Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Since I have absolutely no appetite (which has actually SLOWED weight loss for me this month, which is a huge bummer... literally, since my ample bum has not shrunk at all this month) I figured I'd post a delicious recipe.  Maybe it will awaken my hibernating hunger?  One can hope!

Allow me to introduce you to the culinary delight I concocted in my kitchen: the quinoa stuffed pepper.

Veggie WIN! [BONUS best ever broccoli recipe below!]
I made these for some friends, and they said that I had to include in my blog write up that these were very, very good.  Delicious, even.  I made this recipe up (it's not terribly ingenuitive, so I'm not being too arrogant!), but even I have to admit that these were good.  Like wish you could eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner good.  Sigh wistfully when you eat the last bite of leftovers good.

Not only are these good, but they're gluten free and great for you.  Quinoa is one of the purest forms of protein you can find, it's super low on the glycemic index, and it's delicious.  Go read about it!  Plus, in our lovely local Costco you can get a big bag of organic quinoa that's already rinsed super well for less than $10- love that!

The best part? They're part of my "secret ninja" collection.  [In fact, I'm going to add a tag right now called "secret ninja".] When I worked as a nanny, the husband/dad was a cook the likes of me- rarely follows recipes, and even with his favorite dishes something is never made the exact same way twice.  Something's always getting switched up.  These peppers could have so many adds, debits, swaps, etc, that the possibilities are endless!  For example, I used goat cheese.  Maybe you only have feta- easy swap!  Maybe you hate sausage- just double the bacon, or use chicken instead! Or, for you mega carnivores, you want to use sausage, bacon, AND chicken- go ahead!

Enough yammering.  Onto the fine cuisine deliciousness (that's a very technical term, for the record).

Anything with a base of sausage and bacon HAS to end up delicious. Just has to.
 Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
(This recipe is massive- it made 12 pepper halves.  Feel free to reduce it!)

6 bell peppers of various colors, halved and cleaned
2 cups (uncooked) quinoa, prepared according to directions
3 medium zucchini, cut into small chunks
1 medium leek, rinsed, trimmed, and chopped
1 large shallot, chopped
2 T garlic, crushed or finely chopped
6 strips thick cut bacon, cut into small 1/4 inch wide pieces
1 pound sausage
1 4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
1 cup + 1/2 cup shredded parmigiano reggiano (aka parmesan cheese)
2 T good quality extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground salt (use Mediterranean Sea salt! YUM!) & pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375.  Then, heat large skillet (here's mine;
a 6-qt Infinite Circulon chef's pan-- I LOVE it.  It's also now linked in "Stuff I Love" on the right) on medium (7 clicks out of 10); once hot, bacon and cook to taste (some like it crispy, some like it chewy- you do your thing!).  Once cooked, removed and set aside.  If you desire, save 2 T of the bacon grease for additional flavor later.

2. In same pan (you don't need to wipe it clean), cook sausage until no pink is left.  Once done, set aside with bacon.

3. In same pan again, heat olive oil, add shallots and leek.  Cook 2 minutes, or until just soft.  Add garlic, cook one minute.  Add zucchini, and, if you desire, the extra bacon grease.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook 2-3 minutes- if you overcook then the baking portion will create zucchini MUSH, and that would be rather unpleasant!

4. Turn off stovetop and remove pan from heat (just set it on another burner).  Mix in bacon & sausage, and, if you do have a huge pan, add in the quinoa and cheeses (use the 1 cup portion of the parmigiano reggiano; the 1/2 cup portion is to come).  If you don't have a huge pan, just do all of this in a big bowl; an easy way would be to use the bowl you set the bacon and sausage in.

5.  Arrange peppers on large baking sheet; you might want to layer it with foil, since the peppers can release juices that, when they cook, can be impossible to clean off!  Fill the peppers with the quinoa stuffing, then top each pepper with the remaining parmigiano reggiano.

6.  Bake for 25-35 minutes.  Check at 20, to be safe; cooking times really depend upon your oven, the size of the peppers, etc.

How about another picture of the tasty goodness?

Hello, salivation in my mouth!
If you don't want the crispy outside, you could cook the peppers for longer at a lower heat.  Personally, I love the crisp texture contrasted with the crunchy softness of the pepper and and the creaminess of the inner portion of the quinoa stuffing, plus the chewiness added by the meats and zucchini.

I'm including a bonus recipe for delicious, simple broccoli, and then peacing out.  Let me know if you try these!

Best Ever Simple Broccoli

1.  Rinse head of broccoli and cut into florets (you can keep the stems if you so desire).

2.  Place in glass bowl with a lid; if it's a glass lid you can keep it on.  If it's a plastic lid WITHOUT a venting hole then set it on top but don't secure it.  Add 2 T water (this helps basically steam the broccoli).

3.  Cook in microwave for 4 minutes if you will add extras (see step 4), or 5 minutes if you won't.  (this step depends on your preferred texture and your microwave- in my microwave 4 minutes creates chewy broccoli with bite- if you like mush, which means you reduce the vitamins greatly, then add and another minute or two)

4.  Grind on Mediterranean Sea salt to taste; another GREAT tip is to add 2 teaspoons of butter, 2 teaspoons of FINELY chopped shallots (I just stole a little from the peppers), 2 teaspoons of crushed garlic, and 1/4 cup shredded parmigiano reggiano.  Toss.  Cook for 1 more minute if you're adding anything other than salt, toss again gently, and serve.

1 comment:

  1. Yum! I made some quinoa stuffed peppers when I was on a vegan kick a year or two ago. I haven't made stuffed peppers in awhile...we like them with spicy sausage, rice, onions and spices topped with cheddar. I cooked the filling but we like the peppers RAW baby, nice and crunchy..yum! Now I wish I could find me some peppers on sale....