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Stuffed Peppers

(by Vasilika "Vanya" Marinkovic)

3 – 4 T. olive oil, divided

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

5 cloves garlic, finely chopped

4 oz. tomato sauce

1 lb, ground beef

1 large tomato, diced

1 c. cooked rice

1 t. dried oregano

1 1/2 t. dried basil or 1 T. fresh, chopped

1 1/2 t. red pepper flakes, or to taste

1 1/2 t. dried parsley, or 1 T. fresh, chopped

1/2 t. salt

1 t. freshly ground black pepper

6 bell peppers, tops cut off and cores removed

1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 F.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 2 T. olive oil, and sauté onion until it starts to brown.

Add garlic, and sauté until it turns golden brown.

Add half the tomato sauce.

Stir in ground beef, breaking up the pieces as it browns.

Strain mixture of any excess fat.

Return mixture to skillet.

Add cooked rice, fresh tomato, and seasonings.

Simmer together for 15 minutes.

Spread remaining tomato sauce on bottom of a baking pan.

Place peppers in pan and drizzle with remaining olive oil.

Fill peppers with beef mixture, and sprinkle with cheese.

Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes.

(Read Never Far Away, the story that accompanies this recipe.)

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