Stuffed peppers can take several hours to make, standing over a pot of boiling water and baking, but the microwave makes a convenient alternative to save time and prevent your kitchen from overheating on a hot day. Microwave meals usually evoke images of high preservative, high fat foods such as microwave burritos and TV dinners, but this is one recipe that fits with a healthy lifestyle. Bell peppers are typically used to make stuffed peppers because of their mild flavor and ability to stand upright, but you can substitute other varieties, such as poblano peppers.
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Wash the peppers under cold running water thoroughly to remove any dirt and debris. Place the peppers on a clean cutting board. Cut the tops and stems from the peppers with a kitchen knife. Dice the pepper tops with your kitchen knife and lay aside to be used in the stuffing mixture, if desired. Scoop out the pepper seeds and soft membrane from the inside of the peppers with a kitchen knife or spoon.
Fill a microwave-safe glass dish with about 1 inch of water. Stand the peppers up in the glass baking dish with the open side of the pepper facing down. Cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap; poke several holes into the plastic wrap with a toothpick to allow the steam to vent.
Place the glass baking dish into the microwave. Cook the peppers in the microwave on the high setting between 4 to 6 minutes to soften the peppers. Remove the baking dish from the microwave and take off the plastic wrap.
Remove the water from the glass dish and return the peppers to the dish with the open sides facing up.
Combine rice and water in a microwave-safe bowl, using twice as much water as rice. It takes about 1 cup of dry rice to make enough cooked rice to fill 6 large peppers. Microwave the rice for about 15 minutes, uncovered, or until the liquid is absorbed. If you want to add the diced pepper caps and other vegetables such as onions, stir them into the rice for the last 5 minutes of cooking. If you want to save time, you can use leftover rice or purchase packets with pre-cooked, microwaveable rice that only take 1 to 2 minutes to prepare. Stir tomato sauce into the rice mixture, along with your choice of seasonings and spices, if desired.
Fill the peppers with the rice mixture. Pack the stuffing slightly to help the peppers stand up in the baking dish. Cover the baking dish tightly with new plastic wrap. Poke several holes in the plastic wrap to allow the pepper steam to escape.
Place the baking dish in the microwave and cook the stuffed peppers on the high setting for 7 to 10 minutes or until the peppers are cooked thoroughly. Remove the baking dish from the microwave; pull the plastic wrap from the baking dish.
Pour tomato sauce over the stuffed peppers, if desired. Return the dish to the microwave and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes or until the sauce bubbles and thickens.