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Who has time for traditional stuffed peppers on a hectic weeknight? That’s why you’ll fall head over heels for this Deconstructed Stuffed Pepper Casserole—it’s all the homey, delicious flavors without the fuss.
Remember those delicious stuffed peppers your family loved but took ages to prepare? Well, that’s old news! From my first cookbook ‘30-Minute One Pot Meals‘, I bring you a casserole that replicates those flavors with a fraction of the effort.
Picture a steaming skillet layered with seasoned ground pork and beef, accented with smoked paprika and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, then crowned with melting cheddar cheese. Yep, this Deconstructed Stuffed Pepper Casserole is where convenience meets mouthwatering satisfaction.
Why You’ll Love This Deconstructed Stuffed Pepper Casserole
- Quick and Convenient: One of the biggest wins for this casserole is how it frees up your time without sacrificing flavor. You get all the hearty, comforting goodness of traditional stuffed peppers but without the tedious work of stuffing and baking.
- Versatile and Customizable: The recipe is like a culinary playground! You can easily swap out the meats or throw in additional veggies.
- Packed with Flavor: Thanks to the thoughtful blend of herbs and spices like smoked paprika, garlic powder, and dill, every bite bursts with layered flavors. Add in the melted cheddar and optional dollop of sour cream, and you’ve got a dish that’s as rich in taste as it is in texture.
- Olive Oil: Used for sautéing the meat and vegetables, it adds a touch of richness. You can substitute with avocado oil or canola oil if you prefer.
- Ground Pork: Provides a juicy, flavorful base for the casserole. Ground chicken or turkey would work well too.
- Ground Beef: Adds depth and a robust meaty flavor. Swap it with ground lamb for a more luxurious twist.
- Onion: Brings sweetness and texture to the dish. Feel free to use red or white onions as an alternative.
- Green Bell Pepper: Offers a crisp, fresh element. Red or yellow bell peppers are a colorful substitute.
- Smoked Paprika: Lends a smoky, aromatic touch. Regular paprika or even a sprinkle of chipotle powder could also work.
- Garlic Powder: Adds a subtle, savory note. Fresh minced garlic is a great alternative.
- Red Pepper Flakes: Gives a hint of heat. If you’re not into spice, you can simply skip it.
- Dried Dill: Introduces an herby zing to the casserole. Fresh dill or even dried oregano are also fine to use.
- Salt and Pepper: For seasoning to taste. Use any type of salt or pepper you prefer.
- Rice: The carb component that makes this dish wholesome and satisfying. Quinoa or couscous could be used for a different texture.
- Chicken Broth: Adds moisture and cooks the rice. Vegetable or beef broth can also be used.
- Diced Tomatoes: Brings a juicy, tangy quality. Fresh chopped tomatoes would work if canned aren’t available.
- Cheddar Cheese: Melts into gooey perfection, making the casserole irresistibly delicious. Mozzarella or a Mexican cheese blend could also do the trick.
- Fresh Parsley: Provides a fresh, vibrant finish. Cilantro or basil are good alternatives if you’re looking to mix it up.
- Sour Cream: Optional for serving but adds a creamy tang. Greek yogurt or crème fraîche could be used as lighter or richer alternatives, respectively.
You won’t believe how easy this Deconstructed Stuffed Pepper Casserole is. Seriously, it’s like stuffed peppers without all the fuss, and it comes together in one skillet. Let’s dive in!
First things first, let’s get that skillet nice and hot. Drizzle in some olive oil and toss in your ground pork and beef. You know the drill—just crumble it up and stir until there’s no pink left. You’re aiming for that nice, browned look.
Alright, time for some color and flavor. Add the chopped onion and bell pepper to the mix. Sprinkle in your smoked paprika, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and dill. Give it a good stir. You’ll know it’s ready when the veggies start to soften, and the whole kitchen smells amazing.
Now, the fun part: throw in the rice! Mix it up really well so it soaks in all those flavors you’ve just built. Then, pour in the chicken broth and those juicy diced tomatoes—juice and all. Trust me, it’s gonna make this dish even more fabulous.
Lower the heat to medium, and let it do its thing for about 10-15 minutes. You’re waiting for the rice to soak up all that liquid and become tender. Just give it an occasional stir to make sure everything’s blending nicely.
Almost done! Grab your cheddar cheese and sprinkle it generously on top. Then, for a pop of color and fresh flavor, garnish with some chopped parsley. Give it a couple of minutes for the cheese to get all melty and irresistible.
And there you have it! Scoop it onto your plate and add a dollop of sour cream if you like. Serve it up hot and savor the taste of what might just become your new favorite casserole.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use a different type of meat in this recipe?
Absolutely! If you’re not a fan of pork or beef, feel free to switch it out with ground chicken or turkey. The dish will still be delicious, just with a slightly different flavor profile.
What can I use as a substitute for chicken broth?
No chicken broth? No problem. You can use vegetable broth or beef broth as an alternative. In a pinch, you could even use water, though you might want to adjust the seasonings to make up for it.
Can I make this dish ahead of time?
You bet! This casserole is great for meal prep. Just follow the recipe up until the cheese step, let it cool, and store it in the fridge. When you’re ready to eat, sprinkle the cheese on top and pop it in the oven until it’s heated through and the cheese is melted.
Is it possible to make this dish vegetarian?
Sure thing! You can skip the meat and load up on more veggies like zucchini or mushrooms. You can also use a plant-based meat substitute if you’d like to keep the “meaty” texture.
- Meat Choices: While the recipe uses a combination of ground pork and beef, you can easily substitute with ground turkey or chicken for a lighter fare. Just keep in mind that leaner meats might require a bit more seasoning to pack the same flavor punch.
- Rice Substitution: Prefer a low-carb option? Cauliflower rice makes a fantastic substitute for regular rice. Add it towards the end of the cooking process so it doesn’t get too mushy.
- Cheese Varieties: If cheddar isn’t your thing, feel free to use mozzarella, Gruyère, or even a bit of Parmesan. Each cheese brings its own unique flavor and melting characteristic to the dish.
- Make-Ahead Strategy: Want to get a jumpstart on dinner? You can brown the meat and sauté the veggies in advance. Store them in separate airtight containers in the fridge and then combine with the rest of the ingredients when you’re ready to cook.
- Serving Size: This dish is pretty hearty, but if you’re serving a big crowd or want leftovers, it’s easily doubled. Just make sure you adjust the cooking time and check the rice for doneness.
Be sure to store this dish as soon as it’s cooled as rice is a breeding ground for bacteria. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 – 4 days. If freezing store this dish in a freezer bag with the air pressed out. Thaw overnight in the fridge and fluff the rice before reheating. This dish will last up to 3 months in the freezer.
More Delicious Casseroles To Try
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole
- Lemon and Chicken Rice Bake
- Moroccan Chicken Couscous
- One Pot Cheesy Chicken Rice Casserole
- Chicken Rice Pilaf
- Chicken Enchilada Rice Casserole
- Easy Tuna Noodle Casserole
- No Peek Chicken Rice Casserole
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 onion (chopped)
- 1 large green bell pepper (chopped)
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon dried dill
- ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
- ½ cup rice (uncooked)
- 1 cup chicken broth (low sodium)
- 14 ounces diced tomatoes ((1 can including juice))
- 1 cup cheddar cheese (shredded)
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley (chopped)
- sour cream for serving (optional)
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground pork and ground beef; brown and crumble the meat. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the meat is no longer pink.
- Add the onion and bell pepper to the skillet. Stir in the smoked paprika, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, dill and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to soften.
- Add the rice to the skillet, then stir in the chicken broth and the diced tomatoes, including the juice. With the heat on medium, continue to cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the rice cooks through and absorbs all the liquid.
- Sprinkle with the cheddar cheese and garnish with parsley. Within a couple minutes the cheese should melt on top. Serve immediately with a dollop of sour cream.
- If you’d like to make a vegetarian version, feel free to leave out the meat and substitute with extra of your favourite vegetables. Mushrooms would make an excellent substitution.
- You can use whichever type of bell pepper you prefer. Yellow or red bell peppers are a bit sweeter, and more kid-friendly.
- The recipe in the book uses instant rice to speed up the cooking process. In this recipe I used a long grain rice. Either rice works in this recipe.
- The recipe in the book does not included the cheddar cheese, so the cheese is optional.
- Be sure to store this dish as soon as it’s cooled as rice is a breeding ground for bacteria. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 – 4 days. If freezing store this dish in a freezer bag with the air pressed out. Thaw overnight in the fridge and fluff the rice before reheating. This dish will last up to 3 months in the freezer.
Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.