Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

OK, new week, back on the wagon or at least closer to the wagon.  I decided to spend the day cooking up a storm so I would have plenty of healthy choices in the fridge for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Eliminating the need to stop on my way home and make unhealthy food choices.

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I made a batch of vegetarian stuffed mushrooms and put them in individual containers to either take to work for lunch or re heat for dinner this week.   I started by cooking up a batch of quinoa.  While that was cooking, I sauteed eight ounces of sliced mushrooms, one onion diced, and two small zucchini.  I seasoned the veggies with some salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

I combined a cup of quinoa with the veggies and stuffed them inside red bell peppers.  I whisked together a cup of white wine and a cup of tomato sauce and poured that into the bottom of my pan.  I carefully placed the peppers in the sauce, covered the entire thing with foil and baked it for about 40 minutes.  I took the foil off and continued cooking for another 10 minutes, then pulled it out, let it cool and packed it into containers.

I am taking one for lunch today – hopefully it tastes as good as it looks and smells!

Potato Soup

I love, love, love, potatoes…..add cream and bacon and well…..let’s just say, it can totally make everything right with the world.

potato-soup

I am so very lucky that the hubby is content with soup for dinner.  Of course, he has to have a sandwich…AND chips on the side, but at least he considers it a meal!  I started by sauteing bacon in my stock pot.  Once it was done, I removed it from the pan, and sauteed the onions, carrots, and celery in the bacon fat.  I added in chicken stock and the potatoes.  Once the veggies were tender, I added in some heavy cream, a bit of frozen corn, and heated everything through.  When it was ready to serve, I topped it with a bit of the bacon and dug IN!  Soup is truly the only good thing about winter……

Need a change of pace

I felt the need for a change of pace this January – so for dinner one night, I decided to have an asian style soup with an asian style chicken salad sandwich.  I was craving lighter flavors after the indulgence of the holidays.

The soup was supposed to be a Spicy Asian Soup, I gotta tell you, it was BORING in the extreme.  It wasn’t bad, just ho hum, certainly not something I will be  making again.  The chicken salad sandwiches on the other hand were AMAZING!  I used Martha Stewart’s recipe as a starting point….and made far too many changes to document.  It was fantastic! Light, crunchy, spicy, bursting with flavor, EXACTLY what I was looking for.  I couldn’t have been happier if I tried.  We are two weeks into the new year and I have been on an ethnic food kick….the hubby couldn’t be happier!

Christmas Eve Dinner

I spent much of Christmas Eve trying to finish up my home made gifts.  I wanted an easy dinner, one that I could slide into the oven and not worry about.  One that had vegetables, starch, and meat on one pot.  My of the hubby’s favorite dinners is a recipe I found in the Rao cookbook a few years back. It is Chicken with Peppers and Sausage.

chx-and-peppers-with-sausage

It is a super easy recipe, bone in chicken pieces, italian sausage cut into 1″ pieces, peppers, onions, diced tomatoes, garlic, and potatoes.  All seasoned with oregano, salt, pepper and a bit of olive oil.  Toss it all in one pan, roast at 425 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes, turning the contents of the pan every 20 minutes or so.  The meat falls off the bone, the flavors are off the charts delicious, and it is ridiculously easy to make.  What more could you ask for on an early winter’s night.  Plus, cooking it makes your house smell AMAZING!

Beef….

Is what I did for Thanksgiving!  This year it was just the hubby and I for dinner.  Our niece has a big family Thanksgiving meal at her house on the Saturday after Turkey Day so I knew we would be having turkey.  It gave me a chance to change things up a bit.

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Between my work schedule and the husbands travel schedule, I haven’t been spending as much time in the kitchen as I like.  I find it very therapeutic, so I took the opportunity to spend the entire day in the kitchen on Thanksgiving.   We started with bacon and homemade buttermilk waffles.

Because honestly, a day that starts with bacon is ALWAYS a good day in my book!  For lunch, I made a pot of pasta fagioli soup and paired it with a good old grilled ham and cheese sandwich.

soup-and-sammie

Late afternoon, I put out a plate of cheese and crostini, I found a really awesomely sharp cheddar and a creamy brie.  It was a perfect little bit to get us through the second football game of the day.

Finally, it was time for dinner.  Our first course was homemade pumpkin ravioli.  I made the filling in the morning and just before dinner, I made the dough.  I picked up a ravioli maker from Williams Sonoma and it made my life so much easier.  That and the pasta rolling attachment for my kitchen aid meant I went from a ball of dough to actual ravioli in under twenty minutes!

I made a very simple cream sauce, butter, cream and Parmesan cheese for the ravioli, they were amazing.  I can’t wait to make them again!

For dinner, we grilled beef tenderloin steaks and asparagus, and I made twice baked potatoes. I even made homemade bread using my sour dough starter, I am telling you, I was in the kitchen ALL DAY LONG, and I loved it!

It is always good to end the day on a sweet note, neither the hubby or I are big fans of pie, so I made a caramel apple cheesecake instead.  It was AWESOME!

 

It was a very relaxing, enjoyable day, which I think we both needed and for which I was truly grateful.

Chicken with Sausage and Peppers

One of our favorite dishes from the Rao’s cookbook is Chicken with Sausage and Peppers.  It is super simple, absolutely delicious, and ridiculously easy to make.  A one pot meal that cooks in the oven for an hour.

chix-and-sausage

Bone in chicken thighs were on sale, I used them, a pound of hot italian sausage, four peppers, three onions, one can of diced tomatoes, three potatoes, two minced garlic cloves, a little salt, pepper, oregano, and olive oil.

Toss it all together and bake at 375 degrees for one hour and twenty minutes, stirring everything every twenty minutes.  I served this with a loaf of crusty italian bread.  The flavors are amazing! Do yourself a favor, try it, I swear you will love it!  Of course, the hubby needs more starch than three measly potatoes can provide, so for him, I made a batch of white rice to go alongside dinner.  Here is a picture of his plate.

chic-with-rice

The chicken was so tender, it just fell of the bone.  I  love how the sausage gives the dish a little heat and it used up the last of the peppers in our fridge, double win!

Stuffed Peppers

Peppers were on sale this week in the grocery store, so I picked up quite a few of them.   The hubby loves stuffed peppers, so I figured I could kill to birds with one stone – save money AND make a dinner he loves.

stuffed-peppers

I had some shredded yellow squash in the freezer, along with some tomato sauce.  I pulled both of them out to use with this dish.  My stuffed peppers are a 1:1:1 ratio of meat, vegetables, and rice.

While the meat was browning, I started a batch of white rice.  I added diced onion, minced garlic, shredded carrot, and the shredded yellow squash to the meat as it was browning.  After seasoning the meat mixture, I combined it with the rice.  I added a nice handful of grated Parmesan cheese and stuffed the hollowed out peppers.

I had a bit of the meat mixture left, so I added it to the tomato sauce and spooned that around the peppers.   The weather was actually nice so I cooked them out on the grill and we were able to eat dinner outside, yeah! I probably should have made another side dish but I was just too tired to care.  I figured we had enough veggies on the plate between the filling and the peppers themselves.   I have been battling a cold that just won’t go away and by the time I get dinner cleaned it up it is all I can do to keep my eyes open.  Thankfully, I seem to be on the mend, just in time for our annual alumni reunion, which is coming up this weekend.  It will be three days of early mornings and late nights.  Wish me luck!