Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa and Zucchini

I love stuffed peppers. As a kid this was always one of my favorite dinners that my parents used to make. The peppers were always so delicious, so filling, and I used to fight my sister to be able to eat the left over stuffing!

When my husband and I were first married, I started making my own version of stuffed peppers by using good old Rice-a-Roni as the base of my stuffing. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love Rice-a-Roni…a lot, but the “health conscious” side of me knows that there are healthier options out there that are just as delicious. I finally decided to experiment a bit with quinoa as an alternative, and though I used to always add some kind of ground beef or sausage, I decided to make a vegetarian version this time.

Let me tell you–these turned out so delicious there weren’t any leftovers!

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What You Need
3 cups cooked quinoa
6 to 8 red bell peppers, tops removed and diced, bell pepper cavities seeded
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 to 3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
1 small to medium sized zucchini, diced
1 cup corn kernels
1 can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 small can petite diced tomatoes
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon chili powder, to taste
1 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

The How To
Preheat your oven to 350º F.
1. Cook the quinoa according to package directions to yield three cups.
2. While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the bell peppers by chopping off the top, removing the stem, seeding the pepper cavity, and dicing the cap.
3. In a saute pan over medium high heat, heat the olive oil until hot. Saute the garlic until lightly browned. Add the onions, zucchini, and diced bell pepper caps. Cook until onions are semi-translucent and the other vegetables are slightly softened.
4. Salt and pepper to taste and add the chili powder as well.

Sauteed Vegetables for Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

5. Add the corn first, then the beans, the tomatoes, and finally, fold in the quinoa.

Quinoa and Bean Stuffing for Peppers

6. Stuff the bell peppers with the stuffing mixture. Place upright in a baking dish, and top generously with cheddar and feta cheeses. Note: you can add a quarter to a half inch of water in the bottom of your baking dish if you would like to help prevent sticking and to help “steam” your pepper to help it cook a bit more quickly, but it is completely optional. Don’t add too much–you don’t want your peppers to boil at the bottom and cook unevenly.

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers Topped with Feta

7. Bake for 30 minutes, until the pepper is cooked and the cheese is brown and lovely on top.

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers Right Out of the OvenQuinoa Stuffed Peppers Close Up

They look delicious, right?! I promise you, they are. What are you waiting for? Get in the kitchen!

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers Dinner Plate

I paired these delicious peppers with a simple salad: mixed greens with spinach, topped with fresh berries, more feta (because, yum!) and a simple balsamic vinaigrette.

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers Dinner Plate 2

Note: I mostly just threw things together, but just before making the peppers I decided to google “quinoa stuffed peppers” to see what other people put in their stuffing and I stumbled across a recipe on one of my favorite food blogs, Damn Delicious. I’ve mentioned this blog here in the past (because everything is so amazing!) and from the looks of it, the recipe was sure to be a winner. I got the idea for the corn and the feta from that blog, but I pretty generously adapted the recipe to fit my taste and what I had on hand. You can check out the original recipe here, if you are interested.

Also, you may find that the recipe makes more stuffing than will fill 6 or 8 peppers. It really depends on the size of the peppers and on the size of the other veggies you use. If you have extra stuffing, it keeps as leftovers very well and would also be delicious all on its own if you don’t want to buy more peppers.

I hope you all enjoy these when you make them! Let me know how they turn out for you!

Linking up with Linking up with Tuesday’s Table and Lou Lou Girls!

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Feta Frittata

Usually around here I focus on posting dinner or dessert recipes, but my go to breakfast lately has been frittatas. I love them! They are so simple to make and a great way to use up any extra veggies you have in the fridge. I’ll keep this post short and sweet (since somehow my posts I had scheduled for earlier this week got deleted!) and get right to it!

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What You Need:
Olive Oil, butter, or non-stick spray to coat the pan with
Garlic, minced
Onion, diced
Zucchini, chopped
Two eggs, beaten with a splash of milk
A handful of feta cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, as a topping
Salsa, as a topping
Scallions or chives, as a topping

The How To:
This recipe is pretty straight forward.
1. Over medium heat, coat the pan with olive oil and saute the garlic until golden brown.
2. Add the onion and zucchini and cook until translucent and slightly softened.
3. Pour the eggs, beaten with a splash of milk, over the vegetables.
4. Allow the eggs to cook for just under a minute and add the feta cheese. Salt and pepper to taste, but be aware that the feta will add a lot of saltiness, so don’t go crazy.

Feta Frittata Step by Step

5. Cook the frittata over medium to medium low heat. You want the eggs to solidify as much as possible before flipping it so you don’t have a huge mess when you turn it over!
6. Flip it and allow the frittata to finish cooking all the way through until it is nicely browned. I love the way the feta browns and gets all crispy and salty. Yum!
7. When it’s finished cooking, top the frittata with salsa, a dollop of sour cream, and chopped scallions. Enjoy!

Feta Frittata

This recipe (if you can even call it that–it’s so simple!) is incredibly flexible, so substitute whatever veggies or cheese you have on hand or whatever you enjoy most. Serve this with a side of hashbrowns for a delicious breakfast!

Sorry things are a little out of order this week on the blog. I know I usually post my recipes on Tuesdays, but like I mentioned above, I had a little computer glitch. Thanks for your patience!

Linking up with Tuesday’s Table and Lou Lou Girls!

Pasta alla Zucchini

I love zucchini–it’s one of my favorite veggies. I know it’s technically a “summer squash,” but most places you can still get it all year round which I am grateful for, because it’s delicious! Zucchini is jam packed full of vitamin C and potassium and a bunch of other awesome vitamins and such, which makes it a nice addition to a simple pasta plate which usually lacks much substance. I’m sure you all have noticed the pattern my recipes seem to follow…this recipe is quick, easy, and pretty healthy as well. Bonus: it’s also really inexpensive to put together! Let’s get cookin’!

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What You Need: 
Olive oil
1 medium sized zucchini
1 medium sized (or 2 small) yellow zucchini
1/2 onion
2 generous tablespoons of garlic
1lb of your favorite pasta (I chose linguine)
salt and pepper to taste
red pepper flakes (optional)
dried basil (optional)
2 tablespoons butter
Parmesan cheese, as a garnish

The How To:
1. Bring water to a boil to make your pasta. Cook pasta according to package directions, but make sure to leave your pasta al dente. This isn’t vital to the recipe, but mushy pasta is gross, y’all. Trust me, it’s better this way.
2. While your water is beginning to boil and your pasta is cooking, prepare the zucchini. Over medium to medium high heat, warm about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and dice the zucchini and onions.
3. Generously measure out about 2 tablespoons of minced garlic, and sautee until golden. Sorry I don’t have an amount in cloves of garlic–I keep about three pounds of minced garlic in a large jar of oil in my fridge at any given time. Because you never know when you’ll need garlic. (Hint: you always need garlic.)
4. When the garlic is golden, add the onions and zucchini to the pan. Mix well, and add salt and pepper to taste. You can also include the optional red pepper flakes (which I did not use) and the dried basil (which I did use) at this point.
Step by Step collage5. Sautee until the veggies are mostly translucent, but still somewhat crisp. You want them fully cooked, but not mushy and disintegrating.
6. By now your al dente pasta should be finished. Toss it with about two tablespoons of olive oil and two tablespoons of butter. You want to coat the pasta so it doesn’t stick to itself.
7. Plate the pasta and top it with the zucchini mixture. Sprinkle on Parmesan cheese, and enjoy!

See? Mostly healthy and definitely delicious!

Zucchini close upPasta alla Zucchini 1

What’s your favorite way to eat zucchini? Let me know! I’m always looking for yummy new squash recipes.

Linking up with Delicious Dish TuesdayTuesday’s Table, Lou Lou Girls, and Hot Momma’s Kitchen!

High Five for Friday

It has been a few weeks since I’ve done a high five for Friday post, so even though it’s pretty late in the day, I didn’t want to miss out on doing one this week! I’m racing the clock to see if I can finish this post before my timer tells me that dinner is ready…so as per usual, let’s jump right in!

1. Today my guest post for Elizabeth who blogs at Elizabeth Loves went live. I wrote all about how to make an amazingly delicious and creamy pasta Alfredo, so be sure to head over to her blog, show her some love, and check out my post!

Pasta Alfredo Header

2. My baby boy turns one on Tuesday. It’s blowing my mind. I can’t believe how much he has grown and changed in the last year. But I won’t get all emotional mom on you right now…that’s for his one year post. Haha.

3. My husband, who works at Microsoft, got a free phone from work which means I am inheriting his phone. It’s a Windows phone, and I’m excited for something new and different (and with a much better camera than I have now!), but any kind of technology change always makes me really anxious. I don’t know why, but I am really resistant to technology change. I hope I like it!

4. Recently Evan has been strongly asserting his independence at meal times and pretty much insisting he feed himself everything. The other day I decided to give him a spoon and let him go at it with a small bowl of prunes…and it was hilarious. He had a blast! Sometimes the mess is totally worth the fun. In case you don’t yet follow me on Instagram, here were the results of his first time using a spoon:

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5. I have a fun new DIY craft idea that I am really excited to try! We have almost no wall art in our apartment, and I feel like it’s about time we start making more of an effort to make our apartment feel like home instead of a temporary place. I’m still hoping we get to move into a new place when our lease is up next month, but man oh man–apartment hunting in Hawaii is the worst. Fingers crossed we find a place!

In case you were wondering, I didn’t beat the dinner timer. Ha! But that’s okay. Dinner was delicious and I still finished my post, so everything I wanted to finish is still getting checked off my list.

Linking up with Lauren ElizabethFriday FavoritesConfessional Friday, Friday Blog Hop, and Oh Hey Friday!

Portobello Mushroom Stroganoff

I wish we lived in an age where computers had smell-o-vision. Think about it…wouldn’t that be fantastic? If you need some convincing, let me help:

Portobello Mushroom Stroganoff Header

Yum, right? Don’t you wish you could smell it? Well, you can! You just have to make it yourself. No worries though–it’s a simple recipe and takes less than 30 minutes. You all should know by now that those are my favorite recipes!

Recently I’ve been trying to find more vegetarian dishes to cook because sometimes I feel like our family eats far too much meat. I stumbled across this stroganoff variation, and since I am a sucker for anything portobello mushroom I knew I had to give it a try! I adapted the recipe quite a bit (okay…a lot), but if you want to view the original recipe you can do so here.

Mushrooms close up

Ahhh they look so yummy. Okay, okay…I’ll stop teasing you. Here’s the recipe:

What You Need:
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon (2-3 cloves) garlic
1 medium sized onion
2 portobello mushroom caps, diced
4 medium sized crimini mushrooms, roughly chopped (optional, but delicious)
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups reduced sodium broth (veggie, beef, or chicken works fine)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2-3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
fresh parsley, as a garnish
8 oz egg noodles (pasta, rice, or even quinoa would be a nice variation as well)

The How To:
1. Over medium-high heat, melt the butter and saute the garlic and onions until the garlic is browned and the onions are somewhat translucent.

Onions and garlic

2. Add the portobello and the crimini mushrooms to the pan, and cook until they are browned.

Adding mushrooms
3. Make a small well in the middle of the mushrooms, and add the flour. Let it cook for just a moment, and then stir it into the mushroom mixture. Salt and pepper the mushrooms to taste. Remember, don’t go overboard on the salt! You will still be adding broth and soy sauce. You can even omit the salt completely in this step if you so choose.

4. Pour in the broth of your choice. If you are trying to be strictly vegetarian, veggie broth works fine. I only had beef broth on hand, and it created a wonderful flavor. Use whatever you prefer!

Adding broth
5. Stir well, making sure the flour has completely incorporated into the broth and that there are no lumps. Add the soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce, stir, and barely bring to a boil. Allow it to cook like this for a minute or two so that the broth reduces a bit and the flour begins to thicken it slightly.

6. Add in the sour cream and mix to ensure it is completely blended. Lower the heat and continue to cook until the sauce thickens to your liking.

Adding sour cream
7. As your sauce sits on low or warm, stir it occasionally. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook your egg noodles according to the directions on the package. Do not over cook the noodles! Al dente pasta just tastes better.

8. Serve the noodles with the sauce on top, and garnish with parsley if you so choose.

Here, taste the sauce. Isn’t it delicious?!

Mushrooms on spoon

The fresh herbs at my supermarket didn’t look particularly inviting, so I decided to omit the parsley, but oh man it would be delicious with it as a garnish. It’s so yummy either way, though!

Finished mealI hope you enjoy this as much as I did! Haha we have made this two times since Saturday already. That’s how good it is!

Linking up with Delicious Dish TuesdayTuesday’s Table, and Hot Momma’s Kitchen!

 

Roasted Broccoli with BBQ Chicken Thighs

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If y’all have been reading my blog for any length of time, I’m sure you’ve seen a trend emerge in the recipes I post. Our schedule is kind of crazy and I usually cook dinner last minute…meaning I need quick, easy meals so we can eat before midnight. This dinner couldn’t have been easier to prepare! Originally I was planning on just posting about the broccoli, but the chicken ended up being so amazing that I had to mention it as well. I don’t have step by step pictures of the chicken though…sorry! Like I said, I wasn’t planning on it. We also had rice with this meal…but it was just rice, nothing special.

For the broccoli, drizzle olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic (or garlic powder if you’re feeling lazy like I was) and parmesan cheese, and toss to coat well. Roast at 400°F for about 15 minutes. Done. Seriously…so easy, right?!

Roasted broccoli collage

The chicken was simple too! I lightly oiled the tinfoil so it wouldn’t stick, and laid the chicken skin-side down. I happened to have boneless thighs on hand which worked well because they don’t have to bake very long. After patting the chicken dry I lightly salted and peppered it, and then generously basted it with Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce on both sides. I put that in the oven for 20 minutes also at 400°F. When it came out of the oven I covered it with tinfoil and let it rest for bout 5 minutes. Done and done!

Broccoli and Chicken

See? Delicious meals don’t have to be time intensive or stressful. Sometimes simple is just better.

Linking up with Delicious Dish Tuesday and Tuesday’s Table!

Chicken Fajitas

As promised, this week’s recipe is chicken fajitas! If you missed last week’s delicious homemade tortillas, make sure you head over to that post because they really made these fajitas even more amazing than they usually are!

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The key to these fajitas is the marinade. It is best to prepare the chicken far enough in advance so that it has enough time to soak in all of those delicious flavors for a few hours before you cook it. I have made it before without letting it marinade at all, but it really is better when it has time to sit for a while.

I originally saw this recipe on the Young Wife’s Guide and have adapted it to what works for me. I don’t have a grill, so I always make these in a regular pan. I also changed the marinade a bit, and our family loves it this way. Also, this recipe freezes really well! I made shredded chicken before hand, put it in a ziplock with the marinade and tossed it until it was well coated. I popped it in the freezer and when I was ready to use it, I just defrosted it and heated it in a pan and it was just as good as making it fresh. In fact, it may have been even better because it was soaking in that marinade for a few weeks!

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To make the marinade:
3 Tablespoons oil (whatever oil you prefer is fine)
1.5 Tablespoons lemon juice
1.5 Tablespoons lime juice
2 Tablespoons taco seasoning
1 Tablespoon garlic

Mix all of the above ingredients together in a plastic bag or container and add the chicken. For this recipe I usually use two chicken breasts, which you can marinate whole or already cut into strips. Because I use just a regular pan and not a grill I always cut my chicken into strips. Allow the chicken to marinate for 3-6 hours, if you have the time. The longer it sits, the yummier it will be!

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For the veggies, you’ll want to chop up an onion and several bell peppers. I had mini bell peppers on hand so I used quite a few, but if you are using medium sized peppers I would probably use two or three. Also, I didn’t realize I didn’t have an onion in the house until I was already cooking, so just pretend like I cooked an onion too.

When the chicken has marinated for long enough, heat up your pan over medium high heat and cook it off. While the chicken is cooking, saute the peppers and onions, tossing every now and then to make sure they cook evenly. Don’t forget to season them with salt and pepper!

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We like our veggies tender-crisp, so we don’t cook them too long. If you prefer them softer, cook them longer! Just watch them to make sure you don’t forget about them and let them burn. I didn’t time any of this…sorry! I just watch everything and test it as I’m cooking. Both the chicken and the veggies shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes though!

Once everything is cooked as you like it, it’s time to assemble! Take one of your homemade tortillas as a base, add the chicken, and top with the peppers and onions. This dish is delicious served with rice, but if you want to keep it a low carb meal, you can pair it with my fiesta bean salad for a fresh, healthy option!

Assembling fajitas

Fajitas

Now go make some for yourself! Yum!

Linking up with Delicious Dish Tuesday and Tuesday’s Table!