Let’s Make Rustic Stuffed Bell Peppers

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

I hope everyone has gotten all they wanted & are ending 2013 strong and in lifted spirits.

I’ve finished my year with graduating from culinary school. Something I can happily cross from my bucketlist and list of dreams. I was also gifted a very posh black & chrome standing mixer, the newest Robin Thicke Album because I love him to pieces, and plenty of underwear because I had none.

But, best of all, I was offered the opportunity to work at an amazing company I had the pleasure to intern with for the past 2 months. Hard work pays off, guys! & I am feel incredibly blessed and pumped to be able to work in the culinary field with an awesome company that has already taught me so much. It also means I get to leave the poor & starving college student Phase which undoubtedly makes this a very Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.

Speaking of poor college student…

lets talk about the times when you have almost nothing in the fridge or pantry. Nothing that seems to go together at all.

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The Boy wanted food fast but not fast food. Spoiled by the good holiday eats with my family, he didn’t want to follow Christmas Day with food from Chez Taco Bell. Without much in the fridge to work with, we started brainstorming alout all the things we wanted to eat, but obviously couldn’t. Once I said

“I’m sure I can make stuffed bell peppers with what we actually DO have.”

One of his favorite things to eat. He pretty much told me to get crackin (in a polite way of course) & so I came up with a recipe that knocked his socks off.

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Nothing was measured for this and was mainly done by intuition & what will taste good. That is one of the best things about homey & rustic comfort foods like this: There are no real rules to follow & you can have a delicious homecooked meal without having much in the fridge or a huge budget.

You Will Need :

  • Bell peppers
  • Ground beef or turkey
  • 1/2 cup rice, fully cooked
  • half onion, small dice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tomatoes, med. dice
  • 6 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 tsp fresh rosemary minced
  • apprx 1 1/2 cups grated cheese of your choice. I used colby jack
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic salt

What To Do :

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

In a pan big enough for your chosen portion size, turn on med high heat with a table spoon of oil.

once pan is hot, add in half onion small diced and a pinch or so of salt and sweat til transluccent.

and minced garlic & sliced mushrooms. saute until mushrooms are tender

Add ground beef or turkey to brown. Season

*if using ground beef be sure to drain off excess fat once the meat has completely browned

Add diced tomatoes and 1/2 cup tomato sauce. After about 5 minutes, add your already cooked rice & adjust seasonings. Turn heat down to low while you prepare the peppers.

Slice the tops off the peppers and take the core out. its okay if there are still lingering seeds. What’s most important is that you remove all of the white membrane.

Spoon filling into each pepper to the very top.

top with grated cheese and put into your preheated 450 degree oven for 15- 20 minutes or until bell pepper is fully roasted and cheese has completely melted.

Enjoy!

 

Let’s Cook! : Hearty Fully Loaded Turkey Quinoa Soup.

turkey quinoa soupI was Dying For Soup This week.

Yes. Literally. Not the ancient gummy noodle soups found in a can near you either.

I’ve been talking all week about how much i want soup. How much I want to make soup. About what i want in my soup. I had knife skills to practice and recipe ideas to get out of my head.

Then I got Sick.

So The boyfriend caved and we went out and got all the ingredients I wanted.

I Think we can all agree that soups and stews are the most adored comfort foods during the winter season. And I also can’t be the only fan of one pot cooking. No, it’s not quite out of laziness nor is it due to my lack of desire to clean more dishes than I have to. It’s simply the concept of being able to build flavors and layer them from the bottom of the pot to the very top and letting everything mingle and marry together.

imageAnother great thing about soup is that it’s hard to go wrong with it. There’s rarely any need for a recipe. One can pretty much throw anything in a pot with a bunch of stock and let it do it’s thing and it wont come out bad unless the ingredients don’t make sense together (ie: Cinnamon chocolate beef tomato soup).

I also love that I can make a big pot of soup at the beginning of the week and have something hot and comforting to eat on lunch breaks at work or something to look forward to on chilly nights and, yes, even mornings.

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 Without Further Ado, here’s my recipe for a deliciously hearty and decadent Turkey Quinoa Soup packed with protein, iron  and other good healthy stuff.

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1/2 large onion med. dice
  • 2 stalks celery cut 1/4 inch pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic , minced
  • 1lb ground trukey
  • 2 roma tomatoes peeled, seeded, medium dice
  • 2 cups baby spinach, stems off.
  • 1 (15oz) can red kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15oz) can white beans drained and rinsed
  • 3 bay leaf
  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • salt
  • pepper
  • hot sauce (optional)
  • enough chicken stock to cover completely (Chicken broth or water can be used just adjust seasonings accordingly.

Procedure:

In a large pot, heat tsp of oil over medium heat. Add onions and celery with a pinch of salt to  help onions sweat or become translucent. add garlic and ground turkey. Once meat has browned, add tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. add 3 bay leaves and cover completely with chicken stock.

Once soup has come up to a simmer, Add in 3/4 cup of Quinoa and let simmer until it is cooked through. You will know when quinoa is fully cooked when the the inner circle begins to separate from the outter ring. Once quinoa is fully cooked, you can add in both cans of beans and adjust seasonings. Bring the soup to a boil and reduce it to a simmer.

After the soup has simmered for about 10 minutes , taste to check if seasonings should be adjusted. after adjusting or not, add in spinach at the end of cooking and continue to stir until spinach is cooked through. This is also where you can add your hot sauce or  ground chilis if you are a fan of spice.

Remember to remove the three 3 bay leaves, Serve HOT! & enjoy.