Quick and easy meals often sacrifice health for convenience. In fact, many of the most popular convenience foods come prepackaged full of preservatives, including tons of sugar and salt. You can prepare fresh ingredients ahead of time instead to ensure you can make a fast, easy meal without sacrificing your health. One of the simplest meals to make with your prepped ingredients is stuffed vegetables. You just mix together the ingredients, stuff the vegetable full and pop it in the oven to heat up. Here are three stuffed vegetable options to consider.
Tomatoes, Herbs and Parmesan
Ingredients: Beefsteak tomatoes, basil, thyme, garlic and fresh grated parmesan cheese
To prepare this easy dish, you just need to core the tomatoes and remove a portion of the inner flesh. Mix up the fresh herbs, garlic and cheese together in a bowl. Scoop the mixture into the tomato and top with another layer of cheese. Place the pan of stuffed tomatoes in the oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Once the tomatoes soften a bit and the cheese melts, you can take them out to cool before eating.
Peppers, Beef and Rice
Ingredients: Large red, green or yellow peppers, cooked ground beef and prepared rice
Both ground beef and rice keep well in the fridge for almost a week when cooked through ahead of time. The rice will pick up the flavors of the peppers and beef when cooked together in the oven. You can mix any additional herbs into the ground beef and rice before filling up the peppers. You can also stir in tomato sauce and cheese to create a truly decadent meal. Cook the stuffed peppers at 350 degrees until the filling starts to bubble at the top.
Mushrooms, Romano and Sausage
Ingredients: Portabella mushrooms, grated Romano cheese and cooked ground sausage
The portabella mushrooms have enough surface space to support a ton of substantial filling options. The combination of Romano cheese and ground sausage beautifully complements the hearty taste of these mushrooms. You can cook up Italian or spicy sausage for your mixture. Top the mix with some breadcrumbs or additional cheese if you wish to liven it up a bit. Cook this dish at 350 for at least 30 minutes to give the mushrooms time to soften up. You can cover the pan with foil for the first ten minutes to help the mushrooms develop a tender texture.
Creating Your Own Variations
Once you have the stuffed vegetable procedure down pat, you can mix and match ingredients to suit your taste buds. Try to mimic the flavors in your favorite unhealthy dishes to create a meal that satisfies your cravings without exceeding your given calories for the day. You may notice that just one vegetable piled high with stuffing fills you up for the entire meal. If not, however, you can always serve these veggies with a side of garlic bread or salad.