Thursday, January 24, 2013

UnStuffed-Pepper Casserole

Or hotdish (yes, it’s one word) as we say in the frozen north. 

What’s the distinction? 


Really.  If you’re from the north and have Norwegian heritage, you say hotdish.  Elsewhere – basically once you hit Lake Michigan and go East, you’re in casserole land.  Go south – casserole.  Go west – casserole.  Guess only the cool folks call it a hotdish. 

A hotdish is simply a hot dish, typically baked in a casserole pan. 

Now, some hotdish purists will say it needs to have canned or frozen veggies, meat, starch and a can of cream of _____ soup to be a hotdish. 

I tend to side with the simple definition of the word – a hot dish.  And, if that is the case, I’ve got an amazing hotdish to share with you. 

Think stuffed peppers that have exploded (in a good way) in your pan – warm and gooey rice, yummy peppers, toss in some meat if you wish, and smother it with cheese and tomatoes. 


Whether you call it a hotdish or a casserole, you should make this hot dish for your family soon.  It’s a keeper. 

UnStuffed-Pepper Casserole Hotdish – Adapted from A Kitchen Addiction


  • 1/2 lb. ground turkey, beef or Italian sausage
  • 3 medium bell peppers (red, orange, green, yellow… your choice)
  • 1/2 small onion, wedged
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 can (15oz) tomato sauce
  • 2 C brown rice, cooked
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 C cubed Mozzarella cheese
  • 4 oz. sliced Mozzarella cheese


In a large skillet, begin by sautéing the diced bell peppers and onions over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes until crisp-tender. 

Add in the minced garlic and saute another 1-2 minutes. 

Stir in 1/2 lb. browned ground beef, turkey or Italian sausage.  We used a mixture of ground beef and ground turkey.  Stir well. 

Stir in 1 can (or about 2 C) tomato sauce and 2 C cooked brown rice. 

Top that with 1/4 C cubed (or kind of cubed) mozzarella cheese bits. 

Stir together and mix in 1 tsp. Italian seasoning. 

Pour into a lightly greased 3 quart casserole dish or an 9x13 glass baking dish. 

Layer thinly sliced Mozzarella cheese over the top. 

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes until bubbly and browned. 

Serve warm.

So, is it a casserole, or a hotdish? 


  1. Hey there!

    I've already made several of your recipes and all were great so far :).

    The tomato sauce you use, is it plain or seasoned (when it comes out of the can)?


    1. Hi Charissa --

      We use plain tomato sauce; no spices or extras.

  2. I don't care what you call it, it looks amazing!! :D (Personally, I'm going to do all the sauteing/browning in my dutch oven on the stove so I can toss the whole thing in the oven and not have to wash 2 separate dishes. /nod)

  3. A hot dish is EXACTLY what is needed today! I'm fuuuuuhreeezing up here! That looks amazing.

  4. Oh what a yummy looking hotdish! (Yes, any true Minnesotan days "hotdish"!). Love all the nutrients you get from the peppers. Will definitely make this soon once peppers are on sale!

  5. Swedes call it hotdish too. :)

    1. Awesome. Seems like it's that N Europe crowd...

  6. It's whats for dinner tonight! I went a little nuts at the farmers market over the 6 for $1 bell peppers of all colors and we need to eat them up this really helped to make a dent in them :-) Thanks!

  7. I've never heard "hotdish" before, so I'm going with casserole! :D Either way, looks wonderful!

  8. Finally getting around to making this ^^ Dinner tomorrow at my parents' place, sister and her boyfriend are joining us.

    I'm really looking forward to it as every recipe on your site I've tried so far has been great :D

  9. Just made this last night for dinner. Used the Italian sausage.... Holy cow!! Thank you for sharing


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