Stuffed Chicken with Roast Peppers, Mozzarella and Basil

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Roasted Peppers and Mozzarella

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Roasted Peppers and Mozzarella

I’ve been away from my kitchen too long.   Recovery from knee replacement surgery is a slow process, one that must be taken seriously, if you expect to regain full use of the knee.  All that stretching, bending, walking, etc is hard work and very tiring.  I’m glad to report that I’m moving ahead at a steady pace, but in tiny steps.  During the past weeks, we’ve had some wonderful friends who stopped by with meals for us (they took pity on Mr. D.)  so we have enjoyed some great home cooking while I’m recuperating  but today I felt like getting my hands dirty in the kitchen.  So this is what I came up with.

Exploring my freezer, I found a package of boneless chicken breasts, and in my cupboard, a jar of roasted peppers.  What naturally came to mind to accompany these ingredients were mozzarella cheese and basil.  This meal is quick and easy-to-prep, just right for when you want to get out of the kitchen fast, but also elegant enough for a special meal. Keep the side dishes simple with a vegetable and a salad.

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Mr. D. loved it, commenting that it looks like pizza.   It really does because of the colors of peppers and cheese, plus the Italian seasoning.  It smells wonderful as it’s cooking also.  He said it’s become his new favorite way to have chicken.

This is my basic recipe, but it can certainly be changed or added to with some sautéed spinach, sliced fresh tomatoes, artichokes, mushrooms, etc.

STUFFED CHICKEN WITH ROAST PEPPERS, MOZZARELLA AND BASIL

Yield:  Serves 4

Ingredients:IMG_9274

  • 4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
  • 8 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced into 8 slices
  • 1 12 oz. jar roasted red peppers, sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, whole leaves
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper for seasoning

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 400*F.  Grease a broiler-proof baking dish.

2.  Butterfly chicken breasts by cutting into the long side of the breast, stopping about 1/4-inch from the opposite side.  On your work surface, lay the chicken breasts opened up.  Sprinkle the exposed insides with 1/2 of the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.

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3.  Stack the pepper, 1 slice mozzarella and basil on the bottom side of the chicken.  Fold the top flap of the chicken over, tucking in the contents as necessary.  Sprinkle with the remaining Italian seasoning.

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4.  Bake for 30 – 40 minutes (until chicken is no longer pink).  Take chicken out of the oven and turn on broiler.  Top each chicken piece with remaining slices mozzarella and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

 

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Broil until cheese is browned and bubbly, about 5 minutes.

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Serve with vegetable and a salad.

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SOURCE:  Food Network

White Beans with Fennel

White Beans with Fennel.

White Beans with Fennel.

Since I’ve cut back sharply on the amount of carbohydrates we are eating, I’ve been leaning pretty heavily on vegetables.  We have 2 – 3 veggies at each main meal.  In this dish you get three vegetables all getting cozy together.  So if you are trying to make healthy choices, this dish might be a good thing to incorporate into your menu plan.  It has white beans to provide some protein and complex carbohydrates, fennel for flavor and fiber, and spinach for color, and vitamins.

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Lunch is often the most difficult meal for me to get right.  I wait until I’m starving, then head for the kitchen to grab what ever is quickest to fill that empty hole, and often that’s peanut butter on toast.  ( Oh no, I just revealed my secret vice.)  Oh well, it was bound to come out sometime, so now you know I’m not perfect.  But I could be if I had a bowl of white beans and fennel in my refrigerator to munch on when I get hungry.  Actually a bowl of anything that’s healthy is a very good thing to have on hand when lunch-time hungries strike.   Good, hearty, real food that isn’t scrambled eggs, that you can eat right from the fridge….if you’re into that sort of thing, and aren’t we all?  This tastes as good cold as it does hot!

All I’m saying is,  if you decide to make this dish, make enough so you’ll have some left over for that bowl of real healthy food to munch on whenever hunger strikes.

WHITE BEANS WITH FENNEL

Yield:  Makes about 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 large fennel bulb, cut in half vertically, core removedIMG_9290
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper, divided
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained (any white bean will do)
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 450*F.  Spray baking sheet with non-stick spray.

2.  Slice fennel into 1/4-inch thick slices.  In a medium bowl, toss with 1 Tbsp. olive oil, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, and minced garlic.

 

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Arrange on baking sheet and bake at 450*F. for 15 minutes or until it is beginning to brown.  Stir.  Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and bake for 5 minutes more.

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3.  In a large skillet heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil over medium heat.  Add the beans and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the fennel and baby spinach, plus 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.

Sauté beans then add fennel and spinach.

Sauté beans then add fennel and spinach.

Cook 2 minutes to heat through.  Add the splash of lemon juice and stir in.

Ready to serve.

Ready to serve.

 

Serve with salmon or other fillet of fish.  Add a salad and you will have a wonderful meal.

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SOURCE:    Unknown

 

 

Sweet Spinach Smoothie

 

Sweet Spinach Smoothie

Sweet Spinach Smoothie

Looking ahead to spring you may be thinking , as I am, that you’d like to rid yourself of those few pounds that somehow sneaked on when you weren’t looking.  Ah, yes, this has been a winter for comfort foods, and for some reason comfort foods are the ones that put on the pounds.

One way to lose enjoyably(?) is to sip away the pounds.  Juice cleanses are not the best idea, in my opinion, but a healthy nutritious smoothie just may be the best kept secret around.  This blended beverage offers you tons of nutrition as well as protein and fiber to help keep you full from breakfast to lunch, or from lunch till dinner.

I guess I was a latecomer in discovering the goodness and benefits of smoothies.  But now that I’m on board I’ve been having one for breakfast, and one for lunch.  Then a regular meal for dinner, being careful to watch portion size, and with  carefully selected complex carbohydrates.

I’ve been experimenting with a variety of combinations that include both fruits and green vegetables.  Protein, fiber, and calcium make this green smoothie a filling, fat-burning meal.  It’s green color comes from spinach, but it also includes a pear, grapes,  some avocado, and Greek non-fat yogurt.    I must admit, I was hesitant about “drinking spinach”, but it’s really good.  I like this one very much.

SWEET SPINACH SMOOTHIE

Yield: 1 large serving, or 2 smaller onesIMG_9268

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups spinach leaves, chopped
  • 1 ripe pear, cored and seeded, cut into pieces
  • 15 red or green grapes
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped avocado
  • 1 – 2 T. fresh lime juice
  • 6 oz. plain, non-fat Greek yogurt

Directions:

Put all the ingredients into a blender container and liquify on high until smooth and thick.   I put the yogurt in first, as my blender needs something soft to help it get going.

 

Put everything in the blender and whiz to liquify.

Put everything in the blender and whiz to liquify.

This is thick and satisfying.

This is thick and satisfying.

SOURCE:  My own combination

 

Linguine, with Garlicky Kale and White Beans

 

Linguine with Kale and White Beans

Linguine with Kale and White Beans

This dish gets its flavor from lots of garlic.  Ya gotta love garlic!!  It makes the most bitter greens taste divine.  As it cooks and becomes sweeter, so do the greens lose their bitterness, and become silky and tender.  Pasta, greens and beans—typically an Italian-style meal.  All you need to think you’d “died and gone to heaven” is some Parmesan cheese dusted over the top, some crusty, toasted bread and a glass of white wine.  SIGH!

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Extremely easy to make with only five ingredients, and taking only about 30 minutes to prepare, this is a dish to put on the table when you’re in a hurry, but you want your family to be well fed on a healthy meal.  I used fresh leaf kale in my preparation, but you could speed up the process by using packaged prechopped kale, found in the produce department of most supermarkets.  Other than the kale, you probably have everything else to prepare this dish already in your cupboard.

I like the fact that only 1/2 pound of pasta makes 4 generous servings, because of the addition of the healthy kale and beans.  Calories are low/serving (381);  and the whole nutritional profile of this dish is impressive:  Fat, 11.8 g;  Protein, 13 g;  Carb, 58 g;  Fiber, 5 g; Cholesterol, O g; Iron, 4 mg;  Sodium, 34 mg.;  Calcium, 121 mg.

LINGUINE WITH GARLICKY KALE AND WHITE BEANS

Yield:   Makes 4 servings of about 1 3/4 cups  (calories:  381)IMG_7334

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces uncooked linguine
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh garlic
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 cups chopped kale (about 8 oz.)
  • 1 ( 15-ounce) can unsalted cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • grated Parmesan cheese at the table (optional)

Directions:

1.  Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.  Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid.

2.  Heat oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat.  When garlic begins to sizzle, add 1/2 cup water and the kale;  cover and cook 5 minutes or until kale is tender, stirring occasionally.

Cook the kale with garlic and a little water.

Cook the kale with garlic and a little water.

3.  Add beans, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and salt; cook 1 minute or until heated through, stirring occasionally.

Add beans and cook to warm through.

Add beans and cook to warm through.

Add drained pasta and 1/4 cup reserved cooking liquid to pan;  toss to coat.  Add the remaining cooking liquid if needed to liquify further.  Transfer to serving bowl and sprinkle remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper over the pasta.  Serve immediately with grated Parmesan if desired.

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SOURCE:   Cooking Light

 

 

Kale and Melted Cheese Panini

Kale and Melted Cheese Panini

Kale and Melted Cheese Panini

Farmer’s Markets are starting to open or move outdoors now that the weather has warmed up.  I’m tired of making do with supermarket produce, even if some of it is locally grown.  I love going to the open market and seeing first-hand the stalls and rows of fresh vegetables. So on most Thursdays I’ll be part of the crowd strolling in the sunlight from stall to stall, with my bags and basket in hand.  I’ve gotten to know a few of the vendors, so we chat and they keep me informed as to what’s in season right now, right here.  Local to me means having been grown in a 25 mile radius of where I live.

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Dinner inspiration waits at every turn.   A bunch of dark green kale and a juicy early tomato go into my bag.  These will be layered with melty cheese in a savory, cheesy panini.  (today’s post)  I have plans for using the rest of the kale in a  meatless meal that will soon be appearing on these pages also.    Rhubarb goes into my bag next,  ooooh, so many things to make with rhubarb.  What shall be first?   Asparagus, standing in tall bunches, just waiting for me.   Again, I have so many ideas of what to do with them.  Oh, I’m happy.  I’m doing the happy dance!!   1-2-3-cha,cha, cha.

For this vegetarian panini sandwich, layers of sautéed kale, garden-fresh tomatoes and a fine melting cheese get toasted to ultra-deliciousness.  Gruyère or fontina have complex flavors and melt beautifully, but any cheese you have on hand will do.  I particularly like muenster cheese as it too melts nicely, and has a mild nutty flavor that blends with the other flavors of this sandwich.  For anyone who absolutely must have some meat in their sandwich, well, a little bacon never hurt anything, and  it makes a great addition.  As you can see by the photos, I did just that!

KALE AND MELTED CHEESE PANINI

Yield:   makes 4 servingsIMG_7461

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 8 cups chopped kale
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 slices country bread (1/4 inch thick), preferably whole wheat
  • cooking spray
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyère or fontina cheese ( or any other cheese of choice)
  • 1 medium tomato, cut into 8 thin slices
  • 2 slices precooked bacon/sandwich (optional)

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Directions:

1.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown, 5 – 7 minutes.  Add vinegar and cook until almost evaporated, about 1 minute.  Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Onion and garlic sautéed with balsamic vinegar.

Onion and garlic sautéed with balsamic vinegar.

Add kale, water and salt  (the pan will be full).  Stir, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale is wilted and the water has evaporated, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Add the kale and cook until it is wilted.

Add the kale and cook until it is wilted.

2.  To prepare the panini:  Preheat panini maker to high.  Coat one side of each slice of bread with cooking spray. With sprayed side down, spread the kale mixture on 4 slices of bread ( about 1/2 cup per sandwich).  Top each with 1/4 cup cheese and 2 slices tomato.

All layered up, ready for the bun top.

All layered up, ready for the bun top.

Top with the remaining bread, sprayed-side up.  Press in the panini maker until crispy,  3 to 5 minutes.

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This is unbelievably good!

This is unbelievably good!

 

SOURCE:   Eating Well Magazine

 

 

 

 

Whole Grain Blueberry Spice Muffins

Whole-Grain Blueberry Spice Muffins

Whole-Grain Blueberry Spice Muffins

Muffins are the ultimate quick breakfast or snack, and the healthier they are, the better for you.  I’ve been experimenting with converting some of my older muffin recipes into ones that have healthier ingredients in them.  These are not the kind of muffins that could be a dessert or sweet snack.  These are great for breakfast because they will provide the energy you need to get going and will keep you satisfied until lunchtime.

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For this recipe I used half whole wheat flour along with regular all-purpose flour, and added whole-grain oats.  Quick oats could be used, but I like the rough texture and fiber that whole oats provide.  I also took out granulated sugar, and substituted brown sugar instead, making the muffins less sweet, but just sweet enough.  There is very little fat in this recipe since I used fat-free milk, and left in only 3 tablespoons of butter.  Add in some spices that can be apple pie spice, or pumpkin pie spice, or just plain cinnamon and nutmeg to make these muffins your own.  I like a little something  on my muffin tops (not the ones at my waist 🙂 ) so I sprinkled a little sugar on them before baking, giving the tops a little sparkle and crunch.

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These muffins bake up nice and high, and they are easy, nutritious and delicious.  They freeze very well so one or two will be readily available to defrost and reheat in the microwave whenever you want one.   To freeze muffins, let cool completely, then place desired quantity on a baking sheet and freeze individually before transferring to a zip-lock freezer bag.

 

WHOLE  GRAIN BLUEBERRY SPICE MUFFINS

Yield:   Makes 16 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour  (I used 1cup all-purpose, and 1 cup whole wheat.)IMG_7284
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  •  1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice (or pumpkin pie spice)
  • 1 cup fat free milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • 1  1/2 cups frozen blueberries (keep frozen until ready to use)
  • cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

Directions:

1.   Preheat the oven to 400*F.   Grease or paper-line 16 muffin cups.

2.  In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients.  ( flour through pie spice)

Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.

3.  In a separate smaller bowl or measuring cup, whisk together wet ingredients. (  milk through egg)

4.  Combine wet ingredients with dry,  stirring only enough to incorporate.  Fold in the blueberries.

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5.  Divide batter evenly between 16 muffin cups.   Sprinkle tops of batter with granulated sugar.

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6.  Bake at 400*F.  for 16 – 18 minutes, till tops spring back when touched.   Cool on a wire rack.

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SOURCE:   Carolyn’s Originals

Whole Wheat Brownies

Whole Wheat Brownies

Whole Wheat Brownies

The start of the holiday weekend, and there we were with no desserts on hand.  Horrors!!  How can you even think of having a cookout without some kind of dessert to end the meal.  Just about everybody loves brownies, the fudgy-er the better.  And if a person wanted to add a scoop of ice cream and maybe a tiny drizzle of chocolate sauce, I certainly would be the last one to object.  Sooooo, brownies it is.

Was that a brownie sundae you wanted?

Was that a brownie sundae you wanted?

Let me see what I can do to make them “healthy”.   Gee, is there really such a thing as a healthy brownie?   Martha Stewart seems to think so, therefore I’ll take her word for it.  These whole wheat brownies get a healthy boost from whole wheat flour and applesauce, while cocoa powder and semisweet chocolate make them nice and fudgy;  really deep, dark and moist, but not heavy.

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WHOLE WHEAT BROWNIES

Yield:   Makes 16

Ingredients:IMG_7385

  • 6 tablespoons ( 3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1  1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce, or Lighter Bake
  • 1 large egg
  • 8 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
Lighter Bake is made from applesauce.

Lighter Bake is made from applesauce.

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Butter or spray an 8-inch square baking dish.  Line it with parchment paper; leaving a 2″ overhang on all sides.  Butter or spray the parchment paper.

2.  Place butter and 6-oz. of the chocolate in a heat proof bowl set over (not in) a pot of simmering water;  stir until melted.  remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

Butter and chocolate melted together.

Butter and chocolate melted together.

3.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and soda.

Mix dry ingredients together.

Mix dry ingredients together.

4.  In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, applesauce and egg.  Stir chocolate mixture into sugar mixture.  Add flour mixture and stir just to blend.

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Pour into prepared baking dish and top with the remaining 2 ounces of chopped chocolate.

Top batter with remaining chopped chocolate.

Top batter with remaining chopped chocolate.

5.  Bake about 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached.  Let cool in pan on a wire rack.  Use the parchment to lift from the pan, cut into 16 squares.

Lift brownies from pan with parchment paper.

Lift brownies from pan with parchment paper.

Cut into squares to serve.

Cut into squares to serve.

 

SOURCE:   MarthaStewart.com

Egg-Drop Noodle Soup

Egg-Drop Noodle Soup

Egg-Drop Noodle Soup

Oodles of noodles is what’s in this soup.  And vegetables, asian seasonings, and eggs all swirled together in a chicken broth.  A light meal to be sure, one to have on hand for when you’re not starving,  just feeling a little peckish, and need something to stimulate your taste buds.   This is what I would want if I had been sick, and was just getting my appetite back.

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With healthy ingredients going into it, you’re bound to feel healthy after eating it.  Rich chicken broth, green onions, ginger, garlic, carrots, noodles and eggs.  Sounds like a prescription to me, but certainly not a bitter pill to swallow.  Think of it as a dressed up chicken soup.

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This recipe makes a large quantity of soup, but it keeps well refrigerated.  I’m not sure about freezing it–I think the already cooked noodles might get mushy, but have not tried it.

EGG-DROP NOODLE SOUP

Yield:   Makes 8 – 10 servings

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups chicken stock or broth

    Healthy ingredients, so good for you.

    Healthy ingredients, so good for you.

  • 1 teaspoon lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and smashed
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 3 green onions, white and green parts, sliced
  • 2 packages ramen noodle soup, flavor packets discarded
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons water, or use 2 teaspoon saved chicken broth

Directions:

1.  In a large saucepan or soup kettle, combine the chicken broth, soy sauce and sesame oil.   Bring to a boil.

2.  Add the piece of ginger, garlic cloves, carrots, and all of the green onions, except for 2 tablespoons green parts–save these for garnish.   Return to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes, until carrots are tender. With a slotted spoon, remove the ginger and garlic and discard.

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3.  Mix together the cornstarch and water to dissolve the cornstarch.  Pour into boiling broth and stir to combine.  Add the noodles (minus the flavor packets), and continue to cook for about 3 minutes.

4.  In a small bowl, whisk the eggs together with a little salt and pepper to taste.  While gently stirring the soup, pour in the egg mixture and stir to swirl and cook the eggs.  Remove from heat and serve with reserved green onions as garnish.

Served with a sandwich, this makes a light meal.

Served with a sandwich, this makes a light meal.

 

SOURCE:   adapted from Allrecipes.com

 

 

 

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

Nobody really needs an excuse to drink margaritas and eat enchiladas.  But if you did, Cinco de Mayo would be it.    The fifth of May is a holiday that celebrates Mexico’s defeat of French colonists who were trying to expand into Mexico.  It has its importance in Mexico, yes, but is widely celebrated here in the U.S. where drinking margaritas and eating Tex-Mex foods is the center of most activities.

Other popular Mexican foods include guacamole, tacos, tortillas,  burittos, and churros.  I enjoy eating any or all of them, but recipes for those can be found in abundance at many food-related sites, and often include (non)healthy doses of fat and calories.   I wanted to prepare an entree that would be healthy, colorful and speak Mexican, while keeping the fat in check.   So stuffed peppers it is, with a nod to Cinco de Mayo.   They are  muy Mexican and delicioso!!

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MEXICAN STUFFED PEPPERS

Yield:   Makes 4 servings:

Ingredients:IMG_7136

  • 4  (medium sized) bell peppers in assorted colors
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 package Spanish Rice mix, such as Rice-a-Roni
  • 2 cups Colby-Jack cheese, grated
  • 1 1/2 cup salsa, choose your level of “heat”
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  •  2 tablespoon minced cilantro, or parsley

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Lightly spray a baking dish with non-stick spray.  Clean and prepare the peppers.  Slice in half vertically, removing all ribs and seeds.  Set aside.  Note:  You may wish to leave the peppers whole for stuffing.  I like to cut mine in half so I get more stuffing–for me, it’s all about the stuffing and not so much the pepper.

Peppers halved and prepared for  stuffing.

Peppers halved and prepared for stuffing.

2.  Cook the beef:  In a large skillet heated to medium-high, crumble the beef and cook until no longer pink.  Near the end of its cooking time add the onions and sauté a bit longer till they soften.  Drain any drippings.

Browning the beef and onions.

Browning the beef and onions.

3.  Stir in the package of rice mix and its seasonings, 1  1/2 cup cheese, salsa and hot sauce.  (I added about 1/2 cup water, to be sure there was enough liquid to cook the rice.)

4.  Fill the pepper halves so the filling is slightly mounded at the top.  Place in a baking dish close together so they support each other.  Pour the 1/2 cup water around them.

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Cover with foil and bake until they are tender, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.  If you like to use cooking bags, place the peppers in a bag and bake for about the same length of time.

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5.  When the peppers are tender, remove any covering, sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese, and return to oven to melt cheese. Sprinkle with cilantro before serving.

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

 

SOURCE:  majorly adapted from a recipe from Taste of Home

 

Morning Glory Oats

Morning Glory Oats

Morning Glory Oats

I love warm oatmeal for breakfast, and I also love  Morning Glory muffins,  those big ones you see in coffee shops and bakeries, just bursting with grated carrots, raisins and coconut, too.  They remind me of carrot cake, but call it a muffin, and I’ll eat it for breakfast, thank you.  I couldn’t believe my luck when I found this recipe that smooshes all of that together in one filling and nourishing dish.  Warm creamy oatmeal crammed with all those yummy things I love in the muffin.  WOW!

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My new cookbook, Whole Grain Mornings, has this recipe.  There are others I’m also craving, so be prepared for more  goodness like what you see here….

It all starts with steel cut oats, followed by brown sugar, grated carrot, spices, raisins and coconut.  The oats start with a combination of gently boiling milk and water.  Add the oats!  After that toss in the sugar, spices, carrots, and raisins.

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The oats take about 25 minutes to cook and soften.  At the same time the carrots become tender and everything blends together sending out an aroma that is cinnamon-y and dreamy.  Creamy oats, that still have some “tooth” to them, soft, sweet carrots, and plump raisins;  just about perfect, you’d think.  But there’s more to come—add in the coconut flakes and orange zest.  Don’t leave out the orange zest, it’s what seals the deal.  Heaven!

I  made this recipe on the weekend, when I had time for the cooking, and it makes a large enough quantity for four generous servings.  What I love about it is that you can store the cooked oatmeal in the fridge and reheat it in the morning with a bit more milk to loosen it up.  This is a breakfast you don’t have to feel guilty about eating because it is so nourishing and good for you.

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MORNING GLORY OATS

Yield:    serves 4 – 6

Ingredients:IMG_6314

  • 3 cups /720 ml water**
  • 1 cup/ 240 ml milk, plus more for serving **
  • 1 cup/175 g steel-cut oats
  • 1 cup/100 g  grated carrots (about 2 medium carrots)
  • 2/3 cup/90 g raisins
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 3 Tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup/ 25 g unsweetened coconut flakes

** The important thing here is a total of 4 cups of liquid.  It can be all water, or half water and half milk.  I used almond milk when I made it, but I think coconut milk would be great also and further accent the coconut flavor.  Be adventurous!

Directions:

In a saucepan bring the water and milk to a gentle boil.  Stir in the oats, carrots, raisins, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt and return to a boil.  Decrease the heat to low and partially cover.  Cook the porridge until it begins to thicken, stirring once or twice, and the oats are soft yet chewy, 25 to 30 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the coconut flakes and orange zest.

Coconut and orange zest added in to the cooked oats.

Coconut and orange zest added in to the cooked oats.

Cover and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.  Serve warm with an extra bit of warmed milk if you would like.

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Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container and they will keep for 5 days.  Reheat by adding a few tablespoons of additional water or milk and warm on the stovetop or in the microwave, stirring well.

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SOURCE:   Whole Grain Mornings, by Megan Gordon