2014 September

    Chubby Bell Peppers Chubby Bell Peppers Chubby Bell Peppers Chubby Bell Peppers Chubby Bell Peppers

Just like 90% of women in the United States, I went through a quinoa obsessive phase once the grain became popular in stores like Trader Joes– because that’s the only store where broke girls can shop for groceries without ending up in life shattering debt for buying 5 items. This phase I “went” through– more like still going through– essentially consisted of me making quinoa in one special way, oddly enough I never seem to get bored of it. Though after a certain amount of time eating my personal specialty, quinoa soaked in Sriracha– yes I have an addiction to spicy food, there came a point where my doctors pretty much told me if I kept eating so much Sriracha I would quite literally burn a hole straight through my stomach. Needless to say, it was time to come up with other ideas– though I can’t lie and say I didn’t still take my chances with the Sriracha. Thanks to my doctors and me kicking my usual reluctance on being to be told what to do, I came up with a pretty great recipe: quinoa-ground turkey stuffed bell peppers.

Anyone who has a Pinterest knows that it is only right to give the site honorable mention for my Chubby Pepper inspiration, as there are about 20 different versions of this concept all over it. Generally speaking this is a super easy, fun and tasty meal; the hardest part is that it takes a little bit of time (about 45 mins). The best part of this meal is you’re almost always guaranteed to have leftover stuffing! Tell me if I’m wrong but there is nothing better than eating food when no one is looking, right out of the pan and off the serving spoon after you’ve already finished your meal. When making this dish I usually make 4 peppers at a time, the more the merrier!

Ingredients 

4 Bell peppers (red, orange or yellow)
1 Cup quinoa
1 Box mushrooms (use about half of the brown box)
1 Sweet onion
1 Package of lean ground turkey (usually 1.25-1.3 lbs per package)
1 Package yellow cherry tomatoes
1  Spoonful of minced garlic
Feta cheese crumbles
Salt
Pepper
Red pepper flakes
Paprika
Olive oil

How to cook

> Preheat oven to 350 degrees, use cookie sheet or oven friendly ceramic dish
> Use large non-stick sauce pan on medium-high heat
> Wash all your vegetable– but you know that
> Before you get started it’s important to poor yourself a nice healthy glass of red wine, something more bold like you
> Prep ingredients by cutting up half of the sweet onion, as many cherry tomatoes as you want and half of the box of mushrooms
> Cut the tops off of the bell peppers, clean the insides out so you have plenty of room to stuff them
> Place 1 cup quinoa, 2 cups water in a small pot and bring to a boil–> once boiling lower heat to a simmer, cover pot and let cook for 15 mins or until water has run out
> Simultaneously begin cooking the other half of the quinoa mixture
> Drink a big sip of wine, maybe three
> Coat the sauce pan in olive oil and begin to slowly brown the raw ground turkey
> While browning add spoonful of minced garlic, about 2 shakes each of paprika, pepper and salt
> Sip wine, turn on music
> Add the mushrooms and onions after there turkey is browned and no longer raw
> Once quinoa is done, pour grain into the sauce pan with the turkey, onion and mushrooms
> Add about 3 shakes of the salt, red pepper flakes, chopped up cherry tomatoes and a handful of feta cheese
> Mix the mixture together so the flavor soaks into the quinoa
> Drink some wine
> Fill the emptied bell peppers with the quinoa-turkey mixture
> Top the stuffed peppers with feta cheese– the more the better people
> Put the peppers in the over for about 15-18 minutes
>Let cool before digging in, drink wine in the mean time

This is an awesome dinner, super healthy, fun and colorful! Just what the doctor prescribed… or not because I typically soak mine in Tapatio or Sriracha. Shhh don’t tell, but do try. Let me know what you think and have fun!

Let me remind you, all food tastes better with wine and company. 

Cheers,

Aly

 

 

    Jane: My New Favorite Lunch Date Jane: My New Favorite Lunch Date Jane: My New Favorite Lunch Date Jane: My New Favorite Lunch Date Jane: My New Favorite Lunch Date

Some of the problems I face in my life present me with mind boggling questions… questions I usually revolve my day around. Six out of seven days of the week it is typically something like, “where in the world do I go for lunch?” Lunch is probably the most important meal of the day because not only five days out of the week does it give you a much needed break from your work desk, but also on the days you don’t know what to do, it is the easiest place-holder activity. Tell me you haven’t sat on a couch with your friends and asked “what should we do today?” and the first answer suggested wasn’t “we could always find somewhere to go for lunch!” Or you haven’t spent your first hour in the office drinking your coffee answering some small emails and then turned to your co-worker and said, “where should we go for lunch today?” If you say you have never done this, I know you’re lying. Drop the act. The next problem I typically face is something like, “where in the world do I find a good salad that’s not from a chain restaurant with mass produced, lack luster, make your taste buds sleep boring salads?”

These questions circle my mind each and every day as I am most certainly sure they do for you as well, whether you want to admit it or not. As you can see my mind was tortured with this complex problem all up to the wonderful day I found a great new spot by the name of Jane. Jane is a cute little cafe with a hipster feel, perfect variety of summer salads of lunch and amazing coffee. Look no further Jane is the solution to lunch problems, well at least one of the solutions. Go there for lunch and coffee and let your tastebuds do the talking.

What we Ate:

The Arugula Salad
(My dish) Awesome salad with baby arugula, chicken, avocado, tomatoes, pine nuts and shaved parmesan. Topped with a light lemon vinaigrette dressing. The lemon offered a special kick to the salad and made my taste buds water.

The Quinoa Salad
Great full spinach salad with quinoa, cherry tomatoes, avocado, chicken (added), and other goodies. Topped with a cherry rice vinegar dressing. In my opinion salads with quinoa already have a leg up on taste and this salad did not disappoint with the robust flavors.

What we Drank:

Mocha
With a big fat marshmallow in it. YUM

Cappuccino
Great coffee, rich flavors, delivered pretty.

Check out Jane on Fillmore for your next lunch destination and see what you think about their salads, I wouldn’t send you their direction if I didn’t think it was worth it. It’s a cool spot in the middle of a happening street with plenty of shopping, drinking, socializing to do surrounding your salad fix.

Cheers,

Aly

    Mustard-Almond Crusted Chicken and Warm Spinach Salad Mustard-Almond Crusted Chicken and Warm Spinach Salad Mustard-Almond Crusted Chicken and Warm Spinach Salad Mustard-Almond Crusted Chicken and Warm Spinach Salad

Being a foodie isn’t always easy especially when every time I visit home my mom asks me “when’s the last time you went to the gym!?” or even better “Al, why don’t you try the South Beach diet! It’s so easy and fun!” Typically I shoot her a glare that lets her know she would be safer scurrying off than making up a false reason to why she was mentioning either topic. Following my visit I will receive email updates of healthy recipe food sites, but out of pure spite I never look at the links she sends me…. until the one time I did. Okay Mom, this one goes out to you, thanks for doing what you do, even though a lot of the time you could do a little less. So anyways, the one time I clicked on a link my mom sent me I found a recipe that looked interesting! What’s the recipe that won over my pride? A chicken smothered in mustard, coated in crushed almonds. As a healthy side I made a spinach salad with baked tomatoes, dressed in light olive oil. Like normal, I made this meal for two!

 

Ingredients for Chicken

2 Chicken Brests– Cut in half
Mustard– Dijon
1 Cup Dry Almonds- blended
1 Tsp Rosemary
1 Tbs of garlic salt
3 Shakes of red pepper flakes
Pepper

Ingredients for Spinach Salad

1 Bag of Spinach
Cherry Tomatoes– sliced in half
1 Avocado– one half per salad
Olive Oil
Balsamic
Salt
Pepper

For the Chicken: Turn oven on to 375 and cook for 16-18 minutes. Use a oven-friendly ceramic dish or baking sheet.

Take the Dijon (or whichever type of mustard you prefer.. sweet and hot would be awesome) and put it in a bowl
In a food processor, or if you are a broke 23 year old like me… use your Magic Bullet, and blend up the almonds
In a bowl next to the Dijon, combine the blended almonds, rosemary, garlic salt, pepper and red pepper flakes
Dip the raw chicken into the mustard and thoroughly coat the entire surface
Next, dunk the mustard coated chicken into the almond-seasoning mix and coat the chicken so it has a decent layer of almond
Place the strips of chicken into the pan and put into the oven.
Can you believe it… it’s as easy as cake! Actually… cake is probably harder!

For the Warm Spinach Salad: Use a small-medium non-stick saucepan on medium heat.

Coat the pan in olive oil with a dash or two of balsamic vinegar
Put the cherry tomatoes that should be sliced in half into the pan
Sauté the tomatoes for 5-7 minutes on this heat
In a bowl put spinach– for as much salad as you want
Put sautéd tomatoes into the spinach salad
Evenly coat the spinach with extra virgin olive oil
On top of the coated spinach scoop out a half of an avocado onto each plate– it looks prettier trust me and no one has to fight for the avo
Flavor with a few shakes of salt and pepper
And… you’re done!

It’s one of my most simple meals, but the chicken is to die for. The salad satisfies your craving for more through the warmth of the tomatoes while remaining healthy with a light dressing and little seasoning. For those of you wondering where I got this recipe and what types of places my mom is referring me to; I’m more than happy to share. The idea for this recipe came from Kalyn’s Kitchen and who knows, maybe one day i’ll be inspired from something else on this site, though I might not be so willing to tell my mom she won again. Try it out, it won’t disappoint!

 

Let me remind you, all food tastes better with wine and company. 

Cheers,

Aly

 

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