Monday, August 31, 2009

Turkey, Feta and Orzo Stuffed Peppers

These peppers were a big hit. I think the key to yummy stuffed peppers is using red peppers. How many people have made stuffed peppers and then not even eat the pepper? Right, Mom? Well, red peppers are much more milder in flavor than green ones. Plus, they have more vitamin C and anti-oxidants. Yellow or orange ones would also be great choices. My husband found this recipe and it was a great find. I am always looking for new ways to use ground turkey and this one is a keeper.

4 large red bell peppers - tops trimmed off, seeds and ribs removed
1 lb. ground turkey
1 cup cooked orzo pasta (about 3/4 cup uncooked and cook really al dente, only about 6 minutes in boiling, salted water)
½ cup diced onion
1 cup crushed tomatoes
1 Tbsp minced garlic
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp allspice
½ tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp fresh chopped dill
1 cup crumbled feta cheese, divided
½ cup panko breadcrumbs (or crushed Ritz crackers)

Preheat oven to 400F. In a large mixing bowl, add orzo (let it cool slightly first), onion, tomatoes, garlic, spices and dill. Mix well and gently fold in ground turkey and ½ cup of feta cheese. Spoon equal amounts of turkey-feta filling into the bell peppers. Bake peppers, in a greased casserole dish, for 45 minutes.

Add the remaining feta cheese to the panko breadcrumbs and set aside. Once the peppers cook for 45 minutes, remove from the oven and top them with the panko-feta cheese and return to oven for 15 more minutes.

(Note that the crushed tomatoes in this dish give a reddish color to the meat. To ensure the turkey is cooked completely, be sure that the internal temperature reaches 165F. Place a meat thermometer into the center of the pepper to read the temperature.)

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