I've had requests for making and freezing my stuffed peppers so here goes. First the recipe:
Stuffed Green Peppers
2 cups of uncooked rice
Cooked in whatever method you prefer
2 pounds lean ground beef
2 medium onions, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup salsa
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 - 15 oz. cans tomato sauce
Approximately 16 sweet peppers, green or red
Shredded cheese of your choice
Cook the rice until well done. (I like to use half wild rice, half brown rice.)
Brown the ground beef in a large skillet. Add the onions, garlic, salsa, seasonings and tomato sauce and mix well without further cooking.
At this point since my skillet isn't big enough to hold the rice, too, I transfer the meat mixture into a stock pot, add the cooked rice and mix well.
Either before or after you prepare the meat mixture, prepare the peppers by slicing in half, seeding and removing membranes so each half of the peppers can hold a nice amount of the meat mixture.
I cut my peppers in half top to bottom, so I have close to two identical halves.
Then blanch each prepped pepper half in boiling water for just three minutes.
Remove immediately and place in cold water. Our well water is extremely cold so I use it rather than submerging the pepper halves in ice water to cool.
Drain pepper halves cut side down.
Next I lay the peppers out, cut side up, on large cookie sheets and slightly mound a portion of the meat mixture in them.
Into the freezer the stuffed peppers go until they're fairly well frozen, then they're either wrapped in freezer paper or put into freezer bags for storage.
When I want to serve some for dinner, I take them from the freezer several hours before the meal, put them into a shallow baking pan and let them defrost (they're really hard as rocks right out of the freezer) on the counter.
Before baking, I sprinkle grated cheese over the top and bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.
To make the process less daunting, I like to cook my rice and prep the peppers (but not blanched) the night before. Then the next day I make the meat mixture, blanch and stuff the peppers, freeze and wrap.
The last batch I made I had 22 peppers, but they were all medium to small in size. The number of 16 peppers noted in the above recipe would be about 16 medium to large ones.
I've been tweaking this recipe for years, but I think I have it the way I like it now. Needless to say, you can change any of the seasonings to suit your own taste or cut the recipe in half if you don't want to make so many of them.
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask and I'll be glad to clarify anything that isn't clear.
Kristen, sorry it took so long to get this to you. Bobbie, you certainly can used defrosted ground beef in the recipe. That's what I always have.