Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Stuffed Pepper Casserole

When it comes to food blogging, I see it as 4 parts. First, recipe creation or selection. This part is always fun, dreaming up combinations of food, or spotting a recipe in a magazine or on a blog that you just can't stop thinking about. Next up, cooking. I love the cooking part, definitely the best part. Next, the photography... we'll get back to that. And finally, blogging the recipe. I love the blogging portion because I get to tell stories about the dish, or talk about why I thought it was so delicious, or how I came up with the combination of ingredients. It's effortless to me.

But the photography. Oh do I struggle. I try, I really do... it's just not a strength of mine. You give me my dogs or my baby and I can take photos all day long! They give me funny faces, movement and life. My food, well it's all up to me. To style it, to get the right light, to pick the prettiest plates and silverware. To angle it correctly, cut a perfect slice or portion a scoop that is aesthetically pleasing. It's a lot of pressure! It's also why my blog has been quieter lately. When I can't get the perfect photo, or even something semi decent, I just move on with eating my dinner.

So since my dirty little secret is out, I'll get to the silver lining. What I can continue to do is try to show a decent photo, but bring the dish to life with my words, and use them to make you crave it! And this dish really has it all! It can be hard to find a one pot, comforting vegetarian casserole. You know, the kind of thing you take to a friends house who just had a baby, or to a pot luck at church. The kind of dish that you can make ahead of time and not worry it will turn to vegetable mush. It's also great for when you're in the mood for classic stuffed peppers, but don't have the time to fidget around with making the rice filling, then stuffing the peppers and roasting them.

I have made this dish three times since I came up with it, each time with a different cooking method. They all work as well as the next. There's the "20 Minute Speed Faux-Casserole", the crockpot "Set It and Forget It" method, or the somewhere in between where I precooked the rice, "Throw it all in a casserole dish and let it cook while you work out/put the kids to bed/catch up on some work" method.The "20 minute speed casserole" is my method of choice. 

Stuffed Pepper Casserole 
Veggie by Season original

1 cup short grain brown rice
4 cups water
1 tbsp. EVOO
2 bell peppers (I use 1 green, one yellow)
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper
1 tsp. dried oregano
2-3 cups prepared marinara (I make a big batch of this and freeze in 2-4 c. portions)
1 block of tempeh (I've been loving Lightlife's 5 Grain Tempeh)
1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

Bring the water to a boil in a small pot, add the brown rice, cover and turn to medium-low. 
Stir every 2-3 minutes, and continue to cook for 20 minutes.
Preheat broiler to high.
In a deep skillet over medium, heat olive oil.
Add peppers, onions, garlic, salt and pepper. 
Saute' for 5 minutes, or until vegetables begin to soften.
Turn heat to low, add oregano, marinara, and crumble in tempeh.
Stir to combine ingredients, and cover to heat through.
Drain any water off rice once it's finished cooking, then pour into skillet with vegetable mixture, mix well.
Pour into a casserole dish, cover with mozzarella cheese and broil for 2-3 minutes, until cheese is golden brown.
Serve immediately. 

*Also makes for delicious leftovers and this casserole can be frozen (before broiling) and reheated at a later time.


Joanne said...

I love stuffed peppers and crave them pretty endlessly! This casserole would make satisfying that craving SO MUCH EASIER!

janet @ the taste space said...

I follow the words more closely, too, to be honest. Pictures work, but sometimes I adore picture-less cookbooks because I dream up the dish myself. :) If you say this is great, I believe you! Yum!

(I don't like all of my photos either but I still share the recipe if it taste good!!)

j3nn said...

Food photography is hard! The lighting, the shadows, the composition, etc. And usually the tastiest foods, like casseroles, aren't photogenic. Add hungry to the equation and a photo shoot can end very quickly, lol.

Anonymous said...

I agree, food photography never seems to come out right. I don't have a nice camera either, which doesn't help. Regardless, love the idea of the casserole! I'll have to try sometime!

Tasha said...

Casseroles are never an easy thing to photograph, but this one sounds delicious. It's been more difficult getting my family to embrace tempeh than it was tofu, but I've found crumbled into a recipe like this one is the way to go.

business card printing said...

Food photography isn't easy as 123. Its hard because your subject is a still life. You have to give life to the photo not the other way around. I feel your pain. But you've done a great job with the recipe so forget about the photos.

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing.