Tuesday, April 29, 2014

quinoa stuffed peppers

I've recently started getting baskets of fruits and vegetables from Bountiful Baskets (you should check it out and see if it exists in your area...great program!).  I have been loving the variety of produce, and it's forced me to try things that I normally wouldn't buy in the grocery store.

For instance, one day I got 10 anaheim peppers in my basket.  What exactly do you do with 10 anaheim peppers?

My thought - why don't I stuff them with seasoned quinoa and cover them with spaghetti sauce?  BAM!  It was easy and absolutely delicious.  We've eaten this recipe twice, and I've loved it both times.  And I love that it can easily be turned vegetarian.  I've got some vegetarian friends that I love having over, but I'm running out of ideas for things to feed them.  This recipe is sure to be a hit!

If you aren't into quinoa, you could easily use rice, although I think quinoa is absolutely perfect in these peppers.  Experiment with your own favorite herbs for seasoning, and try topping it with different versions of spaghetti sauce.  I think you'll love it!

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 t. parsley flakes
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 t. paprika
  • 1/8 t. marjoram
  • 1/2 t. thyme
  • 2 T. sunflower seeds
  • 10 anaheim peppers

In a small saucepan, bring the water, quinoa, bay leaf, and seasonings to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.  Discard bay leaf and stir in sunflower seeds.

Cut stems off peppers and discard seeds.  In a large kettle, bring water to a boil.  Drop peppers in and boil for about 3 minutes, or until crisp-tender.  Remove peppers and spoon quinoa mixture into them.

Place peppers in a large baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray.  Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until peppers are tender.  Serve with spaghetti sauce.

Monday, April 21, 2014

flaky cheddar-chive biscuits

I remember when Cookie Bandit and I were dating, he came to visit me in college and suggested that we go out to dinner.  I asked where he had in mind and was floored when he said Red Lobster!  Not that I have anything against Red Lobster, but it just seemed odd.

We were young 20-year-old college students who both hated Red Lobster?

But then I discovered the real reason he wanted us to go there.  He loves the biscuits.  Who cares if we would be the only people of our generation there?  Who cares if we'd have to eat the dreaded seafood?  As long as he got the biscuits, he was happy!

I was so thrilled to see this recipe in a Taste of Home magazine recently and knew we had to give it a try.  It's been years since we've been to Red Lobster - in fact, I think the last time was that particular date we took in college - so it was so fun to surprise Cookie Bandit with these biscuits!  They taste very similar to that restaurant favorite and easy to make.

You just combine the dry ingredients and then cut in butter...

Stir in the cheddar and chives and then add the buttermilk, stirring until just moistened.  Pat out, cut with biscuit cutters, and bake on a greased cookie sheet.

So delicious, especially when eaten fresh out of the oven.  Make sure you have plenty of butter!  Seafood is totally optional. :)

Flaky Cheddar-Chive Biscuits
from Taste of Home
2 1/4 cups flour
2 1/2 t. baking powder
2 t. sugar
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese
3 T. minced fresh chives
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a large bowl, whisk the first five ingredients.  Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs; stir in cheese and chives.  Add buttermilk; stir just until moistened.  Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead gently 8-10 times.  Pat or roll dough to 3/4-in. thickness; cut with a floured 2 1/2-in. biscuit cutter.  Place 2 inches apart on a greased baking sheet.  Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve warm.  Yields 10 biscuits.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

split pea soup

Here's another delicious and easy recipe from Gooseberry Patch's latest - 101 Super-Easy Slow-Cooker Recipes!  You MUST enter to win this book - go here for the giveaway!

Honestly, I didn't know what I was going to think about this one.  I decided to try it because it only called for a few ingredients and seemed relatively inexpensive.  Split pea soup has never seemed all that appetizing to me, otherwise.  But I really don't know why I doubted - this soup is great!

Because it's got ham in it, it's a full meal.  There is so much fiber and nutrients packed in, that I felt great about feeding it to my toddler.  And it was easy to customize - I swirled some sour cream in my husband's and topped mine with a bit of bacon.  Mmmmmmmm.........

Split Pea Soup
from Gooseberry Patch's Super-Easy Slow-Cooker Recipes
1 lb. cooked ham, diced
1 lb. carrots, peeled and finely diced
1 onion, finely diced
2 12-oz. packages dried split peas
salt and pepper to taste

Combine ham, carrots and onion in a freezer-safe container.  Refrigerate overnight, or freeze until ready to cook.

To cook: Thaw ham mixture overnight in refrigerator if frozen.  Combine thawed ham mixture and dried peas in a slow cooker.  Add enough water to cover.  Cover and cook on high setting for 6 to 8 hours, stirring occasionally, until peas are tender and soup becomes very thick.  Add additional water to reach desired consistency, if desired; season with salt and pepper.  Serves 8 to 10.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

101 super-easy slow-cooker recipes | review and giveaway

I may have just reviewed a Gooseberry Patch cookbook, but who says I can't go straight into reviewing another?  That's right!  Here's another review and giveaway (see bottom of post) just for you.  I love this book just as much as the last one...maybe a bit more.

Unlike many of the traditional Gooseberry Patch cookbooks, this is a flat-lay spiral bound full of large color photos - one of each recipe!  If you like pictures in your cookbooks, you'll love this book.  I love the way it's organized as well.  The chapters are divided by cooking time - "1 to 6 Hours," "6 to 8 Hours," "8 to 10 Hours," and "Make-Ahead Meals."  That's so perfect!  I'm always trying to find slow cooker recipes that will fit the amount of time I'll be away, and this takes all of the guess work out of it.  Totally ingenious, Gooseberry Patch!

There's lots of good stuff in here that I've bookmarked - Chipotle-Black Bean Dip, Perfect Pumpkin-Apple Cake, Brunswick Stew, Maple Praline Chicken, and the Easiest Rice Pudding (to name a few - but I've tried three recipes that I'll be sharing with you this week.  Here they are:

Slow-Cooker Barbacoa Beef

This is, hands-down, the best barbacoa beef we've ever had.  Chipotle, watch out!  I can't wait to share this recipe with you because I know you will agree.  Perfectly spicy, this beef needs no barbecue sauce, salsa, or other embellishment - it's just right the way it is.

Split Pea Soup

This soup only has 4 ingredients (peas, ham, carrots, onion), so it's not only easy but also economical.  I love that!  Don't let it's lack of ingredients fool you - it's got great flavor and makes the perfect base to add in other favorites, like bacon, sour cream, or tabasco.  It's also chock full of fiber and has delicious flavor.  Since it feeds a crowd, we froze half of it to enjoy later.  I love soups that are easy to assemble and freeze well.  Is there anything better?

Chicken Cacciatore

This is such a delicious meal!  Once again, not a lot of ingredients, but a lot of flavor.  Like the recipe suggested, I combined all of the ingredients in a freezer ziplock bag and froze it until we were ready.  That made making this dish so easy - just poured the bag into the slow cooker!  This is a great dish that I know will be gracing our table time and again.

I'll be sharing all of these recipes with you over the next few days, but I'm starting with Chicken Cacciatore...

I can't tell you enough just how easy this was to put together.  We didn't add in the optional sherry, and we ate ours with fettucine.  So good!

Chicken Cacciatore
from Gooseberry Patch's 101 Super-Easy Slow-Cooker Recipes
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 14 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 onion, grated
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 t. dried oregano
  • 1 t. dried basil
  • 1 t. garlic powder
  • Optional: 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • cooked spaghetti
  • Garnish: grated Parmesan cheese

Combine all ingredients except spaghetti and garnish in a freezer-safe container.  Refrigerate overnight, or freeze until ready to use.

To cook: Thaw chicken mixture overnight in refrigerator if frozen; spoon into a slow cooker.  Cover and cook on high setting for one hour.  Turn slow cooker to low setting and cook for 6 to 8 hours more.  Remove lid during last hour of cooking to allow sauce to thicken.  Discard bay leaves.  Serve chicken mixture over spaghetti; garnish servings with Parmesan cheese.  Serves 4.
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