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Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers: The Answer to Monday Night's Dinner After the Eagles Win the Super Bowl!

I know for many Philadelphia fans, these next few days will be spent making plans for the big game.  So let's think about your health for a quick sec and aim to prepare this vegetable/protein forward dish this weekend before the Super Bowl.  I promise, with the feta cheese, artichokes, ground turkey and spices this recipe will be a touchdown for sure! (And yes, the football puns are intended ;).   

 

Kicking off the week with a dinner all ready to go will make the week feel easier and also spread out those calories from extra indulging from the night before.  I'm grateful to my friend Donna who texted me the recipe and here's why...

  

What stands out in this recipe from a nutritional standpoint.  First off, everyone is getting a bell pepper that's packed with vitamin C (excellent for cold and flu season).  The artichokes lend a fresh taste and gives a dose of a type of phytochemical that helps the liver produce more bile that removes cholesterol.  But what especially stands out is that it contains chickpeas which are high in fiber so, yes, it contains carbs, but the type of carbs that help you feel full longer, stabilize  blood sugar, prevent cancer and lower cholesterol-the list goes on!  Even if you're unsure whether you like the taste of chickpeas, they meld with the other flavors and add bulk to the dish-I would say it's definitely worth a try and a safe bet.

 

Just  a few practical tips.  Make this recipe on Saturday or Sunday and cook in advance unless you have 30 minutes to cook it when you get home. If it's pre-cooked, heat it up on Monday in the microwave. 

 

The original recipe called for jarred artichokes, canned or frozen are often more economical, so be on the lookout if you want to save $$.  The thing is, the size is bigger. I used the entire can of artichokes and chick peas.  As well as 20 oz. of turkey.  There was too much filling for 4 peppers and I didn't have extra peppers, so I saved the leftovers and it was delicious on it's own as part of my lunch (I also had a fruit, Siggi's yogurt*, 1 Ryvita crispbread with 1/4 sliced avocado and a sprinkle of Kosher salt).   Lastly, if you don't use parchment paper, it is a major time saver because food falls on the parchment paper and doesn't stick, allowing you to quickly wipe off pans with soap and water. NO scrubbing involved! 

 

To good health and meals,

Heather

*Siggi's yogurt links to a coupon

 

 Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers

By: Betty Crocker

Serves 4

Prep Time 40 minutes

Total Time 1 hour and 20 minutes

 

Ingredients

4 large red or yellow bell peppers (about 1/2 lb each)

1 lb lean (at least 93%) ground turkey (I used 20 ounces)*

1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 cup pasta sauce 

3/4 cup chick peas, drained, rinsed (from 15-oz can)*

2/3 cup artichoke hearts, drained, chopped (from 14 oz can)*

3/4 cup reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese (3 oz)

1 package (4 oz) feta cheese crumbles (3/4 cup)

2 cups chopped plum (Roma) tomatoes (4 medium)

1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

 
Directions

STEP ONE: Heat oven to 425°F. Line 15x10x1-inch pan with cooking parchment paper. Cut of the tops of each bell pepper; remove seeds and membranes. In 5- to 6-quart pot or Dutch oven, heat 3 quarts water to boiling. Add bell peppers to boiling water, making sure water covers peppers. Cook 2 minutes; drain. Remove from pot. Place peppers cut side up in pan.

STEP TWO: In the same pot used to boil the peppers, cook turkey, garlic, Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper. Cook over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, breaking up turkey, until turkey is no longer pink; drain.

STEP THREE: Stir in pasta sauce, chick peas and artichoke hearts. Stir in mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup of the feta cheese.

STEP FOUR: Divide turkey mixture evenly among bell peppers in pan (peppers will be full).  Bake 30 minutes or until bell peppers are tender and filling is hot.

STEP FIVE: In small bowl, mix tomatoes, basil and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Top cooked bell peppers with tomato mixture and remaining 1/4 cup feta cheese before serving.

Nutrition Facts: 520 calories, 26 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 30 g carbs, 10 g fiber, 38 g protein

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