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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Balsamic Peppers & Chicken Panini

Still goin’ strong with the new Panini maker.  It’s so much fun.  I’ve been really into buying different breads and testing them out to see which is the best.  This week’s bread was the Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat Tuscan Pane.  This bread is a great shape for a nice big panini and is hearty enough to hold lots of good stuff without falling apart.

There are a few steps to making this panini, but you could make some modifications or even preparations to make life easier which I’ll go over in a bit.

I had some extra time while I was making this so I also decided to be fancy and whip up a nice little Smoky Garlic Aioli to dress the sandwich.  Turns out just an extra tiny little step made a big difference.  Yum!

Balsamic Peppers & Chicken Panini

(for one 🙂 )

Ingredients (for the peppers):

1/4 Onion, cut into thin slices

1/2 Fresh Jalapeno (leave this out if you don’t like spicy), cut into thin slices

1/2 Orange or any Bell Pepper, cut into thin slices

1 Teaspoon Olive Oil

1 teaspoon Minced Garlic

Sea Salt, Black Pepper & Italian Seasoning to taste

1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar

Ingredients (for the sandwich):

2 Slices Hearty Bread (TJ’s Whole Wheat Tuscan Pane is what I used)

1 Chicken Breast (the thin sliced kind)

Lettuce (I used baby spinach), Tomato, Mozzarella Cheese

Ingredients (for the Smoky Garlic Aioli):

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil Mayo

1/2 teaspoon Minced Garlic

Garlic Powder, Sea Salt, Black Pepper, & Smoked Paprika

1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice (approx)

Directions:

1.  Cut your veggies and heat your panini press.  Heat the olive oil in a small pan.  Add the garlic, bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, onion, & seasonings to the oil and cook while stirring for about 5 minutes.  Add the balsamic vinegar once the veggies are soft and starting to brown just a bit.  Stir the veggies with the balsamic until they are coated.  Cook for another 3-4 minutes while stirring.  Remove from heat and set aside.

2.  Lightly salt and pepper the chicken breast on both sides.  Wipe the pan clean and coat with cooking spray.  Heat over medium-high and place the chicken breast on the hot pan.  Cook for about 4-5 minutes on both sides until the chicken is cooked through.  Set aside.

3.  Prepare the Smoky Garlic Aioli by simply combining the ingredients in a small bowl and stirring until mixed together.  Don’t forget to taste test it.  You can add more mayo if it’s too garlicy or more salt & paprika if it’s too plain.

4.  Put the sandwich together.  I slathered the Aioli on both sides of the bread, followed by the chicken, the peppers & onions, then some spinach, tomatoes, and cheese.  Press the sandwich together and spray both outside pieces of bread with cooking spray.  Place in the panini press and press down!  Heat for about 4 minutes, flip, and repeat.  Enjoy!

Okay, so there are a lot of steps but it's so worth it!

Okay, so there are a lot of steps but it’s so worth it!

All ready for some heat!

All ready for some heat!

All done!  Ready to devour...

All done! Ready to devour…

SO- while this silly little sandwich seems like it’s going to take a while to make, theres a few things you can do to help you out.  You can either buy pre-cooked chicken, or just cook yourself a few chicken breasts extra another night.  I do this often, then save them for a few days for other recipes.  You can do the same with the veggies and even the aioli.

And for the record, “Aioli” is a fabulous scrabble word to get rid of lots of vowels!  One of my personal favorites 🙂

Click here for other awesome Sandwich Recipes:

Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese on a Whole Wheat English Muffin

Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese on a Whole Wheat English Muffin

Green Apple and White Cheddar Tuna Melt

Green Apple and White Cheddar Tuna Melt

Turkey & Brie Panini w/ Fig Butter

Turkey & Brie Panini w/ Fig Butter

Southwest Chicken Melts

The past two weeks have been so super busy for me.  Besides my normal jam-packed weekends, work has been crazy, I have been ontop of my workout schedule, and I have been shopping like a maniac to get ready to move!  Who has time to make a great dinner when there’s a sale on duvet covers at Bed Bath?

Oh, and I should probably mention… that a lot of my free lunch-break time has been spent with my dear Kindle reading the second book of 50 Shades of Gray.  Talk about deeeeelish.

I wanted to share today’s recipe with you not only because it was really yummy, but because I’m probably going to make it again soon.  Yesterday marked the boyfriend Dave’s first day on a new diet.  He changed around some things and also wants to do LOW-NO CARBS for three weeks.  Ugh.  I think Chicken Melts will be our new theme for dinner.  (I was hoping for that to be stuffed potatoes, but clearly those will have to wait)

This recipe stood out to me and has been saved in “My Recipe” box for months because of the Roasted Poblanos… mmmmmmmmmmmm!

What was really special about this dinner is that my Dad helped me make it.  My dad has a few specialties… he makes a mean Grilled Cheese, Captain Crunch with Chocolate Milk, Sweet & Spicy Bacon, and really, really, really good Roasted Red Peppers.  While I’ve been meaning to learn how to do the Peppers for a while, I haven’t quite found the time yet, so when he was coerced offered to help me with the Poblanos, I was so excited.

Poblano Chiles ready to roast! Thanks Dad!

Southwest Chicken Melts

Recipe inspired by:  Sunset, 2010

Makes:  4 Servings

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons of Oil (I use Sunflower Seed Oil)

4 Poblano Chiles

4 Chicken Breasts (if you have the monster-huge ones, slice them in half)

2 teaspoons Cumin

1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

1 teaspoon Sea Salt

Black Pepper

Lime Wedges

1 Avocado, pitted & sliced

1/2-1 Cup Shredded Cheese (I used Cabot Reduced Fat Jalapeno Cheddar)

Directions:

1.  Put your oven on the broil setting.  Prepare a broiler pan with water.  Rub 1 Tablespoon of oil on the chiles.  Place the Chiles on the broiler pan and put in the oven (dont forget to leave the door open on broil!).  Keep your eye on the peppers, as you’ll need to turn the chiles 90 degrees (with tongs) once the skin ontop has browned.  Repeat until all sides are dark brown or charred.  

2.  Take the “burnt” chiles and plop them right into a brown paper bag.  Either place the bag in a plastic bag to avoid leakage or use a brown paper grocery bag wrapped in a plastic bag (we save ours when we go shopping!).  Close the paper bag and allow the chiles to steam for 10-20 minutes and let cool.  Leave the broiler on, you’ll use it later.

3.  Meanwhile, you can rub or spray 1 a little bit of oil over the chicken breasts.  Combine the seasonings (cumin, cayenne, salt, pepper) and sprinkle over the chicken breasts.  Grill the chicken or use a grill pan and cook, turning once until browned and cooked through (maybe 5 minutes each side if they’re thin sliced).  

4.  Take the cooled chiles and peel off the skin running under cold water if need be.  Slice off the top.  Slice in half and remove seeds to lower the heat, leave them in to keep it hot.

5.  Squeeze some lime over the chicken, top with avocado slices, a reserved roasted poblano, and a sprinkle to a 1/4 cup of cheese.  Put the assembled chicken breasts onto the broiler pan and broil for maybe 3 minutes until the cheese starts to bubble and just brown.  Enjoy!

Shred your own cheese! A nice cheddar or jack cheese would do here. I had a block of reduced fat and like to go a little healthier whenever possible.

I used some extra avocado since only 2 of us wanted it and it was just too good to waste!

TaDa!!

 

MMM… getting hungry today thinking about this one!  We ate the melts with a side salad, but you could do black beans, rice, or even put it on a nice crusty roll if you’re not trying to Low-Carb like Dave!

Another variation would be to buy a jar of roasted red peppers which will cut down on the time it takes to make these and also would cut down on the heat.

 

Goat Sausage & Peppers

 

We ate GOAT!  Although I’d like to feel super brave for doing this… honestly goat did not taste any different than any other meat I’ve ever tried.

The Goat came from a vendor called Many Rocks Farm @ the JFX Farmers Market in Baltimore (so did this week’s Purple Basil!).  Donny suggested we try it, and the vendor told us that the Goat Chorizo Sausage was a great bet “if we like spicy”… duh.

(Goat) Sausage & Peppers

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

Serves:  4 Sandwiches, with some sausage/peppers leftover!

Ingredients:

4 Fresh Hoagie Rolls

2 Red Bell Peppers, seeded and chopped into small strips

2 Green Bell Peppers, seeded and chopped into small strips

1 Onion, sliced on the thinner side

1 Teaspoon Minced Garlic

Olive Oil Spray (or 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil)

4 links Goat Chorizo Sausage (or other sausage!)

1 Can Tomato Paste

1 Can Tomato Sauce

Fresh Basil (I used maybe 12 leaves, chopped)

Italian Seasoning Blend, Red Pepper Flakes (optional) Salt, Pepper, Asiago Cheese (Grated)

Directions:

1.  Heat a large pan over medium-high heat.  Add the Olive Oil Spray, then the garlic, onions and peppers.  Sprinkle with just a touch of salt and pepper.  Stir occasionally and let cook for 10-12 minutes. 

2.  Meanwhile, cut the sausage into small circles.  Try to keep the sizes the same so they cook evenly.  Once the peppers are starting to soften, add the sausage.  Cook for 5 minutes, then stir around or flip them to cook the sausage evenly. 

3.  Add the Tomato Paste, Sauce, Basil, Italian Seasonings, Red Pepper Flakes, and again- a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Stir around to combine.  Cook for another 5-8 minutes.  Take out a piece of sausage and cut it to make sure it’s cooked all the way through. 

4.  Carefully spoon onto dug-out hoagie rolls.  Top with desired amount of grated Asiago Cheese. 

 

So pretty! Lots and lots of peppers and onions cooking up first.

Peppers, Onions, Basil, Seasonings, and Sauce… gettin’ hotter!

These were so good! I want to make them again…

Dave and I were really surprised how much we liked the goat sausage!  Granted, if you put anything with tomato sauce and peppers, it will probably taste great… but we loved it.  The Chorizo had a nice kick too.  Believe it or not, goat is actually one of the healthiest meats out there.  I wished we lived closer and could get the Goat Sausage again. YUMMY!

I made a nice fresh TBM stack to go along side using Jersey Tomatoes and some super Fresh Mozz. My new fav. salad.

The saucy finished product

 

Cinco de Mayo Corn Salsa

Ever since I started to eat tomatoes, I’ve had the urge to try to make fresh salsa.

For as long as I can remember, I wouldn’t even look at fresh salsa.  The chunks of raw tomato seriously disgusted me, and fresh salsa was just one thing I was missing out on for years and years.  With Cinco de Mayo quickly approaching and nothing to eat for dinner last night, Dave and I decided to give it a-go!

This recipe sounds like a lot of ingredients, but I promise it’s so easy and you probably have mostly everything already in your house.

Cinco de Mayo Corn Salsa

Recipe by:  It’s Good to be the Cook
Ingredients:
1 Can Whole Kernel Corn
1/2 Red Bell Pepper
1 Jalapeno Pepper
1 cup Grape Tomatoes
1 Avocado
1 teaspoon Minced Garlic
1 Tablespoon Fresh Parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Sugar
1-2 Tablespoons White Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
a few shakes of Green Tabasco Sauce
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt (or to taste) & Ground Pepper
a pinch Cayenne Pepper
Directions:
1.  Finely chop all veggies except the avocado.  Place in a bowl with the garlic, parsley, vinegar, lime juice, and Tabasco sauce.  Add the sugar, a little at a time and stir everything together.
2.  Add Salt, Pepper, and Cayenne.  Again, add everything a little at a time so you don’t overdo it.
3.  Pit and slice the avocado into small hunks, then add to the bowl.  You want to add this last so it holds its cubed shape.  If you stir it too much after this point, the avocado will mush up.  It will still be delish but it won’t be as pretty.
4.  Stir lightly and serve with tortilla chips!  I recommend UTZ Baked Tortilla chips or any Corn Tortilla.

Everything chopped!

all ready to eat 🙂

Results:  OMG!  Loved it.  Both Dave and I were impressed with our ability to throw this one together… together!  He was really helpful, besides just being a wonderful taste-tester…hehe.  This was the freshest “fresh” salsa ever (it was my first ever! lol) and had great bold flavors despite it not being very spicy.  You could remove or add more jalapeno, cayenne, or hot sauce to add or remove the spiciness.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!

Veggies, Red Sauce, & Elbows

Stelly and I were left to ourselves last night, which has been rare now-a-days.  What to make for dinner?  I was looking for something quick (obviously) and healthy and the first thing that caught my eye in the fridge was our giant clamshell of Yellow Grape Tomatoes.  Here’s what Stel and I came up with!

Veggies, Red Sauce,  Elbows

Recipe by:  It’s Good to be the Cook
Ingredients:
1 cup Smart Taste Elbows, uncooked (or any other pasta but I like this the best!)
1 1/2 – 2 cups Tomato Sauce (I used Prego Heart Smart)
Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Minced Garlic
1 Zucchini
1 Green Bell Pepper
Yellow Grape Tomatoes
Italian Seasoning Mix, Sea Salt, Pepper, Fresh Parsley, Cayenne Pepper
Shredded Parmesan-Reggiano
Directions:
1.  Cut veggies.  Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Dump the garlic, and veggies into the oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Saute for 10 minutes or so or until the veggies are cooked to your liking.  I like mine on the softer side, so I cook them until they start to brown just a little bit.  You can lower the heat to medium.
2.  Meanwhile, boil a pot of water and cook the pasta.  Add a few drops of olive oil and a shake of sea salt to flavor the pasta and make sure it doesn’t stick to the pot!  Cook for about 6 minutes.  Drain.
3.  Once your veggies are cooked, add the tomato sauce, chopped fresh parsley, italian seasoning, and cayenne pepper (for some heat… optional!)  Add the pasta.  Stir to combine.  Add cheese to each individual serving.  Enjoy!

So pretty. Veggies are cut and ready to be sauteed!

I originally thought this would make enough for me to eat for dinner and lunch the next day, which is why I measured the pasta, exactly two servings.  With the added volume from the veggies, it ended up coming out to be a whole FOUR servings.  This means that what I’m eating is 1. cheaper and 2. less calories!  Although I saved on those two important factors, the flavor was still great.  I didn’t share with Stelly, but I do have to share a few new pics of her and our other dog (Sushi) with YOU!

Stella is recently obsessed with waterbottles. She can take the cap off and drink water out of them. No lie. Video will have to come soon.

Sushi and Stella, patiently waiting for me to stop blogging!!

Chili-Lime Veggies for Faux-Fajitas

This week I made a fab version of my non-sizzle fajitas (I know, that takes out all the fun) that I just had to share with you! Making Mexican food at home can be really great because it allows everyone to personalize their own dishes. This time, I cooked the veggies perfectly, so they were still crunchy and the onions didn’t disappear- something that I always seem to do when over-cooking them. I used Chili Powder and Lime juice to give the veggies a nice kick and unique taste.

Chili-Lime Veggies & Faux-Fajitas
Ingredients:
1 lb Ground Beef (I normally use turkey but this was all we had)
1 packet McCormick’s Fajita Seasoning
1/4 cup Water
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
12 mini-Sweet Peppers
1 Sweet Onion
1 Jalapeno
1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
2 Tablespoons – 1/4 cup Lime Juice
1 teaspoon-1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
Salt, Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, Paprika (to taste)

Garnish: Tortilla Chips, Corn Tortillas, Avocado, Shredded Cheddar, Chopped Tomatoes, Hot Sauce, Sour Cream, etc.

Directions:
1. Cook/chop up the ground beef in a skillet over medium-high heat. Drain fat, if any and add seasoning packet & 1/4 Cup Water. Lower heat and simmer.
2. Meanwhile, chop onion and peppers and throw into a saute pan with the oil, garlic, and lime juice, over medium heat. Mix in seasonings. Cook while meat is cooking, about 10-20 minutes.
3. Serve meat and veggies with desired garnish.

What else can you do? Feel free to add any veggies you want, like mushrooms or zucchini. MMM!

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