Who doesn’t love stuffed shells (or stuffed peppers in this case) or italian food for that matter. It’s comforting, tasty, and of course between the pasta and the bread, it’s just amazing! I could eat it every day, however, all of you who are carb-addicts like I am know that unless we ran marathons every day, it’s just not possible to eat this food 3 times a day 365. So when I crave my favorite Italian dishes, I often try to change it up a bit and attempt to make them a little healthier so that I can enjoy them more often. Truth be told as well, I have a friend’s wedding coming up and I’m trying to cut my calories down without giving up my favorite foods! These stuffed peppers will remove some of that carb guilt but keep all of the amazing taste and satisfy my Italian food craving. Happy days!
To make these stuffed peppers, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Start browning a pound of ground chicken meat in a pan over medium heat with hot olive oil and minced garlic. Next, you can either add a pre-made Italian seasoning mix or the home-made one that I’ve added to this recipe. I love using this blend because it adds cinnamon and cayenne pepper and we all know I’m obsessed with all things sweet and spicy! It adds the perfect balance to any dish. Once you are done adding all of the dried seasoning and the meat is browned, remove the pan from the heat and fold in your chopped spinach and fresh basil until slightly wilted, set aside.
In a separate bowl add all the cheeses until mixed and then fold in your meat mixture. Add one egg to the mixture and mix well.
Grab your baking dish and spread half of your bottle of spaghetti sauce to the bottom of the dish. For this recipe, I used Sprigati spaghetti sauce. They are a small batch company based out of Munster Indiana and they pack a lot of flavor with fewer calories. I recommend this sauce with this recipe but your favorite spaghetti sauce will work.
Cut the side off of the peppers leaving 75 % of the pepper, I tried to cut them in half but this did not leave much room for the filling, so I cut just enough to allow me to get into the pepper. I also removed the stem for easy pop-in-your-mouth goodness. When you go to the grocery store try to be aware of the bag of sweet peppers that you purchase. See if you can find a bag with bigger peppers, this will help during the filling process. Fill each pepper with 1 to 2 tablespoons of your mixture and place in the baking dish with the spaghetti sauce.
Cover and bake for 30 minutes and then remove foil and bake for an additional 10. When you take them out of the oven these golden stuffed peppers will be so hard to resist but, you must!, it will be too hot! Once they cool (3 to 5 minutes) go crazy, eat em all.