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Did anyone else happen to notice that not one, but two Food Network programs this past week featured recipes with meatloaf stuffed into vegetables?  The first was Giada, who stuffed meatloaf into peppers and zucchini.  The second was this new Food Network chickie, Sunny Anderson, who’s show is called “Cooking for Real.” OK, I’m sorry – but is that just the stupidest name for a cooking show you have ever heard in your life? “Cooking for Real?”  As opposed to what, exactly? According to FN: “Cooking for Real offers real food for real life…affordable, easy to find, easy to use ingredients…”  Let me just point out the painfully obvious here, but doesn’t that sum up just about every single show the Food Network airs? With the possible exception of Iron Chef, I am pretty sure I can handle the complex and lengthy recipes that FN regulars like Rachael and Sandra sock at me.  As for this Sunny girl….I don’t know. I may find her entertaining, and I may find her annoying as hell.  The jury is still out.  Thoughts?

Nevertheless, I still found myself stuffing meatloaf into peppers today.  I am happy to report that the ingredients were, indeed, easy to find and use.  And the yumminess was real, baby…..soooo real.

Kitty’s Bell Peppers Stuffed w/ Turkey-Sausage Meatloaf
Makes 4 servings

2 large bell peppers, red, orange, or yellow
3 large links of Italian-style turkey-sausage
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 large egg
2 tablespoons ketchup or tomato paste
1/2 cup dry plain breadcrumbs
handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup parmesan or romano cheese
1/2 cup marinara sauce or canned tomato puree
olive oil
salt & pepper

Step 1:  Preheat the oven to 375F.  Cut the peppers in half, carefully removing the seeds and pith. Step 2: In a small saute pan, cook the onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes over medium heat until onions are just translucent. Step 3:  In a bowl, assemble the meatloaf. Remove the sausage from its casing, and add to bowl, along with the onion mixture, egg, breadcrumbs, tomato paste, parsley, cheese, and a large pinch each of salt & pepper.  Mix together with your hands just until ingredients are incorporated. Step 4:  Stuff each pepper half with the mixture, making sure to press well up to the sides of each pepper, as the meatloaf will pull away from the sides as it cooks.

Step 5:  Drizzle some olive oil in the bottom of a small casserole dish, place the peppers inside, and top each stuffed pepper with a spoonful of tomato sauce.

Step 6:  Place dish in oven, and cook @ 30 minutes, until the peppers have softened and browned on the bottom, and the meatloaf is cooked through.  Serve topped with additional marinara sauce and drizzled with olive oil.