Thursday, December 18, 2014

Chicken Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Peppers with a Goat Cheese Sauce

For those of us trying to live a low-carb or healthy lifestyle, is there a better edible vessel for food than a Bell Pepper?  It is hard to think of one that is as tasty and has all the health benefits, like antioxidants and fiber and they are packed with vitamins such as A and C.  Fun fact, a green Bell Pepper has just not ripened into a red, yellow or orange one!  That explains why the green ones are not as sweet, but they have almost the same amount of vitamins.  In this super easy and delicious recipe, I personally prefer to use red, orange and yellow peppers, but use whatever you like!  This dish fills the Bell Pepper with delicious Italian chicken sausage, fresh spinach and goat cheese, which melts into this fantastic tangy and creamy sauce.  It honestly could not be easier, with just four major ingredients and very little prep work.  The end result is a gorgeous and healthy meal that is impressive enough to serve guests.  It is a great dish for a dinner party because you can prepare the whole thing ahead of time, and finish it in the oven when you are ready.  Every time I make this for my family and friends, I am always asked for the recipe.  This works as a terrific light meal on it's own and can also be served with a side salad, quinoa or rice.  You guys really need to make this!

This is what you need:

3 Bell Peppers of any color 
1 bag or 4 cups of raw Spinach or 1 box of defrosted and drained frozen spinach
1-1 1/2 lbs of Sweet Italian Sausage - chicken, turkey or pork would all work
5 oz of Goat Cheese (you can substitute cream cheese here if you don't like goat cheese)
2 cloves of Garlic - minced
2 tbsp of Olive Oil
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
2 tbsp of Parmesan Cheese (optional)

This what you do:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and remove the casings from the sausage.  Crumble the sausage in a pan with 1 tbsp of Olive Oil and the garlic and cook over medium heat until no longer pink.  While this is cooking, slice the peppers in half and remove the stems.  Add them to a glass baking dish and drizzle Olive Oil and Salt and Pepper over each Bell Pepper.  Once the sausage is cooked through, add the spinach and cook for a couple minutes.  Then crumble the goat cheese and cook until it melts into a sauce.  Fill the Bell Peppers with the mixture and top with a little Parmesan Cheese.  Cook at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  
Prep Time: 10 minutes 
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Serves: 3 
First thing to do is preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grab a pan to big enough to hold the sausage and spinach.  Add 1 tbsp of oil to the pan and heat over medium heat.  Then, remove the casings from the sausage.  Admittedly, this is not my favorite part of the recipe, but it is a necessary evil.  We want the sausage to crumble, not be in slices. 
I like to take a paring knife and slice along the whole length of sausage.  Then I can get the meat out much easier and faster.  Just kind of push it through over the pan in crumbles.
Once it is in, take a wooden spoon and break up the pieces to bite size.  

Next, get your garlic ready and add it to the pan.
Cook this until the sausage is cooked through and no longer pink.  Turn every couple of minutes so the garlic doesn't burn.

While that is cooking, get the Bell Peppers ready.  Wash and dry and cut in half.  
 I like to cut them in half with the stems on and then remove the stems by popping them backwards.  Next, remove the white ribs and the seeds.
They are ready and so beautiful I had to include another pic. 

Now, a very crucial part, place the peppers in a glass baking dish and season them by drizzling olive oil and salt and pepper over each one.  This really layers the flavors and and makes everything taste so delicious.  
Seasoned and ready!

By now, the sausage should be cooked through.  Add the spinach and cook until not quite whilted, about 2-3 minutes.  
Seems like a lot, but it will cook down so much.  If you have large peppers, you can add another bag of spinach to make more filling.

Now, get the 5 oz of Goat cheese ready and crumble it into the pan. 
This is when you want to add the Goat Cheese.

Cook all of this for a couple of minutes until the Goat Cheese is completely melted and it makes a silky sauce.  

This would also be good over quinoa or noodles too.  It is so amazing.

Now, it is time to fill the Bell peppers.  You do not need to add salt or pepper to the mixture because the Goat Cheese is salty enough and we seasoned the peppers. 
Filled to the brim!  Be sure to get every last drop of the sauce.  

If you like, add a bit of Parmesan cheese to the top to give it a nice little crunch, but this step is not necessary.
Was there ever any doubt that I would skip the Parmesan?

Now, cook for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees.  The bigger and thicker the peppers, the longer it needs in the oven.  Remove, admire and eat.
Obviously going back for seconds.  

These peppers are crazy delicious.  They are also ridiculously easy and with so few ingredients!  I really don't think it gets much better.  I promise you that these peppers will not disappoint.  Enjoy!!