Some nights I have my act together. Most nights I make this Stuffed Pepper Casserole. Free-form and easy-going, this recipe takes the classic flavors and ingredients of stuffed peppers, then turns them into cheesy, healthy comfort food that cooks in one pot. “Unstuffed pepper casserole” would be a fitting name for it too.

Cheesy stuffed pepper casserole in a Dutch oven with fresh herbs

A forever fan of all-in-one meals—meaning single recipes that provide servings of lean protein, whole grains, AND vegetables alike, so you don’t have to fuss with a side if you aren’t in the mood—my love of stuffed vegetable recipes is well-documented here.

Let’s take stuffed peppers. I have a version for every mood!

Stuffed Peppers For When You’re Feeling Polished: Mexican Stuffed Peppers; Italian Stuffed Peppers; Spinach Artichoke Quinoa Stuffed Peppers. These recipes are easy, healthy, and tie the total dinner package with a tidy, knife-and-fork, bell pepper bow.

Stuffed Peppers For When You’ve Planned Ahead. Crockpot Stuffed Peppers. Prep them a few hours in advance, and dinner is ready to go when you are.

Stuffed Peppers For When You’re Barely Holding It Together. THIS IS THAT RECIPE.

Think of this casserole as stuffed peppers, deconstructed—a very fancy way of saying, these are stuffed peppers for last-minute people who are in need of easy recipes.

A mix of ground turkey (or ground beef), red and green bell peppers, brown rice, cheese, and a few sneaky extra vegetables that no one will complain about and you’ll feel happy you included, this recipe tastes like a stuffed pepper, no actual stuffing required.

Instead of stuffing the filling into the peppers, the bell peppers here are sliced, sautéed, then mixed with the other ingredients.

The rice cooks in the same skillet too. You don’t need to make it in advance, and it will be perfectly tender when the casserole is complete.

This recipe is a cross between the assorted classic stuffed pepper recipes on my site (see above) and this reader favorite Sausage and Rice Casserole, with an extra ooey-gooey, casserole comfort factor added for good measure/general happiness.

The cheesy stuffed pepper casserole yields a generous amount, and the leftovers are easy to pack for lunch and reheat for fast dinners. I have storage tips for you below. Make it once, and your future self will thank you for the rest of the week!

Easy and delicious casserole in a large pot with all the flavors of stuffed peppers

How to Make the Best Stuffed Pepper Casserole

Fresh ingredients and pantry staples combine to create one serious skillet.

The Ingredients

  • Ground Turkey. To make this a lean and healthy stuffed pepper casserole, I used ground turkey. You could also use ground chicken or lean ground beef.
  • Vegetables. The more the merrier for this nutrient-packed dish! I used a combination of onion, green and red bell peppers, and frozen spinach. The frozen spinach is especially sneaky. It’s so mild, you can barely taste it.
  • Spices. As with all my stuffed pepper recipes, there’s oodles of flavor to be found. I used Italian seasoning for zest and cumin for warmth. The combination might sound a bit odd at first, but here it works magnificently.
  • Diced Tomatoes + Tomato Sauce. Fire roasted diced tomatoes and tomato sauce do double duty give the casserole excellent flavor and provide cooking liquid for the rice.
  • Worcestershire Sauce. The savory, umami factor.
  • Brown Rice. Brown rice is a staple in my house, and it’s good for you too! Because brown rice is a whole grain, it’s higher in fiber, protein, and nutrients than regular white rice. (See below for tips on how to make this a low carb casserole using cauliflower rice instead).
  • Cheese. I love the blend of cheddar and pepper jack cheese here. They’re bold and pair perfectly with the other flavors. If you prefer a more mild flavor, use Monterey jack, mozzarella, or cheddar only.
  • Toppings. I like to top my casserole with chopped fresh cilantro or parsley for freshness and Greek yogurt for creaminess. In a hurry? You can skip the toppings. The casserole will still be delish.

The Directions 

  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or great big skillet, then add the turkey and onion. Cook until browned, breaking the meat apart.
    A Dutch oven with ground turkey, spinach, tomatoes, brown rice, and bell peppers
  2. Add the spices and garlic, cooking until fragrant. Then, add the spinach. Add the peppers, water, tomatoes and tomato sauce, Worcestershire, and rice. Stir to combine.
  3. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 30 minutes. Then, uncover, stir, and recover. Let simmer until the rice is tender. Sprinkle cheese on top.
    A cheesy and tasty turkey and vegetable casserole in a Dutch oven
  4. Let the casserole sit a few minutes, until the cheese is melted. Add fresh cilantro or parsley, and serve warm. ENJOY!

Recipe Variations

  • To Make Vegetarian. Swap the ground turkey for 2 (15-ounce) cans of reduced sodium white beans. Stir in the beans after the spinach in Step 3. (Or try these Vegan Stuffed Peppers.)
  • To Make Gluten Free. No changes needed! This recipe is naturally gluten free as written.
  • To Make Low Carb – Use Cauliflower Rice. You can experiment with making this stuffed pepper casserole with cauliflower rice. I would suggest omitting the tomato sauce and water, as they won’t be needed. Drain the diced tomatoes and add them with the spices and bell peppers in Step 2 (wait to add the spinach). Sauté the vegetables until the peppers are tender and the tomato liquid has cooked off. Add the spinach, then cauliflower rice and stir to warm through. Add the cheese and dig in!

Easy and delicious stuffed pepper casserole with brown rice, ground turkey, and veggies

What to Serve with Stuffed Pepper Casserole

While this is a wonderful all-in-one meal, here are a few ideas of what else you could serve with it:

Make Ahead, Storage, and Freezer Tips

  • To Store. Place leftover casserole in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • To Reheat. Reheat the casserole in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat until hot. You can also rewarm this casserole in the microwave until warmed through.
  • To Freeze. Store leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • To Make Ahead. To make this dish ahead, chop all the fresh veggies and brown the meat. Store them in the refrigerator in separate containers until you’re ready to prepare the casserole. You can also place your bag of frozen spinach in the refrigerator to thaw the night before.

Gooey and cheesy casserole with lots of flavor and healthy ingredients

So, are you waiting for me to confess which stuffed pepper recipe iteration is my favorite? It truly does depend on my mood (and let’s be honest—my level of dinner preparation that day!).

I can say that on any day when you’re in the marketing for a healthy dinner that comforts and mostly takes care of itself on the stove, this stuffed pepper recipe is hard to beat.

If you try this recipe, please leave a comment and star rating below. It makes my day to hear from you and keeps me going to know that you enjoy these recipes!

Stuffed Pepper Casserole with cheese, meat, bell peppers, and tomatoes in a skillet with cheese on top.

Stuffed Pepper Casserole

4.94 from 30 votes
Easy Stuffed Pepper Casserole takes classic stuffed pepper ingredients like rice, ground meat, tomato and cheese and turns them into a healthy one pot meal!

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 1 hr
Total: 1 hr 5 mins

Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey or ground chicken or lean ground beef
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 12 ounces frozen chopped spinach thawed with as much water squeezed out as possible
  • 1 red bell pepper cored and diced
  • 1 green bell peppers cored and diced
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can 15-ounces fire roasted diced tomatoes in their juices
  • 1 8-ounce can no salt added tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese use Monterey jack or mozzarella for a more mild flavor; or swap in additional cheddar
  • For serving: chopped fresh cilantro or parsley; Greek yogurt

Instructions
 

  • In a Dutch oven or similar deep, sturdy pot, heat the oil over medium high. Add the turkey and onion. With a wooden spoon or spatula, break the meat into small pieces. Cook and stir until it is browned and fully cooked through and the onion is tender, about 7 minutes.
  • Add the Italian seasoning, cumin, salt, pepper, and garlic. Stir and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the spinach. With a fork (or very carefully with your fingers) break apart the clumps so it's fairly evenly distributed with the meat. Add red and green bell peppers, water, tomatoes, tomato sauce, Worcestershire, and rice. Stir to evenly combine.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and let cook 30 minutes. Uncover and stir, scraping up any rice that is beginning to stick. Recover and continue to simmer until the rice is tender, about 10 to 15 additional minutes.
  • Remove the pot from the heat. Uncover and stir. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired. Don’t worry if it’s still a little liquidy. It will continue to thicken and the liquid will further absorb as it sits. Sprinkle the cheese over the top, then recover.
  • Let sit off the heat 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted, the rice is tender (it will still have a little bit of chew, which is normal for brown rice, but it should not be crunchy). If you'd like the top golden, place the dish, uncovered, under the broiler for a minute or two (watch carefully to ensure the top does not burn). Serve warm, sprinkled with fresh cilantro or parsley.

Notes

  • TO STORE: Place leftover casserole in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. 
  • TO REHEAT: Reheat the casserole in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat until hot. You can also rewarm this casserole in the microwave until warmed through.
  • TO FREEZE: Store leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 6); about 1 1/2 cupsCalories: 263kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 27gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 60mgPotassium: 741mgFiber: 5gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 7998IUVitamin C: 51mgCalcium: 277mgIron: 4mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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102 Comments

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  1. Thank you Erin!!!
    I’ve had in mind to make a stuffed pepper casserole, but my recipe didn’t get me excited, now I can try your recipe….I’m excited ;-)

    1. Hi Hollilyn! I have not tried this recipe with fresh spinach, but you could experiment with it. If you decide to try it, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  2. This recipe sounds delicious. I made a stuffed pepper casserole before and it I didn’t like the outcome. Now I’m excited to try your recipe :)

  3. Oh my gosh!!!  We absolutely loved this recipe!  I’ve been enjoying your recipes for a little over a year now and have made so many wonderful meals. We’ve loved approximately 98% of those we’ve tried.   I don’t typically take the time to go back and write a review but I finally felt the need to let you know how much we enjoyed this.  We had it for dinner last night and can’t wait for dinner tonight because it’s going to be a fantastic repeat with the leftovers.  :)  The only thing different will be the side veggie and the salad, which isn’t really necessary with the veggies in the casserole.  We just like to eat lots of veggies.  I loved the idea of spinach in this dish.  I didn’t have frozen so used fresh.  Thank you Erin for providing me with culinary inspiration!  Blessings to you!5 stars

    1. This truly made my day! Thank you for sharing this kind review, Vicki! I’m so happy to hear that this recipe was a hit!

  4. Cindy, I received a notification from Google showing me a pic of your Egg Roll in a Bowl.
    I rarely open google notifications. But, It looked so good, I had to open it! I’m glad I did.
    as I was reading thru the recipe, I was thinking, it does look good, but there are items I’m
    not allowed to have on my diet. Well, that was until I saw KETO. I’m currently on the Keto
    diet. This is one is perfect! Then I looked at the StuffecdPeppers – another good one. These
    got me very excited that I have found familiar dishes tweaked to as Keto friendly!
    Are all or most of your recipes tweaked as Keto friendly? If so, I will pass the info along.
    Thank You!

    1. Hi Anita! Thank you for taking the time to check out the recipe and for sharing this kind comment! While most of my recipes aren’t keto, I do try to offer suggestions for making my recipes keto when I am able to. I hope this helps!

  5. Many of your recipes are making it to my Pinterest boards, and this one was added to casseroles. Yummy! I love stuffed peppers, and this is much easier but still has all the good flavors.

  6. I’ve been making many of your recipes for quite some time now. Everything I make of yours never disappoints and tonight was no exception! My husband loved it so much he had 3 helpings!, something he rarely, if ever, does.
    Thanks so much for sharing this.5 stars

  7. Loved this recipe!! I’ve done a stuffed bell pepper casserole that goes in the oven and this one is wayyyy better! The rice is still a little crunchy after it’s done cooking so I let it rest in the pan with the lid on for a little while and it was perfect! My husband and his friend loved it too! 
    I  used fresh spinach instead of frozen and it turned out great but next time I’ll chop up the spinach a little bit before throwing it in. 
    I also didn’t have tomato sauce so I used arrabbiata sauce that I already had opened in the fridge and it worked perfect. 
    This is a must try! 
    @bec_sd5 stars

  8. Another GREAT recipe!!! Made this last night for some meal prepping and I wanted to eat it and not wait! We’ve tried several of your recipes and none have disappointed yet!

    1. I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed the recipe, Annette! Thank you for taking the time to share this kind review!

  9. This was a win for my family! So simple since it’s made all in one pan! And so delicious! All my kids loved it! Definitely will keep making this!5 stars

  10. My family loved this! Super easy, everything goes in one pot, and delicious. The leftovers were good for work the next day, too.5 stars

  11. I love the favor of this (delicious!), but heaven help me if I can get the rice to cook!  I’ve make it a few time with no luck. It’s always crunchy even when I cook it longer, MUCH longer.  Do you have any tips?  Or I think this would be awesome in the Instant Pot!  I just don’t know how to covert it. Perhaps this could be your next post???  😁 Also, to follow up, I did make it with fresh and frozen spinach and I didn’t really notice a difference. I did chop the fresh spinach though. 

    1. Hi Hollilyn, I’m so happy you enjoyed the flavors in this dish! I’m sorry to hear that you had trouble with the rice not cooking properly though. Did you use rinsed and drained brown rice? Making this in the Instant Pot is a great idea too! I’ll have to keep that in mind! :)

  12. Just made this and we are in love. It’s better than actual stuffed peppers – I much prefer this pepper: rice ratio! And you can’t beat a one pot veggie-packed meal. Definitely making this again!5 stars

  13. Loved the flavor but my rice was still rock hard after 45 min :/ should the heat be turned up higher than a simmer next time?  3 stars

    1. Hi Liz, I’m so happy you enjoyed the flavors in this dish! I’m sorry to hear that you had trouble with the rice not cooking properly though. Did you use rinsed and drained brown rice? You could try cooking it a little longer next time to see if that helps!

  14. I also tried this, and the rice was still un-cooked after 81 (yes, 81) minutes of cooking. I’m confused. I followed the recipe verbatim, used the correct (rinsed and drained) brown rice, so it makes me wonder how others have had the rice come out properly cooked? Super bummed about this. The flavor is wonderful, but the under-cooked rice after almost double the cook time is frustrating. Any thoughts?

    1. Hi K, I’m so sorry you had trouble with this recipe! As you can see, I (and other readers) have made this recipe with success, so I’m not sure what might’ve gone wrong. Was your rice old? Sometimes, older rice can be difficult to soften. Regardless, I’m truly sorry that this didn’t work out for you, and I wish you would’ve enjoyed it!

        1. Thankfully all I had was Organic Jasmine Brown rice and I didn’t feel like braving the grosh once more. I made it for meal prep this week and it is fantastic! Thanks for such a quick and easy recipe and for all your content. Have a great week and stay safe out there!😷🦠5 stars

  15. Tasty and healthy recipe that makes plenty! Doesn’t get better than that. I used 2 cups of shredded rotisserie chicken as that is what I had on hand and it worked well. Thanks for the recipe!5 stars

        1. Hi Denise! The cooking time will be shorter for white rice, so you’ll need to adjust accordingly. If you decide to play around, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  16. Made this for my husband to bring for lunch all week, he was raving about it! Such a great recipe, healthy and easy to make! Would love more recipes like this 😀5 stars

  17. This came out GREAT, I was thrilled!! I have never been a great cook, mostly because it just doesn’t come naturally to me and I get overwhelmed if there are too many steps or fancy ingredients and/or the instructions are not clear and precise. I followed your instructions closely, and I was amazed when it was done – it was deliciously good lol!! Before I tasted it I was already a little resigned that it was another not-so-great meal made by me because I think the italian seasoning I chose to use must have had a lot of oregano and I typically don’t like that smell. It also was a little thin for much of the time while cooking but as was expected. So I let it simmer for a long time beyond what was stated and it did thicken nicely, similar to a chili consistency. It has a little kick to it, but not much, and just has so much flavor! I’ve never had a more successful result from following a recipe – a testament to how easy to follow you present your recipe(s) which even include important extras like how to reheat, store and freeze. Lastly, my daughter & son-in-law were thrilled as well with the fact that ground turkey is used instead of meat and it uses brown rice and spinach in addition to other delicous onion/garlic and bell peppers. Looking forward to trying more from you, thank you!5 stars

  18. Delicious!  Made this with a few changes. Used brown rice from Trader Joe’s (1 bag, microwaved per package directions).  Followed your  directions for using cauliflower  rice, omitting water and tomato sauce.  Everyone loved it.  Thanks for such an easy and delicious recipe!5 stars

  19. I did do two substitutions, but followed the recipe pretty much exactly (used ground beef and regular canned tomatoes because I didn’t have fire roasted, omitted oil).

    It really flavorful and delicious. My rice took about 30 minutes longer to cook than specified in the recipe.

    My working mom shortcuts: frozen chopped onion, and frozen chopped bell peppers.5 stars

  20. I used a Lundberg wild and brown rice blend since there was NO brown rice in my store (C times).   Otherwise followed recipe, but baked in the oven 45 minutes covered with foil at 350.  Came out great!  Thank you!5 stars

  21. I love stuffed peppers. However, as an actual dinner I found it to overwhelming to make. However, this I can do. It’s the first recipe I’ve seen with spinach. I’d have to add it. Thanks for sharing.

  22. Fabulous ! Was in the mood for stuffed peppers but did not want to use the oven {very hot out)
    Used all your ingredients …delicious! Will definately make again! Thank you!5 stars

  23. Made this delicious recipe tonight for my family. Followed the recipe to a T but am finding that it needs to cook longer because there was too much liquid and rice was too hard. Does an electric vs gas stove make a difference? 

    1. Hi Corinne, I’m sorry to hear that you had trouble with the rice not cooking properly. I don’t think the type of stovetop should make a big difference here. Did you use rinsed and drained brown rice? Sometimes if the rice is older, it can take longer to cook too. I hope you still enjoyed the recipe!

  24. We modified this slightly to put it in the instant pot. What a winner! Cooked the meat, then added everything to the pot and pressure cooked for 20 minutes and a natural release for 5 minutes. Best new recipe we’ve had in a LONG time! We’ll be doing this again!
    Thank you!5 stars

  25. Hello! Could I use the frozen peppers that come already diced up? If so, how many cups would replace what you have in the recipe for the fresh? Thank you!

    1. Hi Mandie! Another reader has reported success with using pre-chopped frozen bell pepper, so it should work great. Based on what I can find online, it sounds like about 1 cup of chopped bell pepper would equal 1 bell pepper. I hope this helps!

  26. Made this for dinner and it was so good, even better the next day. The flavors blended so well together. Didn’t have brown rice so used Jasmine instead and added a can of black beans. Thanks for such a great ground turkey recipe! A new family favorite! 5 stars

    1. Hi Patty! I’ve only tested this recipe as written, so it would be a complete experiment. You may want to shorten the cooking time so the rice doesn’t get mushy. If you decide to play around with it, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  27. This recipe was delicious! I did make a few tweaks. I substituted Minute ready to serve Brown rice. I used one cup. I like it because its less chewy and no issues with cook time. I Decreased the water to a scant 1/4 cup. I used rotel tomatoes with green chili’s including liquid  and instead of the red peppers I added a small amount of Pablano peppers. I selected lean ground meat as my protein. I heated it covered on low/medium on top of the stove for about 30 minutes (until peppers were tender). Transferred it to a casserole and popped it in the oven for cheese to melt.  It was so easy, moist and so very flavorful. Will definitely make again. 5 stars

    1. Hi Shelley! I’ve never tried it myself, so it would be a complete experiment. Another reader has reported success with it though. If you decide to try it, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  28. Thanks for this delicious recipe! My family of six gobbles this up, including my kids. I’ve made some changes — I usually cook 2 cups of brown rice in my Instant Pot while I brown the meat and add veggies to the skillet, then add the rice to the skillet once it’s cooked. I’ve had too many bad experiences of trying to cook rice in a skillet and it burning to the bottom or not cooking all the way through. I also substitute shredded or chopped zucchini for the spinach and it’s delicious. Serve with a side of cornbread. I’m going to try to make and freeze some this weekend for an easy meal to pull out on busy weeknights. :)5 stars

  29. It’s almost done cooking and I’m excited! I did have a question in your nutrition info. You have 263Kcal. Did you mean 263 cal? I’m just trying to eat healthily and count my calories. Thanks! 

  30. Love, love, love this recipe! My husband and I love stuffed peppers but my kids will usually just eat the “stuffed” part and leave the pepper so this gets them to eat it all. I also had a hard time getting the rice to cook so now I just throw the rice in my rice cooker when I start prepping the veggies and it’s ready to throw in at the end. I omit the water and drain off a little of the juice from the tomatoes. This recipe makes a ton and I love to eat it for lunch or even freeze it for another meal. Thanks for a great recipe!5 stars

    1. Hi Candace! I’ve only tested this recipe with brown rice, but another reader has reported success with using Jasmine rice. If you decide to experiment with it too, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  31. Tried this tonight and LOVED it! This will be a new staple in our home! Here are my tweaks, all of which worked out great!
    1. I used chicken stock in place of water Delicious, highly recommend!
    2. I used crushed fire roasted tomatoes
    3. I used red, yellow, and orange bell peppers
    4. I used frozen AND fresh spinach
    5. I added a can of diced green chilis
    6. I added Trader Joe’s Seasoning Salt in addition to the other spices
    7. I used long grain rice in place of brown rice (20 min initially, stir, 13 additional min)
    8. I added a touch of hot sauce to my helping (La Victoria red taco sauce, mild was delicious)
    This recipe is awesome, thank you for sharing!5 stars

    1. Hi Martha! I’ve never tried this recipe in the slow cooker, so you’d be experimenting. If you decide to try it, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  32. So good. I I used beef rather than turkey and a bag of steamed cauliflower rice in place of the brown rice. Because the cauliflower does not absorb as much liquid as the rice would, I lessened the amount of water I added as well as drained my can of tomatoes.5 stars

  33. I am going to try this in my instant pot using the time of another recipe. I will let you know how it works out- or if we end up getting takeout😀

  34. This recipe is a winner! We eat a lot of casseroles round here and this was an easy and tasty dish that is most definitely going to be a regular on our dinner menu!5 stars

  35. Followed this recipe exactly as written. The only change was I crumbled up a hot pork sausage link and chopped jalapeno to the mixture. This was edible but not great. From now on I will boil the rice separately. I will saute the vegetables partially. I will brown the meat (beef)with the onions. I will then add the seasoning to the beef mixture. Then combine all ingredients (peppers, tomato sauce) in a large pot. Bake for 30-minutes, top off with cheese and place under broiler until bubbly. Sorry this was not a hit.

    1. I’m sorry to hear that this recipe wasn’t to your tastes, Michael. I (and many other readers) have really enjoyed it, so I wish it would’ve been a hit for you too!