Thursday, May 29, 2014

Quinoa and Black Bean Stuffed Peppers

The mixture used to stuff the peppers was lacking a little in flavor, but the enchilada sauce helped with that.  Overall, this meal was easy to prepare and went over well with my family.

4 bell peppers (any color), sliced in half stem-to-tip, seeds removed
1c quinoa, uncooked
½ medium onion, diced
1 (15oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 roma tomato, seeded and diced
1 (4oz) can diced green chiles (don't drain)
¼c cilantro, minced
¼tsp salt
¼tsp pepper
olive oil, if desired
½c Monterrey Jack, grated
½c cheddar cheese, grated
1 28 oz. can red enchilada sauce

Add quinoa and onion to a large saucepan with 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil 5 minutes, cover, turn off heat and let steam 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

In the meantime, microwave pepper halves 2-3 minutes to soften slightly. (Prepared this way, the peppers should come out crisp-tender. If you want them crisper, you can omit this step.)

Pour quinoa/onion mixture into a mixing bowl. Stir in black beans, tomato, green chiles and their juices, cilantro, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper. If the mixture seems to dry, drizzle in a bit of olive oil (I didn't need any).

Pour enchilada sauce into a 9x13" baking dish. Divide filling among peppers. Nestle stuffed peppers into the enchilada sauce. Sprinkle with cheeses.

Cover the pan with foil and bake at 375 degrees 25-30 minutes. Remove foil and cook about 5 minutes longer. Serve peppers drizzled with enchilada sauce.

Monday, May 26, 2014

No-Bake Chewy Granola Bars

My neighbor shared a batch of these after my youngest was born and I've been making them since.  I made a few changes, but they are one of my go-to after-school or road trip snacks.  Similar to energy balls, a couple bites pack a sweet protein punch.

2 1/2 cups rice crispies
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla

In a large bowl, combine cereal, rolled oats and raisins; set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine brown sugar and honey.  Bring to a boil over medium-hight heat, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Stir in peanut butter and vanilla; blend until smooth.  Pour over cereal mixture; mix well.  Press firmly into ungreased 13x9 pan.

Let cool.  Cut into bars.  Store in airtight container.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Ice Cream Pie

My kids and I stumbled on the Pioneer Woman cooking show last week.  She started with dessert.  Why not?!  That's usually the best part of the meal, anyway.  We were all drooling as we watched her make the simplest ice cream pie.  It looked so good, I went to the store right then and there to get the ingredients for my kids and I to make our own ice cream pie!  
It was super yummy, as expected.  And even though we used over a dozen peanut butter cups, I think it actually could have handled more - yikes!  Straight from the freezer, the pie was pretty firm.  I liked it best after the ice cream had melted just a little and each bite reminded me of a blizzard.  Now I'm churning with ideas of how to do different flavors.  I think mint chocolate is going to be my next try.

18 graham crackers (the 4-section large piece)
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 pints vanilla ice cream
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans (I didn't use these - not a big fan of actual nuts in my ice cream)
4 peanut butter cups, roughly chopped (or more!)
2 large Butterfinger, roughly chopped (I didn't use these, but just bulked up on the Reeses)

For the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Crush the graham crackers in a food processor or resealable pastil bag.  Pour the drums into a bowl and stir in the melted butter.  Press into a pie pan and bake until golden and set, about 5 minutes.  Set aside to cool completely.

For the filling:  Remove the ice cream from the freezer and allow to soften slightly.  Mix in the pecans, peanut butter cups and peanut butter crunch candy bars and pour the ice cream mixture into the crust.  Cover with foil and freeze until very hard.  1 to 2 hours.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Strawberry and Feta Salad with Honey Vinegerette

This was a deliciously light and fresh-tasting salad that I served before a hearty beef dinner last week.  It's easy to put together and looks lovely with the different colors mixed together.

2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
packed assorted baby lettuces
1 quart strawberries, hulled and sliced
4 ounces feta, crumbled
1 cup pecans, chopped and toasted

In a small bowl, stir together the mustard, honey, and vinegar.  Stir int he olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Put the lettuces in a large bowl, or on individual plates for serving.  Add the strawberries, feta, and pecans.  Drizzle the dressing over the salad, toss well, and serve.

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