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Low-carb stuffed peppers spice up the season

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Bell peppers have it all: They are nutritious, fun to grow, pest resistant and beautiful. Unlike most, bell peppers (named for their distinctive shape) don’t have the spicy ingredient capsaicin and are, instead, tangy with a satisfying crisp.

Like all peppers, bells love the warmth and gardeners must take care that the soil is at a minimum of 67 degrees before planting. Once in the ground, these peppers do a good job of resisting garden pests.

Nutritionally, they do some heavy lifting. A medium pepper provides 159 percent of the daily vitamin C requirement with no cholesterol and virtually no fat. The red bells are actually older versions of the green bells and have even more vitamin C.

They are delicious on a low carb diet for snacks, dipping or, as in this recipe, as part of a main course.  The traditional stuffed pepper recipe usually includes rice, which soaks up juices and holds the dish together. In this recipe, the filling has no rice and is therefore looser, but also is very low in carbs.

A medium bell has about six carbs overall or four net carbs when accounting for fiber.  All the carbs in this recipe are in the marinara sauce, which has about nine net carbs per half cup. You can estimate one stuffed bell pepper at about 13 carbs.

Peppers stuffed with Italian sausage and beef
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground Italian sausage
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15.5-oz) jar marinara sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 large red, yellow, or green bell peppers.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook beef and sausage in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until browned and crumbly.

Drain well as the filling with be juicy, and no extra juices are needed. Saute onion and garlic in pan 5 minutes or until tender.

Stir in beef mixture, marinara, and oregano.

Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

For a cute cap look, cut bell peppers in half vertically; discard seeds and membranes. Spoon beef mixture into peppers.

Place in a baking dish. Bake 20 minutes or until peppers are tender.

For toppings, try arugula and basil or your favorite cheese.

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