Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Peppers Stuffed with Beef and Quinoa

I can't believe I don't have a recipe for stuffed bell peppers on here! I guess I always make them up as I go, depending on what I have on hand. Here is a basic recipe to start from-as always, be creative and add what you like!

Serves 5

What you need/Ingredients:

  • 5 bell peppers
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 lb/1/2 kilo ground meat
  • 1/2 C uncooked quinoa
  • 1 can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 T cumin, or more to taste
  • 1/2 T chili powder, or more to taste
  • grated cheese
  • optional add-ons: mushrooms and almost any veggie go great! If you have more veggies you can use half the meat. Add them in at the same time as the onions.
What to do/Instructions:
  • Cook quinoa according to instructions-usually it's 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water. Don't forget to rinse it first!!
  • Wash and cut peppers. If you can find the shape that stands up, go for it! Peppers here aren't quite shaped right for that so I cut them in half. Arrange in a baking dish. Not all of mine fit, I had to use a second, smaller pan. If you arrange them snugly, they'll stay where you put them better. Same thing if you cook standing up. 
  • Preheat oven to 375. If you like really well-cooked peppers, you can throw them in, without stuffing, for a few minutes. I personally like to just cook them in the toppings and have them a little crunchier.
  • Start browning the meat. Drain off fat when meat is about half cooked, and add onions, cumin, and chili powder. Cook meat through.
  • Add tomatoes. When quinoa is cooked, gently stir it into the meat mixture as well. 
  • Stuff the mixture into the peppers.

  • *Oven disclaimer* I have a South American oven (no top burners) on gas, using Celcius. Your oven is probably different so just keep an eye on it! Cook the peppers for about 20 minutes, then add cheese and cook a few minutes more. Everything in them is cooked so it really just depends on how well you want your peppers done.

  • Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Easiest Green Chili Chicken, 5 ways

This isn't the most photogenic food. But dang, is it ever delicious-and SO easy! It's actually so easy I'm not sure if it qualifies as a "recipe" but I love love love it. I especially love that it's so versatile, you don't feel like you're eating the exact same thing every time. I live alone and cook for myself, so often by the time I get done with days of leftovers, I am *really* tired of them!

What you need (ingredients)

  • chicken breasts
  • jar of green chili-505 is a good brand. I have to settle for this green salsa, but I like green chili better! Buy whatever you like, from mild to spicy
  • green chilis (canned or dehydrated)
  • optional, depending on variation (see below): tortillas, sour cream, cilantro, tortilla chips, and/or eggs. The sky is the limit!
You can make this to feed any size of crowd. When I first had this camping, we had two giant crockpots full. I have a smaller crockpot, and only cook for myself so I used 4 chicken breasts, one small jar of salsa, and 1/2 cup dehydratred chilis, plus about 1/3 cup of water. 

*Crockpot tip* Your food will cook best if your crock is at least 2/3 full.

What to do (instructions)
Cook on high for about 3 hours or low for 6. If your chicken is frozen, cooking on high for 4-5 or low for 8-10 hours should suffice. When it's done, shred the chicken with forks or just cut into smaller pieces.

Here's the rundown of some different ways to eat this tasty dish.

#1 Out of a bowl, with a spoon
Top with some sour cream and cilantro and gobble this up as a stew.

#2 On top of tortilla chips, nacho style
-nuff said.

#3 Scrambled up with eggs for breakfast or dinner
One of my favorite post-workout dinners when I'm so hungry I'm ready to gnaw off my arm.

#4 In a taco or burrito (with or without eggs)
Also delicious topped with cilantro and sour cream. Because really, what isn't??

#5 Use it to smother something else
I had leftovers of this when camping and used it to smother these breakfast burritos. It was to die for!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas

Living overseas has certainly changed my experience at the grocery store. Things I've taken for granted my whole life are suddenly really, really exciting. Example: corn tortillas. This is one item I just haven't been able to find here in Paraguay. I brought some masa down with me, but haven't yet taken the plunge. So, when I saw this happy little package at the grocery store I was thrilled! And yesterday was a great tropical rainstorm-cooler temperatures, lots of rain and even more thunder and lightening. Perfect cooking weather! I also had a friend over, who couldn't leave until the rain stopped-always good to have a captive audience when cooking. :)

What you need (ingredients):

2 chicken breasts, or leftover cooked chicken
1 can black beans, drained
1 can green chilis (I had to use dehydrated equivalent)
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1-2 packages of taco seasoning
10 small corn tortillas (of course you could use flour instead)
1 can enchilada sauce
grated cheese
toppings: sour cream and cilantro

What to do (instructions):

  • If your chicken is raw, cook it. I just cooked mine up in a little olive oil. It gets plenty of seasoning later. When cooked, cut into small pieces and return to pan. 
  • Preheat oven to 375 F or 190 C.
  • Add the next 4 ingredients, through taco seasoning, to the pan. You'll probably need a little bit of water to "activate" the taco seasoning. 
  • You can use enchilada sauce straight out of the can, but the mild is a little too mild for me, so I toss it in the blender with a few canned chipotle peppers and find it much more flavorful! Spray the bottom of  9x13 cooking dish with some non-stick spray, then spoon a few tablespoons of sauce across the bottom of the pan.
  • Microwave the tortillas between paper towels to soften them up a little. Then add a few spoonfulls of the mixture to each tortilla, roll it, and place it in the pan. I ended up with 10 enchiladas, and some extra stuffing, which I just put in the end of the baking pan!
  • Top with enchilada sauce
  • Top with cheese
  • Bake until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbly. I think mine took about 15 minutes but I forgot to time it. 
  • Top and enjoy!

  • Tell your drooling roommate he can have some, but only after he retracts his facebook photo and statement taking credit for said enchiladas. ;)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Make Ahead (If You Want) Breakfast Burritos...Great for Camping!

Everything I love in the world pretty much fits into a breakfast burrito! I made a huge batch of these today to bring camping with me for the 4th of July weekend. I *love* camping, and cooking while camping-but when it comes to breakfast sometimes it's nice to have something hot without too much effort.

Makes 8-10 burritos

What you need/ingredients:
1 package tortillas
2 potatoes
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 to 1 pound of breakfast sausage or bacon (I took a picture thinking I'd use both, then I realized that would be WAY too much meat, so I just used the sausage!
about 8 eggs (or more! see note)
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
jarred green chili sauce (roughly half the jar, but save some for smothering!)
cheese-I used pepperjack

*a note on eggs: this dish was not very "eggy" at ALL-you could barely taste them! I could have added a lot more, but I already was ending up with 10 breakfast burritos. If you are cooking for a crowd, go for it! If you like an "eggy" breakfast burrito you could also cut down on the other ingredients a bit. It just depends on personal preference!

What to do/instructions: 

-Scrub the potatoes, poke with a fork, and pop in the microwave. I just used the "baked potato" button, but you don't want them so soft they totally fall apart when you cut them.
-While the potatoes are in the microwave, start browning meat in a small pan over medium heat.
-When potatoes are done, let them cool a bit and cube.
-In a large pan, heat some oil and add the potatoes. Let them sit enough to get brown-no need to flip constantly. When they start browning, add the onion. Once the onion is soft, add the cooked sausage (drained), bell pepper, and green chili sauce.
-Scramble the eggs up in a bowl and pour into the mix. Add in grated cheese.
-Cook over medium heat until the eggs are cooked.

If these are for now:
Load up into tortillas, roll, smother with chili and cheese if desired, put under the broiler for a couple of minutes to melt the cheese,

and eat!

If these are for later:
Roll into tortillas and wrap individually in foil if for camping. *TIP* If you're planning to throw these onto a campfire or grill, use some nonstick spray on the foil-otherwise it can stick! If not you can put them in a baking dish like enchiladas and pop into the oven to heat when you're ready to eat. I wrapped in foil for storage, then the baking dish when I was ready to serve-just smother in green chili and cheese and put in the oven until bubbly-it was a hit!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Modified "White" Chicken Chili

As the weather is cooling off here in the southern hemisphere, I had a hankering for some white chicken chili. I went looking over my two other white chicken chili recipes (here and here) for ideas. I modified it for stovetop instead of crockpot, and of course available ingredients. I picked smaller sized beans for faster cooking. It takes quite a while, but once you get it started, it requires minimal work.

What You Need (Ingredients):

  • 2-3 cans (drained) or about 8 ounces of dry beans, soaked overnight or quick soaked. I prefer white beans but today could only find small red beans! The pot pictured was a full 500g. bag. They expanded a LOT while soaking. After soaking, I used half the pot, about 3 cups.
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • two onions, chopped
  • 3-5 cloves for garlic, chopped
  • 1.5 T cumin
  • 2 chicken bullion cubes and 3-4 cups of water, or 3-4 cups of chicken broth
  • a pound of chicken breasts (4-5), trimmed of fat and cut in half
  • 1/2 t. white pepper
  • 1 jar of green salsa (or, in the U.S., 2 cans of diced green chilis)
  • for a little more heat, a diced jalepeno of a couple diced hot red peppers
  • a bell pepper, diced
  • optional garnishes: tortilla chips, sour cream, shredded cheese, cilantro
What To Do (Instructions):
  • If you haven't soaked your beans, see the link above to quick soak (takes one hour).
  • Heat oil in a large stock pot over low heat and add onions. Stir until they're soft. Add garlic and cumin and stir for about another minute.
  • Add water and bullion cube (or broth) and heat. Add chicken, beans, white pepper, green salsa, and diced pepper. Make sure broth covers everything, but it shouldn't be too much higher than the level of the other ingredients.
  • Cook on medium (simmering) for at least an hour to two hours, until beans are soft, stirring occasionally. I cooked covered for about a half hour, and then uncovered as it had more liquid than needed. Chicken will easily tear apart. Add bell peppers and cook for a few minutes more.
  • Garnish and serve! 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Beef Barley Soup (Version 2, Stovetop)

Another cold, drizzly day made me so glad my mom sent me back from the U.S. with a bag of barley. This is beef barley soup weather for sure! Maybe the only good thing about the dreary weather. Since my only recipe is for the crockpot, here is the stovetop recipe. I feel like every time I make soup it is slightly different based on available ingredients, but this is a good starting point.

What you need/Ingredients:
  • 1 lb beef, cut into small pieces
  • about 1 T olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 C. red wine
  • 1/2 C. barley
  • 1 potato, diced
  • 3-4 carrots, chopped
  • 1 t. thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tomatoes and 1/2 bell pepper, chopped
What I'd add if they were available: a few stalks of chopped celery and some cut up mushrooms.

What to do/Directions

  • Cut up the beef into small pieces and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Warm some olive oil in a pan over medium heat and cook beef, stirring frequently. Drain fat if necessary and add onion, stir. After a few minutes, add garlic and cook until fragrant; remove from heat.
  • While the beef is cooking, put broth into a pot and put on high until the broth is bubbling. Add barley, potato, carrots, wine, thyme, and bay leaves.
  • Add cooked beef into pan. Lower heat to "low" and simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour, until barley is soft. Add tomatoes and bell peppers and cook for a few more minutes. (You can add these at the beginning but I prefer them a little less cooked)
  • Add salt and pepper if necessary and enjoy with warm, fresh bread. Or, if you're like me, store-bought bread. I don't judge.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Make Ahead Quinoa Breakfast "Porridge"

I am trying to eat healthy, but there is this problem. Actually, two problems when it comes to breakfast. They are called chipa and mbeju. They are these super delicious, bready, surely too tasty to be good for you things they make here in Paraguay that I just can't get enough of. AND, they make them and sell them where I work. So I need to bring something to work to help me fight those mid-morning mbeju cravings. I just made my breakfast for the next week. It took about 30 minutes and only a few ingredients.Also, quinoa is very filling and it will keep away those morning munchies.

What You Need

  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 cups of your favorite type of milk and/or water. I used about a cup of coconut milk and a cup of water.
  • Toppings of choice: I like raisins, cinnamon, and a tiny bit of brown sugar. Sometimes I throw on a few almonds, too.

What to do
  • RINSE the quinoa. Most people who don't like quinoa didn't rinse before preparing.
  • Put the rinsed quinoa and your 2 cups of liquid into a pot, and boil over low heat until the quinoa "pops." Optional, but not recommended step: go to turn on the stove, realize you are out of propane, and go cook your quinoa outside on the grill instead.
  • Serve, or dole out into your dishes for the week. I always eat my breakfast at work so I like to have it ready to grab from the fridge to go. The hardest part of this whole recipe (for me) was finding 4 clean containers with lids!

  • Heat when ready to serve, if you aren't eating it right away. (I like to eat it hot, but I guess you could eat it cold too).