A Break From the Usual…

27 07 2010

I made the mistake of getting on a scale about a week or so ago.  It wasn’t pretty.

I mean, it wasn’t bad…

I just have never lost the weight I gained in my last trimester.  Zeb is now two and half…  That’s how long I’ve been carrying extra weight around.

So, I’m now on a mission to change my eating habits.  For all of my quilting, I’m actually pretty active.  The problem is the fact that I like food, a lot.  And, it likes me right back.

Anyway, I’m going to start making better food choices.  I can still like food – I just have to be better about what I eat.  And you, my lucky blog readers, are along for the ride.

Last night, I decided on stuffed bell peppers, based on my trip to the farmer’s market Sunday morning.  I totally winged this, based on my previous experiences with stuffed bell pepppers.

Ingredients:
1 lb. ground turkey
1 medium onion
1 zucchini
3 tomatoes (or 1 – 16 oz can of petite diced tomatoes) – I actually used half of one small can of diced tomatoes, two fresh tomatoes, and several yellow cherry tomatoes
two cups cooked white or brown rice – I used brown
3 tablespoons minced garlic – I like garlic, okay?  I’d have garlic babies if I could.
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon black ground pepper
Several green peppers – I had six on hand, but there was enough filling for 8, easily.  
Shredded mozzarella cheese

First of all, brown the ground turkey.  While that’s cooking, dice all of your vegetables, starting with the onion and throw them in according to cooking time length.  So, onion, zucchini, and tomatoes.  Toss in the seasonings.  You could add salt at this point if you wanted to.  However, I felt that the mozzarella cheese would take care of that, and it did.  Cook everything together until flavors marry.  Turn off heat and let cool.

Take your green peppers and slice the tops off.  This will allow you to remove the seed core easily.  Rinse out to get rid of all loose seeds.  Stuff with the turkey/vegetable mixture and bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes.  (I used a roasting pan sprayed with no-stick stuff.)  Pull peppers out, top with mozzarella cheese, and pop back in the oven for 10 minutes.

The peppers themselves will come out with some of their fresh crisp to them.  I don’t like my green peppers thoroughly cooked.  I find that they take on a sharp flavor.  If you prefer your peppers to be more cooked, lengthen the cooking time, OR boil the peppers for 7-10 minutes before cooling and stuffing.

The bonus to this recipe is that it’s easily alterable to include whatever vegetables are currently in season, or even eliminating the turkey to make it entirely vegetarian.  I think I might put eggplant and fresh mushrooms in the next time I make this.   I’m even playing with the idea of substituting tofu for the turkey.  If you don’t want to make a ton of peppers for one meal, you could even freeze these.  Your peppers will go a little mushier after freezing and re-heating, so I’d recommend not precooking the peppers you’ll be freezing.

Even better?  This is a really cheap meal.  I’d estimate that it cost about $10 to prepare eight servings.  That’s $1.25 per serving!  I fed myself, my mother-in-law, Zeb, a friend of JohnPaul’s and had enough to put up for lunch the next couple of days.

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