Stuffed Banana Peppers

This recipe was a great way to eat our first batch of banana peppers from our garden.  Because we only had 6 or 7 banana peppers, we also stuffed 3 of our green peppers to use up the filling.  We just used the tomato products we had on hand, so the sauce components are flexible.  Depending on whether you use more prepared sauce or more canned tomato sauce, you will need to adjust the seasonings to suit your tastes.  Although this recipe contains lots of ingredients, prep time was less than 30 minutes.

Stuffed Banana Peppers
Adapted from AllRecipes.com

12 medium banana peppers
1-2 T butter
1/4 c chopped onion
1/4 c chopped celery
16 oz prepared sauce
15 oz canned tomato sauce
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/2 tsp pepper, divided
1 egg
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c grated parmesan
1 lb ground beef
3/4 c bread crumbs
1/2 c grated mozzarella

1) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
2) Cut tops off of peppers; remove ribs and seeds.
3) Add peppers to boiling water; simmer until tender but firm, about 5 minutes.
4) Drain peppers; set aside.
5) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
6) Chop edible parts of pepper tops.
7) Melt butter in a large skillet; saute chopped pepper, onion and celery until tender, about 5 minutes.
8) Add tomato sauces, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.
9) Stir and let simmer 10 minutes.
10) Combine remaining ingredients and 1/2 c sauce in a large mixing bowl.
11) Spoon enough sauce into a 9×13 baking dish to thinly cover the bottom of the dish.
12) Stuff peppers with ground beef mixture; arrange in single layer in baking dish.
13) Top peppers with remaining sauce and mozzarella cheese.
14) Bake for 45 minutes.

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