This past week my market had a buy one – get one free for small peppers. I couldn’t pass that up. So, then came the planning – what to cook without getting sick of the peppers. Here are some dishes I came up with that include peppers.
Vegetable Quesadillas With Mango Salsa
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup diced jalapeños
1 cup fresh corn kernels
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup shredded cheddar or Monterey cheese
Three 8-inch whole wheat flour tortillas
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
In a medium bowl, combine the bell pepper, onion, corn, jalapeños, chili powder,1/8 teaspoon salt and cheese.
Divide the mixture between the tortillas, scattering it over half of each and folding the tortillas in half.
Heat the oil in a heavy-duty 10-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the quesadillas and cook until browned and crisp on the bottom, about 1 minute.
Turn the tortillas over and continue to cook until browned and crisp on the other side, 1 minute more. Let cool slightly, cut into wedges, and serve with lime wedges and Mango Salsa.
1 ripe mango, peeled and diced
Half a yellow bell pepper, finely diced
2 tablespoons red onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon agave syrup
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
Pinch of cayenne
Salt to taste
In a mixing bowl, combine all the mango salsa ingredients and set aside. Let sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. Toss before using.
Sautéed Sausage, Peppers and Onion Sandwiches
Reserve 4 pieces of sausage and ½ cup of the peppers and onions for the Stuffed Zucchini recipe.
1/2 pound each of hot and sweet Italian sausage
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 red bell pepper, sliced into long strips
2 yellow or orange bell pepper, sliced into long strips
2 garlic cloves, sliced into slivers
1 large sweet onion, sliced into 1/4-inch half-moons
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
Salt to taste
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, deep skillet with a lid. When the oil is hot, add the sausages and brown them slowly. You want a gentle browning, not a quick sear.
Cook for several minutes, turning them occasionally so they brown on all sides. When the sausages are browned, remove them from the pan and set aside.
When cool enough to handle cut into two-inch lengths.
Increase the heat to high and add the onions and peppers. Toss so they get coated with the oil in the pan and cook, stirring often.
Once the onions and peppers soften, sprinkle some salt on them, add the garlic and Italian seasoning and cook for 1 more minute.
Add the sausages back in. Bring to a simmer then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer until the peppers are soft and the sausages are cooked through, about 20 minutes.
Heat the rolls and fill them with the sausage mixture.
Sausage and Peppers Stuffed Zucchini
2 medium zucchini
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 oz cooked Italian sausage, chopped
¼ cup cooked peppers and onions, chopped
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 375 F. degrees.
Trim the stem end of the zucchini, cut a thin slice from the top and scoop out the zucchini flesh with a teaspoon. Finely chop the zucchini flesh and the slice from the top of the zucchini.
Place the zucchini shells in one layer in a baking dish. Generously brush the inside of the zucchini with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt.
In a medium skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil and add the chopped zucchini.Cook until soft and tender. Add the chopped sausage and chopped onions and peppers. Cook until hot. Remove the pan from the heat.
Add the panko breadcrumbs to the filling and let cool until easy to touch. Stuff the zucchini boats with the filling.
Sprinkle the top of the filling in the zucchini with Parmesan cheese. Drizzle with a little oil.
Bake the zucchini for 30 minutes, until the topping is crispy and golden.
Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.
Use pork tenderloin — a tender, lean meat. Traditionally, fajitas are made with skirt beef steak, which has twice the fat and three times the amount of saturated fat.
Makes 8 fajitas
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pound pork tenderloin, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
1 small onion, sliced
1 bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 flour tortillas, about 8 inches in diameter, warmed in the microwave
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 plum tomatoes, diced
4 cups shredded lettuce
In a small bowl, stir together the chili powder, oregano, paprika, coriander and garlic powder. Dredge the pork pieces in the seasonings, coating completely.
Heat a large skillet and add the olive oil. Add the pork, peppers and onions and cook over medium-high heat, turning several times, until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes.
To serve, spread an equal amount of pork, peppers and onions on each tortilla. Top each with 1 tablespoon cheese, 2 tablespoons tomatoes and 1/2 cup shredded lettuce.
Fold in both sides of each tortilla up over the filling, then roll to close. Serve immediately.
2 cups leftover roasted turkey breast, diced
2 stalks celery
¼ cup finely diced sweet onion
1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Mix the mayonnaise, sour cream, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper together in a mixing bowl with a cover. Add the diced turkey, celery, onion and bell pepper. Mix well.
Cover and chill in the refrigerator before serving.
I live in a climate that is hot about nine months out of the year, so winter time, especially January, is a great time of the year to bake. I can get some extra baking in and save the baked goods in the freezer for when it gets hotter. The recipe for one of our favorite breakfast scones is below.
Soup is another favorite and while tomatoes are not in season, Roma Tomatoes are plentiful and are great for cooking. Salads are hearty at this time of year and chicken salad is a great option. Stuffed vegetables or stuffed meat entrees are very comforting when there is a chill in the air. Try some of the recipes below to warm you up.
Makes 8 scones
2 cups self-rising flour (or 2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon salt)
2 tablespoons sugar
One 7 oz tube almond paste
1/4 cup cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup half-and-half (cream and milk)
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
½ cup slivered almonds
Sugar for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and sugar. With a pastry cutter, cut the almond paste and the butter into the dry ingredients until a few pea-sized lumps remain. Stir in the almonds.
In a separate small bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, egg and almond extract and add to the flour mixture. With a fork gradually stir the dough until the mixture comes together.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and very gently pat into an 8-inch round about 1 1/2 inches high. Sprinkle the top of the dough with sugar.
Using a chef’s knife or bench scraper, cut the dough round into 8 wedges. Transfer the wedges to the prepared baking sheet, spacing the scones at least 1 inch apart.
Bake in the top third of the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the tops are golden. Transfer the scones to a wire rack to cool.
Roasted Red Pepper and Egg Wrap
1 large, jarred roasted red pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
2 large eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese
2 medium tortilla wraps
Cut the pepper into one inch pieces.
In a measuring cup beat the eggs with a sprinkle of salt, pepper and the Italian seasoning. Add the peppers and mix.
Heat the oil in a medium skillet. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet. Stir and cook until the eggs are set.
Warm the tortillas in the microwave. Divide the cheese in half and sprinkle over each tortilla. Divide the egg mixture in half and place on top of the cheese. Let stand for a few minutes to allow the cheese to melt.
Roll up each tortilla tightly, cut in half and serve.
Winter Tomato Soup
If you don’t like peeling tomatoes as much as I do, here is a technique I use to get around it. I usually purchase fresh Roma tomatoes for cooking and put them in the freezer when I get home from shopping. One day before I am going to cook with them, I place the amount I need in the refrigerator to defrost. The next day, the skins slip right off and are ready for the pot.
6 ripe plum tomatoes, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, minced
Two 26 oz containers finely chopped Italian tomatoes (Pomi)
1 teaspoon honey
4 cups organic broth (chicken or vegetable)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Optional: add ½ cup half & half to make a creamy version
Basil for garnish
Heat the olive oil in a soup pot. Add the onions, cover and cook until they are soft and just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.
Add the the fresh and canned tomatoes, honey, salt and pepper to taste and the broth. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes with the cover ajar. Remove the pot from the heat.
With an immersion blender or in a processor, puree the soup. If adding cream, add it here and warm the soup. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and serve hot garnished with basil.
Open-Faced Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Slow-poaching the chicken breasts keeps them extra moist.
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 scallions, minced
2 medium celery stalks, finely chopped
¼ of a green bell pepper finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
6 slices whole wheat or rye bread, lightly toasted
In a large saucepan, cover the chicken breasts with water. Bring to a very slow simmer and cook over low heat until white throughout, about 18-20 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to a plate and let stand until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Cut the chicken into 1/2-inch dice.
In a large bowl, mix the mayonnaise with the mustard and season with salt and pepper. Fold in the onion, celery, bell pepper, parsley and chicken until evenly coated.
Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.
Spread some of the chicken salad onto the toasted bread slices and top with tomato slices to serve.
This is a hearty entree and only needs one vegetable as a side. flounder comes in large sizes here on the gulf and mine weighed 14 oz. Substitute an equal amount of smaller fillets.
1 tablespoon each of minced onion, celery and bell pepper
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon seafood seasoning (Old Bay)
1/2 pound lump crab meat
12-14 oz flounder fillet or fillets
Chopped fresh parsley
In a small bowl, combine all the filling ingredients, except the crab. Then, gently fold in the crab. Place the flounder in a baking dish coated with olive oil.
Spoon the crab mixture evenly over the fillet or fillets. Sprinkle with paprika and parsley.
Bake at 400°F for 20-24 minutes or until the fish is cooked through.
Southwest Stuffed Peppers
January is a good time to try different ethnic cuisines. They can spice up some typical winter produce. While I find an occasional taco or quesadilla tasty, I am generally not a fan of Southwest recipes. This recipe turned out quite well, though, and is a nice change from regular stuffed peppers. It is also good served with a green salad with ranch dressing.
1 large green bell pepper
¼ lb lean ground beef or turkey
1 teaspoon olive oil
½ teaspoon chili powder
1 scallion, chopped
½ cup of corn kernels
¼ cup salsa
½ cup Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Cut the pepper in half and remove the seeds. Place the pepper halves in a small baking dish.
Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat and cook the ground beef until brown.
Turn off the heat and add the scallion, corn and salsa; stir to combine. Spoon this mixture into the pepper shells. Add water to cover the bottom of the dish.
Bake for 45 minutes, until the peppers are fork tender. Drain the water from the baking dish. Sprinkle the peppers evenly with the shredded cheese. Return the baking pan to the oven and bake just until the cheese melts.
It’s harvest time and the last of summer’s fresh fruit and vegetables are coming to market. Salad ingredients, beets, cucumbers and peppers are all still available. And there should still be plenty of zucchini, green beans, spinach and corn to play a supporting role on your dinner plate.
The first autumn/winter vegetables are putting in an appearance now in the shape of Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, cabbage, pumpkins and mushrooms,
Apples and pears are plentiful, too. It’s also time to enjoy the last of the berries, plums and tomatoes. Comfort food is back.
Spinach Bacon Quiche
- One 9 inch refrigerated pie crust, at room temperature
- 4 slices bacon
- Half a sweet onion, diced
- 2 cups leftover cooked spinach or frozen and defrosted
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup half & half
- 2 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese, divided
Fit the pastry into a 9 inch pie plate and crimp the edges. Place in the refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Cook the bacon until crisp in a medium skillet. Remove and place on a paper towel to drain. Crumble when cool.
Remove all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan and saute the chopped onion in the remaining bacon fat. Add the spinach, thyme, salt and pepper. Remove the skillet from the heat and let cool.
In a measuring cup, combine the eggs and half & half.
Take the pie shell out of the refrigerator and place the pan on a baking sheet.
Sprinkle 1 cup of cheese evenly on the bottom of the pie crust. Then sprinkle with the crumbled bacon. Spread the spinach onion mixture over the bacon.
Slowly pour the egg mixture over the spinach. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
Place the baking sheet in the middle of the oven. Bake the quiche for about 40-45 minutes until the top is golden and puffy and the quiche does not “wobble” in the center when gently moved
Let the quiche rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Fall Beet Salad
- Olive oil for coating the beets
- 3 golden beets
- 1 Valencia orange, peel removed and sliced into thin rounds
- 1/4 fennel bulb, sliced thin
- 2 tablespoons shallots, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Zest of half an orange
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Make the dressing: Whisk the orange zest, raspberry vinegar, honey, and salt and pepper together in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.
For the beets:
Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
Place the beets on a foil-lined baking sheet and drizzle with a little olive oil. Roast for about 45 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork. Let cool. Peel and cut into thin rounds.
Arrange the beets, orange slices and sliced fennel on a serving dish and sprinkle with the chopped shallots. Drizzle with half of the dressing of the dressing and reserve the remaining dressing to serve with the salad,
Cover the salad with plastic wrap and chill until serving time.
Chicken with Corn Salsa
Corn Salsa (see recipe link here)
For the rub:
- 2 tablespoons taco seasoning (see recipe link here)
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- Combine to make a paste
- Rub the paste over both sides of 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
- Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
For grilling on a gas grill:
Prepare a gas grill for indirect heat: Turn all burners to high and close the lid. When the temperature inside the grill reaches 400°F, lift lid and turn off one of the burners.
The area over the turned-off burner is the indirect heat area.
Brush the grill with vegetable oil. Place chicken skin side down over the indirect-heat area; close the lid and cook 15 minutes. Turn chicken over, close the lid and cook another 10 minutes.
Move chicken over direct heat and cook, turning once, until skin is well browned and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes.
Watch carefully; dripping fat or any added oils catch fire easily (a small spray bottle filled with water is handy for taming flames).
Place the cooked chicken on individual plates and place corn salsa on the side.
Zucchini Vegetable Kebabs
The kebabs go well with any grilled meat or fish.
For the Marinade
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoons pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Whisk together the marinade ingredients in a small measuring cup.
For the Kebabs
- 2 skewers
- Vegetables cut into one inch pieces:
- 1 cup zucchini
- 1 cup red bell peppers
- 1 cup red onion
Combine the marinade and vegetables in a large bowl. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
Remove vegetables from the marinade and thread on skewers, alternating the vegetables. Place the skewers on the grill and cook 7 to 10 minutes on each side or until tender.
Mac & Cheese
This makes a wonderful side dish for grilled meat or fish.
- 1 lb dried short pasta (mezze penne, elbows)
- 4 cups whole milk
- ¼ cup butter, diced
- ½ cup instant flour (Wondra)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried yellow mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 8 oz 2% milk Velveeta processed cheese, cut into cubes
- 8 oz mild cheddar, shredded
- ½ cup dried plain breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside.
In the same pot mix the cold milk with the instant flour; add the butter and place the pan on medium heat.
Stirring often, bring the sauce to boiling, reduce heat and cook until thickened, whisking often. Add the salt, mustard and cayenne. Add the velveeta cheese and heat until melted.
Add the cooked pasta and mix well. Pour into a greased 9×13 inch baking dish.
Mix the breadcrumbs and shredded cheddar together and sprinkle over the top of the casserole.
(The casserole can be made ahead to this stage and refrigerated until baking time. Add 15 minutes to the baking time if the casserole is refrigerated.)
Bake for about 25-30 minutes until heated through.
Snacks for game watching or parties are fun to have on hand. They do not have to be unhealthy to taste really good. My kind of snacks have always been a big hit with family and guests – so give them a try. I have never heard that they didn’t go over well. In fact, I get many requests for the recipes. The sports season begins this week, so get ready.
Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds can be seasoned, roasted in the oven and eaten as a healthy snack. They’re a very good source of phosphorus, magnesium, manganese and antioxidants; and they’re also a good source of protein, zinc, copper and iron. Besides – they taste good.
Make a double batch – they go fast.
- 2 cups raw, dry pumpkin seeds (be sure they are not salted)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 2 tablespoons honey
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Toss the seeds with the olive oil, salt, pepper, cinnamon, cumin, cayenne and honey in a mixing bowl.
Spread the seeds on a baking pan.
Roast the coated seeds until golden, about 15 – 20 minutes. Scrape the pan and stir the seeds as they cool to prevent sticking. After about 10 minutes cooling on the pan, the seeds will stick together.
They are easy to separate and will finish cooling without sticking after they are separated.
Remove to a serving bowl or store in an airtight container.
Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus
Pimentón is the Spanish version of paprika that adds a little smokiness to a recipe. It comes in three types with varying levels of heat. Dulce is slightly sweet with very little heat, agridulce has only a trace of sweetness but a lot of heat and picante is quite hot with just a trace of bitterness.
This is not the typical hummus made with tahini (sesame paste). This hummus uses sun-dried tomatoes and has delicious flavor from the Pimentón. The dip go very well with the homemade pita chips.
- 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained but reserve the bean liquid
- 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, more to taste
- 1 tablespoon pimentón agridulce
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Pita chips (recipe below) and raw vegetables, for serving.
Drain the chickpeas, reserving the bean liquid separately.
Put the chickpeas and lemon juice into a blender or food processor and process until chunky.
Add salt, pepper, the garlic and pimentón and process; then add the sun-dried tomatoes and sun dried tomato oil. Process until very smooth.
Add some of the reserved bean liquid to thin the sauce to dipping consistency.
Serve with homemade pita chips and cut up vegetables.
Homemade Pita Chips
Za’atar seasoning is a Middle Eastern spice mixture that contains ground dried thyme, oregano, marjoram, toasted sesame seeds, salt and sumac.
- 1 package of pita pocket breads (6 pitas in a package)
- Olive oil
- Za’atar seasoning
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Oil two large rimmed baking pans.
Separate each pita into two rounds. Brush each with olive oil and sprinkle with the Za’atar seasoning mix. Cut each pita circle into 6 triangles.
Arrange the triangles on the baking sheets and bake until crispy and brown, about 20 minutes. Rotate the pans after ten minutes, Cool and store in a large ziplock bag until needed.
Small hand foods are popular and easy to eat while you are watching a game. These can be filled with anything you like and cut as small as you like. Here are some suggestions.
- Whole-grain tortillas, lavash bread or lettuce leaves
- Drizzle of oil and vinegar
Protein Filling Ingredients
- Thinly sliced roast turkey, chicken, ham or roast beef
- Nut Butters
Vegetable Filling Ingredients
- Greens: lettuce, baby spinach, kale, Swiss chard
- Zucchini Slices
- Pickled Cucumbers, Peppers or other Pickled Vegetables
- Light Mayonnaise
- Greek Yogurt
- Mashed Avocado
Choose a type of wrap or use a variety. Choose a spread and cover the wrap on one side.
Layer the wrap with a protein and veggies of choice. Drizzle with a little oil and vinegar. Roll-up tightly and place on a serving dish. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate until game time.
Pepper and Corn Salsa
The fresh flavors of this seasonal salsa is what makes it taste so good. Homemade chips make it taste even better.
- 3 bell peppers, seeded and diced (use a variety of colors)
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
- 1 cup fresh corn kernels, cooked
- 1 tomato, seeded and diced
- 1/2 red onion, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
- Juice of half a lime
- Pinch of cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper Flakes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Homemade tortilla chips
Place the diced vegetables and corn to a medium serving bowl.
Add the lime juice, salt, pepper and cayenne to the bowl. Mix well. Let the flavors combine for at least twenty minutes before serving.
Serve either at room temperature or slightly chilled with tortilla chips.
Homemade Tortilla Chips
- Olive oil
- One package (8-10) large (12 inch) flour tortillas
- Taco seasoning mix, recipe below
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Oil two rimmed baking sheets.
Brush the tortillas with olive oil and sprinkle each with taco seasoning. Cut the tortillas into 8 triangles and arrange them on the prepared baking sheets.
Bake until golden brown and crisp, rotating the baking sheets once, about 12 to 15 minutes.
Taco Seasoning Mix
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
In a small bowl, mix all together. Store in an airtight container.
While most peppers start out green, depending on the variety, they will mature into a variety of colors, such as red, orange, yellow and sometimes even purple. Bell peppers are abundant in the summer and these colorful vegetables have a sweet flavor. When choosing bell peppers, make sure to pick those with shiny, blemish-free skin. No wrinkles or soft spots either. Their size and shape will vary greatly so don’t use that as an indicator of age or taste. Packed with vitamins and low in calories, bell peppers can be added to a variety of dishes to bring both color and flavor to your diet. Use them raw or roasted or grilled. Freeze them if you end up with more than you can use. Here are some ideas for using bell peppers:
Add peppers to your favorite kebabs for late summer grilling. This is when it’s a great idea to get one of each color.
Add chopped pepper to your favorite tuna or chicken salad for extra crunch.
Make a colorful pepper slaw. Thinly slice peppers and toss with green onions, cider vinegar and just enough mayonnaise to coat the mixture. Let sit in the refrigerator for several hours to soften the peppers slightly.
Make a bell pepper pizza. Brush a rolled out pizza crust with extra-virgin olive oil. Top with thinly sliced red, orange and yellow peppers and add tablespoons of ricotta cheese. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and bake. Add fresh basil leaves just before the pizza finishes cooking.
Bell peppers make excellent appetizer dippers. Cut wide strips and use for hummus, salsa or other dips.
Grilled Stuffed Italian Peppers
This appetizer recipe is a healthy, fresh alternative to the popular breaded and fried versions.
Yield: 10 peppers
10 Italian (long) frying peppers
- 8 ounces low-fat cream cheese with chives and onion, softened
- 2 ounces extra-sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Preheat an outdoor grill to medium-high heat. Oil the grill grates.
Cut a thin slice off the top of the peppers. Carefully remove the seeds so you not tear the peppers.
Combine the filling ingredients in a mixing bowl, stirring well to combine. Using a small spoon fill the peppers. Coat the outside of the peppers with olive oil cooking spray.
Place the peppers on the grill, close the cover and grill the peppers 5 minutes. Turn the peppers over and grill for 5 more minutes.
Southern Style Stuffed Peppers
Ingredients for every 2 peppers
- 2 whole bell peppers
- 2 teaspoons butter
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons diced sweet onion
- 2 tablespoons diced celery
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tomato
- 1 cup fresh corn kernels
- 3/4 cups grated Cheddar or Monterrey Jack cheese
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking dish deep enough to stand the peppers upright.
Cut the tops off the peppers and remove the seeds. Save the tops. Lightly salt the inside of the peppers.
Combine the filling ingredients in a mixing bowl. Season with black pepper. Stuff the peppers with the filling, packing it in tightly. Place 1 teaspoon of butter on top.
Replace the pepper tops and set them in the prepared dish. Add water to the dish, about one inch deep, cover, and bake until the peppers are completely cooked, about 45-50 minutes.
Sautéed Peppers and Onions (Peperonata)
Peperonata recipes come in many versions; some get stewed, some are cooked with potatoes or with tomatoes. I prefer to lightly saute them, so they retain a slight crunch. This dish is perfect to serve with grilled steak, chicken cutlets, sausage or fish. They are also good in a sandwich, especially an Italian pepper and egg sandwich.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 6 sweet bell peppers or 20 Italian frying peppers, seeded, sliced into 2 1/2 to 3-inch long strips
- 2 large sweet onions, halved and sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, grated
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano or 1 teaspoon of fresh oregano leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (chili)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions, the peppers, garlic, oregano, pepper flakes, salt and pepper and cook for about 10 minutes, until crisp tender.
Add 4 Roma or other plum tomatoes, seeded and diced with the peppers in the skillet
Add ½ cup sliced basil leaves, instead of oregano
Add 1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar with the peppers to the skillet
Add 2 boiled potatoes, sliced, to the onions in the skillet
Steak Pizzaiola with Peppers and Onions
The loin is actually two subprime cuts—the strip loin and the tenderloin—and contains the most tender and prized cuts of meat. The strip loin, the larger of the two, is a cylindrical muscle running along the spine. The tenderloin is a smaller, snake-shaped muscle running parallel to and beneath the strip loin. Steaks cut from the boneless strip loin are known as New York Strip Steaks. The tenderloin may be sold in roast-sized chunks for Chateaubriand, or sliced into individual steaks known as filet mignon. A steak cut that includes both the strip and the filet separated by a t-shaped bone between them is called a T-bone steak. When a T-bone steak is cut from farther back on the short loin, where the tenderloin is thicker, it is known as a porterhouse. Loin is not as marbled (fatty) as the rib eye, nor is it among the leanest cuts. All loin cuts are best dry-heat cooked.
- 1 boneless strip loin steak, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices and fat trimmed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Half of the sautéed Pepper and Onion recipe – from above
- 2 cups Marinara (tomato) sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or basil
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (chili)
Sprinkle the 1 teaspoon salt on the steaks and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the steaks and sear them on one side for 2 minutes. Turn the steaks over.
Top each steak with about 1/2 cup of the sautéed peppers and onions. Cover the peppers and onions on each steak with 1/2 cup of tomato sauce. Sprinkle each with some red pepper flakes, black pepper and herbs.
Cover the skillet and cook until warmed, about 5 minutes on medium heat.
Here are some suggestions on how to use July’s bounty to create delicious, seasonal meals. You may have noticed that in a few recent salad recipes, I have not cooked the corn before adding it to the salad. Corn, this year, has been plentiful and sweet and I found the salads taste better if the corn is uncooked. The dressing permeates the corn and it tastes quite fresh. Figs and Pecans are also in season here where I live, in fact, the figs are from a friend’s tree. If figs are not available in your area now, you can save this recipe until they are. Peppers and tomatoes are plentiful now and melons are at their peak.
Cold Salad Plate For 2
Cantaloupe Rounds Filled with Tuna Salad
Cut 2 rounds from a the center of a ripe, peeled cantaloupe and remove the seeds. Center the rounds on 2 dinner plates.
Mix the tuna salad:
Combine one 6.4 oz package of tuna, ¼ cup diced onion, ¼ cup diced celery, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard and ½ cup mayonnaise.. Place half the tuna salad in each cantaloupe round.
Make the deviled eggs:
Cut 3 hard-boiled eggs in half. Remove the yolks to a small bowl and mash them. Add 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion and 1 tablespoon finely chopped celery.
Add a little sprinkle of salt, ¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard and 2 tablespoons mayonnaise.
Mix well and use the fillings to stuff the egg whites. Arrange on the salad plate and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Add sliced fresh tomatoes to the salad plate and serve with warmed cornbread or rolls.
- 1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears)
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
- 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon honey or agave syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- Chopped parsley
- Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips, see recipe below
Mix the corn, green pepper, jalapeno, tomato and red onion in a bowl. Stir in the olive oil, the lime juice, honey and salt. Mix well.
Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight to marinate. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with tortilla chips.
Chili-Lime Tortilla Chips
Bake at 400 degrees F until crispy, about 15 minutes. Once they come out of the oven, squeeze more lime juice over them. Serve with the corn salsa.
Summer Chicken Salad
- 8-9 oz boneless chicken breasts
- ½ sweet onion, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 cup red grapes, halved
- 1 tablespoon lemon Juice
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup whole pecans, toasted
- Parsley for garnish
I like to poach chicken in broth for salads. Place 2 cups of water with a salt free chicken bouillon packet in a medium saucepan. Add a little salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil and add the chicken. Lower the heat and cover the pan. Cook the chicken about 15-20 minutes or until they are white through the center.
Cool in the broth. Drain the chicken and dice. Save the broth for when you need chicken broth for a recipe.
Place the diced chicken in a mixing bowl with the remaining ingredients, except the pecans. Chill.
By hand, break half of the pecans into pieces and stir into the salad. Arrange the salad on a serving plate and decorate with the remaining pecans and garnish with parsley.
Makes 9-10 cakes
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 cup fresh corn kernels
- 1/2 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Roasted tomato salsa, recipe below
Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, pepper and cayenne in a medium bowl. Make a well in the center and add the milk, egg, honey and cooled melted butter.
Whisk together the wet ingredients, then incorporate the dry ingredients (do not over mix). Mix in the corn and cheese.
Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, drop heaping ¼-cup portions of the batter into the skillet and cook until golden brown and the cakes are cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Serve the corn cakes topped with Roasted Tomato Salsa.
Roasted Tomato Salsa
- 8 oven roasted tomatoes, finely chopped, see recipe
- 1 jalapeño chili, finely diced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
Mix the ingredients together and allow to rest at room temperature until serving time for the flavors to blend.
Fresh Fig Tart
- One 9-inch refrigerated pie crust, at room temperature
- 1 pound fresh figs, stemmed and halved lengthwise
- 1/4 cup apple jelly, heated
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Press the dough onto the bottom and up the sides of a greased 9-inch tart pan.
Place the figs in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the sugar and lemon juice; toss gently to combine.
Spread the warm jelly over the pastry.
Arrange the figs in a circular pattern on the jam covered pastry. Sprinkle with pecans.
Bake for 35 minutes or until the fruit juices bubble and the crust is browned. Cool before cutting.