I don’t usually have the luxury of time to cook, but because I’m working from home this week (because of the Wuhan coronavirus), I am able to whip up something simple in the kitchen for lunch.
This is literally a very low effort lunch.
First of all, the story of how I ended up with three bell peppers: I don’t usually like bell peppers but I recently had a really good salad that used red, yellow and green bell peppers and I was hoping to try to recreate it at home.
Shortly after I picked them up, I realised that I had no idea what went into the salad, particularly the dressing, but unfortunately by then the supermarket was starting to get really crowded with the usual peak hour crowd, AND the people who were here to stock up on food supplies (DORSCON level was raised to orange just 2 hours before).
Stocks weren’t flying off the shelves like I read about, but the queues were starting to get really long and I was hungry.
I noted that a few inconsiderate people had abandoned some of their groceries randomly along the queue line, and I didn’t want to be one of them, so I went home with three bright and large bell peppers.
I went to the supermarket again this morning, and they were out of chicken breast (part of the salad I was trying to recreate, I recalled seeing some pictures of stuffed capsicums online, and on a whim, I decided to get some minced pork.
With no recipe in mind whatsoever, I cooked some rice (using Prima chicken rice stock), stir-fried the minced pork with some oil and shogayaki tare (the only seasoning I had in the fridge, LOL!). I also had some tinned mushrooms in the cupboard so I chopped them up and put them in.
This took maybe 10 minutes because minced pork cooks really quickly, and the canned mushrooms are edible anyway.
Hollowing out the bell peppers took a little bit of effort, but it wasn’t difficult. For me it was a matter of being careful with the knife because I don’t use it often.
Once I was done with the meat and mushrooms, I turned off the heat, and added the chicken rice. Then I stuffed the mixture into the bell peppers.
It seems that people usually use mozzarella or the kind of cheese that melts photogenically over the bell peppers but I only have those square Kraft singles that I use in sandwiches, so I tore them up into little pieces (ugly I know, but they taste good) and covered up the bell peppers.
I used about one slice of cheese per bell pepper.
Then I popped them into the over and set it to 160 degrees celcius for 25 minutes (combination setting). I’ve noticed than a combination setting helps to retain moisture in the food. I’ve used conventional oven settings and often end up with dried or burnt food because I forgot to check back regularly, and if I’m baking rice or pasta that isn’t sufficiently covered by cheese, the edges tend to turn hard.
Lots of people manage with a conventional oven though, so I was probably doing things wrong, but the combination setting often saves me.
I used two ramekins to contain the excess meat/rice mixture (because the bell peppers are so small!) which turned out to be good idea because Meimei is a very picky eater. She won’t eat capsicums and she picked out all the mushrooms from the ramekins. >_<
Despite the low effort, it turned out to be much better than expected! It actually tasted really good (to me), although I have been known to have low expectations.
The bell pepper gave the rice and additional kick, and the bell peppers taste better after roasting.
I brought Ted straight home after school since I was working from home. I would usually have Meimei at home too if I’m on leave, but unfortunately, she doesn’t quite yet understand why I would have to be at the computer the whole day. I did save her a ramekin, though!
Ted, however, would just spent the entire afternoon with his nose in a book. In fact, I had to repeatedly tell him to put down the book and rest his eyes!