through.

4.  Place rice into a medium sized mixing bowl.  Add beef mixture on top of it.  Mix well.  Add tomato sauce.  Stir mixture again.  Add 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese and mix one more time.  Taste and adjust flavorings or tomato sauce amounts accordingly (you want the mixture to be moist and kind of sticky).  

5.  Spoon rice and beef mixture on top of peppers in pan.  Place the other 1/2 cup of cheese on top of the mixture.  Cover and place in preheated oven.

6.  Bake 25 minutes.  Remove covering and place baking pan back in oven.  Cook an additional 10 minutes to brown up the cheese and the mixture is bubbly.

There you go folks.  Another use for ground meat.  And yes, I say meat.  I'm sure you could use ground chicken or pork and just do the flavorings to your liking.  Since you are dealing with already cooked meat, it should be pretty easy to tailor it to fit your family's individual tastes :).  Enjoy! 


  1. Thank you Erika! It sounds yummy.

  2. Great save. I do the same on the stove top - and call it stuffed pepper skillet. Same ingredients just all mixed up and cooked together! YUM

  3. I made your recipe for dinner Sunday night. We both loved it! THANK YOU for a new easy recipe in my arsenal. And I keep all the ingredients in my freezer (including cooked/drained It sausage/ground turkey mix!). Chopped peppers from the garden as well as frozen tomato sauce from the garden. It felt like a FREE meal :-)