When you’re looking for a quick and delicious meal, stuffed peppers are the way to go. They are an easy meal to prepare and take just minutes to cook. But when you’re done and find yourself with leftovers, you may be wondering how to store them.
The answer depends on how soon you plan on eating your leftovers. If you’re going to eat your peppers within a day or two, you can simply store your peppers in an airtight container in the refrigerator and reheat them when you’re ready to eat them again.
But if you want your peppers to last a little longer, your best bet would be to freeze them.
How to Freeze Stuffed Peppers
Stuffed peppers are delicious but they can be filling. They are after all, essentially a whole entire pepper filled with the stuffing of your choice. Instead of tossing your peppers in the garbage, you can easily store them in your freezer, where they will last anywhere between three months to a year.
To do this properly, you’ll need to pay close attention to the instructions below.
Cook your peppers how you normally would. Make sure that if you’re using meat, it is cooked all the way through. If not, your peppers could not only go bad, but when the time comes to reheat them, you’ll have to cook them longer if the stuffing is undercooked.
Afterward, you are going to want to place all of your peppers in a container or dish that won’t break in the freezer. Wrap up the container in aluminum foil followed by plastic wrap. Then, give it another layer of wrapping, but use plastic wrap this time. Be sure to completely cover every inch of your peppers, otherwise you risk getting freezer burn.
If you don’t have very many peppers to freeze, you can always store them individually in plastic wrap and then seal them inside of a plastic sandwich bag.
Reheating Frozen Peppers
When you’re ready to eat your peppers again, you’ll want to first make sure all of the wrapping is off and you’ve defrosted them a bit before heating them up. You will then want to bake them for about a half hour, depending on how many peppers you have and how frozen they are.
If you happen to have more time, you can always leave your peppers in the fridge to defrost first. This will significantly reduce the amount of cooking time on your peppers.
Storing Uncooked Stuffed Peppers
While it’s safe to say that most people store their stuffed peppers after they’ve been cooked, others may want to store their uncooked peppers so that they appear more fresh on the day they are to be consumed.
For this, all you have to do is cook the stuffing going inside of your pepper, and in a separate pot you’ll blanch your peppers, being careful not to cook them all the way through.
The process for freezing them is almost identical to the one mentioned earlier. Simply store your partially cooked peppers into an airtight container and then wrap them in aluminum foil, being careful that none of the peppers are exposed. After you wrap the dish in foil, rewrap it up in aluminum foil for even better protection.
Again, you can always freeze all of your peppers one by one by wrapping them in plastic wrap and placing them in a sandwich bag before freezing them.
Defrosting and cooking your stuffed peppers will be the same as mentioned before.
Other Things to Consider
Keep in mind that if your stuffed peppers contain something such as cheese, you should add it after you’ve defrosted your peppers. This way, they melt evenly and nicely when you reheat your delicious peppers.
Stuffed Pepper Recipes
The great thing about stuffed peppers is that you can make them however you want! You can put just about anything in them and can even make them entirely vegan or vegetarian.
To make basic stuffed peppers, be sure to follow the recipe below.
First things first, cut the tops off of your peppers. Be sure to get rid of the stems as you won’t need them. Don’t toss the tops of your pepper – you can chop them up and use them later.
Next, you want to start removing as many of the seeds as you possibly can from the inside of the pepper. You can use your hands or a spoon, or you can take a knife and gently scrape the sides so that the seeds and any of the extra membrane from the pepper are removed.
While you are preparing your peppers, be sure to turn on your oven to 350 degrees. Once you have finished preparing your peppers you can set them aside and begin working on your stuffing. Typically, the stuffing used in stuffed peppers is ground beef, but you can always substitute that for whatever you prefer.
Start heating up some oil in a skillet so that you can begin to cook your beef. Once you’ve added it all in, break it up as much as possible before seasoning it with salt and pepper.
You’ll know when your beef has started to cook when it is entirely browned, a process that should take no longer than 10 minutes. To keep your beef as lean as possible, transfer it onto a paper towel once it’s done cooking so that it can absorb all that extra oil.
To give your beef some more flavor, chop up an onion as finely as possible and toss it into the skillet you were using to cook your beef. Add in some more olive oil if necessary.
Take the chopped peppers you set aside earlier and add them into the skillet alongside your onion. It should only take a few minutes before your vegetables start to soften in the pan.
You can also add in some garlic, zucchini and tomatoes into the pan, seasoning them with salt and pepper during the cooking process. If you like your stuffed peppers to be on the spicy side of things, you can also add in some red pepper flakes for an extra kick.
In a separate pan you should have cooked long grain and wild rice, which you can now add into your vegetable medley in the pan, along with the already cooked ground beef. Add shredded cheese into the mix and cook until it is melted and you know all of your vegetables are cooked all the way through.
Now that the stuffing is complete, you can begin to add it into your peppers. Once you have done this, take your stuffed peppers and place them in a baking dish that has a bit of water at the bottom of it.
Take olive oil and drizzle it all over your peppers. Cover your peppers with aluminum foil and then place the baking dish into your already preheated oven. You want to bake your peppers for about a half hour.
Once the half hour is up, take the peppers out and uncover them before placing them back into the oven for another 15 minutes. Make sure your cheese is melted all the way through before you take the peppers out completely. After this, your delicious peppers are ready to serve!
Making Stuffed Pepper Soup
Stuffed peppers are incredibly delicious but they can be time-consuming to make. Sometimes, you don’t have the time to make an entire batch of stuffed peppers but are still left craving their delicious flavors. In this case, your best option would be to make stuffed pepper soup, a delicious alternative to the ever-popular stuffed peppers.
To make stuffed pepper soup, you need most of the basic ingredients you normally find in a stuffed pepper recipe. This includes onions, garlic, ground beef, rice, tomato sauce, peppers and the additional ingredient of chicken broth.
You can always substitute the chicken broth with beef or vegetable broth if that is the only thing you have available or if you prefer that instead.
You are going to want to cook your beef the same way you would when making regular stuffed peppers. Add it into a skillet with oil until browned. Season it with salt and pepper or whatever other seasonings you may prefer.
Then, be sure to drain the remaining oil from the beef by placing it over a paper towel. This is vital as too much oil or fat from the beef will change the flavor of the soup drastically, and not in a good way.
Add in your vegetables and cooked rice before mixing it in with the chicken broth. You can do this on a stovetop, in a slow cooker, or even in a crock pot.
You can also freeze your stuffed pepper ingredients in a resealable plastic bag to use for another time. Obviously, the broth will have to be added when you go to reheat your ingredients.
The best part about stuffed peppers and stuffed pepper soup is that you can add in whatever ingredients you see fit. Without the rice, your stuffed peppers can be made gluten free. If you want a vegetarian or vegan alternative, use soy crumbles as opposed to ground beef in your stuffing mixture.
Common Stuffed Pepper Mishaps
Although stuffed peppers are an easy enough recipe to make, mistakes happen and sometimes you end up undercooking, overcooking, or making other mistakes when making your peppers.
One of the most common problems is that people will use uncooked rice in their mixture, which ends up being a mistake as the rice will not always cook all the way through when placed in the oven. This leaves you with chewy or hard rice in your peppers.
There isn’t enough liquid to cook the rice in your peppers so make sure you cook the rice beforehand. If you add too much liquid, your peppers also risk getting too soggy.
Another common mistake that people make is to stuff them too much. This is natural – the recipe calls for stuffed peppers after all. However, overstuffing them means the ingredients in the mixture may not cook all the way through.
Finally, be sure to add in your spices and seasonings. Yes, your peppers should already be flavorful, but the added spices really make a difference and help bring out the flavors of the mixture in your stuffed peppers.
We mentioned this earlier but if you are going to freeze the rest of your stuffed peppers, be sure not to add the cheese into them, and add it in during the reheating process so that your cheese ends up being much more gooey.
To recap, yes, you can easily freeze stuffed peppers. In fact, they are some of the foods that taste just as great when reheated. To freeze your stuffed peppers properly, be sure to place them in an airtight container that won’t break in the freezer.
Afterward, you will take aluminum foil and cover up the entire container before then wrapping it up in plastic wrap.
If you prefer to wrap your peppers individually, you can do this by wrapping them in plastic wrap and then placing them inside of a plastic resealable bag. Be sure to wrap them tightly to avoid freezer burn, and make sure the plastic bag you are using is sealed as tightly as possible without any air left in it.
When you reheat them, take all of the plastic and aluminum wrap off before placing them into the oven to bake. Be sure to defrost them first!
If you want to stray from the original recipes, you can always choose to stuff your peppers with whatever you see fit. This can be anything from your leftovers the previous evening, to using all vegetables instead of meat. Whatever you decide to do, it’s safe to say your peppers will turn out a delight!