Stuffed Bell Peppers

Last night I made stuffed bell peppers with chicken sausage, brown rice, and some veggies. It was an easy, delicious dish that you could also make vegetarian by taking out the sausage.

Here is what you’ll need:

– 1 cup cooked brown rice

– 1/2 red onion, chopped

– 2 stalks of celery, chopped

– 1 clove garlic, minced

– 1 large tomato, chopped (or 1/2 cup chopped cherry tomatoes, which is what I used)

– 2 large bell peppers (I used one yellow and one red)

– 2 tbsp. olive oil

– 2 chicken sausage links, chopped (I used Adele’s mango and jalapeno sausage)

– 1 jalapeno, diced (you can leave this out if you don’t like spicy food)

– 1 glass of red wine (for drinking, not for cooking)

Directions:

Pre-heat your over to 350 degrees. Saute onions, garlic, jalapeno, and celery in olive oil until soft, about 5 minutes. Add in chopped sausage until warm (this sausage is pre-cooked, and just needs to be heated through). Once sausage is warm, add chopped tomatoes and cooked brown rice. Cut off the tops of the bell peppers and clean out insides. Add rice and sausage mixture to bell peppers and place in oven on a baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes or until peppers are soft. Sprinkle with a little paprika and serve warm.

Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce

Now that the weather is finally starting to cool down and it’s actually looking a little like fall outside, I have been craving a rich, creamy fall pasta. So, I decided to make a butternut squash sauce.
I wanted this to be quick and easy, so I picked up a package of cubed butternut squash from whole foods.

Here is what you’ll need:

– 1 medium yellow onion, diced

-1 clove garlic, minced

– 1 1/2 cups butternut squash, cubed

– 1 tbsp. olive oil

– Fresh parsley, torn

– Fresh Basil, torn

– 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (or other red pepper)

– 1/4 cup butter

-1/2 white wine

– 1/2- 3/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock

– salt and pepper to taste

– pasta of your choice

Directions:

Cook onions and garlic in olive oil until they start to turn clear. Then add wine and broth and bring to a boil. Add squash and lower heat. Throw in parsley, salt and pepper, and cayenne pepper and cover. Let cook until squash is tender, about 10-15 minutes. While the squash is cooking, start your pasta. When the squash is ready mash with a fork or potato masher to make a thick consistency. Add water or broth to thin out the sauce at this point if necessary. Add butter and stir. Serve over freshly cooked pasta of your choice and top with torn basil and a little red pepper. The buttery sauce goes great with a glass of nice chardonnay.

Warm Apple Crisp

A friend of mine at work brought me a bunch of apples from her parent’s apple tree last week and I have been dying to make something with them. I haven’t had a lot of time to cook or bake so I thought a warm apple crisp would be easy and delicious.  It only takes a few ingredients and is so easy to throw together.  If you remember from Triumphs of a Terrible Baker, I cannot bake. But this was so easy even I couldn’t screw it up. I started with about 9 apples. Then I peeled, cored, and sliced them.

Then combine 2 tbsp. of flour, 2 tsp. of cinnamon, and a 1/2 cup of white sugar and pour them over your apples until they are coated.

Combine  1 cup raw oats, 1/2 cup brown sugar (I used dark because it’s all I had), and 2 tsp. cinnamon. Slowly add small chunks of butter or margarine and mix until oat mixture is crumbly. Then place apples in a large baking dish and cover with oat mixture.

Bake for 55 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve warm and top with cool whip, whip cream, ice cream, or eat by itself!

Pumpkin Banana Oatmeal

I’ve been making pumpkin oatmeal the last few mornings and I have decided it is my new favorite breakfast. I cooked the oatmeal with a sliced banana, a little almond milk, and two large scoops of pumpkin puree. Then I mixed in some flax-seed and topped it with a little granola, a small scoop of peanut butter, chia seeds, and one day I added shredded coconut. I think it is the perfect warm breakfast for fall.

 

Pumpkin Smoothie ‘Soup’

I recently stocked up on a few cans of pumpkin and am going to try to use it up in as many ways as I can think up. Last night I wasn’t hungry for a big dinner, so I decided to make a pumpkin smoothie. I wanted to add a few toppings to the smoothie to give it a little crunch, so I served it in a small bowl and ate it with a spoon, just like it was soup. It was delicious!

Here is what you will need:

1/2 cup canned pumpkin

1 whole banana

1 cup ice

1 cup (or more, depending on the consistency you like) soy milk, almond milk, or regular milk!

1/4 raw oats(not necessary, but I like the texture it gives the smoothie)

1/4 cup non-fat vanilla yogurt (I used plain and I think vanilla would have been better)

2 tbsp. brown sugar

Toppings-

2 tbsp. flax-seed

handful of granola of your choice (I used a chocolate hazelnut granola and it went so well with the pumpkin!)

Directions:

Put all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth.

Pour into a bowl and top each serving with 1 tbsp. flax-seed, a pinch of cinnamon, and a little granola.

Modified Bruschetta

If you don’t remember from my older post, Bru-ske-tta, I love Bruschetta and I try to make it all different ways. In Italy, all I did was rub tomatoes and garlic on a piece of toasted bread and add olive oil and basil. Sometimes I use sautéed onions and mushrooms, and sometimes I do it like this..

I started with fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, and fresh green onions from the yard.

Next I thinly sliced the tomatoes and onions and tore apart the basil. I always tear basil, and never cut it with a knife.

Next I poured some olive oil on my sliced baguette, and placed the basil down first, followed by the tomato and the green onion on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

I drizzled a little olive oil over the top and popped them in the oven!

And this is how they turned out– toasted and delicious!

It is the end of tomato season for us in Northern California and I am sad to see them go. This is the last fresh tomato dish I will be making for a while, so I had to savor it!

Vegetarian Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

Last week I made stuffed portabella mushrooms. I picked up the fresh mushrooms from the farmer’s market across the street from my work and picked some tomatoes, bell peppers and onions from my garden for the filling. Then I chopped the tomato, onion, bell peppers and some of the stems of the mushrooms.I sautéed the vegetables in a frying pan with a little olive oil and salt and pepper and filled my mushrooms with the mixture. I sprinkled them with shredded Parmigiano Reggiano and baked them for 25 minutes on 350 and this is how they turned out. So good!

Chicken with Tomatillos and Roasted Chile Peppers

A coworker brought me some Fresno and Anaheim peppers from her garden this morning and I immediately started thinking of what I could use them for. I found a recipe for chicken breast covered in a mixture of tomatillos, onions, roasted poblano peppers, green onion, and bell peppers. It sounded good, but I knew I could make it better with a few alterations. So, I used that recipe as a starting off point, and mixed it up a little. The result- one of my favorite entrees I’ve ever made. It was delicious!

What you’ll need: (sounds like a lot of ingredients, but it really is easy!)

– 1 yellow onion, chopped

– 2 handfuls of tomatillos, chopped in quarters

– 4 anaheim (or poblano) peppers

– 1 fresno pepper, finely chopped

– 1 jalapeno pepper, sliced

– 4 green onions, chopped

– 1 large green bell pepper, chopped

– 3 garlic cloves

– 1 cup organic chicken broth

– 2 small organic chicken breasts, cubed

– 1 large tomato, chopped

– 3 Tbs. flour

– Dash of salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper

– 2 Tbs. cilantro

– Brown rice- not necessary but I thought it went well with this dish!

– If you don’t like a lot of spice, remove the fresno and jalapeno peppers- it will still taste delicious!

Directions:

– Cook your rice (I prefer the rice cooker to do all the work) and pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees to roast the Anaheim peppers. They need to roast at 450 for 25 minutes until their skin peels off easily. While the peppers are roasting, cube the chicken, coat in flour and salt and pepper, and cook in a skillet until lightly browned and cooked through. Next chop your yellow and green onions, garlic, tomatillos, fresno, jalapeno, and bell peppers and combine in a large pot. I use a large cast iron pot.

Doesn’t it already look delicious?!

Saute for a few minutes, and then add chicken broth. Bring to boil and let simmer while you peel the skin off of the anaheim peppers.

Chop anaheim peppers and add to the tomatillo mixture. Add salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper.  Let simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in chopped tomato.

Serve over brown rice and garnish with cilantro.

And don’t forget dessert! Served on one of my favorite homemade cake stands!

Fresh Tomatillo Salsa

How to make fresh tomatillo salsa-

What you need-

Tomatillos (I used about 20-25 for this batch)

1 yellow onion

Handful of cilantro

Juice from 1/2 of a lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

*Optional- fresh corn (1 cob) and fresh yellow pear tomatoes (handful). See picture on bottom right of collage.

How to make the salsa:

Pick up some tomatillos from the nearest farmer’s market (or in my case, my backyard). Peel and wash them. Slice tomatillos in half and throw in food processor along with onions, cilantro, lemon, salt and pepper. Pulse until everything is finely chopped and combined. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

If you want to make the corn and tomatillo salsa, just add the fresh corn from one cob and chop the yellow pear tomatoes in quarters and add to the rest of your tomatillo salsa. I sometimes make this salsa with roasted tomatillos instead of using them raw and both ways are delicious! Roasting tomatillos is easy- just broil them on a baking sheet for 5-8 minutes or until they start to brown/blacken a little.  Then follow the recipe the same as you do with raw tomatillos.

Grilled Fresh Figs with Balsamic Reduction

How to make grilled fresh figs with a sweet balsamic reduction drizzle:

Ingredients-  Balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, white sugar, fresh figs (white or black). I picked mine up at the local farmer’s market!

Pour balsamic vinegar into a small sauce pan and bring to boil. Lower heat to simmer until the vinegar reduces and thickens. Add a little brown and/or white sugar to taste, remove from heat and let cool. There are plenty of other recipes for this with other ingredients like honey, lemon, etc. added.  I like just adding a little sugar, because it’s easy and you end up with a sauce that still truly tastes like balsamic vinegar.

The figs are simple. Cut fresh figs in half, coat the outside in olive oil, and the inside with balsamic vinegar. Grill cut-side up for 5-8 minutes with the grill lid closed. Remove, drizzle with balsamic reduction and enjoy!