This week's particular variation to the recipe was new for us, but so SIMPLE and yet full of flavor that I'm planning on adding it to our regular menu. I'm so glad I had a jar of Bella Sun Luci - Sun Dried Tomato Pesto leftover from the wedding – which is nice and sweet, not too oily, and finely processed with whole roasted pine nuts mixed in. It really pulled this dish together!
1 cup brown rice (uncooked)
6 pcs. of bacon – cooked to just crispy
4 Baby-Bella Mushrooms
4 tbsp Sun Dried Tomato Pesto
1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
8-10 thin slices Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Cook the brown rice as directed by the package instructions. (Lately I've been loving Uncle Ben's 10-Minute Brown Rice, because I don't need to plan ahead a half hour if I decide to use it! It's fabulous and so quick!)
Next prepare the peppers (and/or onions) for stuffing. For the peppers a roast them whole at 400 degrees for approximately 15 minutes. Once cool enough to handle slice off the tops and remove the seeds. For the onions, boil a small pot of water and once boiling add the onions (skins and all) and cook for 10 minutes. Remove and cool – then remove the skins, cut off a section of the top and scoop out the inside flesh (leaving a cup shape of onion rings behind). I also cut a small slice off the bottom to give the onion a flat surface to sit on in the baking step.
**Jon really likes the stuffed onions, but for myself (and many others) they are a little intense, so you can use a variety of bell peppers (red, yellow, green), and even large tomatoes instead.
Meanwhile, wash and finely chop the mushrooms, and crumble the bacon. Combine in a large mixing bowl. Add the sun-dried tomato pesto (home-made or store bought), Parmesan cheese and 2 tbsp. olive oil. Add the cooked rice and mix together thoroughly. Scoop filling into the peppers/onions/tomatoes (this amount of filling should fill 4 large peppers, or 4 large onions, or 4 large tomatoes – or any combination 2-2, 3-1 etc.). Place them upright in a lightly greased casserole dish and top with 2 slices of cheddar cheese each.
Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until the peppers and onions are of desired tenderness. (I'll often place ½ cup (or so) or water into the casserole dish around the stuffed peppers before baking to help soften the peppers while they cook).
Serve along side a big tossed salad and a thick slice of Italian bread. Enjoy.
Per Serving: approximately 600 calories, 6 g fiber, 26 g protein and high in calcium and vitamins A and C.