Tag Archives: cheese

Wheatless Wednesday – Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers

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Wheatless Wednesday – Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers

Yesterday it snowed enough to cover everything in a couple of inches of white.  The sun is out today, and it’s absolutely gorgeous.  I’m going to pretend that it’s not bitterly cold out.  (I’m also going to pretend that it hasn’t been a year since I last posted.)

I’m a big fan of price-reduced items. Whether end caps at Target or tags-still-attached thrift store items, I’m a sucker for a good deal.  It can be especially useful at the grocery store when feeding five growing children.

I also love sandwiches oozing with sauteed veggies, meat, and cheese.  But have you seen young children try to eat such things?  Sometimes it’s easier to put things in an edible bowl.

So, when our local store happened to mark down mushrooms and peppers on the day I was shopping, I took advantage of the situation to create something new.  Colorful, flavorful, and easy to pull together, this meal may leave you with a taste of summer in the midst of a cold snap.  Fork and knife optional.

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Three peppers for 99 cents!

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Everything looks lovely smothered in cheese.

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Cooked through.  The key is to just heat the peppers through.  One of the things most people dislike about stuffed peppers are the mushy peppers.  By cutting them in half, you can easily stuff them and allow them to retain some crispness–and flavor.

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Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers

  • 3-4 bell peppers, any color
  • 1 lb. ground beef (90% lean preferred)
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 1/2 cup cold water
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • crushed potato chips (optional)
  1. Wash and cut peppers in half, removing seeds, stems, and ribs.  Place on foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or in a 9×13″ baking dish.  Set aside.
  2. Place oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. In large skillet, brown ground beef over medium to medium-high heat until no longer pink.  Place in large bowl. Add rice.
  4. Heat vegetable oil in now-empty skillet until shimmering.  Add onion and mushrooms; cook until softened, about 6 minutes.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30-60 seconds.
  5. Carefully add milk, cornstarch mixture, salt, pepper, basil, and Worcestershire sauce.  Stir constantly until mixture thickens.  Add 1 cup of each cheddar cheese and mozzarella cheese.
  6. Pour mixture over meat and rice; mix until thoroughly combined.  Spoon mixture into peppers.  Divide remaining cheese over peppers (you may very well want to add more).
  7. Bake until heated through and cheese is melted, about 20 minutes.  Top with potato chips, if desired. Serve.

 

Beyond Bland — Putting Chicken to Work

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There is nothing quite like having a baby to throw things a bit out of whack.  Don’t get me wrong: I absolutely adore my little boy, but the past seven months have been a period of getting by, and I can make no promises going forward.  Life has been about getting the family clean, dressed, and fed and making sure I fulfill any other obligations that come my way. Have I resorted to boxed meals and take-out?  Not exactly, but our menu hasn’t featured many new recipes, instead favoring good ol’ standbys.

But as the calendar turned, I was determined to turn a corner myself and not let life completely overwhelm me and squelch my culinary creative thinking.  As those of you who have been with me for a while know, I enjoy cooking and baking and sharing, and I’m striving to fit that into my life (along with regular de-cluttering and cleaning of the house).  So here I am.

I will not boast a meal that is worthy of fireworks or fanfare.  Yet.  Rather, it’s real life in action.  Can you find something like this out in the realms of Pinterest and the like?  I would guess so.  I didn’t search.  But I’m content to know that by giving it to you here I save you time searching (we can discuss later how a quick search for dinner turns into a brand new board for redecorating your living room).

The initial concept is simple: provide a versatile, neutral main ingredient that you can us in many different ways.  Read: the ever-popular, overused boneless skinless chicken breast.   Too often it’s doomed to dryness, but with a little seasoning and a long, gentle cook in the slow cooker, it easily becomes something destined for dinner.

After this, the possibilities are endless.  Thanks to the precooked chicken, in less than 30 minutes you can have dinner on the table.  The easiest application is a pack of slider buns, a bottle of barbecue sauce and/or hot sauce, a bag of potato chips, and a bag of baby cut carrots.  Dinner.  Done.

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But think about it: chicken tacos.  Quesadillas.  Buffalo chicken wraps.  Chicken and stuffing casserole.  Chicken salad pitas.  Chicken parmesan.  Chicken fettuccine alfredo.  Chicken pot pie.  Chicken tortilla soup.  White chicken chili.

Or this.

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Individual buffalo chicken shepherd pies. With cheesy bacon and ranch potatoes**  Bar food in a bowl, no?

So, what are you going to make?

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Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken

  • 4 to 6 boneless skinless chicken breast (or feel free to use boneless skinless chicken thighs or a combination of both)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

Place chicken in large slow cooker.  Add water.  Place chicken bouillon cube in water and sprinkle chicken with salt, garlic powder, and black pepper.  Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours* or until tender. Shred with two forks right in slow cooker or remove and shred on large cutting board, if easier.  Add back to cooking liquid.  Serve or portion out and refrigerate/freeze for future use.

*Chicken may be cooked from frozen state.  Cook on high for recommended time or until tender.

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Buffalo Chicken Shepherd’s Pie with Cheesy Bacon & Ranch Potatoes

  • 4 slices bacon
  • 2 cups prepared mashed potatoes (use instant or follow directions for smashed potatoes here)
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. Ranch dressing mix
  • 1-1/2 cups cooked chicken
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Place rack in middle position of oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease 9″ pie plate or 8 individual ramekins with vegetable oil cooking spray.

Cook bacon in skillet or in microwave till crisp.  Crumble and add to mashed potatoes with bacon fat (up to 2 Tbsp.).  Add cheddar cheese and ranch dressing mix and stir to combine.  Set aside.

Combine chicken, onion, and celery in medium bowl.  Combine butter, hot sauce, garlic, salt, and pepper in small bowl and pour over chicken mixture.  Stir to combine.

Place chicken mixture in pie plate or divide between ramekins.  Top with mashed potatoes.  If using ramekins, place on rimmed baking sheet.  Bake 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are browning and mixture is beginning to bubble around edges.  Serve.

**I realize it’s not the most glamorous or well-lit picture: it was dark out and I didn’t think these would survive the night to become leftovers.  And the kids were hungry; proper staging wasn’t going to happen.  Feel free to make it yourself and take a proper picture.