Enchilada Stuffed Peppers

stuffedpeppers

As it turns out, getting a new job, getting married, planning and going on an 18 day honeymoon in Hawaii all while trying to maintain a social life is JUST ENOUGH to prohibit me from blogging like I used to!  Sheesh!  Imagine that.

I’m more than happy to be back to share the first of many awesome recipes I’ve been busy with in my kitchen for you today.  This recipe is my first attempt at Stuffed Peppers- something Dave and I first tried on our trip to Israel  and that I have promised to make for him since.  It’s only taken 3.5 years.  No big deal.

I will be the first to admit that bell peppers are not my favorite ingredient.  I know they’re so basic and in everything, I just am not their biggest fan, so I guess I wasn’t super excited to try these out.  I think it was my trust in one of my favorite bloggers, Nikki from Chef in Training that gave me the courage to try this new recipe out (she’s fabulous, check out her blog!).  Her recipe for Enchilada Stuffed Bell Peppers caught my attention, especially because I already had most of the ingredients in my pantry.  Score!

Enchilada Stuffed Peppers
Recipe slighly adapted from: Chef in Training

Ingredients:

6 Red Bell Peppers  

1lb Ground Turkey, lean

2 Zucchinis, chopped small

1 – 15oz can Black Beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup Corn

1 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese (plus a little extra for topping)

10oz can Enchilada Sauce

1 teaspoon Cumin

1 teaspoon Salt & 1 teaspoon Pepper

Fat Free Sour Cream for topping (optional)

Directions:

1.  Cut just the tops off the bell peppers and hollow out the insides.  Place in a large baking pan or pyrex dish and set aside.  

2.   In a large skillet, brown and chop ground turkey and the zucchini until cooked through and juices run clear and the zucchini is starting to soften.  

3.  Place turkey/zucc mixture in a large mixing bowl and add the black beans, corn, cheese, enchilada sauce, cumin and salt and stir until everything is combined.  

4.  Stuff each bell pepper to the top.  Cover the pan with foil.

5.  Bake in the oven at 350 for 1 hour.  Remove pan and foil and sprinkle a little extra cheese on the top and bake uncovered for another 5 minutes or so until the cheese is melted.  ENJOY!

 

Peppers ready to be stuffed

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The original recipe calls for a little more ground turkey, which I didn’t have handy, so I used the chopped zucchini, which worked just fabulously.  You could really use whatever vegetables you wanted!  If you chop them into nice, small pieces, it will work perfectly.

My new job requires me to work one “late day” each week, so this stuffed pepper recipe was perfect for that type of day.  I did all the cooking in the morning, which didn’t take long… then I stuffed the peppers and prepared them in the dish and stuck them in the fridge.  When I left work for my 45 min commute home, Dave popped them in the oven and dinner was ready when I got home!  It was perfect.

We ate the peppers for lunches the rest of the week- they are absolutely delicious.  The enchilada sauce makes the dish so flavorful and spicy, and I just love hot lunches in the wintertime.  I can’t wait to try new versions of this!  Who knows, maybe this will be the start of me finally liking bell peppers?

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TexMex Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Did you vote?  I did!  After arriving at 7:10 and waiting in a 30 min line, I was a little disappointed that I didn’t receive an “I Voted” sticker!  Boo!

 

Stelly says “I voted! Ruff Ruff!”

 

Typically,  recipe-post process includes about a week or sometimes two (or more… cough cough) in between the time that I make the recipe and the time I sit down to post it for you.  Today’s recipe is from TWO nights ago.  I don’t even remember the last time I did this.  I love it so much I couldn’t keep it to myself any longer.

I’ve seen this recipe a few times traveling around the food blogger network and I’ve been itching to try it.  There are many different versions but the recipe I based mine off of was perfect for me, I didn’t need to get ONE thing from the grocery store.  I added a few personal touches and voila, here I had one damn delicious dinner just in time to watch the election coverage.

I’ll give you the original recipe size but let me tell you what I did… since I was the only person eating this dish, I only baked one sweet potato.  I cooked up the entire batch of filling and added some Organic Quinoa to it to use for other meals.  I also probably ate an entire serving’s worth of filling while “tasting” and snacking while the potato was baking.  Whoops!  It’s just that good.

TexMex Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Recipe adapted from:  Bev Cooks

Ingredients:

2 Sweet Potatoes

2 Tablespoons EVOO (I used Sunflower Seed Oil)

1/2 Sweet Onion, chopped

1 Tablespoon Garlic, minced

1 Jalapeno, chopped (seeded for less heat.  I used 1/2 can Jalapeno Wheels since I had some in the house)

1 can Corn, no salt added

1 Tablespoon Cumin

1 Tablespoon Chili Powder

1 bag fresh Baby Spinach

Salt & Pepper to taste

1 can Black Beans, drained and rinsed

Handful Mushrooms (I used 1 small can, again… we had it in the house)

1/2 cup Fat Free Plain Greek Yogurt

2 teaspoons or 1 heaping Tablespoon Fat Free Cream Cheese

1 cup (or less) Reduced Fat Cheddar or Mexican Blend Shredded Cheese

Parsley Flakes & Smoked Paprika for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Rinse Potatoes and pierce a few holes or slices in the top.  Pat dry and place on foil or a baking sheet in the oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes, checking at the 1 hour mark.  They will be cooked when it can be easily pierced with a fork.
  2. Set aside to cool while you prepare the filling. (I baked this the night before)
  3. Heat the oil in a skillet (med high).  Add the Onions and saute for 3 minutes.  Add the Peppers and Garlic, saute another 3 minutes or so.  Now, add the corn and saute for another 3 minutes.  Add the seasonings and stir.  Dump the spinach ontop and saute until it’s just cooked and wilted.  You may need to stir to get all of it cooking.  Season with the salt and pepper.  Remove from heat.
  4. Slice the potatoes in half by length and with a spoon, scoop out most of the potato.  (see the photo… mine came out totally uneven, one had too much removed and one not enough.  Don’t sweat it.)  Place the Potato in a large bowl, adding the Corn Mixture, Beans, Mushrooms, Yogurt, and Cream Cheese.  Stir to melt the cream cheese and combine.  Taste and add seasoning if necessary.
  5. Evenly spoon the filling back into the sweet potato boats and top with shredded cheese.
  6. Switch the oven to broil, slide the potatoes back in until the cheese is just lightly browned and bubbly.
  7. Garnish with a shake of Smoked Paprika and Parsley and serve immediately!

Note:  Use leftover topping with Quinoa, over Pasta, or just eat it plain… it was amazing.

So, the results were awesome.  I actually surprised myself.  I can’t believe how good this is.  Since i had eaten so much of the topping while I was cooking (lol) I was only hungry enough to finish one Sweet Potato boat (1/2 potato).  I cannot wait to have one today for lunch!!!!!

Onion, Garlic, Oil: saute it up!

Add your Seasoning and Peppers

Add Corn and Spinach…

Once it’s all cooked, add it to another bowl along with the Sweet Potato, Mushrooms, and Beans.

See, they’re totally ugly and uneven (dont worry if yours end up this way!)

Stuffed, Cheesed, and ready for the oven

Here’s where the whole bowl of leftover topping went + a batch of Quinoa! YUM!

Warning:  Serious Food Porn ahead!  Proceed with caution!

Slice me up that sweet po!

Saved you a bite!!

Insta-Tater

I think I like this whole Stuffed Potato thing… I’m going to hunt down a few more recipes for the near future… it’s on.

Here are the one’s I’ve tried:

Breakfast Stuffed Baked Potato

Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Baked Potato

Chicken and Broccoli Fajitas

It’s been a while since I’ve done my go-to “when I dont feel like cooking but wanna eat something good” Fajita dinner.  Last night was one of these types of nights, getting home at 8pm (gag) and not having stopped at the grocery store.  Let’s throw everything into a big saute pan with some sauce and call it a night.

But like, how often do you find yourself doing this… whole throw it in a pot and see what happens… thing, and having it end up amazing?!  It’s not always about finding super-awesome recipes from Cooking Light or on Rachael Ray’s show, or even really pretty or creative ones on Pinterest… it’s about those random nights where you just do your own thang and it turns out AWESOME that are the best.  Like this meal, which I’ll call:

Chicken and Broccoli Fajitas

A recipe by:  It’s Good to be the Cook

Ingredients:

2 Chicken Breasts

Sea Salt & Pepper

1 Tablespoon Oil (I use Sunflower Seed Oil, you can use any kind)

1 Green Bell Pepper, cut into strips

2 Jalapeno Peppers, cut into rings (seed it if you don’t like spicy!)

1 Onion, cut in half then into thin slices

1 head Fresh Broccoli, cut into smaller florets

1 bag Frontera’s Classic Fajita Skillet Sauce

1 Can Light Red Kidney Beans

Garlic Salt

1/2 Avocado

Sour Cream

Cheddar Cheese 

Wheat Tortilla (Medium Size) Soft Shells

Directions:

 

 

1.  Heat the oil in a large skillet.  Add onions and cook for about 5 minutes until they become soft and are starting to brown.  Add the pepper and jalapenos.  Cook for another 5 minutes.  Add broccoli.  

2.  Meanwhile, spray a different pan with cooking spray, and cook the chicken on medium-high heat.  Sprinkle both sides with just a touch of salt and pepper.  

3.  When the chicken is finished cooking, cut it up into strips and add into the veggies.  Add the Fajita sauce and stir.  Cook for another few minutes over medium heat.

4.  In a separate pot, dump 1 can of beans (drained) and sprinkle some garlic salt.  (I did not measure, just do it by taste).  Heat over medium-high heat while stirring.  Test a bean and once they are hot take them off the stove and smash with a potato smasher.  They don’t have to all be mashed.  Put in a bowl on the side.

5.  Serve chicken/veggie mixture with the bean smash over warmed tortillas with Avocado, FF Sour Cream, and RF Cheddar.  Delish!

 

YUMMY!  I’ve been waiting to use this skillet sauce, since I got it from my Foodie Pen Pal back in May.  I really want to buy it again, it was so good.  I want to mention that while Broccoli isn’t typically found in fajitas- it was great in there.  First of all, the fresh broccoli soaked up tons of the yummy fajita sauce.  The broccoli was also great because it’s so big that it takes up a lot of room and will make you put less in your tortilla wrap!

The beans are awesome too- while they seem super simple… which they are… they taste great.  My friend Allie from www.AllIEatFood.com taught me how to make these beans with Black Beans, which I actually had run out of.  They’re just as good with the Kidney Beans.  They were a great healthy addition to bulk up the fajita.  (I’m currently wishing we had saved more while I’m eating the leftovers for lunch!)

 

What kind of great things have you made up without trying?  

This fajita had a ton of green in it! Here it is sizzling in my saute pan.

 

Two thumbs up for this easy to use sauce.

 

I served the veggie/chicken mix in a big bowl so everyone could take their own.

 

My dish- one tortilla with the beans, veggies, chicken, a SPRINKLE of Reduced Fat Cheese, 3 slices of Avocado, and a dollop (a ‘Daisy) of Fat Free Sour Cream. MMM!

 

 

 

 

 

Trader Joe’s Carne Asada

Trader Joe’s makes an amazing pre-marinated steak that I love to pick up every once in a while. It’s a great change of pace from my typical asian-flavored marinades I normally use.  This Carne Asada packs a PUNCH of Mexican flavor.  It is a bit spicy but super flavorful.  The steak is also sliced so thin that all you have to do is put it over some high heat (pan or grill) and it’ll be done in just a few minutes.

I cooked this batch up with some Parmesan Garlic French Fries and Sauteed Spinach.

For the Parmesan Garlic French Fries, I took a good ol’ bag of frozen fries my Dad keeps in the house and fried them in a pan with some Sunflower Seed Oil.  I added Minced Garlic, Sea Salt, Black Pepper, and some Smoked Paprika.  Once the fries were all crisped up, I removed them from the pan onto a wad of paper towels and shook off some of the oil.  Next, they went into a brown paper bag with a few shakes of Reduced Fat Parmesan Cheese.  I added a few shakes of Sea Salt too.  YUM.  What a great combination with the garlic and parmesan… seriously yum.

The spinach was frozen also, I just took a big hunk of it and threw it into a saucepan with maybe 1/4-1/2 Cup of water.  I let it cook over medium-high heat until all of the spinach “melted” and was stirable.  It is a pain in the ass (using frozen spinach) but you have to drain the water.  I take a colander and cover it with a few layers of paper towels, then use some paper towels for my hands and squeeze it all out.  Careful though, it can be really hot!  When serving, add a squeeze of lemon juice, a few sprays of butter spray, some salt and pepper and another shake of that Reduced Fat Parm Cheese.  That’s all you’ll need!

Deelish! Super fancy on our paper plates 🙂

Thank you, Instagram!

Salsa Chicken & Southwest Quinoa

After my “John the Dietitian” meeting last week, I was inspired to try something new.  I like to ask John for suggestions of meals and snacks, and he’s helped out so much with that.  John has me addicted to plain fat free greek yogurt or fat free cottage cheese… topped with berries and a tablespoon of Polaner All-Fruit jelly.  YUM.

This week, John recommended cooking a chicken breast in a skillet… smothered in salsa.  Um, WOW!  So good.  The salsa is like, zero calories and absolutely zero points for Weight Watchers.  It has fiber and hardly any sugar.  What a great idea.

Beth’s Salsa Chicken

Recipe by:  It’s Good to be the Cook
Serves:  2 (1 WW point per oz of chicken)
Ingredients:
  • 2 Chicken Breasts (i use 6-8oz)
  • Sea Salt, Black Pepper, Cayenne Pepper (if you dont’ want spicy try Paprika!)
  • 1 Jalapeno, seeded & sliced thin
  • 1/2 Onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 Jar of your Favorite Salsa (15 oz)
Directions:
  1. Marinate the chicken in the salsa for as long as you can.  
  2. Spray a grill pan with cooking spray.  Heat to medium-high temperature.  Take the chicken out of the salsa.  Reserve salsa.  Place the chicken on the hot pan and season the top.
  3. Place the onion and jalapeno ontop of the chicken.  Let the chicken cook for about 5 minutes (or longer, depending on thickness) without touching it.  Now, carefully flip the chicken to make the onion and pepper side-down.
  4. Let it cook for another 5 minutes, flip again, then dump the salsa ontop.  Cook until the chicken is done (reaches 165 degrees inside).  Serve and enjoy!

My chicken grilling with some seasoning!

How pretty!

Oh… and by the way… I’ve fallen in love.

I’ve fallen in love quinoa (keen-wah… in case you’ve always wondered) !  I know I’m a little late to the Quinoa Party… but seriously.  WOW.  This wasn’t the first time I’ve enjoyed it or tried it, but the first time I’ve made it myself.  I had always been a little intimidated and I don’t know why… doesn’t get much easier than that!

I made this “Southwest” Quinoa to go along with my Salsa Chicken.  I totally wished I had fresh Cilantro to really complete the southwest feel… but I didn’t.  Oh well!  It was still so good!

Southwest Quinoa

Serves:  4-6 (4 Points per Serving if you do 6)
Recipe by:  It’s Good to be the Cook
Ingredients:
  • 1 Cup Quinoa, uncooked
  • 2 Cups Water (or chicken broth… I just didn’t have it)
  • 1/2 Can Corn
  • 1/2 Can Black Beans, rinsed
  • 2 Jalapenos, seeded and minced
  • 1 Tomato, cored and chopped
  • 1 Cup Onion, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
  • Sea Salt & Black Pepper
Directions:
  1. Cook Quinoa according to the package directions:  Combine Quinoa and Liquid in a LARGE pot (it will almost triple in size!).  Bring the quinoa to a boil, lower temperature to LOW, then cover.  Simmer for 15 minutes covered.
  2. Fluff with a fork when it’s done and take off of the heat.  Make sure all of the liquid has been absorbed.  Add all of the rest of the ingredients and stir.  Serve!

    The uncooked quinoa floats ontop of the water before it boils. Just stir it in and get it goin before you turn the heat all the way down.

    Everything that’s going into the Quinoa

    Finished product

I loved this and it went perfectly with the salsa chicken.  It was fresh and spicy and delish.  Try Quinoa ASAP… it is awesome and so healthy!

YUM!

ABC Salsa (Avocado, Bean, & Corn)

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe.  Where have I been?

Besides spending the last two weekends at “the shore”, I have started up a new diet.  I re-joined weight watchers, and also saw a dietitian (John) who filled in a lot of the blanks that Weight Watchers leaves out.

The basic jist of my new “lifestyle” diet.

1.  Weight Watchers:  I’m using the new point system that is a definite upgrade from when I did it two years ago.  It now uses CARBS & FAT = more points and FIBER & PROTEIN = less points.  I get to eat what I want but have to be aware of serving size.  They also allow you to have almost 2 full days extra allowance for days you need some extra points or “splurging” days.  You also gain extra points for workouts.

2.  Tracking on WW:  Since I already have the knowledge of what I should and shouldn’t be eating… the most important part of this all for me is the tracking.  Being held accountable absolutely makes me eat better and be aware of everything going in my mouth.  The new program for WW has an unbelievable Iphone/Ipad app that has made this all a breeze.  You can even scan things right into your phone and their nutrition, point value, and serving size come right up.  Cool.

3.  Upgrade my eating schedule:  The biggest problem John had with my current diet (besides my eating Fiber One “candy bars” he called them) is my eating schedule.

What I was doing:  9am Coffee , 11am Breakfast , 2pm Lunch , 3pm Snack , (workout) , 8:30pm Dinner

What he wants me to do:  8am Breakfast , 10am Snack , 12pm Lunch , 2-3pm Snack , (workout) , 6-6:30pm Snack , 8pm Dinner

He says that my body won’t burn calories until I have actual food in my body… not coffee.  So I had been wasting 2-3 hours every day of time not burning calories.  

4.  Snacks are not Snack-Food:  John’s thoughts on snacks are that they should consist of a protein and a fiber.  He wants me to start thinking of “Snack” as a time to eat, not a type of food.  I’ve been eating fat free Greek Yogurt w/ Allfruit spread or Fig Butter, Cottage Cheese w/ blueberries, Cucumber and Carrots w/ Laughing Cow or String Cheese… etc.

So far, I’m loving the combination of the two!  The weight watchers gives me direction when I want to eat and the motivation to keep track while John is helping me out with what’s really healthy and how to help my body make the changes I want to see.  From now on, I’ll try to remember to include the WW Point Values on all of my recipes!

With all of that being said, I’ve been busy food shopping for new foods and getting used to this new diet.  This past week, I went to the movies and I didn’t want to be hungry, so I made myself a nice little batch of this delicious salsa to much on before I left.  I ate it with Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Blue Corn Chips (which are so salty and delicious!).

ABC (Avocado, Bean, & Corn) Salsa

Recipe by:  It’s Good to be the Cook
Makes 4 Small Servings @ 4 WW Points Each
Ingredients:
1 Tomato, chopped
1/2 Avocado, cut into small squares
1/2 can Corn
1/2 can Black Beans
1 teaspoon Garlic, minced
1-2 Tablespoons Lime Juice
Hot Sauce (a couple of shakes)
Salt, Pepper, Cayenne Pepper
Directions:  
1.  Simple… combine all ingredients and stir, adding the Avocado in last to avoid mashing all of the pieces.

This recipe is similar to my Cinco de Mayo Corn Salsa (I really like corn salsa, could you tell?!) but has the beans and a few less ingredients.  It is very easy to make but tastes very good!

Pork Carnitas

Trader Joe’s Pork Carnitas & Peach Salsa

Want a great, inexpensive idea for dinner? Pick up a package of Trader Joe’s Pork Carnitas and a jar of Peach Salsa. It is so simple! Here is what I did with it… it only took me five minutes.

Ingredients (makes 4-6 servings):
1 package TJ’s Pork Carnitas
1 jar TJ’s Peach Salsa
10 drops Tabasco Sauce (green kind!… optional)

Directions:
1. Cook pork according to directions on the package… Microwave for 2-3 minutes, then shred.
2. Put the pork in a bowl and dump the entire jar of salsa into the pork and combine. I added the Tabasco sauce for some heat.
3. Enjoy alone, over rice, or in a corn tortilla.

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