Quinoa and Beef-stuffed Peppers

With all the flavours of lasagna, kids love these colourful peppers. You will too, knowing that protein-rich lean beef and quinoa pack in a powerful nutrient punch.

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Yields12 Servings
Prep Time15 minsCook Time40 minsTotal Time55 mins

 12 small to medium red, yellow or orange sweet peppers
 2 cups (500 mL) 2% cottage cheese, drained
 ⅓ cup (75 mL) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
 1 cup (250 mL) quinoa or brown rice
 2 tsp (10 mL) canola oil
 1 lb (500 g) Extra Lean or Lean Ground Beef
 2 cloves garlic, minced
 1 cup (250 mL) chopped onion
 1 cup (250 mL) chopped mushrooms
 1 ½ cups (375 mL) tomato sauce
 ½ cup (125 mL) chopped drained canned water chestnuts (optional)
 ½ tsp (2 mL) dried oregano
 ½ tsp (2 mL) basil
 Freshly ground black pepper
 ½ cup (125 mL) shredded Cheddar cheese

1

Cut each pepper across stem end to make pepper lids and cups. Remove and discard seed core from each. (Note: if pepper cups won't sit upright, remove small slice from bottom of each, being sure not to create an opening). Set aside. Combine cottage cheese and Parmesan in small bowl; set aside.

2

Combine quinoa or brown rice and 2 cups (500 mL) water in medium saucepan; bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, simmer, covered for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove cover and let cool for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork. Set aside.

3

Meanwhile, cook beef in large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, breaking up with potato masher or wooden spoon, for about 8 minutes or until no longer pink. Using slotted spoon, transfer to bowl and set aside. Drain off all but 2 tsp (10 mL) fat from skillet.

4

Reduce heat to medium. Add garlic, onion and mushrooms to skillet; sauté for 4 to 5 minutes or until softened. Return beef and accumulated juices to skillet. Stir in tomato sauce, water, chestnuts (if using), oregano, basil and black pepper to taste; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in quinoa or brown rice.

5

Stuff half of each pepper with some filling. Layer each with cottage cheese mixture; top each with remaining filling and Cheddar cheese. Top with a pepper lid; place on parchment paper or lightly oiled foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.

6

Bake in 375°F (190°C) oven for about 20 minutes or until digital instant read thermometer inserted in centre of filling registers 160°F (71°C)

Ingredients

 12 small to medium red, yellow or orange sweet peppers
 2 cups (500 mL) 2% cottage cheese, drained
 ⅓ cup (75 mL) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
 1 cup (250 mL) quinoa or brown rice
 2 tsp (10 mL) canola oil
 1 lb (500 g) Extra Lean or Lean Ground Beef
 2 cloves garlic, minced
 1 cup (250 mL) chopped onion
 1 cup (250 mL) chopped mushrooms
 1 ½ cups (375 mL) tomato sauce
 ½ cup (125 mL) chopped drained canned water chestnuts (optional)
 ½ tsp (2 mL) dried oregano
 ½ tsp (2 mL) basil
 Freshly ground black pepper
 ½ cup (125 mL) shredded Cheddar cheese

Directions

1

Cut each pepper across stem end to make pepper lids and cups. Remove and discard seed core from each. (Note: if pepper cups won't sit upright, remove small slice from bottom of each, being sure not to create an opening). Set aside. Combine cottage cheese and Parmesan in small bowl; set aside.

2

Combine quinoa or brown rice and 2 cups (500 mL) water in medium saucepan; bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, simmer, covered for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove cover and let cool for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork. Set aside.

3

Meanwhile, cook beef in large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, breaking up with potato masher or wooden spoon, for about 8 minutes or until no longer pink. Using slotted spoon, transfer to bowl and set aside. Drain off all but 2 tsp (10 mL) fat from skillet.

4

Reduce heat to medium. Add garlic, onion and mushrooms to skillet; sauté for 4 to 5 minutes or until softened. Return beef and accumulated juices to skillet. Stir in tomato sauce, water, chestnuts (if using), oregano, basil and black pepper to taste; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in quinoa or brown rice.

5

Stuff half of each pepper with some filling. Layer each with cottage cheese mixture; top each with remaining filling and Cheddar cheese. Top with a pepper lid; place on parchment paper or lightly oiled foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.

6

Bake in 375°F (190°C) oven for about 20 minutes or until digital instant read thermometer inserted in centre of filling registers 160°F (71°C)

Quinoa and Beef-stuffed Peppers
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