Tag Archives: easy

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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Chicken and Lemon Summer Salad

If you are looking for the perfect summer salad, look no further. This tasty Chicken and Lemon Summer Salad is a gem – it’s crisp and refreshing, great to bring to a BBQ, and won’t leave you with the remorse of having indulged in one too many hot dogs.

Preparing this dish is a lot of fun – the zesty yellow lemons, bright and cheerful peppers, and aromatic cilantro all scream summer. Not to mention, all those fresh ingredients make the kitchen smell great without having to even turn on the stove!

I found the original recipe in a cookbook I picked up called Cooking Light Chicken Tonight! and I didn’t change much except added more cilantro (seriously, I’m obsessed) and included orange peppers to the vegetable mix. Helpful hint: to yield more juice from the lemons, microwave them for 30 seconds before juicing.

Chicken and Lemon Salad

Ingredients

Chicken:

  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • Cooking spray

Salad:

  • 1 cup sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup each: red, yellow, orange bell pepper strips
  • 1 cup (1/4-inch-thick) slices zucchini
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

  1. To prepare chicken, combine the first 4 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add chicken to bag, and seal. Marinate in the refrigerator 1 hour, turning occasionally.
  2. Prepare grill.
  3. Remove chicken from bag; discard marinade. Place chicken on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 6 minutes on each side or until done. Cool completely; cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
  4. To prepare salad, cook peas in boiling water 30 seconds. Drain, and rinse with cold water. Drain. Combine peas and all remaining ingredients in a large bowl; add chicken, tossing to combine.
  5. Place 1 3/4 cups chicken salad on each of 4 plates. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.
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