Every Tuesday evening, I visit my mom. If school and work isn’t bogging me down, I try to plan and prepare a nice meal. Just a small way to say thank you for feeding me for the last 2 decades (and, of course, I love having free reign of a kitchen :) )
And the last Tuesday before school starts up calls for an extra special meal. This meant appetizers, side dishes, and a dessert.
But not with chips (I restrict my grain intake). Rather, I used mini peppers!
Recently, raw peppers have graduated to the Top 10 List of my favorite foods. I down those babies like it’s my job.
Anyway, I actually prefer the peppers to the chips. Plus, the bright yellows, oranges, and reds make it much more appealing!
Sweet Pepper Nachos
1 lb ground meat
1 purple onion, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, diced
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper
Mini sweet peppers
Cheddar cheese (or any other cheese you desire)
Cook meat and onion over medium heat, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and spices and cook for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, cut sweet peppers in half and stretch out. Place in a single layer on a baking pan (make sure peppers are pressed close together!). When the meat is finished, spread on top of peppers. Top with desired amount of cheese and place in a 400 degree oven for 12 minutes.
As for many people, Mac n’ Cheese was always a comfort food in my house when I was little. And so, I wanted to take a crack at making a more grown-up version. Therefore I eliminated the cartoon-shaped noodles and replaced them with (you know me) cauliflower!And added some sun-dried tomatoes to complete the look. Very classy and mature, if I must say ;)
Not to say kids won’t like this too. I’m sure if I had been exposed to this when I was little, I would have deemed this comfort-like food as well!
Cauli’ N Cheese
4 cups cauliflower, chopped into small florets
2/3 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded provolone cheese
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste
Steam cauliflower until you can pierce it with a fork. Set aside.
Combine yogurt, cheeses, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a pot (Note: make sure to do this before placing over heat). Place over low heat and stir constantly until cheese has melted. Take off heat, stir in desired amount of sun-dried tomatoes, and pour over steamed cauliflower.
To keep costs at a relatively reasonable rate, my family and I try to eat in while on vacation. This can be hard when we all have different plans and guests over and whatnot. Especially when we’re on the beach all day.
So, this recipe was put to use this week to feed a bunch of people as they came and went. Since it’s a slow cooker, I was able to start it up before I headed down to the beach and come back with it almost complete.
Plus, it wasn’t too laborious on my arm (still getting used to the cast!)
Oh, and another thing I loved about this? You get a side dish of BBQ apples and onions, a combination that tastes surprising good together!
Slow Cooker Apple and Onion BBQ Chicken
4 lbs organic chicken drumsticks
2 cup BBQ sauce (I used Bill’s Best Organic BBQ Sauce)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 onions, chopped
2 apples, peeled and cut into 1 inch-cubed pieces
4 garlic cloves, minced
Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker (don’t worry if it’s filled to the top- it’ll shrink as it cooks.) Put on low and let cook for 5 hours. Remove chicken. With a slotted spoon, scoop up remaining onions and apples, drain of excess sauce, and place in its own bowl to serve as a side dish.
This week has been full of new and challenging events for me.
On Monday, I decided to go on a bike ride to celebrate the finish of my summer classes. Two minutes into the ride, my front tire hit a pipe hole that was left uncapped. As a result, I did a flip over the handlebars and got some nice road rash and bruises all up my body. My wrist also hurt a bit. But because I’m stubborn, I refused to go to the doctors.
Fast forward to later that night and I had a painful and swollen hand that I could barely move :(
I gave in and went to the hospital the next night… and left with a bulky cast that I now have to sport for the next 6-10 weeks!
And just in time for vacation too.
Guess I can now say I’ve broken a bone!
So, this week I’ve realized just how much I rely on 2 functioning hands. Who knew opening a lid, buttoning pants, washing a dish, and packing a bag could be so difficult?
Making food has also become challenging for me. HOWEVER, with the help of my food processor, I was able to make this zucchini mash :)
I’m thinking simple recipes are going to become a theme for my blog for the next few weeks…
1/4 cup plain yogurt
salt and pepper
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tbsp onion powder
1/2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
Place zucchini in a food processor and pulse until in small pieces (stop before it becomes mush!). Let sit for 5 minutes and then drain out excess water. Transfer 2 cups of zucchini to a pot and add yogurt and spices. Cook on low for 10 minutes, stirring every so often. Mix in mozzarella cheese before serving.
I’m finally feeling a huge sense of relief. Yesterday I finished up with my summer classes AND took my Praxis II test. Now I know a bunch of math, science, social studies, and english stuff that I’m ready to forget!
And now that I don’t have any homework or studying for the next month, I have time to experiment in the kitchen! Already I’ve made several things that I’ve been inching to try. The first being:
Red Pepper Sauce over Spaghetti Squash
1 large spaghetti squash
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic gloves, minced
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 cup chicken broth
4 oz goat cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup plain, whole milk yogurt
1 cup roasted red peppers (from a jar)
4 cups fresh spinach
1/2 cup black olives, drained, rinsed, and roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
Cut squash in half and remove its seeds. Place face-down on an aluminum foiled-pan and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Afterwards, allow to cool and then run a fork over insides, pulling up spaghetti-like strands of squash. Place strands in a large bowl and set aside.
Heat olive oil over low heat in a deep skillet. Add in and sauté onion and garlic for 10 minutes. Sprinkle in rosemary and cook for 1 minute before adding chicken broth and cheeses. Stir until cheeses have melted. Turn off heat, add in yogurt and peppers, and blend ingredients with an immersion blender (You could also temporarily transfer the ingredients to a food processor/blender!) until sauce is a light red color. Turn heat back on and add in spinach. Cover with a lid and allow spinach to wilt, stirring every so often. Add in olives, salt and pepper. Pour over spaghetti squash and stir to combine.