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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Turkey & Brie Panini

Welcome to The Week of No Grocery Shopping.  Also known as:  The First Week after the Holidays, The Week after our First Rent Payment was Due, & last but not least, The Week of HELL at Work.

Between the holidays, work stress, and just generally being poor… I’ve decided not to go grocery shopping this week.  I know I have a ton of food that I’ve stocked our new apartment up with, it shouldn’t be that bad, right?

After finishing the last of our frozen chicken breasts and seafood earlier this week, I wasn’t left with much to choose from for dinner last night.  The decision came down to three different things:  Pasta, Eggs, or Sandwich.  With the addition of the Panini Maker to our appliances last month… the choice was easily made:  PANINI!!!

Turkey & Brie Panini

What you’ll need (per sandwich):

2 Slices Wheat Bread (I’ve been using Arnold’s Double Fiber 100% Whole Wheat)

3-4 oz Sliced Deli Turkey (Dietz&Watson Smoked Turkey, I also used up the last slice of Honey Ham we had!)

1-2 oz Brie Cheese

1 Tablespoon Jam (I used Apricot-Balsamic from the farmers market, another good suggestion would be TJ’s Fig Butter)

1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard

Directions:

Heat the Panini Press on HIGH.  Let heat until the light indicates it’s ready.  Put the sandwich together, then spray both sides of the sandwich with just a touch of Pam.  Place on the panini press and PRESS down.  Wait about 4-5 minutes, flip, and press down again, letting it sit this time for only another minute.  Cut and serve. 

TB Panini

MMM!  This was a great way to make a boring dinner (what would normally be a lunch I guess!) special.  If you don’t have a Panini Maker, you could do this on a grill pan on the stove, using the bottom of a smaller, heavy pan ontop of the sandwich.  We did get ours for like $10 from Macy’s… it’s the best.

I can’t wait to see what other kinds of yummy sandwich creations come out of our kitchen next!  Here are three from my fav. Food Network chefs that I’m dying to try out…

Giada’s Chocolate Strawberry Panini 

Tyler’s Cobb Salad Panini

Rachael’s Outside-In Pizza Panini

You might also be interested in these other sandwiches and quick meals…

Salami Omelette (Leftovers!)

Salami Omelette

Portobello Burger w/ Balsamic Glaze

Portobello Burger w/ Balsamic Glaze

Matzo-Pizza

Matzo-Pizza

Fajita Salad

It is one of those nights where I just can’t get my act together to make something “fancy” for dinner.  It’s funny that this type of night is exactly when I end up turning a boring dinner into an awesome one!  I’m in the mood for salad, but also for something spicy… so Fajita Salads it is.  You can use any type of meat (or no meat) for these bad boys… but since my Mom had just bought some fresh ground turkey breast that’s what we decided to do.

 

DIY Fajita Salad

Ingredients:

1 Onion, sliced

6 small Sweet Peppers (or 2 bell peppers)

1 Tablespoon Garlic

1 Jalepeno

1 cup frozen Corn

1 packet Fajita Seasoning

1 lb Ground Turkey Breast

1 Can Rotel (diced tomatoes w/ chilies)

1/2 packet Taco Seasoning

Lettuce

Optional Garnish:  Salsa, Sour Cream, Shredded Cheese, Cilantro, Hot Sauce

Directions:

Slice all of the veggies and put into a heated and oiled pan.  Simmer on low.  Heat the ground turkey and chop into small pieces in another pan.  Add the fajita seasoning to the veggies and 1/2 of a packet of taco seasoning onto the ground turkey.  Also add 1/2 – 1 Can of Rotel to the turkey.  Continue to cook over medium heat until the turkey is cooked all the way through.

Serve the veggies and the turkey over chopped lettuce.

 

Like most of my recipes, you can really do whatever you want with this!  As you can see, even Dave and I had completely different salads.

My salad...

 

...Dave's Salad

We used Cilantro, chopped Grape Tomatoes, a bit of Reduced Fat shredded Cheese, Green Tabasco Sauce, a drizzle of Light Ranch dressing, and I threw in a few spicy peanuts we had in the house.  You really only need a DRIZZLE of dressing, if that.  The turkey and veggies provide enough sauce to make up for dressing.  What a great dinner, out of nothing.  I love it!

Turkey & Ham Wrap

All week I had no food in my house!! I finally was able to go shopping last night and could make myself a nice, healthy lunch.

I don’t normally ENJOY wraps… I eat them but never really like them. I needed a change though, from my typical light wheat sandwich so I decided to try Flat Out (light). For anyone who is like me and doesn’t like the huge wraps where half of the sandwich is only wrap… these are perfect. They are a little bit fluffier than a typical tortilla style wrap and are much smaller so you don’t end up with a mouthful of only wrap at the end. The nutritional info is amazing too, only 90 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 9 grams of fiber and 9 of protein too.

Today, I tried the Flat Out wrap with some turkey, honey ham, lettuce, and cherry tomatoes with Honey Mustard. I also sliced up half of a cucumber to eat on the side. After calculating the meal on my Livestrong MyPlate, I was happy to see that the entire lunch only cost me 284 calories total.

It tastes just as good as it looks!

Making myself lunch rather than ordering takeout makes dieting so much easier. I have control of what I’m eating, know how many calories I’m consuming, and am also saving money too!

I also am a huge snacker, which could be terrible for this diet. However, I try to keep lots and lots of healthy snacks in my office (secret snack stash!!!) to help me make good choices. I keep some fruit in the fridge, along with almonds, mini cliff bars, Melba Snacks, tea, and various 100 calorie packs (my new fav is the Oreo Dipped Bar).

I hope everyone has a great day… mine’s already halfway over!

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Guacamole & Mexican Corn Pasta

After a Diet Week 1 of eating healthy Asian foods… it was time for a change.  The farthest thing from Asian I could think of was MEXICAN!  Mom and I cooked up a do-it-yourself Mexican feast!

No mexican feast could be complete without some homemade guacamole.  This batch happened to be the BEST one I have ever made.  I couldn’t stop eating it!  Although avocados are very healthy, you do have to watch your portion control as they are high in fat and calories.

This batch of guacamole is a modification from a Paula Deen Recipe.  It is so easy.  All you have to do is cut the avocadoes in half and score them, making small squares still in the skin.  Scoop them out with a spoon and combine with the rest of the ingredients.  Stir it and season to taste.  That’s all!

Guacamole Ingredients

4 Ripe Avocadoes (How to Cut an Avocado)

¼ Cup finely diced Onion

¼ Cup diced Tomato or Cherry Tomatoes

1 teaspoon minced Garlic

1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

1 teaspoon Salt

½ teaspoon Lime Juice

½ teaspoon Lemon Juice

You don’t even need to measure anything in this recipe… just stir it all together and make changes when you taste it.  The avocado will mush more when you add the citrus juice, but try not to mash it since it’s good to keep some of the pieces in there.

Best Guac ever!!!

These are the healthiest, best tasting tortilla chips out there. They can be more expensive but are totally worth it. 14 = 1 Serving!

see for yourself!

With the guacamole made, we had a nice snack while we cooked.  Mom and I took Extra Lean Ground Turkey and cooked it in a large pan with ½ a packet of Taco Seasoning and ½ a can of Rotel (diced tomatoes with chilies).  She also cooked up one green and one red Bell Pepper, one Poblano Pepper and an Onion which was sauteed on medium heat with just some Cooking Spray.

The ground turkey with Rotel

I also cooked up a pot of Trader Joe’s new Corn Penne Pasta.  This pasta is gluten free, and my best friend Julie (who is not only GF but dairy free among other things…) highly recommended this stuff… so I had to get it!  Julie did mention that you have to make sure you cook it long enough, or else it is very starchy and hard.  I cooked it for about 12-15 minutes or so.  While the pasta and the ground turkey were cooking up, we prepared the rest of the ingredients:  Corn, Pinto Beans, Sautéed Bell Peppers & Onions, and tortilla wraps for everyone else.

Check out that spread!

My meal ended up looking amazing!  I used the corn pasta, ground turkey, beans, corn, a dollop of light sour cream & guacamole (I already ate SO much while cooking), and finished it off with some taco sauce.  MMM!  Delish!

This was a wonderfully hearty and satisfying meal, which was a perfect follow-up to my amazing workout earlier in the evening.  I had to share that I ran THREE MILES for the second time in my life!  I am so proud of myself.

What have you been doing to get in better shape and stick with the January 2012 Healthy Lifestyle Challenge???