Stuffed Peppers

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INGREDIENTS

6 green peppers
1lb ground turkey (I prefer Jenni-O Italian seasoned)*
1pkg marinara sauce
1/2c sweet onion, chopped
1-1/2c brown rice, precooked**
1t oregano
1 egg***
1-1/2t Worcestershire sauce
Shredded cheddar, mozzarella, favorite cheese

PREP

1. If you do not have rice pre made, get it going.

2. Wash and cut tops off peppers. Remove seeds and membranes. Rinse peppers under cold water. Chop edible parts of pepper tops. Place peppers in a large pot; cover with salted water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain peppers and set aside.

3. While peppers cook, sauté ground turkey till fully cooked. Add chopped green pepper (from tops) and chopped onion for about 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Add oregano and 1-12c marinara sauce. Simmer for about 10 minutes.

4. In a small mixing bowl, combine egg and Worcestershire sauce. Add egg mixture to step 3, and add cooked rice. Mix well. Stuff peppers with meat mixture and place in a 3-quart baking dish. Pour remaining marinara sauce over the stuffed peppers.

5. Bake at 350° for 55 to 65 minutes. If desired, top stuffed peppers with a little shredded cheese just before peppers are done; bake until cheese is melted.

Recipe serves 6.

* to make veggie, either omit, add diced tomatoes/mushrooms/spinach, or tofu. Chicken and beef also work instead of turkey.
** this would be amazing made with quinoa. I refrained due to my family currently being quinoad-out.
*** to vegan-ize, either omit or for each egg, combine 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed (measure after grinding) with 3 tablespoons of water.

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Zesty Chicken Barbecue

bbq chicken with broccoli slaw and blue cheese crumbles...YUM!!!

INGREDIENTS

3-4 frozen skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
12oz bbq sauce (our fave is Sweet Baby Ray’s honey)
1/2c Italian salad dressing (MY fave is Marzetti’s roasted garlic Italian vinaigrette)
1/4c brown sugar
2T Worcestershire sauce
1T minced garlic (optional)
1/2c baby carrots (optional)

PREP

1. Place frozen chicken in a slow cooker/crockpot (and carrots if you’re hiding veggies). In a bowl, mix the bbq sauce, Italian dressing, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic. Pour over chicken.
2. Cover, and cook 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low.
3. Shred chicken with a couple forks, and mix the chicken in the sauce.

Serve on a whole wheat hamburger bun.

Items to incorporate…sharp cheddar cheese and garlic mashed potatoes. Or with out the bun over garlic mashed potatoes topped with cheddar for the GF folks!

TIP: If you’d like to hide veggies in this, carrots are PERFECT. Just add carrots to your crockpot with the chicken and mash/mix in when you shred the chicken!

Mac-N-Cheese

This is the first meal I can remember making as a kid….7-8 years old? I found it in one of my mom’s cookbooks and I’ve been making it ever since. There are some great things you can.not.ever change.

mac-n-cheese

INGREDIENTS

2-2 1/2c shredded colby jack or cheddar & jack cheese
2c milk (2% or whole)
2T butter
4T flour
1t yellow mustard
2c dry elbow noodles
salt/pepper to taste

PREP

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and start your noodles per the boxes directions.
2. Melt butter over med-low heat. stir in flour and continue to stir till there aren’t anymore lumps. Turn up stove to medium heat and add milk a little at a time, again, stirring out the lumps. It will gradually thicken. Add mustard and 1-3/4c cheese. Allow to melt till it’s super smooth…DO NOT LET YOUR CHEESE SAUCE BOIL. Taste for adding salt/pepper.
3. Mix noodles and cheese sauce and pour into a oil sprayed/oven friendly dish.
4. Cover and bake for 15 minutes.
5. Top with remaining cheese, and bake for another 10 minutes uncovered.

TIP… When the fun2 were little, before Tyler caught onto me, I would take one to one and a half cups of frozen broccoli flowerettes and grind them down to green dust with my food processor and add to the cheese sauce before adding the mustard. The only challenge this caused was when Ty told another mom she didn’t make her mac-n-cheese correctly during a playdate and refused her meal. Ooops!!!

Marinara Sauce

I’m good if you think I’m crazy after getting through this recipe. Everyone has their “go-to/quick” meal. Mine is a little out there, and it takes a little time on the back-end, but is as quick as opening a jar of marinara sauce in a pinch! This has my favorite ingredients all in one recipe, and it’s insanely good for you!

Okay, so I’m going to start this by saying you may think there are typo’s in quantities here…that is not the case. This is my base sauce for quite a few things from when we have marinara sauce over cheese tortellini and creamy marinara sauce (add alfredo sauce!), to adding more tomato paste and using on homemade pizzas. I will freeze it in “meal-size” amounts in freezer ziplock bags (4-5 ladles per bag). When I say base, every meal can be different. Add a little oregano, or an Italian seasoning. Add a little more sugar. Add sweet Italian turkey sausage or ground beef. It works as a great sauce for crockpot/slow-cooker or regular lasagna, and works great with “no cook” noodles!

cook as many hours as possible...

INGREDIENTS

300oz whole or diced all natural canned tomatoes
3/4c sugar
1/2c sea salt
16oz frozen spinach
1/2c minced garlic
1/2c dry leaf basil
1 sweet onion
1 small bag of baby carrots
2.5-3lbs summer squash, the smaller the better (almost seedless). chopped.
2.5-3lbs zucchini, the smaller the better (almost seedless). chopped.
12-14oz light olive oil
6oz tomato paste (optional)

1. Add all veggies to a good size stockpot. Add 1/2c sugar and 1/4c salt, only. Add the rest of the ingredients, minus the tomato paste. Simmer on low-medium for at least 4-5hrs (no, that was not a typo).

look at all those veggies!

This is mine... Cuisinart CSB-77 Smart Stick Hand Blender with Whisk and Chopper Attachments...from BABY FOOD to HIDDEN VEGGIES!!! can't.live.without.it

2. You will need to use a handheld puree-er to get a smooth consistency, and yes this takes time. You’ll find out now if you need the tomato paste. After puree-ed, taste. Does it need the additional 1/4c sugar and 1/4c salt? Those are the key ingredients to cutting the acidic taste. If it tastes like it needs something, add a little more. I’ll continue to cook on low for 6-8 more hours if I can. Reason is it makes the sauce very rich tasting.

pureeing may take 10-15 minutes to get desired smoothness...

When cooled, ladel 4-5 scoops into each quart size freezer bags. Place in deep freezer. Yield 18-22 meals depending on how much you package per meal. <- NOT a typo.

I'm missing one bag here. We needed dinner! 😉