So yesterday was sophisticated.

Mini Italian Meatball Mac and Cheese Stuffed Peppers | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

And today is totally not.

Mini Italian Meatball Mac and Cheese Stuffed Peppers | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest Mini Italian Meatball Mac and Cheese Stuffed Peppers | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Don’t you just love how you get a little bit of everything over here? I am hoping so, because honestly that is just me.

So many people in one family means a lot of different flavors, opinions and foods.

Mini Italian Meatball Mac and Cheese Stuffed Peppers | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

I made these stuffed peppers the other day, purely because I was tired of cooking dinner.

Let me explain, typically I make a lot of things during one day, but I almost never have a meal that everyone will eat. So once I am done shooting for the day, I then set out to make a dinner the boys will actually approve of. Now don’t think that I HAVE to do this, because I don’t. In fact, I am constantly told I don’t have to (but I am pretty sure they all just say this knowing that I cannot NOT make them dinner).

However, the way I see it, I sort of do have to make the boys a dinner. You see, if I don’t then I have to deal with the mess later, and by that time of night (we eat dinner SO late, I am actually too embarrassed to say the time – it seems like it get later everyday) I am SO done. Plus, I am a total control freak and allowing other people to cook in the kitchen is probably the hardest thing ever for me.

Anyway, I really just did not feel like cooking two dinners the other day and I decided I should just suck it up and make something that everyone would eat. Meaning soup with apples, pizza with figs and pork with pumpkin were NOT options. Honestly, cooking something that everyone will like is almost an impossible task and I didn’t accomplish it completely, but I made it work. Because like I said, when there are nine people in the house, not everyone is bound to be into the same things. Especially vegetable things. Or things with fruits and creepy looking cheese.

Mini Italian Meatball Mac and Cheese Stuffed Peppers | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest Mini Italian Meatball Mac and Cheese Stuffed Peppers | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

So, I kind of did a little compromise with this one. I made mac and cheese – who doesn’t love that? I also made spicy italian meatballs – again, around here you can never go wrong with meat. Then I stuffed it all into sweet bell peppers (for those of us who eat peppers), added some marinara sauce, lots of basil and a little more cheese, PLUS a buttery Ritz Cracker topping. Then I threw it in my tiny little oven (yes, my big oven is STILL not yet fixed!) and baked it till I had some seriously cheesy, pasta stuffed peppers.

Oh and by the way, my tiny little oven?? I think it is going to be the death of me. It makes cooking for nine people a nightmare. Someone please, please, please tell the service people I need some help. Like right now – not Friday. Pretty, pretty please?!

Mini Italian Meatball Mac and Cheese Stuffed Peppers | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

These Mini Italian Meatball Mac and Cheese Stuffed Peppers are a super simple meal with simple flavors, but sometimes that is just all you need.

And yes, everybody ate this. The boys minus the peppers, but hey, close enough, right?

I totally think so.

Mini Italian Meatball Mac and Cheese Stuffed Peppers | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest Mini Italian Meatball Mac and Cheese Stuffed Peppers | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest
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The Recipe

Mini Italian Meatball Mac and Cheese Stuffed Peppers.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 -8 STUFFED PEPPERS

Ingredients

Mini Meatballs

  • 1 pound spicy italian chicken sausage
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 cloves garlic minced or grated
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

Mac and Cheese

  • 1 pound of your favorite short cut pasta
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 3/4 cup milk I use 2%
  • 2 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1 1/4 cups provolone gouda or havarti cheese, shredded (I used a mix)
  • 1 cup fontina cheese shredded
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2-3 cups of [your favorite marinara sauce | https://www.halfbakedharvest.com/crockpot-brown-butter-marinara-sauce/]
  • 6-8 bell peppers
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed Ritz Crackers about 1 sleeve
  • 3 tablespoons butter

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  3. While the water boils, combine the ground sausage, egg, olive, oil, parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, garlic, dried basil, dried oregano and a pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix with your hands until just combined, then roll the meat into small bite size balls, about 1 teaspoon of meat. Place on a baking sheet and bake 15-20 minutes or until crisp and cooked throughout. Reduce the oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Meanwhile make the mac and cheese. Boil the pasta until al-dente. Drain.
  5. In the same pot you boiled the pasta in, melt the 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let cook/bubble for 1 minute, stirring once or twice to avoid burning. Gradually whisk in the milk and raise the heat up to medium-high. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking frequently until the sauce has thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in all of the cheese, mustard powder, cayenne, salt and pepper. Stir until the cheese is fully melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the mini meat balls.
  6. Spread the marinara over the bottom of a greased 9x13 inch baking dish. Cut the tops off the peppers and remove the seeds. Place the peppers in the baking dish. Stuff each pepper with mac and cheese.
  7. In a bowl combine the Ritz Crackers and 3 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle the mixture over the peppers. Drizzle the peppers with a little olive oil.
  8. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 20-30 minutes or until the peppers are soft and the tops of the mac and cheese are golden. Serve with fresh basil and the marinara sauce in the bottom of the dish. Enjoy!
Mini Italian Meatball Mac and Cheese Stuffed Peppers | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

And really, who can pass up cheesy, carby goodness like that? Bonus, it’s almost Friday, so this is obviously acceptable.