This is a basic, crowd-pleasing stuffed pepper recipe, with rice and sausage. I started out making this with boxed rice pilaf mix, but have switched to using plain rice and seasoning it myself. Make sure to drain the peppers thoroughly while you make the stuffing--it'll ensure that the final product isn't too wet. —ieatthepeach
Cut off the tops of the bell peppers, remove the stems, and set the tops aside. Remove the seeds and ribs from each bell pepper, then sprinkle the cavity with salt and place upside-down on paper towels. Leave to drain while you assemble the stuffing. Finely dice the reserved bell pepper tops, and set aside.
In a saucepan, combine chicken stock, garlic powder, onion powder, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then add rice and a large pinch of salt. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until the rice is cooked--20-25 minutes for white rice, 30-40 minutes for brown rice. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400° F, and place a rack in the middle position. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cut or squeeze the sausage out of its casing and add to the pan. Cook, breaking up the meat with your spoon or spatula, until the last traces of pink disappear. Add reserved bell pepper tops, onion, carrots, and zucchini, and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Add cooked rice, tomato sauce, and salt and pepper to taste.
Arrange peppers, cut side up, on the baking sheet, and distribute the stuffing mixture evenly among them. Sprinkle the top of each pepper generously with cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the peppers are just tender and the cheese is golden. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.