Saturday, April 12, 2014

Stuffed Pepper Mania!

Happy Saturday! Its 84 degrees and sunny where I'm at. Translation? It feels like summer! I even got sunburned on my long run today (Sun: 1 Kelsey's paleness: 0); I need to up my sunscreen application! Yes I know, it will drop 40 degrees again and I'll need to force myself to really do something with my thesis before its actually summer, but let's forget about those things for 5 minutes, okay?

I have things to share! I'll make a list (since its way more fun that way):

FIRST. I made my first successful allergen-free pizza! It took some epic failing on the way to success, but I made it. I found a lovely crust recipe from another blog and freelanced my way through the toppings, but I'll give you the deets another day!

SECOND. I finally ordered a new food processor (why yes, I did substitute my Magic Bullet for 8 months, great question!) and realized, unsurprisingly, that I should've done it WAY sooner after breaking my other one! But that's not even the exciting part (thank goodness, right?)! Drumroll.... I MADE MY OWN SUNFLOWER BUTTER! I snatched up some sunflower kernels at the store for ~45% of the price I usually pay for sunflower butter, then poured them in and gave it a whirl! It worked ridiculously well and took way less time than I expected! The even MORE exciting part? --side bar, if you've never met me, you should know I tend to get 37x more excited about "normal" things than the usual crowd-- I added in cinnamon and cocoa for my own chocolate rendition! It tastes delicious and it is so exciting every time I take the mason jar out of the fridge and see it! So that really made my Wednesday.

THIRD. I have a recipe to share with you! I've been making these stuffed peppers for a while, but never posted them as I didn't think they were original and assumed everyone had been eating them weekly for months. But then we went to NYC and I made these when we stayed with Tehrene, and she didn't understand why I hadn't shared the recipe yet! Seeing as she is the master of all things writing+social medias, I knew I must do what she said. So here it is! This recipe is almost laughably versatile--I honestly put in a different combination of veggies every time I make it! Its all about whatever you have on hand AND whatever you like the best!
Of course I didn't have a picture of my peppers, but thankfully Tehrene was on top of it!

Stuffed Peppers
Serves 4

4 bell peppers (choose your color!), tops sliced off and white fleshy part cut out.
1 lb. lean ground chicken/italian sausage/beef (whatever you have! Omit and it is vegan), cooked into small pieces (think taco meat-sized)
1 zucchini, diced into small pieces
1/4 yellow onion, diced into small pieces
3 cloves garlic, diced into small pieces
~5 mushrooms, diced into small pieces
2 large carrots, peeled and diced into small pieces
1 celery stick, diced into small pieces
baby spinach or kale, ripped into pieces (as much as you want!)
1 cup cooked wild rice/brown rice/quinoa (or 1 large potato, chopped into pieces!)
extra virgin olive oil (I have mine in a spray pump, so it doesn't take much)
optional: 2 tomatoes, diced into medium-sized pieces; marinara sauce; cheese to sprinkle on top; crushed red pepper (for spiciness!)

  • Ground your meat of choice in a medium-sized pan over medium heat on the stove until cooked through. Drain once thoroughly cooked. 
  • While the meat is cooking, place your peppers, cut side down, in a baking dish with 1/4 inch of water and microwave for ~4 minutes, until they are soft when poked with a fork (but not mushy). Some microwaves have a "fresh vegetable" option so you don't even set the timer!** 
  • Chop all your veggies up and place them in a large pan with olive oil over medium heat (if using potato, add in with veggies now).  Add pepper and paprika for taste. Cook for 5-6 minutes, until soft and fragrant. 
  • Mix the cooked rice (or quinoa) in with the veggies and taste to determine if more seasoning is needed. 
  • Add the ground meat to the veggie/rice combo and stir until combined. If you are a cheese person, stir some in now and add on top!
  • Place the peppers on plates (unless unsteady, then a small bowl may work better) and spoon the filling into the pepper until it is full. Sprinkle cheese on top if you're all about that cheese. Serve hot!
  • A little tip: if you don't mind the peppers not looking pretty, you can skip putting the filling inside and instead slice up your pepper and use it to scoop up the filling (its like pepper nachos, if you will!). Its a bit easier to eat because you don't need a knife! 

**oven option: If you aren't in a rush, place the peppers in the baking dish without the water and bake at 350F for around 15 minutes, until they are the same consistency as described above.

If you don't have some of the veggies listed, or prefer only a few, just add in more of the ones you love and nix the rest! I promise it won't mess up the recipe to change up the ingredients, I just shared my own favorites. :) Leftovers are the greatest and these heat up perfect the next day--score! Hope you enjoy these as much as I do!

Alrighty then, I'll leave you here. I'm off to finish my iced coffee and ponder my own dinner; cuidado!