I have this little problem with raw bell peppers. I can't touch them. If I do, I start to itch very badly.
I can eat cooked peppers, which is a good thing for a fajita chow hound like me. But actual preparation usually takes place when my husband is home.
But I was desperate to use the peppers I got for .33 each. The typical "on sale" price here in Richmond is .50 a pepper. So I snagged quite a few when I saw them for .33 each! I have this complicated method of using a produce bag to cover my hands so I can actually buy the peppers. But I 'git 'er done!'
And then they sat on my counter for a few days while we made peach jelly etc. After a few days I got nervous we were going to waste my savings. So I loaded up the crew and headed to Target. I had an idea.
Yes, that is my babiest facing the wrong direction in the cart. He likes to see where we are going.
I went to the pharmacy section and bought a box of these.
Don't worry! No obgyn exams going on here!
Instead, I used gloved hands to take care of my peppers! I had plenty of benadryl on hand in case things went south.
First, I chopped off the tops of the peppers using an old cookie sheet with an edge as my cutting board so that the pepper juices would stay in place. I cringe when I watch cooking shows and they throw the tops directly in the trash. I'll show you why in a minute. Just know I saved them!
Then I took the seeds out.
And then I boiled the pepper cups. I can eat bell peppers but they must be cooked to soft. Sometimes when you make stuffed peppers they don't get soft enough to change whatever oil I am allergic to. So I parboil them to help out with the softening process.
And I started a pot of rice and started browning some hamburger and onions.
While the peppers and rice were cooking, I turned my attention to the pepper tops that I see thrown away on almost every cooking show!
We use peppers in various things. They appear in our spaghetti and our meatloaf among other dishes.
So I dug out my most favorite kitchen gadget (besides my Keurig-- who can argue with 30 second coffee?)
Introducing the Vidalia Chop Wizard!
And I went to town chopping the tops!
Then I measured 1/2 cup portions and put them in regular sandwich bags after labeling the date and marking that each bag was 1/2 cup.
THEN I put the sandwich bags in a large freezer bag. I do this for a few reasons. First, sometimes peppers and onions make your freezer stink. Secondly, freezer bags cost more than regular sandwich bags and I was putting a small amount in the bags to make it more convenient for grabbing a single bag. I didn't need to waste 5 larger freezer bags. Plus now my five bags are corralled in the craziness we call our freezer.
By the time I did this my peppers were boiled enough! I took each pepper cup out with my tongs and poured the extra water back into the pot.
Then I mixed the other ingredients into the rice to make the filling and filled the cups and topped them with cheese.
I had more filling then I needed, even after I made a small casserole for Xander (since he will not eat the peppers and cannot have cheese) so I froze the extra filling. Next time I buy peppers I can skip making the mixture!
I had extra browned hamburger so I put it in a container. It will be a starter for another meal. (Tacos? Spaghetti?)
After the stuffed peppers baked long enough to heat everything through and melt the cheese, I took them out of the oven.
Dinner was ready!
In the time it took me to make one meal, I also prepped the stuffing mixture for another meal, processed 2.5 cups of chopped peppers (from the tops), and browned meat to start another meal. All in ONE hour!
And I'm pleased to report that the vinyl gloves worked beautifully! No need for a side of Benadryl to be served with my stuffed bell peppers.
Now that is success!