Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers

June 11, 2012

If you’ve been wondering if I was ever going to post another recipe, rest assured that I have not forgotten about my blog! It’s just that I was away on vacation for two weeks and returned less than a week ago, and it has taken a few days to settle back into “normal” life with three young children. I wish I could tell you that I had a relaxing holiday, however most of you already know from first-hand experience that there is no such thing as a “vacation” when you are a parent!

Now, don’t get me wrong – we had a lovely time in PEI, where we rented a cottage (really, it was more like a house) near Cavendish (where there is a wonderful beach where my children had great fun playing in the red-tinted sand) and we were blessed to have our good friends from Nova Scotia come visit us for a few days. It’s just that being away from home means your children are in even more need of your constant attention, and that just gets to be E-X-H-A-U-S-T-I-N-G!

I know this may sound strange to some of you, but cooking and baking have the opposite effect on me. The kitchen is where I “recharge”, so to speak. That is why it was important for us to have accommodations with a decent kitchen – and the kitchen at this cottage was pretty amazing, actually. The first day our dear friends from Nova Scotia stayed with us we had a BBQ dinner: pork souvlaki for the adults, sausages for the children, and today’s featured recipe post – Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers.

My mother introduced me to these D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S peppers, which I have since made many times. Each time I use slightly different ingredients so they are never the same. My mother heard about the original recipe while watching the Dr. Oz show, and subsequently found it on his website. The original recipe is made with ground turkey and can be served as a complete meal.

Now, I did not actually take the time to photograph the stuffed peppers I made that evening in PEI, but I did make and photograph them shortly before we went on vacation and so will use those photos and ingredients below. Here, I made a vegetarian version, which can be used as a complete vegetarian meal, or as a side to grilled meats.

Ingredients & Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash 4 red peppers (any colour will work, really – I prefer red though) and cut lengthwise, including the stem. Leaving the stem in place makes possible an impressive presentation. Spray with olive oil (or rub on the olive oil if you haven’t got any spray). Place on baking sheet or in casserole dish and bake for at least 20 minutes, until they begin to soften.

2. Meanwhile, saute 1 shredded carrot, 1 shredded zucchini, 1/2 finely chopped onion, 1 finely minced garlic clove. (I also like to add some fresh baby spinach if I have some on hand.)

3. Add left-over grilled eggplant (or add some sautéed mushrooms, preferably coarsely chopped) and cooked quinoa (approximately 1 cup). Sometimes I reduce the amount of quinoa and replace it with cooked brown rice. (If you don’t have any left-over eggplant or mushrooms from last night’s dinner, just saute some for a while BEFORE you add the shredded carrot, zucchini, etc. in step 2 above!)

4. Add cumin and chilli powder to taste. Add salsa (approximately 1/4 cup).

5. Spoon quinoa mixture into red peppers, cover with foil and bake for approximately 20 minutes.

6. Remove foil, sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Continue baking uncovered for approximately 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

7. Serve with plain greek yogurt and a side salad. I sometimes add 1/4 of an avocado on top of the yogurt. ENJOY!

Here is a picture from our vacation on PEI. I would add more, but I seem to be having issues uploading photos without it taking what seems like an eternity!

Have you ever been to PEI? What was your favourite part of the island and/or vacation?!

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If you have ever wondered how to incorporate cabbage into your diet other than through cole slaw and cabbage rolls (and it’s not likely you’re eating these on a regular basis!), then this is THE recipe for you! The best thing about this recipe is that it requires only one pot (well, really a large frying pan or wok) and it can be seasoned using different spices to suit your taste! A very good friend of mine recently came up with the recipe when she wanted a quick, tasty way to incorporate cabbage into her diet. I have since made this dish several times, and though the kids turn their noses (tonight I served them chicken enchilada “pie” instead – recipe to follow soon!), my husband eagerly helps himself to seconds (and sometimes thirds)!

Ingredients:

1 pound ground turkey (ground chicken or beef will also taste great)

1 onion, sliced or diced

1 – 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/4 cabbage, shredded (I use a mandolin to do this)

1 – 2 carrots, coarsely shredded

1 – 2 Tbsp curry powder (or, you can leave this out entirely!)

1 – 2 cups tomato sauce (my favourite for this recipe is from Costco and is called, “All Natural Marinara Sauce” by “White Linen Collection – Gourmet Pasta Sauce” – I highly recommend using this over the PC Blue Menu version for this recipe unless you’re in a pinch)

1 and 1/2 cups water

Directions:

Cook the meat (I used ground beef tonight, though I actually prefer it with ground turkey) in a large frying pan or wok, over high heat.

Once no longer pink, add onion and garlic. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes.

Add cabbage and cook for approximately 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add carrots and cook for approximately 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the curry powder (if using) and stir.

Add 1 – 2 cups tomato sauce (depends entirely on how “saucy” you want it to be).

Add water and reduce temperature to medium. Continue cooking for approximately 25 minutes, or until cabbage is tender and sauce thickened.

Serve with “Cucumber Salad” (see my recipe on a prior post) or garden salad using “Honey Mustard Dressing” (see my recipe on a prior post). And if you haven’t banished carbs from your dinner menu as I have (in an effort to finally lose the remaining pregnancy weight), serve with brown rice or quinoa! Oh, and a dollop of plain greek yogurt or drizzle of kefir would taste great, too!

Will you be giving this recipe a try? Please post a picture and give your verdict once you’ve done so!