Stuffed peppers, my version

So, I asked Hubby what should we do with the two green peppers languishing away in our fridge’s produce drawer. Mind you, I have stored these in there in one of those mesh produce bags so they are doing just fine. I forgot to take them camping with us so now I feel they need to be used. Hubby suggested stuffed peppers. I’m thinking I have not made stuffed peppers but once in my life and Betty Crocker had me blanch the peppers before stuffing. What a hassle that was! But I figure I would give it my best shot anyway. I looked up a more modern recipe and found that blanching was not essential. Yay! As I am making these for our dinner one weeknight after work, I begin to add all sorts of ingredients. It becomes another version of Southwestern Quinoa salad that I had just thrown together. There are differences so just bear with me. Thanks!

  • 4 small yellow peppers
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/4 cup ground beef (I confess, I diced up one frozen pre-formed burger pattie.)
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1 can tomatoes with chilies
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa (I again used the boil-in-bag kind.)
  • 2 medium sized green bell peppers
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon jarred minced garlic
  • a few grinds of fresh pepper
  • and don’t forget the cheese: 1/2 cup shredded
  • olive oil for sauteing

Chop and dice the onion and yellow peppers. Saute these in a bit of olive oil until nicely aromatic. Also add the garlic. (I forgot garlic until later, oops!) Brown the ground beef in this concoction and season with cayenne and black pepper. Get that all nicely browned together. Oh, by this time I am remembering to cut the tops off the green peppers and dice the tops and add this to the skillet. Use a large-ish skillet. Add the corn and stir this around for a bit of a saute as well.

Meanwhile cook your quinoa as directed on the package. Drain or fluff when appropriate. Add the can of tomatoes and the can of drained black beans. Taste for additional seasoning. Add the quinoa and stir all together. This in itself would make a nice meal. But I’ve got these two bell peppers with the tops cut off and the membranes removed sitting like wobbly cups on my cutting board, so let the stuffing begin.

I have semi pre-heated my oven to 350 degrees F. I’m taking a big chance here and hoping this won’t undo the nice cooler house temperature that the cooler weather has brought us over the past two days. My kitchen is not air-conditioned. The small unit in the dining room does not reach it well so we close it off so the dog can stay cool enough at night to breathe. But I digress.

Find a suitably sized baking or casserole dish (this one is 1 1/2 quarts). Spoon the filling into the two peppers. Then spoon the remaining filling all around. Now top each pepper with cheese. Truth be told the only shredded cheese we had was a “pizza blend”, but cheese is cheese! Cover the casserole dish with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Then uncover the dish and bake another 15 minutes. The peppers will be al dente but that is the way we like them.

Enjoy! The leftover filling will make a good take-to-work lunch.

Advertisements

Southwestern Quinoa salad

I threw a side dish together one evening after work. I thought we needed something in addition to whatever we were eating from the grill. I also had this spare cob of corn. Most likely the main dish was grilled chicken with a dry rub and finished with sauce but it could have been cheeseburgers or grilled Italian sausages. This dish turned out very tasty and the leftovers were perfect to take to work for lunch.

 

  • 1 can black beans, rinsed
  • chop a small onion
  • dice a few small peppers
  • blanch one ear of corn; cut kernels from cob
  • chop a few jalapeno peppers, as many as you like for “heat”
  • cook your quinoa; I found this “boil in bag” recently and think it is a fabulous thing. Cook as much for how many servings you would like.
  • dice some grape tomatoes
  • make a lemon or lime vinegrette
  • chop some cilantro

Mix all of the above together. Initially it is tepid due to the warmth of the cooked quinoa but this does not detract from the deliciousness. Leftovers are cold and are just as delicious.

 

 

Not Tuna Salad

We were going to make tuna noodle salad to have for dinner on one of these hot summer evenings. Hubby likes to put raw onion in these salads; I can do without. But we have Vidalia sweet onions in the pantry and these are easier to eat raw. Hubby says to let him make the salad as he knows how to. I abide by his wishes and agree to just cook the elbow noodles so they would be cooked and chilled for his return home from work.

But this did not turn out to be tuna noodle salad made with elbow pasta…

IMG_1480

So first of all, I found no elbow pasta in my pantry. I had two whole boxes in there recently, or so I thought. I did have these curly pasta, cavatelli, capatelli, something like that. I cooked all of that up; it was almost the entire pound package.

Hubby comes home and I start looking for the tuna. We have no tuna in the pantry; we have only one can in the Camper. This is not enough so he searches through the fridge for his ingredients. He leaves the tuna out altogether.

Can you guess what is in there? I have no clue what spices and herbs he used. But it was a very tasty dish and we had it for two suppers.

I do know some of the ingredients. He used broccoli, green pepper, Vidalia onion, shredded cheese, chunks of cheddar cheese, chunks of a beef summer sausage, and carrots.

 

 

Hubby’s hors d’oeuvres

Hubby had a food event at work. He was to bring something. These little treats are his go-to. Super simple and tasty, with a little spicy bite!

IMG_1495

  • one package ham slices, 14 ounces
  • one package cream cheese, 8 ounces
  • jalapeno peppers from jar, as many as suits your taste

Soften the cream cheese; chop the peppers. Combine these using some of the pepper juice to make a spread. Spread on slices of ham. Roll up lengthwise and cut into thirds. Serve with toothpicks.

Procrastibake: Streusel Coffee Cake

So my house needed cleaning. I did eventually get around to it but not before I found lots of other things to pay attention to. And baking is one of those things that is easy to get lost in especially when the weather in Southern New England switches from summer to winter every other day! This past week seems to have alternated rainy cold days with warm sunny “sit in the backyard with a cocktail” days.

This recipe is from my standard 1978/1969 Betty Crocker Cookbook. I chose not to make the sour cream coffee cake because I had cow’s milk in the fridge that needed to be used. This can be made in a 9-inch square pan or a 9 x 13 inch pan. I chose the 9-inch square.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup raisins (my addition)

First of all, I only had 1/3 cup butter in the fridge. I did not want to wait for the frozen butter to thaw. And I will need 3 more tablespoons of butter for the streusel. What to do? I have a handy dandy jar of coconut oil in the pantry. It really is not an appropriate substitute for butter but for oil, but I have used in for cookies in the past, so went for it anyway. So I used 2 Tablespoons coconut oil with 3 Tablespoons butter in the cake.

Make the streusel by mixing all together the following:

  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I may have added some to the cake as well)
  • 3 tablespoons butter (I had 2 of butter and 1 of coconut oil)
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I had used all the nuts earlier in the week so left these out)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. For the cake beat all of the first list of ingredients in a mixing bowl for 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Lightly grease the pan and spread 1/2 the batter in the pan. Sprinkle on half the streusel. Spread the remaining batter on top and then sprinkle with the rest of the streusel. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

IMG_1066

Oh, and I mixed in a quarter cup of oats with the streusel.

The 9 inch square pan needed 45-50 minutes to bake completely.

The amount of streusel was barely enough. I don’t think it would have worked at all as layering in a 9 x 13 inch pan. In future make twice the amount for either sized cake.

This is a nice moist cake. I will make it again. I may have actually made it a long time ago as I vaguely remember having the same thoughts about the amount of streusel.

 

Quick Rice Pilaf

A friend of mine showed me an article in the NYTimes about Procrastibaking. Good article; you should read it. I don’t work from home but I do have urges to bake in order to avoid things like…deep housecleaning, another load of laundry, clearing out the sewing room, sorting books from the shelves to give away to the library. I love books. I love having several books piled askew on the coffee table, bedside stand, etc. It is very hard to give away books.

I read the article; I baked brownies. I may bake blondies as well. Depends on what else I want to put off doing…

But this is not about books. Well, I do write about recipes from my 50+ cookbooks. (These are not being sorted through to give away. Not yet.) I find that I have been cooking less from recipe books. I throw things together and may look something up for an idea of a flavoring or additional ingredient. So for supper I wanted to make rice along with the vegetables and I made a pilaf, AKA rice with peas and carrots. 🙂

  • bag of instant brown rice (Success is the brand, 10 minutes in boiling water and its done)
  • 1-2 cups frozen peas and carrots
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • a few colorful peppers, chopped, I used 3 red mini-peppers and 1 yellow mini-pepper
  • olive oil for the pan
  • a few shakes of soy sauce

Cook the rice. Put oil in a skillet and saute the onion and peppers. Stir these a bit. When they have a few nicely browned bits, add the peas and carrots. Stir and add the soy sauce. Mix with the hot rice. Voila!

IMG_1064

 

Apple Crunch Pie

I made an apple pie with a crunch topping. I was trying to make a crumb topping but it was very crunchy, tasty but very crunchy. I had a bunch of apples that needed to be made into a pie or a brown betty. Hubby voted for pie. There were some Empire, some Gala, and some Granny Smith apples. I sliced up about eight of them which made 4 cups. I had a pre-made, bought pie crust, just one so I had to make a topping.

I made the Cinnamon Add-a-Crunch topping from my handy-dandy Quaker Oats cook booklet. Thinking on it now, the “add-a-Crunch” should have given me a hint as to the outcome! I love crumb toppings that use melted butter. Makes it so much easier to mix than “cut together with fork until resembles…”

  • 1 1/4 cups quick or old-fashioned oats, uncooked
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup wheat germ (I actually have this! It’s great to sprinkle over the waffle batter before you close the lid on the waffle iron.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

The actual recipe says mix this together and cook in skillet for 5-7 minutes and then spread on cookie sheet to cool. I figured it would cook on the pie so I just mixed it all together and added 1 cup of chopped walnuts as well.

Make your apple pie. Spread this topping on top. Bake your apple pie. Voila! Very pretty.

IMG_1009

My pie was tasty but the apples did not meld together in any fashion. I had to serve this in bowls. I may have forgotten to pat the top of the apples with butter, but that can’t have been the problem. I never cook my pie fillings first and other apple pies have turned out like pies. I don’t make apple pies frequently enough to experiment like America’s Test Kitchen. I have had this same problem once or twice before which I attributed to the type of apple and/or size of the apple slices. But I sliced these apples in thin slices.

We ate the pie. We enjoyed the pie. It just wouldn’t have won any prizes!