Tracey’s Stuffed Peppers

My husband’s favorite dish is stuffed peppers so over the years I have made many different types.  I was floored when I learned how many people love stuffed peppers.  There are so many theories on the history of stuffed peppers and where they originated from.  What do I think?  Who cares!!!!  The great thing about stuffed peppers is you can make the stuffing to fit any nationality.  The key to a great stuffed pepper is obviously the stuffing. You can add the flavors and ingredients your family enjoys.  The most common stuffing combination is rice and ground meat.  It may seem easy but be careful otherwise you will end up with something bland.  The trick is to season and taste taste taste before stuffing the peppers.

This recipe is for your basic stuffed pepper filled with a rice and ground beef mixture.  I say basic but it is filled with a lot of FLAVOR.  I am making this with 80% ground beef as I want some fat content for flavor.  I have used ground turkey and 93% ground beef but you have to be careful so your stuffing doesn’t end up dry.  Another great tip is to use a combination of ground meat such as beef, pork, and veal.  I am using just ground beef as that is what I had on hand.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 4-6 Bell Peppers
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
  • 2 Tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1  teaspoon Basil
  • 1 teaspoon Oregano
  • Jalapeno, diced
  • 1/2 pint Mushrooms, cut.
  • 12 oz can tomato sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut top offs of the peppers and save.  Brush olive oil on the outside and inside of peppers and salt and pepper.
  2. Place cut side down on baking sheet and place in oven to roast until softened.  Take out of oven and reduce heat to 350 degrees.
  3. Dice the reserved pepper tops and cut the mushrooms.
  4. Place about 1 Tablespoon of Olive oil in pan and saute onion, garlic, and jalapenos until fragrant.  Add meat, basil, oregano and peppers until meat is browned.  Drain fat.
  5. Add Mushrooms and adjust seasonings.  When mushrooms start to get soft add tomato sauce.IMG_3682
  6. Let simmer and adjust seasonings one last time.
  7. Fill peppers and top with additional tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce or the old fashioned ketchup.  I had some spaghetti sauce in the fridge so I topped with that.  Place in the oven and let cook about 20 minutes. If you are preparing these ahead of time then the cooking time in the oven will be longer.
  8. Serve with parmesan cheese!! YUM

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Banana Blueberry Ricotta Coffee Cake

This was my first attempt at making my own recipe…Let me change that.  First BAKING recipe.  I am always creating new savory dishes but baking and desserts are a different beast.   I think it came out pretty good.  My only stumbling point was not leaving it in the oven long enough thankfully that was easily remedied.  I don’t know what happened as I checked it and it seemed done.  This recipe filled the house with a delicious aroma of cinnamon and blueberries.  The cake was nice and moist with the nice crunch of the topping.  The banana didn’t come out much in taste so next time I will try 2 bananas.

INGREDIENTS

Batter:

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 egg, room temperature

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 pint fresh blueberries (tossed in flour)

1 ripe banana, smashed

Ricotta layer:

1 cup Ricotta

1 egg

2 tablespoons sugar

Topping:

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup cold butter

1 cup oats

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease 8 inch square baking pan.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and set aside.
  3. Cream together sugar and butter until fluffy.  Whisk in egg and vanilla.
  4. Alternating- mix in dry ingredients and milk.
  5. Mix in banana
  6. Fold in blueberries carefully so the batter doesn’t turn blue.
  7. Pour into greased baking pan.
  8. Mix ricotta, egg and sugar and layer on top of batter in pan.
  9. Mix dry topping ingredients and cut in butter until crumbly.  Place on top of ricotta layer.
  10. Bake 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted in middle.
  11. Cool on wire rack.

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ENJOY!!!

PICKLED….Bread and Butter Zucchini or Cucumber and Onions

With gardens producing all those wonderful fresh vegetables you may found yourself wondering what to do with all of it.  Maybe you love pickles or anything pickled or just want to try something new. Here are two different recipes for you to try.  You can see which brine you prefer and then switch out the vegetable used.  In both of these recipes I also added sliced radishes and a teaspoon of pickling spices.IMG_3616

Bread and Butter Zucchini Pickles (recipe from Food and Wine)

  • 1 pound very firm medium zucchini, sliced 1/8 inch thick
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • Ice water
  • 1 1/2 cups unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds, crushed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder (**note I was all out of mustard powder so I looked up a substitution and found that you could use 1 tablespoon prepared mustard per 1 teaspoon mustard powder)
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  1. In a large bowl, toss the zucchini and onion with 2 Tablespoons of kosher salt.  Cover with ice water and let stand until just softened, about 45 minutes.  Drain well and pat dry.
  2. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine the remaining 1 Tablespoon of salt with the vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, mustard powder, turmeric and 1/2 Cup of water.  Bring to boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar; let cool completely.
  3. Transfer the zucchini and onion to a 1-quart glass jar and pour in enough brine to cover.  Seal with the lid and refrigerate overnight before serving.

**Pickles can be refrigerated in the brine up to a week.

 

Pickled Cucumbers and Onions (recipe from friend)

  • 4 thinly sliced cucumbers
  • 1 large sliced red onion
  • 1 large sliced green pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon celery flakes
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  1. Mix cucumbers, onions, peppers, and salt and set aside
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring to boil the vinegar, sugar, celery flakes, and red pepper flakes.  Remove from the heat and add 2 handfuls of ice until dissolved.
  3. Place the vegetables in canning jars; pour the liquid mixture over vegetables and store in the refrigerator.

**Will keep up to 2 months.

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