Posts tagged ‘Bell Peppers’

June 3, 2011

Wild Rice Vegetarian Stuffed Bell Peppers (and P90X it is!)

So I finally decided! P90X it is. This means there will be no running for me this summer and no half-marathon in the fall. I’d given myself until June 1st to decide and, since it doesn’t seem like the weather wants to improve much, well, I won’t mind spending the summer indoors as much.

After doing the program for a week, I realised that I lack big time in the strength and muscle mass department, so from that perspective, I get the feeling that I will gain a lot more by following P90X than I ever would by running.

Sure, running isn’t bad either, but it also comes with a lot of downsides, the most important of all being me not liking it. 😉 It’s hard to stick to something that you don’t really enjoy doing. I’m not saying that I will never ever run again, though. I didn’t hate it THAT much. In fact, there is a very good chance that I will be putting my shoes on and go for a little 5k here and there during the course of the summer. And who knows, maybe next year I will want to pick it up again and realise that goal of running a full marathon for my 40th year of existence.

I think what I like the most about P90X is that it is giving me a sense of not being alone. Since I first started this journey, I’ve always trained alone, and made my own programs. Now I finally have someone to think the programs for me, and I sort of have “virtual” training partners. Not that they’re going to mind if I don’t push the play button, heck, they’re not even going to know, but when I do push that button, they all come right to life in my basement. Plus, I don’t need to think about what music to put on, and which program to do… it’s all thought of for me. AND I have to stick with it, push myself, and push myself hard! For it IS a tough program. But I love it! LOVE IT!

The other good thing about it is that it has put me back on track. I had sort of lost sight of my initial goal, and I am still 5kg short of reaching it. 5kg! That’s nothing. I can and will do this! Then I can go back to maintenance mode. I had done that a little prematurely. 😉

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE FOOD ?!?, you may ask…

Does that mean I’m done cooking beautiful meals day after day? NO WAY! That does mean, however, that you will likely be seeing more light and low cal dishes such as the one I made tonight.

Hey, gotta keep those calories in check! 😀

INGREDIENTS
(Serves 2)

  • 2 large bell peppers
  • 1 cup cooked wild rice
  • 150g extra-firm tofu, pressed and cut into ½″ cubes
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 6 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp tamari sauce
  • 60g low fat Mozzarella cheese, grated

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Press your tofu to remove excess water. To do this, wrap it in paper towels and put some weight on it, such as a heavy skillet; leave it be while you prepare the rest of your ingredients, then cut it into ½″ cubes.
  3. Meanwhile, cut the bell peppers in half; carefully remove the interior while leaving the stem intact. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in a shallow baking dish.
  4. Coat a skillet with cooking spray and brown the mushrooms over medium heat. Add tofu cubes, oregano, salt, pepper, green onions and celery. Cook for a 2-3, until fragrant.
  5. Add rice, spinach and tamari sauce and stir to combine. Turn off the heat and stir gently until the spinach is wilted.
  6. Stuff bell peppers with rice mixture and sprinkle grated mozzarella on top.
  7. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the peppers start to soften up and the cheese turns golden brown.

June 2, 2011

Grilled Vegetables Summer Pasta

Sometimes, it’s what’s left in the fridge that dictates the direction that supper is going to take. This has pretty much been the case all week. Looks like I got a bit carried away when I bought vegetables last week and ended up having to use quite a large amount this week… well, for a single person, that is.

You see, I think I am a bit of a sale maniac. I tend to buy things sometimes just because they are on sale. Can’t miss out on a great bargain! So when I see gorgeous, fresh, plump and colourful bell peppers going for $1.99 a pound, I simply can’t resist buying way more than what I know I will be able to eat in a week. It’s like I HAVE to get at least 2 of each colour. No matter how much I try, I just CAN’T resist. I mean come on! Bell peppers usually go for 2 or 3 times that amount, you know! 😉

And of course, well, same goes for mushrooms, broccoli, eggplant, tomatoes… you get the idea!

Sometimes though, being forced to use certain ingredients is a beautiful thing, as it gives life to delightful creations, as was the case with this pasta dish. I don’t think I would’ve ever come up with this exact combination had it not been for the fact that I had to use those particular veggies. I had also planned on throwing some grilled tofu in there, but ended up forgetting. D’oh!

Mind you, it wasn’t all that necessary, the dish was extremely good and tasty as it was, but I find I am not eating enough protein lately, and adding tofu certainly would’ve helped in that department.

Oh well… now I will HAVE to use that tofu in the next dish that I make, else, I will end up having to chuck it. And, as I’ve said before, I hate wasting food. I sometimes wish they sold tofu in smaller packages… Now I will have to get creative, once again! 😉

 

INGREDIENTS
(serves 2-3)

  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, oregano and za’atar, to taste
  • 175g – 200g whole wheat rotini
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 20g – 30g goat cheese, crumbled

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cook pasta per instructions on the package. When cooked, drain and return to pot.
  2. Fire up your BBQ
  3. Slice aubergine and zucchini in thick slices, about 1″.
  4. Cut bell pepper in half, seed it and smash it to make it as flat as possible.
  5. Brush vegetables on both sides with a little bit of olive oil then sprinkle generously with salt, black pepper, oregano and za’atar.
  6. Grill vegetables on BBQ on medium-high heat until they get nice grill marks on them, about 4-5 minutes per side
  7. Cut grilled vegetables in bite size pieces and add to cooked pasta.
  8. Add olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Stir to combine.
  9. Transfer to serving plate and sprinkle with basil and goat cheese.

April 2, 2011

All the colours of Autumn Stuffed Loaf

This would be one of my daughter’s favourite dishes. Oddly enough, she doesn’t care for bell peppers and this recipe calls for A LOT of bell peppers. In fact, I would say bell peppers make this dish. Along with the parsley, it would be the only ingredient that you cannot substitute for something else. I like to use at least 3 different colours: the classics red, orange and yellow. I find this does so much for the visual aspect of the dish.

Since she likes it so much, I decided to make one and bring it to my parents’ to eat there. This happens to be the ultimate portable dish. All you need is a piece of aluminium foil, so you don’t risk of leaving any of your favourite dishware behind. Plus, it’s so extremely easy to carry around. No danger of spilling, tilting over or being damaged in transportation here! Just put it in a bag and drop in on the passenger’s seat (if available) and you’re good to go.

I used to make this stuffed bread with Ementhal cheese instead of cottage. I have to admit that the Ementhal added a lot of depth to this dish, but it also added a lot of extra calories and fat while not being quite as generous as cottage in the protein department. Since there is no other source of protein in this dish, I figured cottage would be an excellent choice and it is. Next time, however, I might go half and half, because I truly miss the distinctive flavour of the Ementhal.

It is really important that you choose a loaf of bread that is very dense with a nice, crispy crust. Of course, go with whole wheat or whole grain! As for the olives, I use Kalamata, but any olive would do, as long as it has a lot of flavour. I don’t think I would go for the canned black olives here; they are a bit too bland. Moroccan would work beautifully, I think. Black or purple would be a better choice as they will also benefit the beautiful array of colours that this dish has to offer. It’s like Autumn in a bun!

Ingredients
(serves 4-6)

  • 1 loaf whole wheat/grain bread
  • ½ of each: red, orange and yellow bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup sliced kalamata olives
  • 500g 1% cottage cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Cut the top off the loaf and hollow it, leaving as little of the crumb as you possibly can, without damaging the crust.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix all ingredients together (except bread, of course!)
  • Tear about half the bread crumb into bite size pieces and add that to the stuffing you just mixed. (Save the rest to make breadcrumbs)
  • Give the mixture a good stir and return to the hollowed out bread. You’ll want to press it in really well; while it does look like a lot of stuffing, you should be able to fit it all in.
  • Replace top of bread and wrap in aluminium foil. If possible, refrigerate until the next day. It will taste even better the next day, as the flavours will have had time to develop.
  • This dish can be eaten cold but it’s even better when slightly heated in a 375F degree oven, for about 20 minutes. This will crisp and warm up the exterior, while leaving the inside fresh and cold. It’s like eating a refreshing salad with warm piece of bread. If you choose to heat it up, leave it in the foil but open it up halfway.