I Think this is how to make Stuffed Peppers

I recently took a stab at making stuffed peppers without really knowing what the ingredients were. I only knew of this dish because I saw my step-father order it on many occasions at the Budd Lake Dinner. From what I could tell, it consisted of a bell pepper stuffed with rice and meat of some kind. I thought I remembered some breadcrumbs on top. I know it sounds like I was being lazy… and I kind of was by not looking up the recipe. I decided to wing it.

I took a yellow bell pepper and cut it in half. Cleaned and trimmed the inside. I made some rice the day before and had some leftover lentils. I mixed the rice, lentils, green verde salsa and finely diced grilled chicken with some seasonings in a bowl. Then I spooned the mixture into the 2 halves until it was even with the top. Placed the 2 now stuffed peppers on a baking sheet. I sprayed PAM on the sheet and pepper once placed. Topping them off with shredded cheddar cheese and bread crumbs.

Pre-heated the oven, while prepping, to 450°. Baked the peppers for 30 minutes. I checked them periodically to see if my 2 goals had come to fruition. Goal #1: The wall of the pepper must be moist, like a roasted pepper, yet firm to hold it’s structure. Goal #2. Get it brown, but not burnt. I also threw more cheese and breadcrumbs half way through. 

After it was done, I set the pan down on the stove top to admire my work. The top was cheesy brown with little crisps. Yummer! The skin was loose and slightly charred. Smelled incredible. It smelled so good, I ate it all before I thought to take a picture. So all you get is the testimony of this cook. For not knowing the ‘correct’ way, my version came out excellent. Probably could have made it vegetarian. Nice and juicy, but not too messy. I cut it with my fork and cherished every bite.

I encourage you to experiment in the kitchen based on cooking knowledge you already possess. If you have baked a potato before, you could probably figure out how to make a twice baked potato. Sometimes it doesn’t work out, but now you know not to do it again. If my attempt failed, I would go to Wendy’s to get a baked potato and small chili, both on the value menu. I then dump the chili on the potato and top with the sour cream. Through some hot sauce up in there. It is a guaranteed good time.

Make Improving Diet Fun

Recently, with the beginning of Spring, I have been trying to consume less and change some eating habits. The winter has let me indulge long enough. So after my week of excluding cheese and carbs (which was torture), I am now practicing moderation. Measuring portions is a big one. I tend to eat everything on my plate, but if you have a coffee mug full of chicken fried rice, it’s not so bad. Getting to my point… It is necessary to eat food that is either boring or we simply don’t like. So let’s make food healthier, but still giving it some taste, for the love of God! The only way to do that is introduce things that could make it unhealthy if you went overboard.

I start with fresh vegetables. Raw, they are filled with good stuff. Cooked they are still good, but not as nutritious.  Find easy ways to prepare broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, peppers, onions, avocado, cucumber, carrots, lettuce, etc. Raw veggies have less clean up.

Throw it all in a bowl. House Salad: Chop lettuce, dice tomatoes, gate carrots. Easy Salad: House salad and add broccoli, diced bell pepper, red onion. I also like to add a small amount of Chinese noodles for some crunch. Add some diced grilled chicken. You could pan fry it in some oil too, possibly with some teriyaki sauce… hmmmm. Throw some spices on that chicken breast with all the fat cut off. Just used the Foreman Grill last night. Super! Cucumber Salad: chop some partially skinned cucumbers died in to half moon slices, dice tomatoes, sliced avocado. 3 ingredients. Oh yeah! Salad dressing is the thing to make it interesting. I like Italian dressing, but use whatever is tasty to you, doesn’t matter if it’s fatty. Make sure to do it at the time of the meal. Doesn’t keep. Once all the ingredients are in the bowl, cover it and shake it up and down and in a swooping motion. Covers all the salad, so you get maximum flavor. Throw it in the fridge for 15 minutes and serve, or just eat it.

The flavor is more important than eliminating everything that tastes good. It is easier to anticipate the enjoyment  of a cheeseburger and fries, while a salad may feel dull. I would rather eat the healthy option and make it more palatable. Man, I will also shred some cheese on the mother lover. It may eventually convert you to eating rabbit food. Other stuff like carrots and celery dipped in ranch, perhaps with a little hot sauce mixed in. Portion it by filling up half a coffee mug. Oh yeah, wash all the veggies well and dry them, which should go with out saying. Spreading peanut butter or cream cheese in the trough of celery chutes or rice cakes. My favorite breakfast and desert… low fat vanilla yogurt & granola/grape nuts. It is so tasty and a great alternative to sugary cereals or ice cream.

So find a half way point. Don’t get discouraged. Just do the best you can and don’t beat yourself up for indulging. Just make that indulgence the lesser of 2 evils.