Stuffed Bell Peppers with Mushrooms and Basil

There are so many "good for you" items it seems fun to try to use them together with the things I have made for many years for a new twist. My example is Asian mushrooms of any kind. There are compounds in these mushrooms that are thought to aid in clarity of the mind and the strengthening of memory. Since I am not getting any younger I decided last week to use more of them and to use them every week. We like mushrooms and I have used all kinds in the past so this is just an easy change that might be helpful.
Since Mom made stuffed peppers last time I was home I have wanted them again so thought I would add the mushrooms and use fresh basil from my crop along with the sweet onions I bought at the Farmers Market on Saturday.

Yesterday I visited my friendly RIVERTOWN BUTCHERSHOP and got a few pounds of fresh ground chuck so I seem ready to go on this.


4 large green bell peppers
1 medium onion
1 large clove of garlic
2 T. chopped fresh basil or 1 T. dry
8 Oz. cooked whole wheat macaroni
1 pound ground chuck
2 cans favorite tomato sauce
6-8 oz. fresh mushrooms sliced
8 Oz. shredded cheese of your choice
Rinse the peppers and cut out the stem. Cut the peppers in half and remove the core and veins. Blanch in boiling water for 5 minutes and shock in ice to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside to dry.
Butter glass baking dish. HELPFUL HINT: Save butter wrappers in the deep freeze section of the refrigerator and use them when a recipe calls for a buttered dish. Just toss when done, no muss no fuss, no messy hands or aerosol can.
Dice onion, mushrooms, and garlic then shred the basil and set aside. Brown the ground chuck and set a kettle of salted water to boil for the macaroni.
Place the pepper halves in the buttered baking dish. Depending on the size and depth of the vessel you can make a single layer or use half the peppers now and make a second layer later after filling the bottoms.

Add the onions and garlic to the beef about half way through the browning of the meat. Cook until browned and add the tomato sauce and basil and mushrooms and turn to a simmer and cover the pan.
By now the water should be boiling so cook the macaroni about one minute less than the package directions call for. Drain and add to the meat mixture and stir well to combine. Taste and correct the seasonings.

Spoon the filling into the peppers. If you are using a double layer add the next layer and fill again with the rest of the meat.
Cover well with the shredded cheese. You can cover and refrigerate until time to bake or bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes. Tent with foil if needed to keep the cheese from over browning. Remove from the oven and let it set for about 10-15 minutes before serving.

Serves 4 generously.

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