It has been cold and rainy for the last few days and I was craving some comfort food yesterday. I grabbed a few bell peppers, chicken Italian sausage, rice, onion, and leftover marinara sauce and made these stuffed peppers. They were simple to make, smelled fantastic while they baked, and tasted great. My husband and I really liked them while my kids weren’t the biggest fans. Their loss.
Prepare rice, per instructions.
While rice is cooking, heat a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until tender. Add the chicken Italian sausage, casings removed. Using a potato masher, mash the sausage while it cooks until crumbled. Add the minced garlic, oregano, fennel, and crushed red pepper flakes, and cook for 3-4 minutes or until sausage is cooked, stirring often. Add prepared rice, spinach, and basil along with 1 cup of marinara sauce and mix thoroughly. Taste and season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large glass baking dish, add 1-1 1/2 cups of water. Cut the bell peppers in half, lengthwise, then remove the seeds. Scoop meat mixture into each pepper half until it’s heaping full and place into baking dish. Add a spoonful of the remaining marinara sauce to each pepper then top with sprinkled Parmesan cheese.
Bake covered in tin foil for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake additional 5 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh basil and serve. Enjoy.