Stuffed peppers are a quick meal. They take about an hour and a half to cook, but they are quick to prepare, and low maintenance once they are in the oven - so they are great for dinner when you have company.
Make them in advance and freeze them, or make them early in the afternoon and throw them in the oven about 2 hours before you are ready to eat.
6 bell peppers (the more colours, the prettier it looks)
1 can of crushed tomatoes
Salt and Pepper (about 1 tsp each)
1 pound of ground beef or lamb
3 cups of soaked cooked short rice
1 tbs basil or oregano
1 yellow onion chopped fine
Combine salt and pepper, basil or oregano, ground beef, and chopped onion together using a spoon or your hands. Once well mixed add rice and combine thoroughly.
Wash and clean out the peppers. An assortment of coloured peppers looks beautiful, if they are available, but any peppers will do. It is best if they are all roughly the same size.
Take the top of the peppers. Remove the membranous white fin-like bits from the partitions inside, these can be quite bitter.
Be careful not to cut through the the walls or bottom of the peppers. Rinse the seeds out to prepare them to fill.
Stuff the rice and meat mixture inside quite firmly. Don't press so hard that the peppers split, but make sure they are firm and solid.
Set them upright in a heavy oven proof dish, preferably with a lid. If no lid fits your dish, you can use foil.
Make sure they are all upright, and secure so that they don't fall over while cooking.
Put the pepper tops back on.
Evenly pour in, and also over the peppers, one large can of crushed tomatoes and about 1/2 of a cup of water. Season the dish with salt and pepper and a bit more spice if you would like.
Bake at about 350 for an hour and a half, or 2 hours if they are frozen. When a meat thermometer is inserted into the center of the middle pepper it should read about 180F.
Let them sit for about 10 minutes before serving.
Serve them with a bit of the sauce, and don't forget grated Parmesan over the top.