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.

Why is Breakfast so good?


You are not breaking anything. And you aren’t fasting. Although, the fast that happens during sleep is broken by this meal. I like to suppose things sometimes rather than look them up. Google was the worst thing to happen to a bullshitter. I used to make up crazy stuff all the time and speak about it as fact. The hood old days.

Eggs… In any possible way imaginable, pancakes, omlettes, hash browns, Bloody Mary, huevo ranchero, chili quills, cereal, bagels, donuts!!!! The list goes on. I dream of owning a Mexican breakfast spot with a big grill, fryer and custom egg station making egg tacos.

It’s also cheap, with healthy options. Look at all that avocado and died tomatoes. Although a ton of butter helped create such a yummy egg. Crepes are sweet with fruit and syrup. Granola and yogurt is a combo I have been enjoying. Peach Yopla and Kashi crunch cereal is the current standard.
And where can I get an amazing Breakfast burrito in New York?!? Not since San Diego has there been such a thing. 24 hours, enormous wrap with eggs, beans, rice, cheese, bacon, pollo or chorizo, potatoes, sour cream… Need I go on?

 

Breakfast is the best meal of the day. Don’t miss it.

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.

Soup Weather

Chicken Noodle Soup

As we get deeper into winter, I have a desire for hearty soups, stews and chili. Stick-to-your-ribs kinda food. Although, it can also be light and filled with healthy ingredients. Soft food can also extend well by adding broth or water, depending on how dense it is. The best part about soup is that it’s so simple to make. It can be altered easily for any kind of dietary needs.

I love the variety of texture and color that makes it visually stimulating, which can not be ignored. Presentation of food and anticipation has an impact on your dining experience. For instance, after having this amazing potato soup on previous occasions, the expectation is that it will be satisfying and enjoyable. Especially when you go out to eat. Consistency is important to a restaurant’s success for that very reason.

Soups combine well with other food creating an original meal using the same soup. A classic combo: soup and grilled cheese, which has many variations on its own. I love cheese, maybe why I like French onion soup. Or straight up onion soup for those who can’t do dairy, just omit the cheese and bread!

Soup & Grilled Cheese

How about a simple garden salad to go along with that chili or heavier soups? For me, I like using iceberg lettuce, some romaine, diced vine-ripe tomatoes, carrot shavings, sliced cucumber, finely diced red onion, chopped bell pepper (green/yellow), olives, avocado (pinch of lime and salt), almond slices or Chinese noodles, with Italian dressing. I shake all the ingredients in a covered Tupperware bowl, after I’ve added the dressing. Never liked having dressing on top, I don’t like to mix it manually.

Soup & Salad

Try adjusting recipes to experiment if you’re feeling adventurous. Adding crunchy crouton, crackers or tortillas (tortilla soup is one of my favorites) add some additional texture that kicks it up a notch. Dip things in it. Hot sauce. Drizzle grated cheese. Get wild to warm yourself from the inside out.

 

New Year’s Eve Dinner

2015/01/img_0316.jpg

2015/01/img_0314.jpg

2015/01/img_0315.jpg

There are many things I love, but most of all… having people for dinner. Not literally “people eating”. That would be cannibalism. I had a small group on New Year’s Eve 2015. We ate, we drank, we partied the night away. But an army doesn’t march on an empty stomach. We had terriaki/bbq chicken pieces with home-made roasted red peppers on top. There was a cucumber tomato salad over a slice of mozzarella lightly tossed with Italian dressing. Oven-browned baked potato wedges with cumin, grated parmesan cheese and drowned in butter. And just to be healthy, steamed broccoli in garlic butter. We didn’t bother with dessert. Just wine. It was just enough to prepare us for a night of celebration, but not too much that would make us sleepy. Hope you are having a flavorful new year.