Do you have a granny pairing knife in your life? If not, you have really got to get one. I had never seen them before picking up mine from a little Amish store in South Georgia. It is the size of a pairing knife, but has this very sharp little hook on the end that takes the blade into more of a Hawk’s beak at the end than a straight blade. It is really handy when you want to do some detail work – like making faces in random vegies so that your kids think you are a total dork – not that this sort of thing goes on…
I have been thinking about items that I could make in advance for an easy Halloween night supper. One of my go to freezer cooking recipes is unstuffed pepper casserole. This is basically a deconstructed casserole made of the stuffed pepper stuffing and thinly diced bell peppers. Papa Bear doesn’t like large chunks of vegies in anything that could get in between him and the meat of the entrée. I mean that literally – the man love meat. So, if I dice them thinly, I can get more vegies per bite into him. Sneaky but true. For this recipe, I saved one of my casseroles from being adequately cheesed and fully prepped for baking. The stuffing is going to be thawed while I am at work on Halloween, then used to stuff the peppers. To make dinner a little more convenient, I am going to carve the pepper the evening before Halloween so that all I have to do is assemble on the night of, add a bit of cheese to the top, then bake for about 45 minutes at 350 until the peppers themselves are done. Add a green salad or non-starchy vegie and you are all set for a filling, nutritious dinner that will hopefully curb some of the sugar fueled craziness that is sure to ensure later in the evening. I want to make sure they are getting protein, a little complex carb, and plenty of flavor to make it appealing. These little guys are adorable!
4 large orange bell peppers
½ pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground sausage
1 cup rice, cooked
1 large can tomato sauce
1 small onion
3 dashes (a little less than 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce)
1 table spoon fresh garlic
1 /2 cup shredded cheese (cheddar or Mexican) to top
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh parsley garnish if you would like leaves on your jackolantern
Brown meats together and drain. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except bell peppers and parsley. Mix thoroughly.
Cut the bottom bumps from any peppers that are nit sitting flat on your baking dish. Try not to shave of too much so that it is even, but doesn’t have a hole in the bottom. You can always shave a little more if you want to, it is really hard to fill a hole on a cut pepper. Core and deseed pepper, use a spoon to remove any hard to reach pith (the white stuff on the veins inside) or additional seeds. Any loose seeds can also be rinsed out.
Carefully cut a face into your little jack o pepper and pop out the eye, nose and mouth pieces, thinly dice, and throw them in the stuffing mixture. We don’t want to waste any.
Set your peppers in a baking dish (I like ones with sides – think the old school Pyrex kind that are about 2 to 2 ½ inches tall), sprinkle with cheese, and place tops on the baking dish beside each pepper to cook.
Allow peppers to cool a bit before you replace the tops – try to sit them a little off center so that the cheese (candle light) can shine through. Garnish with little pieces of lettuce or small sprigs of parsley leaves to mimic the pumpkin leaves and vines. I like to serve mine in a bed of salad greens so that he looks like he is still in the field (and I can sneak some extra greens into my tinies).
How adorable are these? Do you cook anything special for dinner on Halloween night?
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