Stuffed Peppers – Turkey-Quinoa… in a Crockpot – yikes!

Okay, I admit it.  Never had, nor never wanted a crockpot.  I love to cook, so I never saw the point.  Given that, we got one this year and I did make a delicious Chicken Chili Verde.  Although that worked well for that purpose, I still couldn’t think of any reason to use, or want to use, a crockpot.  As my dad and I talk about food and cooking most every time we talk, he told me he had just made stuffed peppers in a crockpot.  (That surprised me because I never knew the crockpot to be his go-to cooking method.) . I guess I was hungry when we talked because that sounded so good to me, and I knew I’d make enough for a few to go into my freezer pantry.   Today being Father’s Day, though my father is 3,000 miles away, was the day I put crockpot stuffed peppers to the test!  Results:  AWESOME!

3.5 hours on high in the crockpot, then 20 minutes in the oven at 400F (I couldn’t help myself because to me it’s all about the golden color and added texture/taste.) . Here you have it, healthy, delicious, nutritious Turkey, Quinoa, Spinach, Feta, Crimini Mushroom, and Diced Tomato stuffed peppers!

(I had enough extra stuffing left for about 4 more peppers, so I made those directly in the oven.  Same result, but with 2+ hours with lots of checking, covering/uncovering, removing liquid, etc.)

Still not a crockpot convert, but it will be my go to cooking method the next time I’m craving stuffed peppers!  (Stuffed peppers allow you the freedom to put whatever you want in them, so get creative and have fun.  If you want more information about these peppers, let me know.)

Buon appetito!

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Everything Old is New Again!

Too many holiday leftovers?  Have you sworn you’ve eaten them for the last time?  Get creative and turn them into something new – with half the work already done for you!  Here are a couple of tasty treats I made after a 3-day food fest over Christmas weekend!

Chicken Pot Pie made with leftover chicken – 3 ways, a half bag of leftover fresh spinach leaves, a big bunch of carrots, some roasted potatoes, and a few other veggies (both cooked and uncooked) that rounded out the list of repurposed leftovers!

Picture of Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie

I also had an extra pound (ball) of dough from a couple of pizza rolls I made over the Christmas weekend, so I decided to make a pizza with whatever I could find in the refrigerator.  I make my own pizzas at home all the time, but this was a first with only leftover ingredients I could find in the refrigerator.  I knew I had a little leftover red sauce and some mozzarella and parmesan cheeses on hand, but I wasn’t sure what else.  I served some delicious hard salami earlier in the week, so whatever I had left of that went on the pizza.  After a little more searching, I came across a container of spinach artichoke dip that I prepared a few nights earlier – and that became the perfect (last) topping before popping it in the oven.

Picture of fresh baked pizza

‘Anything Goes’ Pizza

I hope you all enjoyed this holiday season in whatever way you celebrate – and I hope it was filled with good food and fun!  Here’s to a delicious 2017!

Buon Appetito!


Savory Goodness!

Quick post today – to share two SAVORY and DELICIOUS recipes that I recently tried, and will make time and time again.  These recipes are straight from the source, Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) and Bon Appetit Magzine (February).   Although no creative license on my part, these are so worth passing along for you to try.  I know they’re going to make an appearance at your next cocktail dinner party.  You’re sure to impress!  Enjoy!

 

Blue Cheese and Walnut Crackers Recipe

Blue Cheese and Walnut Crackers Recipe

Picture of Blue Cheese and Walnut Crackers

Blue Cheese and Walnut Crackers (Image Source: Food Network)

 

Picture of Sour Cream and Scallion Drop Biscuits

Sour Cream and Scallion Drop Biscuits

Picture of Sour Cream and Scallion Drop Biscuits

Sour Cream and Scallion Biscuits  (Image Source: Personal Collection)

 


Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Easy, Delicious, and Nutritious!

It’s Sunday again, and for those of you who have been following this blog for a while, you know I usually invest a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon in the kitchen so I’m sure to have delicious and nutritious lunches and dinners throughout the week ahead.  One item I typically pick up at the store each week is a tub of hummus to have with any variety of raw vegetables, pita chips, or pretzels.  As I was reaching for it at the store this morning, I remembered that I used to make it myself many years ago, so I turned to the canned food aisle and picked up a coupe of cans of Garbanzo beans, instead!

Roasted_Red_Pepper_HummusMaking your own hummus couldn’t be easier.  Open and drain the Garbanzo beans and empty into a food processor.  Smash 1-2 cloves of garlic and throw that in, along with the juice of 1/2 lemon, about 3 TBSP Tahini (or peanut butter works perfectly well) and a pinch of salt.  To make the Red Pepper part of the hummus today, I added about 1 roasted red pepper (that you’ll find in a jar by the oils, mayo, and mustard section in your grocery store) and a pinch of salt.  (I also added in a couple of dashes of Aleppo pepper flakes for a little bite!) As the food process is doing its magic, drizzle in extra virgin olive oil until the hummus becomes a consistency you desire.  Not too runny, not too thick!  Perfect to stick to the veggies, chips, or pretzels.  Have fun with this recipe.  The basic ingredient is the Garbanzo beans, some garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil.  The rest is up to you!


Savory Tart – Ricotta and Carrot

This recipe (with slight revisions/omissions) came straight from April 2015 Bon Appetit magazine – Carrot and Ricotta Tart!

Carrot_Ricotta_Tart

Carrot_Ricotta_Tart

Start by washing and peeling 3-4 large carrots, then slice each carrot into thin coins.  Peel and thinly slice 2 large shallots (which I used instead of onion.)  Heat 2 TBSP olive oil in a skillet and saute the shallot (with Kosher Salt and Black Pepper) until lightly browned (about 5 minutes) then add the carrots and continue cooking for another 2 minutes, then set aside.

Defrost/thaw one sheet frozen Puff Pastry, lightly roll out on parchment paper (just to seal the creases,) and score a one-inch border around the pastry shell.  Transfer parchment paper to baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 400F until puffy and light golden brown.  Meanwhile, whisk a 15-oz container of Ricotta Cheese with 1/2 cup Heavy Cream.  When tart comes out of the oven, spread the ricotta cheese mixture onto the tart, inside the one-inch border.  Then top with the carrot/shallot mixture – and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes until pastry shell is a deep golden brown.  (Carrots will also be cooked through at this point.)  When the tart comes out of the oven, sprinkle with fresh chopped chives, and additional (Kosher or Sea) salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Cool, cut, and serve!  (Note:  You end up with a thick layer of ricotta mixture on this tart.  If you prefer a thinner layer, you might be able to stretch these same ingredients into two pastry tarts.)

This served as an interesting, creative, and delicious start to our friend Christine’s birthday dinner!  Buon Appetito!


Spaghetti Squash – Twice Baked!!!

Until recently, I had never eaten spaghetti squash, let alone cook with it.  I recently shared an appetizer of Spaghetti Squash Parmesan with my friend Sylvia and I was hooked!  Check out my take on this easy, delicious, and nutritious (I’m sure) recipe:

Twice_Baked_Spaghetti_Squash

Twice_Baked_Spaghetti_Squash

Wash and cut (lengthwise) one spaghetti squash. With a tablespoon, scoop out and discard seeds and stringy interior from center of squash.  Lightly coat cut surface and interior with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper.  Place cut side down on parchment lined sheet pan and bake for 45 minutes to one hour at 375F.  You’ll know it’s ready when a knife can be easily inserted into the center of the squash.  Let cool for 10-15 minutes until you can comfortably handle the squash.  Using the tines of a fork, scrape along the interior (down to the skin) of the squash, peeling away ‘spaghetti-like’ strands of squash.  Remove to a bowl and toss with the red sauce of your choice and 2-3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese.  Once squash is well coated with sauce, scoop back into the squash shells, top with Mozzarella cheese, return to parchment lined baking sheet – and continue baking at 375F for another 10-15 minutes (until cheese is melted.)

Let stand to cool for a few minutes – and enjoy!  Pair with a mixed salad, crusty Italian bread, and a glass of red wine!  Delicioso!


International Bacon Day – Who knew???

Did you know August 31 is International Bacon Day?  It took me by (PLEASANT) surprise!  To all of my vegetarian and/or non bacon-loving followers, thanks for allowing me to indulge!  I came home on Saturday (August 31) afternoon to find a bowl of jalapenos on the counter, the last of our container crop this year.  I had a little of the cream cheese filling left for some of them (to make more poppers [previous post],) but not enough for all of them.  What to do????

As I pondered what to do with the rest of the jalapenos, Mike asked if I knew it was International Bacon Day.  That triggered some bacon wrapped jalapenos stuffed with leftover Spinach-Quinoa [previous post.]  (I had added some chopped sun-dried tomatoes to this batch of Spinach-Quinoa for a little something extra.)  And there you have it!

Bacon-Jalapeno

Carefully cut the end off each jalapeno.  With a sharp pairing knife, hollow out the inside of each pepper.  Stuff with quinoa mixture, wrap an entire piece of bacon around all sides, place on a foil-lined baking sheet, bake in a 375-400F oven until crispy and caramelized.  (25-30 minutes ???)  As the bacon cooks, it seals itself around the pepper.  You’ll know when they’re ready.  Let them rest for a few minutes – then enjoy!  Mmmm….. BACON!