Thursday, October 29, 2009

Turkey-Stuffed Peppers

I had a crisper-drawer full of bell peppers. Nice problem to have, isn't it?! :) I harvested these from the garden a couple of weeks ago, before our first "hard frost", and there were so many that I needed to do something with them before they started to get soft.

My Mom mentioned that she also had a lot of bell peppers and was making a large batch of stuffed peppers to freeze. I decided to emulate her and do the same.

This is basically her recipe (I used ground turkey instead of ground beef, and brown rice instead of white). She has made these for so many years that she didn't have exact measurements, but she did tell me what ingredients to use and they turned out great.

Stuffed peppers are a comfort food from when I was a kid, perfect for fall and winter. For some reason, neither me nor my brothers and sister ever ate the pepper itself. We would eat the meat stuffing, then toss the pepper in the trash. Yet another instance of my wanting to transport myself back in time to give my younger self a smart little slap and say "you idiot! Try it!". They are gooooood!

* Exported from MasterCook *

Turkey-Stuffed Peppers

Recipe By : My Mom
Serving Size : 8

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------

3/4 cup brown rice -- cooked (will yield about 2-1/2 cups of cooked rice)
3 pounds bell peppers -- about 8 large
6 ounces sweet onion -- cut into chunks
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon Italian herbs
1 large egg
1 large egg white
2 pounds lean ground turkey
1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
28 ounces tomato sauce
1/4 cup water -- or dry red wine
1 teaspoon oregano
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper -- (or more, adjust to taste)

Cook rice according to package directions, omitting fat and salt. When done, remove lid, fluff with a fork, and set aside to cool.

Slice peppers in half, lengthwise, and remove stem, core, and seeds. Place about 4" of water in a large pot (that can hold all of the peppers), bring to a boil, add the peppers, cover, lower heat, and steam for 5 minutes or until barely tender. Drain into a colander and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a large baking pan (large enough to hold the peppers in a single layer) and set aside.

In a food processor, chop the onion. Add the garlic, Italian herbs, egg and egg white and process.

Place the ground turkey in a large bowl, add cooked rice, bread crumbs, salt and pepper and mix lightly. Pour the egg mixture over all and mix well (using your just-washed hands is the best way).

Mix the tomato sauce, water or wine, oregano, basil, and pepper in a small bowl. Season with ground black pepper to taste. Pour about 3/4 cup into the bottom of the baking sheet and spread around a little. Set aside the remaining sauce.

Divide mixture between each pepper half, rounding the tops. Place in the baking sheet, and cover with foil.

Bake for 45 minutes, remove foi and baste with saucel, then continue to bake for fifteen minutes. Remove from oven, cool slightly, spoon additional sauce over, and serve.

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Per serving: 333 Calories (kcal); 10g Total Fat (2 g Saturated); (25% calories from fat); 29g Protein; 35g Carbohydrate; 97mg Cholesterol; 754mg Sodium
Food Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 3 1/2 Lean Meat; 2 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 0 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Homemade Cough Syrup

I am taking a brief break from food-blogging to announce a great discovery.

It is 8am and I am awake, bright-eyed and busy-tailed as it were, because for the first time in almost a week I have had a good nights' sleep. When Jack finally starts communicating in sentences, I am sure that he will tell me the same thing.

He had a short cold which, due to rest, vitamin C, echinacea, and lots of fluids, he has managed to be rid of. However, he had a nagging cough that would not go away. It wasn't too bad in the day, but all night he coughed and tossed and coughed and tossed... He insisted that he had it under control with throat lozenges, but he lied. For the past 3 mornings I woke tired.

Yesterday I was searching for a way to soothe that throat of his so we could both get some sleep and I came across a posting by a college nurse which gave directions for a homemade cough syrup. Having the ingredients handy, I decided to make some. I mean, what could it hurt?

Jack was skeptical, to say the least. Containing honey, apple cider vinegar, cayenne pepper, and ginger, it was not the tastiest thing he would ever ingest, but I urged him to give it a try.

He reluctantly took the syrup, grimaced, brushed his teeth, and we went to bed. Six uninterrupted hours later I woke, and not to his coughing but, rather, to Spooky who decided to give me nice face-cleaning at 5:30am).

Sleep, glorious uninterrupted sleep!

I want to share my happiness... :)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Linguine with Creamy White Clam Sauce

Gold and red leaves are falling from the trees in our yard in droves, it's cool and rainy, and I am suddenly craving warming, hearty meals.

I had a recipe for linguine with white clam sauce that I have made for a couple of years, but it uses cream of mushroom soup and is a little heavy and pasty for my taste, so I wanted to find another. I posted a request on the Cuisine at Home website and now have two recipes to try! The first I made tonight for dinner and it was very, very good.

Linguine with white clam sauce can be high in fat and calories because of the amount of butter and cheese usually added. This really isn't necessary because using a good olive oil and being judicious with the cheese can still make a quite delicious dish, as this recipe proves.

The original recipe made enough for 4 servings, so I needed to cut the ingredients in half. Easy enough, but since Jack refuses to believe that a "serving" of pasta is a mere 2 ounces, so I needed to adjust the recipe a little to accommodate more than half of the amount of pasta. This was done with a simple addition of lowfat half and half and a little cornstarch to thicken it.

As always when I post a recipe using lowfat (or fat-free) half and half, I have to warn that if you boil this it will separate and the result will be little clumps of congealed white stuff in the sauce. Not at all pretty, but it doesn't affect the flavor. I know. I've forgotten my own warning and done this several times!

Anyway, a meal couldn't be quicker to pull together. Add a salad and some good wine and you have an easy, absolutely delicious meal which is perfect for a cool fall evening.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Linguine with Creamy White Clam Sauce

Servings: 2 Preparation Time :0:25

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------

6 ounces whole wheat linguine
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
6 1/2 ounces chopped clams -- do not drain
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons lowfat half & half (can also use milk, if doing so increase cornstarch to 1tsp)
3/4 teaspoon cornstarch

Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil, add salt, then the pasta and stir. Cook until al dente, and drain.

While the pasta is cooking, heat a nonstick skillet over a medium flame and add olive oil. Swirl to distribute the oil then add the garlic. Saute for 30 seconds, then add crushed red pepper flakes. Cook for another minute, add the entire can of clams (undrained) and cook for 3 minutes.

Add half of the Parmesan and half of the parsley. Mix the lowfat half and half and cornstarch and stir into the clam sauce. Stirring constantly, bring to almost a boil (when lowfat or fat-free half and half boils, it will separate). Turn the heat off and add the cooked, drained linguine.

Divide between 2 plates, sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and parsley, and serve.

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Per serving: 491 Calories (kcal); 10g Total Fat (2g Saturated); (17% calories from fat); 37g Protein; 69g Carbohydrate; 68mg Cholesterol; 512mg Sodium
Food Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 3 1/2 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates

We have a lot of different varieties of trees in our yard, and this
combo looks so nice in the fall- a silver maple in the background
with a purple flowering plum in front of it.

The small wooden building is an old corn crib.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

African Spicy Red Sauce

In the past few weeks, we have been incredibly busy. Not with the usual, panicked sense which arrives every autumn that winter is coming and we still have a huge "to do" list for work on the exterior of the house. This year other things command our attention and, although time-consuming, they have priority.

Unfortunately, I am spending way less time in the kitchen now. I have a few recipes which I have made and need to tweak a bit before posting (please, watch out for the chocolate-amaretto cheesecake to come up in the next month or so, because it is incredibly wonderful) but this will have to wait.

Occasionally I will get a day where I can spend a couple of hours cooking, and when I do I will make something ahead for future dinners. I've never really done this, but it is quite imperative to do so now.

One recipe which we enjoy is adapted from Cooking Light. African Chicken in Spicy Red Sauce has been a favorite for years. In fact, when I broke my ankle a couple of winters' ago, my wonderful friend Jenni prepared a large casserole of this and brought it over. The entire dish freezes quite well.

This time, however, I just made the sauce. Three times the sauce! But then I froze 8 ounce portions and, when thawed, I just add it to cubed, sauteed chicken breast and veggies, simmer for 15 minutes, and serve over whole wheat couscous garnished with chopped cilantro and lemon wedges. Note that the lemon tang is essential, so if you don't have fresh lemon, sprinkle some juice over the mixture before spooning it over the couscous (or rice).

This easy, and delicious meal, takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

African Spicy Red Sauce

This flavorful Ethiopian-inspired sauce uses Berbere, an Ethiopian spice blend. Store extra spice mix covered in a cool, dark place for up to two weeks or freeze for a longer period. Use leftovers on salmon, flank steak, or chicken for fiery flavor.

Cooking spray
1 1/2 cups chopped onion (2 medium)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons Berbere (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 (6-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato paste

Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion and garlic; cook 5 minutes (do not brown), stirring frequently. Add 2 teaspoons Berbere, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, butter, ginger, nutmeg, and cardamom; cook 1 minute. Add wine, broth, and tomato paste; stir until well blended.Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or sauce is thickened and reduced just a little. Cool, and refrigerate or freeze for later use.

This makes enough sauce for 4 servings.

CALORIES 373 (24% from fat); FAT 9.8g (sat 3.6g,mono 2.7g,poly 1.8g); IRON 4mg; CHOLESTEROL 175mg; CALCIUM 72mg; CARBOHYDRATE 17.3g; SODIUM 848mg; PROTEIN 53.2g; FIBER 3.6g


2 tablespoons ground red pepper (I used 1-1/2 tablespoons because my new Penzey's ground red pepper was really spicy!)
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. After using, store remainder in a small jar in the freezer to keep fresh.

Yield: 1/4 cup (serving size: 1 teaspoon)

CALORIES 6 (30% from fat); FAT 0.2g (sat 0.0g,mono 0.0g,poly 0.1g); IRON 0.2mg; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 6mg; CARBOHYDRATE 1.1g; SODIUM 1mg; PROTEIN 0.2g; FIBER 0.5g

Cooking Light, OCTOBER 2006

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Thai Grilled Shrimp

Several years ago when we first started to take vacations (after several years of constantly working) and we rented a beach house, I prepared menus and made elaborate meals. Each year after that first one, however, the meals have become simpler and quicker. Yes, I enjoy cooking. So much that I probably spend an average of 4 hours a day in the kitchen. But I slowly realized that vacation was the perfect time to use simple, quick recipes for those meals which we have at the house. And there are a good amount of these meals; I think that in those 2 weeks at the beach we went out to lunch 5 times, dinner only once.

I took along a good supply of fresh herbs such as Thai basil, Italian basil, cilantro, parsley, oregano, and thyme to cook with. One evening I decided to make a Thai-style grilled shrimp. I used only what I had on hand for the sauce, and it turned out to be a keeper. Large (ours weighed in at 1-1/2 to 2 ounces per piece) shrimp were marinated for a short while in a mixture of lime juice, garlic, and curry paste then grilled. The remaining marinade was drizzled over the cooked shrimp, and it was served over steamed jasmine rice, garnished with that wonderfully flavorful Thai basil. I sautéed snow peas to serve with the shrimp and rice and a great meal was made in less than 45 minutes.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Thai Grilled Shrimp

Recipe By: Vicci

Servings: 2

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method

-------- ------------ --------------------------------

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

2 medium cloves garlic -- minced

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon canola oil

1 teaspoon red curry paste

1 teaspoon fish sauce

10 ounces large shrimp -- butterflied

1 tablespoon Thai basil -- or cilantro, both optional

1/2 small lime -- cut into 2 wedges

In a shallow container which is large enough to hold all of the shrimp in a single layer (tail up), mix the lime juice through the fish sauce. Place the shrimp, tail up, in the marinade. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.

Preheat the grill to medium-high. Carefully oil the grids.

Remove the shrimp from the marinade and place on the grids, tail up, reserving the marinade. Grill the shrimp for 7-8 minutes, or until opaque.

While the shrimp cooks, pour the sauce into a small pan and bring to a boil. Turn down the heart and simmer until ready to use.

Remove the shrimp from the grill when done, drizzle sauce over, sprinkle with basil. Serve with wedges of lime to squeeze over.

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Per serving: 206 Calories (kcal); 5g Total Fat (1g saturated); (22% calories from fat); 30g Protein; 9g Carbohydrate; 216mg Cholesterol; 515mg Sodium

Food Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 4 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates

I would like to play around with this sauce a little more (coconut milk would be a great flavor in it) but I’m just not in the mood since it is autumn *sigh* and I’m just not in the mood to grill. :) Maybe next summer!