Stuffed Peppers With A Twist

The June issue of Southern Living magazine features a series of recipes where the star is a vegetable.  One of my favorite things about this time of year is the plentiful bounty of garden vegetables.  Growing up, Mother made stuffed green bell peppers usually with ground beef and rice. I have never been a fan of the green bell pepper, but serve me their cousins “red, orange, and yellow” and I am sold.  So, when I saw this recipe for Stuffed Peppers with Grits and Sausage I knew I had to give it a try.

Note:  Miss Bee does not eat red meat or pork.  I substituted the pork sausage for turkey sausage (Jimmy Dean’s breakfast sausage crumbles).  It was the perfect switch and Miss Bee gave it two-thumbs up.  This is a big deal, folks.

June 2017 Southern Living magazine

The recipe can be found here.  But I will also provide.  It takes about an hour to prep and cook this dish, so be sure to allow yourself enough time, but it will be well worth the investment.

Ingredients:

3 large red bell peppers

1 TBL canola oil

3 hot Italian sausage links, casings removed (I used one bag of Jimmy Dean’s Turkey Sausage breakfast crumbles.  They are precooked so I just warmed them up with the onions in a skillet).

1 cup chopped sweet onion

1/2 cup coarse cornmeal (they recommend McEwen & Sons, I used the regular cornmeal I bake with).

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 cup whole milk

1 tsp. kosher salt, divided

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

3 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided

3 TBL. olive oil

2 TBL. white wine vinegar

1/4 tsp black pepper

2 cups heirloom grape tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup basil leaves

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.  Microwave bell peppers on HIGH for 2 minutes in microwave.  Cut bell peppers in half through the stem. Remove seeds and white membranes using a serrated tomato corer or melon baller, leaving stem intact.  Discard seeds and membranes.

Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high.  Add sausage to skillet and cook 4 minutes, stirring to break into small pieces.  Add onion to skillet; cook, stirring occasionally, until sausage is cooked and onion is tender, about 3 minutes. Remove sausage mixture from pan.  Add cornmeal to skillet and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add broth, milk, and 3/4 tsp. of the salt to the skillet; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to a medium and cook stirring occasionally until liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.  Stir in parsley, sausage mixture, and half of the cheese. Divide mixture evenly among bell pepper halves.  Place side by side on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese.

Bake in a preheated oven until cheese is browned and peppers are tender, about 30 minutes.

While the peppers are baking, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, black pepper and remaining 1/4 tsp of sale in a medium bowl.  Add tomatoes and basil; toss to coat.  Serve over peppers.

The inside is so delicious and is the perfect filling to accompany the pepper.  I couldn’t help but think this would be a hearty entree to serve for brunch because it has grits, sausage and cheese.

The family loved it so the recipe is now torn out of the magazine and into the permanent recipe binder.  Let me know if you make it and how you liked it!

Try it Tuesday: Crispy Garlic Butter Smashed Sweet Potatoes

This is a keeper recipe I just discovered from Cafe Delites for crispy garlic butter smashed sweet potatoes.  There’s a little more effort into these than just baking sweet potatoes, but trust me they are so worth it!  As Mr. Bee and I were eating them with our grilled salmon, I suggested they would also be a great appetizer because they hold up so well as a finger food.  I can image a platter of these along side pork or beef tenderloin sliders.

In the recipe you will see there are two options for cooking the sweet potatoes — boiling or roasting.  I chose the roasting option.  The recipe said to cut the potatoes into quarters, but I just sliced the raw sweet potatoes evenly into 2 inch thick slices and baked them on an oiled cookie sheet.  Then, I picked up with the recipe where it says “smashed.”

Allow yourself about an hour for cook and prep time, nothing different than the time to bake potatoes.  But, just plan ahead and bake the sweet potato slices while you work on other parts of dinner.

You can find this recipe and over 150 other vegetable ideas on my Pinterest board.

Mediterranean Grilled Chicken Salad

Since we are clearly not going to have a winter here in Texas, the weather has been so nice for evening meals on the patio.  I love the smell of meat cooking on the grill whilst sipping a good glass of wine.  I’m sharing a recipe I found on Pinterest for Grilled Lemon Herb Mediterranean Chicken Salad.  The recipe originates from Cafe Delites and if you don’t follow her blog you should.  In fact, I am sure you have already seen many of her recipes on Facebook.

The best thing about this recipe is that the marinade is also the dressing for the salad.  You prepare it, then use half for the chicken and pour the other half into a bowl or dressing bottle.

Marinade — plenty of fresh ingredients
Marinating chicken

While the chicken marinates in lemon juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar and fresh herbs, I prepared the salad.  Instead of plating everyone’s portion separately, I decided to plate it from one big platter.

Starting with romaine lettuce, then avocados, cucumber, red onion and tomatoes.

Tip:  Always let your grilled meat sit on the counter for at least 5-10 minutes to allow the internal juices to set which keeps the chicken moist. Slice the chicken and arrange on top of the salad platter. Drizzle remaining dressing over the top.

I served it with a bottle of Pedernales GSM 2014 from Pedernales Cellars that I picked up in Fredericksburg during a wine trip I took last fall.  This Rhone-style blend incorporates Syrah, Mourvedre, and Grenache from their estate Hill Country vineyard and partner vineyards in Texas. Described as a “medium bodied blend brings together the diverse character of these three varieties into a fantastic balance that delivers aromas of raspberry, fennel, mushroom, and molasses. This is a rich red wine with significant oak and a soft finish.”  It really is one of my favorite wines to sip in the evening.

So if you were wondering what to make for dinner this weekend, this salad and wine along with a good crusty warm french bread would be the perfect way to start spring break!

Be sure to follow my Pinterest salad board.  I have over 150 recipes for fresh salad inspiration.

Cheese Vegetable Quiche

Trying to please a picky teen with my cooking lately has become a challenge.  Especially since she has been exploring non-meat options.  I had an excess quantity of eggs and thought a vegetable quiche might be a good option for dinner.  I pulled out my cookbooks and found a good recipe in the Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook.  This recipe has the perfect blend of swiss and cheddar and I plan to bake it again over the summer to take advantage of using seasonal vegetables.

Cheese Vegetable Quiche

Pastry for a 9-inch pie

One cup chopped fresh broccoli

One cup chopped fresh cauliflower

1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1 1/2 cups shredded swiss cheese

4 egg yolks, beaten

1 cup whipping cream

1 1/2 tsp seasoned salt

1/2 tsp white pepper

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Fit pie crust into a 9-inch quiche dish or pie pan.  Prick bottom and sides of piecrust with a fork.  Bake at 375 for 8 minutes; cool on a wire rack. Note:  I like to use pie weights for pre-baking my crust because it keeps the crust from bubbling up.

Arrange broccoli and cauliflower in a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover and steam 5 minutes or until tender crisp.  Spoon into prepared pie crust and top with cheese.

Combine egg yolks and remaining 4 ingredients, stirring well.  Pour over cheese.  Bake 375 for 45 to 50 minutes or until set.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

I served a slice of quiche with a spinach tomato salad on my new set of soup and salad plates from Sur la Table.  These would make the perfect wedding gift!  Each white plate comes with a bowl and is a fun twist on the retro hostess luncheon plates like Mother had.  And they are 20% off right now when you code PASTA17 at checkout.

I also want to share the recipe for Creamy Lemon Vinaigrette.  I saw it in a recent issue of the Williams Sonoma catalog.  While the quiche was baking, I made a batch of the vinaigrette in my NutriBullet.

Process one garlic clove and two anchovy fillets until finely chopped.  Add one egg yolk, grated zest and juice from one lemon, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper.  Blend until it forms a smooth paste.  Add 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil until combined.  It’s really good and you will have plenty for salads the rest of the week.

Have a fab Friday!  I am heading off to a blogging conference for the weekend and looking forward to meeting to other fellow bloggers and learning something new.

Trader Joe’s Spatchcocked Lemon Rosemary Chicken

Trader Joe’s Spatchcocked Lemon Rosemary Chicken

Sunday night Miss Bee and I made a trip to Trader Joe’s to do our meal planning for this week.  I saw this chicken in the meat department and thought it sounded good and would be perfect with the bag of fingerling sweet potatoes I picked up in produce.  It’s $4.49 a pound, so this chicken was $12.99.

Oh. My. Goodness.  Do yourself a favor and visit TJ’s this week and get this Spatchcocked Lemon Rosemary chicken.  Here’s why:

  1. It’s super easy to cook.  You open the package, place the chicken in a pan and bake for about 75 minutes.  That’s it.
  2. It will make your house smell like you have been cooking in the kitchen all day.  Literally, your family will walk in and love you.
  3. It’s delicious.  I have a problem with rotisserie chickens, and the like, because they are so darn saltly.  The ingredients in this chicken are simple:

    Whole Split Chicken with Bone and Skin, Mojo Brine (Water, Orange Juice, Brown Sugar, Salt, Lime Juice), Marinade (Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Garlic, Buffered Vinegar, Rosemary, Parsley, Rosemary Extract), Lemon Slices.

    I placed diced sweet potatoes in the pan with the chicken and roasted them all together.  The juices from the chicken were yummy and coated the potatoes perfectly.  I served it with a side of TJ’s fresh green beans.

    If you are wondering what “Spatchcocked” means — it’s just a term used to describe the technique in which the meat has been prepared for roasting or grilling.

    So, you’ve learned something new and you’ll eat a tasty meal this week.  Enjoy!

Recipe from a Box: Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

So, one morning I was standing at the Keurig pouring cream into my coffee and I happened to glance at the recipe on the carton.  Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes using Horizon Organic half and half.  It made me remember the days when Mother made scalloped potatoes.  I am sure at one time she made them from scratch, but once boxed mixes were created so housewives could get dinner on the table pronto, a lot of homemade things were saved for dinner parties with friends.

Mother’s go-to was Betty Crocker’s Scalloped Potatoes.  While they are pretty close to homemade, the amount of salt in the recipe really bothers me.  When I saw the Horizon recipe, it made me long for a big pan of creamy potatoes with a giant meatloaf smothered in tomato sauce and a side of green beans.  I knew what was for dinner (I had to substitute pork tenderloin for meatloaf because Miss Bee WILL NOT eat meatloaf.  I think it’s the word “loaf” that bothers her).

You’ll need:

3 cups thinly sliced russet potatoes

1 small onion, thinly sliced (I used just half because that’s all I had and it was plenty)

3 TBL chopped fresh parsley

2 cups Horizon Organic shredded cheddar cheese (I always shred my own cheese from a block because I think it melts better)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 cups Horizon Organic Half & Half

Preheat oven to 350 and butter a 3 quart casserole dish.

Layer 1/3 of potatoes, onions and parsley in bottom of pan.  Sprinkle with 2/3 cups of cheddar cheese, then repeat for two more layers.

Pour half & half over casserole and sprinkle with remaining parsley and Parmesan.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, then remove foil and bake for an additional 35 minutes.

They were a pretty big hit and plenty was left over for the next day.  Now, I will be on the look out for more recipes on a box.  Are there any recipes you have found off a box that turned out to be a keeper?  Please share!

 

 

Parchment Baked Chicken Four Ways

parchment-baked-chicken

I saw this recipe idea on my Facebook feed recently and it reminded me of when I was little and Mother taught me how to make “Cowboy Hamburgers” — foil pouches filled with hamburger patties, sliced potatoes, carrots and seasoning baked in the oven.  Mother told me that’s how cowboys cooked their dinner.  Cowboys probably have access to parchment paper now making this a twist on a classic.

I tried the tomato pesto chicken recently and it was really tasty — juicy and full of flavor.  The best part was no mess to clean up afterward.  Just toss the parchment in the trash afterward.  These would be perfect suppers for the busy holiday season.  I’ve provided the recipes below so you can get started on dinner tonight.  Enjoy!

TOMATO PESTO CHICKEN
INGREDIENTS

12×18 inches parchment paper or aluminium foil
1 chicken breast
5 ounces asparagus
1 roma tomato, sliced
2 tablespoons pesto
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

PREPARATION
1. Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C.
2. Fold the parchment paper in half, then open up.
3. Cut the ends of the asparagus and lay them on one half of the parchment paper.
4. Drizzle on oil and sprinkle on salt and pepper.
5. Lay the chicken on the asparagus, season with salt and pepper, and spread on the pesto. Top with tomato slices.
6. Fold the parchment paper over the chicken, and cinch the paper together by folding it over itself along the edges.
7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until internal temperature of chicken reaches 165˚F/75˚C.
8. Enjoy!

BARBEQUE
INGREDIENTS

Parchment paper or aluminium foil, 12×18 inches
1 chicken breast
1 small potato, sliced
1/4 onion, sliced
3 tablespoons barbecue sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

PREPARATION
1. Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C.
2. Fold the parchment paper in half, then open up
3. Quarter the potatoes and thinly slice the onion.
3. On one half, lay down the cut potatoes, drizzle on oil and sprinkle on salt & pepper.
4. Lay the chicken on the potatoes, season with salt and pepper and spread on the barbecue sauce. Top with sliced onions.
5. Fold the parchment paper over the chicken, and cinch the paper together by folding it over itself along the edges.
6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until internal temperature of chicken reaches 165˚F/75˚C.
7. Enjoy!

GARLIC PARMESAN CHICKEN
INGREDIENTS

Parchment paper or aluminium foil, 12×18 inches
1 chicken breast
1/2 zucchini, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons parmesan
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

PREPARATION
1. Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C.
2. Fold the parchment paper in half, then open up.
3. Slice the zucchini into rounds and lay them on one half of the parchment paper.
4. Mix the minced garlic and butter in a small bowl and spoon half of the garlic butter on top of the zucchini. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
5. Lay the chicken on the zucchini, season with salt and pepper and spoon on the rest of the garlic butter. Top with parmesan.
6. Fold the parchment paper over the chicken, and cinch the paper together by folding it over itself along the edges.
7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until internal temperature of chicken reaches 165˚F/75˚C.
8. Enjoy!

FAJITA CHICKEN
INGREDIENTS

Parchment paper or aluminium foil, 12×18 inches
1 chicken breast
1/2 red pepper, sliced
1/2 yellow pepper sliced
1/4 red onion, sliced
3 tablespoons salsa
1 tablespoon Mexican cheese blend
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

PREPARATION
1. Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C.
2. Fold the parchment paper in half, then open up.
3. Thinly Slice the peppers and onion and lay them on one half of the parchment paper.
4. Drizzle on oil and sprinkle on salt & pepper.
5. Lay the chicken on the peppers, season with salt and pepper, and spoon on salsa. Top with cheese.
6. Fold the parchment paper over the chicken, and cinch the paper together by folding it over itself along the edges.
7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until internal temperature of chicken reaches 165˚F/75˚C.
8. Enjoy!

Countdown to Thanksgiving: Mother’s Sweet Potato Delight

img_0930-3This recipe is one my mother and Sister Bee have served for many years at our Thanksgiving table.  I love it and the meal wouldn’t be the same without it.  In fact, Miss Bee always has it at the top of her “wish list” too.

img_0934-2

Sweet Potato Delight

1 large can of sweet potatoes (I usually double the recipe)

Heat potatoes and juice and mash thoroughly.  If you want to bake sweet potatoes ones you can, but this tastes just as good.

Mix together:

One stick of melted butter

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup of sugar

1/3 cup of evaporated milk

2 beaten eggs

Combine all of the ingredients and pour into a buttered dish.

Top with the following mixture:

1 cup of brown sugar

1/3 cup of flour

1/3 stick of melted butter

1/2 cup of chopped pecans

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until set.

img_0936-2

Countdown to Thanksgiving: Mac and Cheese with a Twist

Hello, it’s Mac and Cheese.  I love you and I don’t care if it makes me fat.   I had to get that out before I finish this post.  If Macaroni and Cheese is one of your staples for Thanksgiving, for the love of all things cheese and pasta, break up with Kraft for the time being and make this recipe.

macaroni-and-cheese

It’s made with Truffle oil – which is used to impart the flavor and aroma of truffles to a dish.  The first time I had truffle mac and cheese, Mr. Bee and I had a fab NYE dinner at Eddie V’s.  That’s not an evening to just order a vegetable plate.  I had their Truffled Mac and Cheese.  Oh, my stars.  Literally, I saw stars.  It was so good.  A week later as I was cleaning out my pantry, I found a bottle of truffle oil.  Whomever gave this to me, thank you.   This recipe is made with Gruyere and White Cheddar Cheese yielding a flavor that is rich and intense.  And, the added touch of the truffle oil, well that sealed the deal.

I knew I had to find a recipe and the one I found that came the closest was from Williams-Sonoma.

Ingredients:

  • Unsalted butter for baking dish, plus 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick)
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 lb. elbow macaroni
  • 2 tsp. truffle oil
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh chives

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 375°F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the macaroni and cook, stirring occasionally, until not quite al dente, about 2 minutes less than the package instructions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. While the pasta is still warm, drizzle with the truffle oil and stir well.

Return the saucepan to medium-high heat and melt the 4 Tbs. butter. Add the flour, paprika and mustard and cook, stirring well, until no visible flour remains, 1 to 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk, half-and-half and a generous pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Simmer, whisking frequently to smooth out any lumps, for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add a pinch of pepper and 1 cup each of the Gruyère and cheddar. Stir until smooth.

Pour the cheese sauce onto the macaroni, add the chives and stir well. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and top with the remaining cheeses. Bake until the top is lightly browned and the sauce is bubbly, 25 to 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma One Pot of the Day, by Kate McMillan (Weldon Owen, 2012).

Countdown to Thanksgiving: Bread

baked-rollsIt’s that week where everyone, including me, gets out tried-and-true recipes and also begins the search for something new to add to the Thanksgiving repertoire.  Over the next week, I’ll share some of my traditional recipes, with a few new ones mixed in.

First, bread.  Miss Bee likes for me to always bake Sister Schubert rolls, but this year I thought I would try a recipe I found on Pinterest for Easy Garlic Butter Hawaiian Rolls.  My thoughts were that not only would they be a yummy addition to the meal, but perfect for making turkey sandwiches later that evening or the next day.

Twist:  For recipes where butter is the star, I only bake with European-style butter. Plugra is one brand and Land O Lakes also has a great product. European-style butter has higher milk fat and a richer taste and creamier texture than regular butter.

hawaiian-rolls
The three essentials: Bread, garlic and butter

Ingredients

1  package of King’s Original Hawaiian Sweet Rolls

1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, divided in half.

1 TBL garlic, minced

Sea salt flakes, coarse sea salt or Kosher salt

Instructions

Preheat over to 350.

Heat 1/4 cup of butter (4 TBL) in small skillet over medium-low heat until it bubbles.  Add garlic and reduce heat to low.  Cook 30 seconds.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Place the remaining 1/4 cup butter in the bottom of 8×11 baking sheet.

Place baking sheet in the oven until butter is melted.  Remove baking sheet from the oven and place rolls in the pan.

Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cut a deep “X” into the top middle of each roll.

Brush the rolls with garlic butter and sprinkle with sea salt flakes.

prebaked-rolls
Rolls ready for the oven

Bake 12-15 minutes or until rolls are golden brown.

Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Rolls can be cooled and reheated.

butter-roll
Manna from Heaven

Check out more recipes on my Breads and Muffins Pinterest Board.