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Stuffed Peppers, Pickled Peppers

Stuffed Peppers, for freezing          Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers          
Simple Traditional Stuffed Peppers          Pickled Peppers
This week, a number of members in our community were given the gift of a case of red peppers, an extra shipment that a grocery store could not use.  So, those of us who do can and freeze, usually in the summer and fall months, found ourselves canning and freezing in the middle of January.  Below is one recipe from a favorite cookbook of mine for canning, Stocking Up, edited by Carol Hupping Stoner, that cooks the stuffed peppers and then freezes them, so they can be brought out as needed.  Ground turkey and chopped turkey breakfast sausage can be substituted for the ground beef and pork sausage.   A second recipe is for vegetarian stuffed peppers, another favorite of mine, from Linda McCartney’s in her cookbook: Linda’s Kitchen, a third is for a simple dinner of traditional stuffed peppers, and a fourth  for pickled peppers, a recipe from a friend of mine, Conni Tuffile, and a long-time favorite of one of my daughters.  Of course, peppers can also be chopped or sliced and simply put in plastic baggies and then frozen for later stir fries or sauces, too.  Enjoy.
Stuffed Peppers, for freezing
2 dozen large green or red peppers
½ cup butter (olive oil can be used, but butter adds to the flavor)
2 cups minced onion
1 pound mushrooms
6 garlic gloves
1 pound pork sausage or turkey breakfast sausage, cut up
1 pound ground beef or ground turkey
6 cups cooked brown rice or mixed brown rices
4 beaten eggs
Salt and pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cut off top of peppers and remove seeds and membranes.  Blanch for 5 minutes in hot water.  Remove from water with tongs and cool upside down on paper towels.  Sauté remaining vegetables in butter.   Cook rice.  Brown meat in separate pan, draining off excess fat.  Cool a bit.  Add meat, vegetables, rice, eggs and cheese with seasonings and mix well.  Stuff peppers.  Set peppers right side up on a tray and put in freezer until completely frozen.  Then, remove from freezer and wrap each in foil or wrap family sized portions in plastic freezer bags.  Label, seal and return to freezer.  When ready to serve, preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Oil a covered baking dish.  Place peppers upright in dish and bake covered for one hour.
Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers
3 large bell peppers
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
½ pound tomatoes, chopped
3 sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon allspice
1 cup vegetarian mince (finely chopped cooked vegetables, your choice)
½ cup long grain rice, cooked
2/3 cup pine nuts
Halve each pepper and scoop out the seeds.  Soften the onion in the oil 7-8 minutes over low heat, covered with a lid.  Add the garlic last 2-3 minutes.  Then add both types of tomatoes and the parsley and stir well.  Add the spices, stir and cook one more minute.  Add the rest of the ingredients.  Pack the mixture into the pepper halves.  Place in a greased baking dish.  Pour some hot water in bottom to cover bottom of dish.  Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes.  Serves 3.  
Simple Traditional Stuffed Peppers
6 large bell peppers
1 ground beef or other ground meat
1 large onion, minced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 egg
1 cup oatmeal
1 tablespoon parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1 can tomato sauce or 1 can V-8
6 slices American or cheddar cheese
Cut top of pepper, remove seeds, rinse and halve (you can keep them whole, but I find it easier to stuff if they are cut in half).  Blanch in hot water for 3-4 minutes.  Remove from water and cool upsidedown on paper towels.  Saute onions and garlic in olive oil.  Mix onions and garlic with raw ground meat, egg, oatmeal and spices.  Stuff each half of pepper and place in oiled baking dish.  Cover with foil or lid and bake in oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Place 1/2 sice of cheese on each pepper and pour tomato sauce or V-8 over all and return to oven, uncovered, and bake another 10 minutes.  Serves 6.
Pickled Peppers  (salt free)
Bell peppers (one pepper generally will make one wide-mouthed pint jar)
Few carrots sticks per jar
Few onions pieces per jar
Garlic, one to two cloves per jar
White distilled vinegar (Roughly ½ cup per jar; will be mixed with water)
Dill seed or fresh dill weed, if available
Cut bell peppers into large pieces.  Into hot, sterilized wide mouth jars, pack peppers, one to two carrot sticks, 2-3 chunks of onions, and one to two garlic cloves.  If using dill seed, add ½ teaspoon dill seed per jar; if using dill weed, put 3-4 springs in each jar.  Make a brine of ½ vinegar and ½ purified water, about one cup mixture per jar.  Bring brine to a boil and pour over pickles using 1/8 inch headspace, sliding spatula down sides to remove air bubbles.  Seal and plunge in boiling water bath for 5 minutes.  Remove and cool undisturbed for 24 hours. Label and store in cool dark place.  Tastes best if you don’t open for at least two weeks. 

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