March is nutrition month, and here at the Daily Bread kitchen, we understand the importance of building a robust collection of nutritious and budget-friendly recipes the whole family can enjoy year-round.
Food is a human right and no one should face barriers in accessing the food they need.
“Food and nutrition security exists when all people at all times have physical, social and economic access to food, which is safe and consumed in sufficient quantity and quality to meet their dietary needs and food preferences, and is supported by an environment of adequate sanitation, health services and care, allowing for a healthy and active life.” (source)
With the average grocery bill in Canada having risen over 170% over the past 20 years, and an estimated 5-7% increase in food prices in 2022, this year’s Canada’s Food Price Report predicts that a family of four “will pay up to $14,767.36 for food, an increase of up to $966.08 from the total annual cost in 2021.”
With a median income of $1,106 per month – which falls well below Toronto’s poverty line of $2,060 per month – food bank clients have $9.17 left per person per day after rent and utilities to pay for food and other necessities and this is simply not enough. Daily Bread Food Bank provides emergency food service to those experiencing hunger. At the same time, we are committed to advocating for long-term systemic change to end poverty – the root cause of food insecurity.
The theme of this year’s Nutrition Month is ingredients for a healthier tomorrow. We encourage you to learn about food insecurity and actions you can take today to build a more sustainable food system.
To celebrate Nutrition Month, our dedicated team of staff and volunteers at the Daily Bread kitchen have created a nutritious, easy-to-follow Stuffed Peppers recipe that you can create using simple and budget-friendly ingredients. We hope you enjoy!
- 1/2 cup parboiled rice
- 1 cup water
- 3 large green peppers
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 1 tbsp garlic, minced
- 600g ground beef
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning (or any combination of dried oregano, rosemary, thyme, marjoram and/or basil available in your pantry)
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 can/jar (about 650ml) tomato sauce
- 100g grated cheese of your choice (cheddar or Parmesan are good options, but whatever you enjoy or have available will work just fine!)
- Preheat your oven to 375ºF (190ºC).
- To parboil the rice, bring water to a boil in a medium-sized pot. Add the rice, stir once and reduce to low-medium heat. Cover the pot and let it simmer for 10 minutes. If steam is constantly escaping the lid, add a splash of water. When the rice is ready, strain and set it aside to cool.
Note: If you’re using a different type of rice, make sure to check the label for cooking instructions.
- While the rice is cooking, prepare the green peppers. Cut them in half lengthwise, right through the stem, then remove the seeds and as much of the white flesh as possible. You can leave the stem on for presentation, or you can remove it, making sure not to take too much of the pepper with it. The halved pepper should be deep enough for filling.
- Place a medium-to-large skillet over medium heat, add the oil, and allow a couple of minutes to heat up.
- Add the diced onions and minced garlic, then sauté for two minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the ground beef, breaking it up as you go along. Continue stirring so the onions and garlic are evenly mixed through the beef. Cook the beef until it starts to brown all over, stirring occasionally.
- Add the herbs and onion powder and cook for a further two minutes. Then add the Worcestershire or soy sauce and stir well. Use the liquid scrape up any sticky bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Remove the beef filling from heat. Mix in the cooked rice and half the jar of tomato sauce, saving the other half for later. While the beef cools, shred the cheese.
- When the beef filling is cool enough to handle, scoop and press it into each half pepper, distributing the filling evenly between the peppers.
- Lay the stuffed peppers on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle and lightly press the shredded cheese on top of each pepper. Place the baking tray into the preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until the cheese starts to bubble and brown.
- While the peppers are in the oven, bring the other half of the tomato sauce to a light simmer on the stove.
- Remove the baking tray from the oven, gently plate the peppers, and spoon some tomato sauce on top of each one.
Bonus presentation points: Spoon the sauce over half the pepper, so it drizzles down one side and leaves some of the browned cheese visible on top!
- Serve with a light green salad and enjoy!