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Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

I haven’t been doing much experimenting in the kitchen over the last few months – an incredibly busy summer spilled over into fall – which helps to explain the dearth of posts with new recipes. A couple weeks ago we had some friends over for dinner, so I had to get back into the kitchen!

Originally, I thought we should do Mexican since we were having a mix of vegetarians and meat eaters over – we’d be able to give people the option to pick and choose what they wanted. Chris overruled me when he suggested that he make a pot roast instead – the perfect meal for a chilly fall night, and one that I have yet to master. (I have tried and tried and tried to perfect cooking beef, in a form other than “ground,” to no avail. I leave these types of dishes up to him!)

To make sure everyone had something to eat, I decided to whip up some quinoa stuffed peppers to round out the main course. I also decided to stalk Chris while he was making the pot roast so hopefully I could pick up a thing or two. Unfortunately, he kicked me out of the kitchen so I didn’t learn any of his firehouse cooking secrets. (That just ensures that he will always cook these things for me… right?)

Anyway, dinner was a success – we had plenty of food and everyone left full and happy – and the stuffed peppers turned out great!

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Vegetarian quinoa stuffed peppers!

I started with this recipe from Vegetarian Times.com – the only modifications I really made were removing a couple of ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 ribs celery, finely chopped (½ cup)
  • 1 Tbs. ground cumin
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp.)
  • 2 15-oz. cans diced tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved
  • 1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 3 large carrots, grated (1 ½ cups)
  • 3/4 cups grated reduced-fat pepper Jack cheese, divided (optional)
  • 4 large red bell peppers, halved lengthwise, ribs removed

Directions

  1. Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and celery, and cook 5 minutes, or until soft. Add cumin and garlic, and sauté 1 minute. Stir in drained tomatoes. Cook 5 minutes, or until most of liquid has evaporated.
  2. Stir in black beans, quinoa, carrots, and 2 cups water. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes, or until quinoa is tender.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour liquid from tomatoes in bottom of baking dish.
  4. Fill each bell pepper half with heaping 3/4-cup quinoa mixture, and place in baking dish. Cover with foil, and bake 1 hour.
  5. If desired, uncover and sprinkle half of the peppers with the remaining cheese. Bake 15 minutes more, or until tops of stuffed peppers are browned.
  6. Let stand 5 minutes. Transfer stuffed peppers to serving plates, and drizzle each with pan juices before serving.

 

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Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Stew

In addition for my delirious obsession with chicken wings, I also have a thing for Mexican food. Unfortunately, as with wings, some of my favorite dishes are also the least healthy: fried and smothered with cheese. During my quest to find healthy takes on Mexican food, I stumbled upon this chicken taco stew. It’s flavorful and full of protein. Plus, the recipe below makes about 12 servings – more than enough to save some leftovers and freeze lunch-sized portions for busy weeks.

And, maybe the best part: this crowd-pleasing recipe is so foolproof that I made it while I was sleeping. I put everything in the slow cooker before I went to bed, and when I woke up it was done. What a dream for this busy life! 

Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Stew

Chicken taco stew - ready to eat!

Ingredients
1 onion, chopped
1 16-oz can black beans, rinsed
1 16-oz can kidney beans, rinsed
1 16-oz can corn, drained
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
2 14.5-oz cans diced tomatoes w/chilies
1 1.25-oz packet taco seasoning (or make your own)
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Greek yogurt

I love all the colors!

Directions

  1. Mix the beans, corn, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and taco seasoning in slow cooker.
  2. Place chicken on top of mixture and cover.
  3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours (or on high for 3-4 hours*).
  4. Remove chicken 30 minutes before serving and shred.
  5. Return chicken to slow cooker and stir in.
  6. Serve with tortilla chips (I highly recommend the Food Should Taste Good sweet potato tortillas) or brown rice; top with Greek yogurt.

*I usually cook the stew for 7-8 hours on low; I’ve tried the shorter cooking time and it’s just not the same.

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