Fuel-Pull Stuffed Peppers Recipe and Assorted Ramblings

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

I have been doing so much cooking, y'all. Between the small horde of hungry people always in my house, the fact that getting take-out for so many people costs a million dollars, and the fact that Aaron is doing the THM diet hardcore with me and so is WHAT CAN I EAT, BABE-ing me all the livelong day...I pretty much don't leave the kitchen. Ever. And I kind of love it!

(No, seriously. I love feeding people. Fortunately.)

I mostly learned how to cook by playing around with Aaron's great-grandmother's recipes as I sorted through them when she moved into assisted living. Grammy's recipes were a treasure trove of Crisco-y goodness, much appreciated by my husband who was pretty sick of the three meals that I knew how to cook previous to our marriage.

I've learned how to cook for a big group through trial and error in the past few years (and let me tell you, such a thing cannot be un-learned. I am now actually incapable of making a meal that serves less than eight people) as Aaron started bringing boys over here more and more frequently.

Somewhere along the way cooking and baking became automatic. And therapeutic. I worry every day if I am doing a good job as a wife/mother/teacher...if I'm nurturing and loving and patient enough. It's all so vitally important, but so abstract. Dinner is tangible. At the end of the day I know I've fed everyone, even if I don't know that I did anything else right.

My current challenge is learning to feed everyone WHILE staying within Trim Healthy Mama guidelines. Which is, essentially, not combining fats with carbs. You can have one or the other for any given meal, but not both together if you want to lose weight. Also no sugar or corn, which is significantly more challenging, but sooooo healthy for everyone.

(And it's super effective. I'm currently below my goal (pre-marriage) weight and now have my sights set on a new! even! hawter! goal. All while loading my coffee with heavy cream on the daily)

Now that Aaron is doing THM with me, I can't get away with making regular meals for everyone else and a little something on the side for myself, the way I have been for the past year. And I love it, but cooking this way can be tricky, especially if you're trying to please a fast-food addicted crowd. Last night, for example, I made a chicken parmesan casserole (hit!) and cheesy garlic bread (miiiiiiiiss!) and what was billed as strawberry shortcake pie (HIT!). Luckily my guys are patient about my kitchen experiments, and the hits usually outweigh the misses.

I'm getting fairly competent at the low-carb meals and the sugarless deserts, and not so bad at the low-fat meals. What still gets me are the low-carb AND low-fat fuel-pull meals. It always makes me think of Susan in Rilla of Ingleside.

Susan is a somewhat disgruntled woman at present, owing to the regulations regarding cookery. Her loyalty to the Union Government is being sorely tried. It surmounted the first strain gallantly. When the order about flour came Susan said, quite cheerfully, 'I am an old dog to be learning new tricks, but I shall learn to make war bread if it will help defeat the Huns.'
"But the later suggestions went against Susan's grain. Had it not been for father's decree I think she would have snapped her fingers at Sir Robert Borden.
"Talk about trying to make bricks without straw, Mrs. Dr. dear! How am I to make a cake without butter or sugar? It cannot be done, ­not cake that is cake. Of course one can make a slab, Mrs. Dr. dear. And we cannot even camooflash it with a little icing! To think that I should have lived to see the day when a government at Ottawa should step into my kitchen and put me on rations!'
"Susan would give the last drop of her blood for her 'king and country,' but to surrender her beloved recipes is a very different and much more serious matter.

(Which mostly just tells us that I've read Rilla of Ingleside way too many times, but also reminds me to add it to next year's curriculum because I LOVE it and it's the perfect book to read while the kids study WWI. The boys will whine about having to read a girl's diary, but if they're not already into it by the time Susan tries to kick the cat with both feet and falls on her behind, they will be shortly thereafter!)

But that is exactly how I feel about fuel-pull meals. I can make slabs. Without icing.

My best attempt so far was converting a stuffed peppers recipe to be fuel-pull. Stuffed peppers are an awesome carb-free meal, smothered in cheese and sour cream and stuff. Making them tasty without all that is hard, though! This is what I came up with:

I used:
Green bell peppers, seeded
Jar of sugar-free basic pasta sauce
Pound of ground turkey
4 or 5 zucchini, sliced and quartered
Sliced mushrooms
Half an onion, chopped
Several garlic cloves, chopped
Parmesan cheese (the powdery kind)
Salt and pepper
Fresh basil, chopped
Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350, turn on some Etta James.
Prep the peppers and stab them a time or two so excess juices can run out. Normal people steam their peppers before stuffing them, but we like our peppers to be a little crispier, so I didn't. Put the peppers in glass baking dish.
Brown the ground turkey and season with salt and pepper. Then put it in a pot with the pasta sauce and begin to simmer.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet, add the garlic and basil, cook for a few minutes. Add in the mushrooms and onions, saute for a bit, then dump the whole thing into the pasta sauce pot. Simmer this for a good twenty minutes.
Heat another tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet, then add the zucchini. Salt and pepper it and cook until it gets soft, then dump it into the pasta sauce pot.
Simmer for ten minutes or so, then fill the peppers with this. I used a slotted spoon so they wouldn't be too juicy, and then ladled a bit of extra sauce over the tops. Sprinkle a little Parmesan over each pepper.
Bake at 350 for about thirty minutes.

I made some regular spaghetti and served it with the leftover sauce to the kids, because they aren't dieting and I wanted them to feel full. Aaron got several more peppers than anyone else so he could feel full. I ate one pepper and felt full because I was too busy to sit down and eat any longer than that.

So. It isn't carb and fat FREE, but it is extremely low in both of those things and counts as a fuel-pull meal. And it tasted pretty good!

link up!


  1. I want to love cooking, I really do. And honestly, it's not the cooking I mind, but the aftermath. I loathe dirty dishes. That's generally Hubby's territory because I'm a brat and hate, hate, hate doing them! I haven't made stuffed peppers in a long time- such a great idea!

  2. I love cooking! So therapeutic! Gives me time to think and just listen to the sizzle and the splashing and the grinding... I think you know what I mean LOL.
    The stuffed peppers looks really good! Will have to try that some time.
    Thanks for linking up with us at the Whatever Wednesday blog hop!

  3. These look delicious! Thank you so much for linking up at Tasty Tuesday! Your recipe has been pinned to the Tasty Tuesday Pinterest board! Please join us again this week

  4. What's the reasoning behind doing the zucchini separately from the mushrooms and onion?

    1. Nevermind, I figured it out. I somehow missed the simmering step when I read it at first.

  5. Made your stuffed peppers tonight and they were great. Although I did use ground sirloin instead of the ground turkey because my husband can't stomach the turkey.

  6. The Etta James is my favorite part! Linked to this in this week's sample THM meal plan. :-)


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