Stuffed Peppers

I had stuffed peppers on my mind after seeing a post from Chloe the other day, so when I had a few leftovers in the fridge suitable for filling the peppers I gave them a try.  I’m not really going to list specific measurements for everything because I was just using what I had in the fridge.  I also ended up with a little extra filling, but it was tasty eaten plain.  The sun-dried tomatoes added a nice chewy texture and a subtly sweet flavor {similar to raisins} to the dish and the chickpeas remained a little crunchy, so overall the balance of textures was really nice.

Stuffed Peppers

Inspired by:  Valuable, but Small Life

Ingredients:

1 red bell pepper

1/2 yellow bell pepper

1/2 cup cooked rice

1/4 cup leftover ground beef cooked with onions and jalapenos and seasoned with taco seasoning

1/2 of a can of chickpeas, coarsely mashed {could substitute black beans}

sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

1-2 Tbsp tomato paste

chicken broth or water

Parmesan cheese

Directions:
Wash peppers and cut them in half lengthwise. Remove the stems, seeds and white membrane. Place the peppers cut-side down in a microwave safe dish. Add half an inch of water, cover and microwave on high for 9 minutes, or just until softened. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, lightly mash chickpeas with a fork or pastry blender, leaving some whole.  Reconstitute the sun-dried tomatoes if necessary, or drain if they have been packed in oil, and chop.

Warm up the rice and beef, in a saucepan and then add the chopped sun-dried tomatoes, mashed chickpeas, and tomato paste.  Stir everything together and add some broth, a little at a time, to bind it together.  Just cook until everything is heated through.

Divide the filling among the steamed pepper halves.  Sprinkle each pepper with the Parmesan.

Place on a baking sheet or broiler pan and broil for a few minutes to melt the cheese.

Enjoy with a dash of hot sauce!

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Refrigerator Sweet Pickles

We planted cucumbers in our garden this year with the intent to make pickles first and foremost.  Sure, we love plain cucumbers added to salads and used as dippers for hummus and other dips too, but pickles were the plan.

Then it came time to actually make and can the pickles and I panicked.  Why?  I dunno.  The only two kitchen related fears I have are working with yeast and canning.  I can usually overcome the fear of yeast and am able to go ahead and bake with it.  But someone needs to talk me down from the ledge regarding canning!

So, I consider this recipe a compromise with canning.  Dipping my toe into the water if you will.  We still get pickles out of the deal, but I don’t have to can using a water-bath or pressure cooker.

A word of warning:  Due to the turmeric, this liquid may stain everything it touches including your fingernails, light colored countertops, plastic spoons and bowls, etc.  Use the necessary precautions that you see fit such as working on a cutting board to protect your countertop, wearing disposable plastic gloves {I didn’t, but I haven’t had a manicure in over 3 years.}, and using metal spoons and glass bowls.

Also, if you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you should not be surprised that I couldn’t find an ingredient at my local grocery stores, so I had to substitute pickling spice for the whole mustard seed.

Refrigerator Pickles

Source:  family recipe

Yield:  one large jar of pickles

Ingredients:

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp turmeric

1/4 tsp mustard seed {I subbed a pickling spice mixture containing mustard seeds}

1/4 tsp celery seed

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup cider vinegar

2 small onions, thinly sliced

3 cups thinly sliced unpeeled cucumbers {about 2 medium cucumbers}

Directions:

Place the sliced cucumbers and onions in a large glass microwave-safe bowl.

In a small bowl combine the dry ingredients.  Add the vinegar to the dry ingredients and mix well.  Then pour over the cucumbers and pickles.

Microwave uncovered on high power for 5 minutes.  Stir well and microwave for 5 more minutes.

Pour or spoon all of the onions, cucumbers, and liquid into a clean jar using a wide mouth canning funnel, add lid, and refrigerate.

I don’t know if its necessary, but I give the jars an occasional gentle shake over the first 3-4 hours that they’re in the fridge.

Hot Pizza Dip

Update 9-9-10:  added pictures 🙂

This was a new recipe that I made for the first time at my sister’s baby shower and I thought it was wonderful.  In the future it will definitely be a party staple just like the famous buffalo chicken dip.  Tim quickly gobbled up the leftover dip after the party!

The recipe says that you can heat it in the microwave for 5 minutes.  But I made it in advance and kept it in fridge overnight.  Then before serving, I baked it at 375 degrees {uncovered} for 20-25 minutes.

Hot Pizza Dip

{source:  allrecipes.com}

Ingredients

1 {8 ounce} package cream cheese, softened

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp dried parsley

1/4 tsp dried basil

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese {I used 1/2 monterey jack and 1/2 mozzarella}

1 cup grated parm cheese

1 cup pizza sauce or tomato sauce

2 tablespoons chopped green bell peppers – I have omitted before and have also substituted sliced jalapeno

2 ounces turkey pepperoni, chopped

2 tablespoons sliced black olives

Directions

In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese and dried spices.

Spread mixture in the bottom of a 9″ pie plate that is microwave/oven safe.

Sprinkle 1/2 cup of mozz and 1/2 cup parm on top of cream cheese.  Spread pizza sauce over all.  Sprinkle with pepperoni, olives, and peppers.  Then top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.

Cover and microwave for 5 minutes.  Serve HOT with crackers, Italian bread, crusty french bread, or tortilla chips.

Layered Taco Pie

This meal takes less than 30 minutes to make and is mostly cooked using the microwave!  I was skeptical as first, but it is really good!  I think a great addition would be black beans, but I didn’t think of it until after it was assembled.

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Layered Taco Pie  (adapted from Kraft Foods magazine)

Ingredients

1 pound ground beef

1 package taco seasoning mix

1/2 cup water

3-4 flour tortillas, cut into quarters

2 cups salsa

2 cups shredded Mexican cheese

Garnish

shredded lettuce

sliced green onions

sour cream

Directions

Cook ground beef.  Drain fat.  Stir in taco seasoning and water. Simmer for a minute to thicken.

Lay 4 quarters of tortilla in the bottom of a round baking dish or pie plate, overlapping is fine.  Spread 1/2 the meat over, then a 1/3 of the salsa , and a 1/3 of the cheese.  Repeat with another layer of tortillas, meat, etc..Then with the last set of tortillas, top with just salsa and cheese.

Microwave on high for 4-6 minutes, or until hot and cheese is melted.

Garnish with sliced green onions, lettuce, and/or sour cream.

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