Stuffed Peppers

I have been craving stuffed peppers.  My mom used to make these and I hated them.  I didn’t mind what was inside but did not like those peppers.  I guess my taste buds have changed – died due to the aging process 🙂 but I love peppers now.  I used green bell peppers today but I think next time I will use red, orange and yellow.  I also would like to try some other peppers besides the bell variety.  This recipe takes about 30 minutes to prepare and another 30 minutes to bake.   I found this recipe at  America’s Test Kitchen.  It reminds me of my mom’s recipe.  Here goes;

Classic Stuffed Peppers
(just like mom’s)

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4 green, red, yellow, orange bell peppers, 1/2 inch trimmed off tops, cores and seeds discarded (I used 6 green, they were small to medium size and on sale this week!)
1/2 cup long grain rice
1 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1# ground beef (or any ground meat.  If you don’t want meat add more veggies and/or rice)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (14 1/2 ounce) diced tomatoes, drained – 1/4 cup juice set aside for later use
5 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (1 1/4 cup)
2 Tablespoons parsley leaves, chopped
1/4 cup ketchup
Salt and pepper

Directions

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1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Adjust oven rack to middle position.

2.  Bring 4 quarts water and 1 Tablespoon of salt to boil in large stockpot over high heat.  When water boils,  add your peppers.  02062014 006Cook until peppers begin to soften, 3-5 minutes and remove with slotted spoon.
3.  Set the peppers upside down on paper towels to drain water, then flip over as soon as drained.
4.  Return water to a boil, add 1/2 cup of rice and boil until tender or 12 minutes.  Drain rice into colander and transfer to a large bowl; set aside.
5.  While the rice is cooking heat a 12 inch heavy bottom skillet over medium high heat until hot, add oil and swirl to coat.  Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and brown, about 5 minutes. Add ground beef and cook, breaking into small pieces, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.  Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
6.  Transfer mixture to the bowl with rice, stir in tomatoes, 1 cup cheese, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.
7.  In a small bowl stir together the ketchup and remaining tomato juice.
8.  Place peppers cut side up in 9 inch square baking dish. 02062014 009 Fill each pepper with meat/rice mixture.  Spoon 2 Tablespoons of ketchup mixture over tope of each filled pepper, sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake until cheese is browned and filling is heated through, about 30 minutes.  Serve immediately.02062014 013

Don’t limit yourself to the classic stuffing.  You could use any kind of ground meat, different cheeses, grains, veggies.  The list is endless.  Hope you enjoy this simple and delicious comfort food meal!!

 

 

Rice Pilaf – Simple and Delicious

How many times have you bought rice pilaf in a box?  Once you make this recipe you will not want to buy a box again!

Rice Pilaf
(courtesy America’s Test Kitchen)

February 010

Ingredients

3 Tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups long grain rice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
1 bay leaf
2 1/4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cups sliced almonds, toasted (I toast in frying pan over medium high heat on top of stove.  Just toss them around as they toast.  Takes 3-5 minutes)

Directions

  1.  Melt butter in large saucepan over medium high heat.  Cook onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt until just softened, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add rice and cook, stirring frequently, until edges begin to turn translucent, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, thyme and bay leaf and cook stirring constantly, until fragrant.  About 30 seconds.
  4. Stir in broth and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat to low and cook until liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and let stand, covered for 10 minutes.  Discard bay leaf and fluff rice with fork.  Stir in almonds.  Season with salt.  Serve.

So simple, delicious and takes no time at all.  Enjoy!!

Mongolian Beef – Crock Pot Dish

I saw this recipe on a food blog, The Recipe Critic.  I generally do not use my crock pot unless it is a weekend.  Cooking a bunch of food in a pot on weekday from 8am to 6pm just does not work for me.  The end result is usually way overcooked and not very edible.  I tried this recipe today, which happens to be a Saturday.  It was not overcooked and definitely very edible!!

Mogolian Beef (In case you want to know where the dish originates I linked it to Wikipedia)

September 028

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds Flank Steak
1/4 cups cornstarch
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
3/4 cup Soy Sauce
3/4 cup Water (I used Beef Broth)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup grated carrot
green onions (you don’t need to use these)

Directions

  1.  Cut flank steak into thin strips.  Put meat strips in a ziplock bag and add cornstarch.  Shake the bag to coat the meat pieces. Set aside.
  2. Add all other ingredients into crock pot and whisk together.
  3. Add meat to above ingredients and stir until all mixed together.
  4. Cook on high 2-3 hours or low 4-5 hours.  In my crock pot it was done in 3 1/2 hours on low.
  5. Serve over rice and if you like green onions add some of those too.  September 021(Next time I will be adding some chili peppers for a little heat.  I enjoy some heat in my dishes!)

That was it.  Could that be any simpler?  Enjoy!!

Puerto Rican Red (or Black) Beans and Rice

I saw 2 different recipes for beans and rice.  They both sounded good but combining some ingredients from one recipe to the other made it better.  Also, Martin2’s aunt is Puerto Rican and has her own special recipe.  He had somewhat of an idea of what she uses for her beans and rice recipe.   I made 3 different versions in the last couple of weeks.  They are ALL simple and delicious.  However, I like heat and this one is my favorite.  Here goes;

Puerto Rican Red (or Black) Beans and Rice

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Ingredients

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1/2 cup chopped lean ham (you don’t have to put meat in it.  I do not believe Martin’s aunt does.)
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced (I used red, that’s all I had in my fridge)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Adobo seasoning (if you don’t have on hand, use salt.)
1 packet Sazon seasoning (you will find in Hispanic section at grocery store)
2 teaspoons cumin
2 Tablespoons Sofrito (you will find with the Sazon seasoning)
1/2 cup Giardineira (I used hot, you can use mild or not at all)
1 – 15 ounce can red (or black) beans, drained
1 Tablespoon Sriracha sauce (Tabasco sauce is more common in Puerto Rican dish)
1 – 15 ounce can chicken broth (or 2 cups water)
1 cup rice (I used white long grain.  You could use brown rice, too)
2 Tablespoons olive oil

Directions

1. Place 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in large frying pan, over medium heat.  When shimmering add onions,pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of adobo seasoning.
2.  Saute onions and peppers until onions opaque, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, mix in with peppers and onions.june 014
3.  Add Sazon Seasoning, cumin, Sofrito and Giardiniera and mix together
4.  Add beans, hot sauce, chicken broth and rice.   Mix all together and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
5.  Reduce to low heat, simmer, covered for 20-30 minutes until rice is done.

That is it!  You will have a tasty, spicy meal.  Serve with a green salad.  YUM!!

Cilantro Lime Rice

This rice goes great with the Chipotle Restaurant chicken and black bean recipes.

Cilantro Lime Rice

May 039

Ingredients

2 cups water
1 cup white rice, long grain (I used Basmati)
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 bay leaf
1/4 FRESH lime juice
2 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped

Directions

1.  Add water, rice, oil, salt and bay leaf to large pot.  Cook over medium heat.
2.  Bring water to boil.  Reduce heat to low and cover pan for 15-2o minutes.
3.  Remove bay leaf.
4.  Add cilantro and lime juice, mix together and serve!

Again, Simple and Delicious!!

Sausage, Peppers and Onions – My favorite!

I LOVE sausage, peppers and onions.  This is a really quick meal you can make under an hour when you get home from work. I love it over rice, Kent loves it on a roll.  You could have in a roll, serve over pasta, rice or by itself.  Whatever works for YOU!

Sausage, Pepper and Onions

May 012

Ingredients

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1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound Italian sausage (I like hot)
2 red bell peppers, sliced 1/4 inch thick slices
2 onions, sliced (I like Vidalia onions)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregan0
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (no fresh, try 1 teaspoon dried – that is what I had to do tonight)
2 garlic cloves
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup beef broth (or chicken broth or water or marsala wine – whatever works for you!)
1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4-6 Italian rolls

Directions

1.  Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausages and cook until brown on both sides, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and drain.May 003
2.  Keeping the pan over medium heat, add the peppers, onions, salt, and pepper and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. May 005Add the oregano, basil, and garlic and cook 2 more minutes.
3.  Add the tomato paste and stir. Add the broth, tomatoes, and crushed red pepper, if using. Stir to combine, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release all the browned bits. Bring to a simmer.
4.  Cut the sausages into 1/2-inch slices. Add the sausage back to the pan and stir to combine. May 009Cook until the sauce has thickened, about 20 minutes.May 010
5.  Serve in bowls alone or over pasta or rice. Or, if serving as a sandwich, split the rolls in half lengthwise. Hollow out the bread from the bottom side of each roll, being careful not to puncture the crust. Fill the bottom half of the roll with sausage mixture. Top and serve sandwiches immediately

Cashew Chicken – Family Favorite

This recipe has been in our family for a very long time.  It is one of our favorite comfort foods.  I usually make extra rice on the weekend.  I marinade the chicken in the morning before heading to work.  It takes no time at all to make when I walk in the door from a long day.  Rice is even better when left over for stir fries.  Also, did you know you can freeze rice?  You sure can!   Even if you make everything when you walk in the door it is a quick weeknight meal.  Hope you give it a try!

Cashew Chicken

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Ingredients

Marinade:
3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Rice Vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh ginger (or 1 teaspoon of powdered ginger)
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or breasts), cut into bite size pieces

Sauce:
2 Tablespoons ice cold water
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon cornstarch

2 Tablespoons corn or peanut oil (you can use canola or vegetable too) I use peanut oil.  It is great for cooking in high heat.
2 green onions chopped
Snow Peas, Broccoli, Carrots or no veggies too.  It is up to you.
1 cup unsalted cashews, roughly chopped (sometimes I add, sometimes I don’t. Kent and I love the cashews!)

Steamed rice for serving  (I use jasmine or long grain rice.  2 cups water to 1 cup rice.  You can use whatever you want.  Your choice!)

Directions

1.  Marinate the chicken in a large bowl with 2 Tablespoons of the soy sauce, rice vinegar and ginger.  Stir and set aside for 15 minutes. You can also marinate all day or overnight. (I buy the boneless, skinless chicken thighs.  I cut them up in bite size pieces before I put in the marinade)  Also, this marinade can be used for chicken breasts to grill.  You don’t have to make stir fry if you don’t want to!!

2.  Make the sauce; combine 2 Tablespoons water, 1 Tablespoon soy sauce, the Worcestershire sauce, sesame oil, sugar and cornstarch, and store to dissolve the sugar and cornstarch. (I double the sauce recipe.  I always double it as it makes the rice and chicken even more flavorful.  You can try one to start and see what you think. Also, make sure the water is ice cold.  The cornstarch will blend better.)

3.  Stir Fry the chicken; heat a large frying pan over high heat until very hot and add 2 Tablespoons of oil.  (I use a stainless steel frying pan.  You shouldn’t use a non stick at high heat) Remove the chicken from the marinade, draining it well and discard the marinade.  Add the chicken to the frying pan and stir fry unit opaque.  5-7 minutes.

4.  Add the green onions (and whatever veggies you want to add) and chopped cashews.  Mix the chicken and whatever you add together. Give the sauce a quick stir, add to the pan and stir until the sauce thickens slightly about 2-3 minutes.  If you added veggies you may want to cook 5 minutes, depending on how crunchy you like them.

5.  I then add the rice to the pan and mix it all together.  You can also serve the chicken stir fry over the rice.  It is up to you.

I know this sounds like it would take a long time.  It really doesn’t.  It takes 45 minutes from start to finish.  It really is simple and delicious!