October 29, 2012

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

I came across this recipe on Pinterest, and it looked yummy, so I filed it away.  But tonight I decided to make something with quinoa for dinner.  And since my husband kindly requested that I make something other than my usual quinoa go-to dish, I pulled this one out.  It took a chunk of time to make, but it was well worth it.  And apparently they freeze well, so you can make a bunch when peppers go on sale (which is now in my neck of the woods) and freeze them for quick dinners or easy lunches.  My husband loved it as is, but I thought it could use a little kick--maybe some cayenne pepper or a can of diced green chiles?  If anyone out there gives that a try, I'd love to hear the results.  Let's move on to the recipe, shall we?

Image Source
Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
(adapted from Vegetarian Times)  

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup onion, minced (roughly one medium onion)
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 Tbsp cumin
10 ounces spinach (you can use a container of frozen spinach too, as long as you thaw and drain it first)
2 cans (15 oz) diced tomatoes, drained with the liquid reserved
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups shredded carrot (roughly 3 large carrots)
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1/2 cup shredded cheese (cheddar or pepper jack), divided
4 large red or orange bell peppers, cut in half lengthwise with the ribs removed

1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Throw in the onion and celery, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until just tender.  Add the garlic salt and cumin, and saute for another minute or so to let those flavors start to blend.  
2. Throw in the spinach (as much as you can fit in the pot at a time) and stir it until the spinach wilts.  When there's room again, throw in the rest of the spinach.  If you're using frozen spinach, no need to wait and stir.  Just move right on ahead.  Stir in the tomatoes (which you remembered to drain, right?  And you remembered to reserve the liquid, right?).  Cook and stir until almost all of the liquid has evaporated.  
3. Add the beans, carrot, quinoa, and water.  Cover, and reduce the heat to medium-low.  Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the quinoa is tender.  Stir in 1/4 cup of the cheese.
4. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Remember that reserved tomato liquid?  Pour it into a baking dish (a 9x13 pan works great).  Place the peppers in the dish cut sides up, so they're like little pepper boats amongst the tomato liquid.  Fill each pepper with about 3/4 cup quinoa mixture.  Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for an hour.  
5. Uncover the dish, sprinkle on the remaining 1/4 cup cheese, and continue baking (uncovered) for 10-15 minutes.  When the cheese is just starting to brown, remove the peppers from the oven and let them sit for about five minutes while you gather the family around and say prayers.
6. Enjoy your vegetable goodness...because it won't even seem like you're eating vegetables.  It will just be plain old goodness.

October 18, 2012

Nutty for Oats Cookies

First of all, I must apologize for completely and entirely neglecting the blog.  The keyboard on my computer is broken, and I've just been lazy and haven't bothered to use someone else's computer to write a post.  And so, to make it up to you, my lovely readers, I present my new favorite cookie--perhaps one of the best cookies I've ever made.  The weather's cooling down, and that just makes me want to bake cookies--chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, oatmeal cookies... And this year I found this cookie recipe that is basically a combination of all three. And, even though it doesn't call for any flour, it tastes amazing.  Are you ready?

Image Source
Nutty for Oats Cookies
(from the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking cookbook, of course)

2/3 cup smooth peanut butter
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, ground for 30 seconds in a food processor, grinder, or blender (You basically want it to be like a coarse flour-ish consistency.)
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups chocolate chips

1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease 2 baking sheets or line them with parchment or waxed paper.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, cream together peanut butter, butter, sugar, vanilla, salt, and baking soda.  Beat in eggs, scraping the bowl, then add the ground oats, the rest of the oats, and the chocolate chips.  Mix until combined, then drop the dough by tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets.  By the way, did you know that when a cookie recipe calls for teaspoons or tablespoons to be dropped onto the sheet, they aren't really teaspoons and tablespoons like we normally use?  It actually refers to the spoons we use when eating at the table.  Technically a "teaspoonful" of dough equals about 3/4 of a tablespoon, and a "tablespoonful" is about 4 teaspoons.  So now you know.
3. Bake the cookies for 11-13 minutes, or until they're barely set and barely browning on the edges.  Don't forget to rotate the pans halfway through (switching top and bottom pans and rotating them around so the front is at the back) so they cook nice and evenly.  Remove the pans from the oven and let the cookies cool completely on the pan.  
4. Grab a glass or milk or some hot cocoa and enjoy your delicious cookies.  But try not to eat the rest for breakfast the next day or your toddler will spend the whole day crying because he wants more cookies.  You might cry too when you run out of these.  They're that good.
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