Kid-Friendly Italian Stuffed Peppers with Chicken

Italian Stuffed Peppers with Chicken

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My 5-year-old just finished his first soccer season ever, and I’m so proud of him!  It’s kind of crazy to think that Spring sports are wrapping up and school is officially out, but here we are!

I don’t know why, but I’ve been craving a lot of Italian lately, so I decided to make a classic dinner time meal with a little twist this week – Italian Stuffed Peppers with Chicken. I tend to cook a lot of chicken for my family, and less red meats, but I’m trying my hardest to keep these kid-friendly meals a nice variety of proteins.

Variety is the Spice of Life

I’m even thinking of trying out a vegetarian option and seeing if the kids will go for it, what do you think?

I’ll be honest, I’m really not great at planning meals ahead, and I don’t really love having a whole week of ingredients bought and waiting in the fridge. I prefer getting ingredients a few days ahead and going from there. The reality is that life with kids is crazy, so you never know when you’re going to have to call an audible and go out to eat because plans get mixed up.

An Option to Make-Ahead

That being said, I love how this meal can be split into two parts. You can make the “stuffed” parts of the meal ahead of time and store in the fridge, and then finish out the last few steps when you get home from the day. It cuts down the prep time when you’re getting home from a long day, which is nice when the kids are screaming at you for food because they are starving when you get home. ah, the joys of parenting 🙂

Italian-style Stuffed Peppers with Chicken - Kid-Friendly Meals

Good for the Whole Family

Just like I’ve done with the other recipes, I wanted to make sure that the adults get to enjoy dinner time just as much as the kids. If you’re ever finding yourself eating recipes that aren’t exactly your favorite, but you know the kids will eat it, hopefully this summertime meal series is helping you out! This Italian Stuffed Peppers with Chicken recipe can be segmented out and deconstructed for the kiddos who don’t love their food all mixed together. 

Italian Stuffed Peppers | The Driven Mama

Kid-Friendly Alternatives for Stuffed Peppers

The rice can be on the side along with the chicken, and then I cut up some raw peppers and served those to them. My kids go crazy for raw bell peppers, but won’t touch the cooked ones, so I decided to bypass the arguments at dinnertime and give them something they would eat. 

Kid-Friendly Italian Stuffed Peppers | The Driven Mama

To Sauce or Not to Sauce

I ended up mixing the chicken mixture and the tomato mixture together first and then splitting it off for the kids before adding it to the stuffed peppers, and at first my son didn’t want to touch the “red stuff”, but then he finally decided to give it a try, he told me, “mom, this is actually really good.” As if I had no idea that what I was eating was delicious, haha! If you have a kiddo that is a “no go” on sauce, you could definitely set some of the chicken mixture aside before you add the sauce in. 

Kid-Friendly Stuffed Peppers | The Driven Mama

Final Touches

For a final touch, you really can’t go wrong with melted fresh mozzarella cheese on top of these stuffed peppers, I could probably eat the whole ball of cheese, but just a slice on top and melted all over the pepper is enough to satisfy my craving for ooey gooey cheesiness and just makes this dish so amazing. 

Italian Peppers with Chicken | The Driven Mama

I can’t wait to hear what you think about this one! Did you end up deconstructing it for your kids? Or, did you give them a stuffed pepper to try the whole thing? 

Yield: 4 (and leftovers)

Kid-Friendly Italian Stuffed Peppers with Chicken

Kid-Friendly Italian Stuffed Peppers with Chicken

If you're looking to shake things up for dinner, but want to find something the kids will still eat, try this tasty recipe! It's inspired from the classic stuffed peppers that I remember eating as a kid (and not loving, btw), but with an Italian twist. If your kids like to eat everything separate, like mine do, you can put aside the ingredients as you make this dish so they can enjoy the deconstructed version!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Cut tops of peppers off and clean out the seeds and insides of peppers, but leaving the whole pepper intact. (you will be stuffing them).
  2. In a roasting pot, add 1 inch of water to the bottom of the pot and place peppers, bottom sides facing down.
  3. Bring water to a boil and then simmer peppers, cover on, for 15 minutes, or until peppers are al dente. (Slightly under cooked)
  4. Then, cook 1 cup rice mixture, per directions on the box.
  5. While the rice mixture and peppers are simmering, add 1 tbsp of oil to a saute pan and cook ground chicken until no pink is remaining.
  6. Once chicken is cooked, push the ground chicken to the edges of the pan, add an additional 1 tbsp of oil, and add onion. Saute onion in the middle of the pan until translucent. Then, mix with chicken.
  7. At this point, if your kids prefer no sauce, remove 1 serving of chicken for each kid and set aside, otherwise, add in diced tomatoes and tomato paste.
  8. Mix well and add mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and basil, cooking on low to allow mushrooms to soften.
  9. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  10. Once mushrooms have reached desired softness and rice mixture is cooked, in a large bowl combine rice and chicken mixture together well. (this is also a point where you could scoop out a little plain rice for the kids, if they prefer to have their food deconstructed).
  11. Once mixture is well combined in bowl, using a spoon, scoop mixture into hollowed bell peppers until completely full. Repeat with all peppers.
  12. Once all peppers are filled, place a slice of mozzarella cheese on top of each pepper and bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbling.
  13. Optionally, you can switch oven to broil and continue cooking peppers until cheese on top begins to brown.
  14. Take peppers out of oven, and using a large slotted spoon, scoop peppers out of pan. Serve immediately.
  15. Enjoy!

Notes

*Chicken mixture and rice mixture may be cooked ahead of time and refrigerated to lessen cooking time. Peppers may need to cook in oven longer to reheat chicken and rice.

*Save the tops of the peppers and slice extra pepper around the stem as a veggie option for the kids, if they don't like cooked peppers.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving:Calories: 523 Total Fat: 18.1g Carbohydrates: 57.7g Protein: 36.1g
Nutrition information may not be accurate depending on products used.

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Hi, I'm Jen.

Jen Wright | The Driven Mama

I’m a Nationally Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Mayo Clinic Certified Wellness Coach, Certified Cycle Instructor, and healthy lifestyle advocate living in Southwest Minneapolis, MN.

But most of all, I’m a mom who believes you shouldn’t have to suffer just so everyone else around you can thrive.

You deserve to feel your best, and I can help. 

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