Fast forward to when I have my own family. I want to share the pepper cup love, but times are tough and peppers are expensive. Early on in my marriage, I started only using one pepper and chopping it up in the dish and making it a casserole. Of course, healthy food choices weren't in my radar at the time, so I also used knock-off Velveeta and Minute Rice.
Now that I'm more concerned with what we eat, I've changed the way I make this dish. I use brown rice and cheddar cheese and now I only cut the pepper into eight big pieces as the kids don't care for green pepper and if they are big, they are easy to fish out before serving it to the kids. Today, I had the brilliant idea to make this casserole into a crock pot meal. I had a few errands I needed to get done once the daycare closed and the kids wanted a bit of outside time too, so a quick meal was definitely in order.
The problem I encountered was that I don't think I've ever cooked "real" rice in the crock pot before. I didn't get it exactly right this time. The flavor was spot-on, but the rice was overcooked and got too mushy. I'll know better how to judge the time when I make it again. The girls didn't seem to mind and they each had a big helping of it, served with a side salad. Little guy is anti-casserole, so he took his two obligatory bites and left the table.
1 green pepper, seeded and cut in 8 large pieces (or diced if you like green pepper throughout)
2 cups brown rice
3 1/2 cups water (you can add more later if needed-I used 4 1/2 cups and I think it was too much)
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes (I'm using up the stockpile of canned goods-I think dicing a couple fresh , peeled tomatoes would work fine and maybe adding some juice for the sauce, but it probably isn't needed)
1/2 cup hamburger helper seasoning mix
2/3 - 1 pound browned ground beef with diced onion and garlic (I had 2/3 pound packages already browned in my freezer that I used.)
Stir together. Cook on low for 4-5 hours. Add 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Stir and replace lid. When cheese is melted and rice is tender, meal can be served. My problem was that my meal was done at 1 pm and we didn't eat until 6:30 pm. The rice ended up being overcooked. Next time I will know that 4 hours is probably enough. Trial and error, right?