Do you feel it? I totally feel it! What is it? The feeling that I'm totally on the ball this week. Maybe even... dare I say... ahead of the game. I don't always feel like this, so I tend to get very excited when it happens. Do you ever have days/weeks when you are so prepared for everything coming your way? Doesn't it feel amazing?! Time for a celebratory dance -- you deserve it.
My to-do list hasn't even had a chance to build up because I'm crossing things off like it's my job (well, some of them are). The biggest relief is the one that I feel when it comes to dinners for the week. By now, I know you're bored with hearing how hungry I am after the gym... hate toiling for 45 minutes until food is ready... yada yada yada :)
So, I'll skip that part and, instead, sing the praises of doing a little bit of prep work on the weekend and how it saves literally hours of time during the week! Every time I grumble about this being my least favorite part about cooking and hey, I can just do it later during the week, right? Wrong! Totally worth it, people. I clean and chop all vegetables, trim and marinate meats, cook basics like rice and pasta, and portion out all of them. Then, when I'm cooking, I feel like one of the Food Network hosts that I'm watching, grabbing my neatly prepared ingredients and balancing them in a tower of bags and containers as I head to my
Having everything ready made this meal a rather fun one to assemble, make, and especially eat. What was on the menu? Stuffed peppers! Right away, you should know that I'm a fan of anything stuffed: pasta shells, pizza crusts, pastries, lasagna noodles, chicken breasts, sandwich cookies... I could go on and on, but I won't because I bet you're already thinking about your favorite stuffed foods. Aren't they just great?
Now I want you to imagine your very own dinner, something portioned just for you. It's why cupcakes, mini cakes, personal pan pizzas, etc. are so popular. People want to feel special, like their food was solely intended for them and no one else. This is exactly how I felt when I sat down to enjoy dinner earlier this week -- turkey and rice stuffed peppers! Nicely packaged and so colorful (you eat with your eyes first!), nutritious, and perfectly compact.
I've heard friends, TV shows and the like talk about stuffed peppers, but one thing always eluded me -- with what do you stuff them? Meat? More vegetables? Piles and piles of cheese? Turns out you can stuff them with whatever you want! Funny how cooking can be so freeing :) These peppers are stuffed with a mixture of rice, onions, garlic and seasonings mixed with ground turkey and some sharp cheddar cheese. And, topped with a little more of the shredded stuff, natch.
May I just say how much fun it is to make a dish like this? Playing with one's food is allllllways a good time, especially when it results in such a filling and easy meal. The red peppers at the store this week were rather gigantic, so half pepper full of stuffing with a small salad on the side was a satisfying meal for me. The onions and garlic flavored the turkey, and the rice was so fluffy and cozy I forgot the fact that it was a really healthy meal. And the chicken broth totally kicked up the already sweet peppers by making them tender and juicy... I swear, writing about these dishes after they are gone is really some form of torture. "Hey, Katy, remember that totally scrumptious dinner you made? Oh, and by the way, it's already gone." Someday I'll learn... maybe.
One Year Ago: Last minute lentil salad
Turkey and Rice Stuffed Peppers
(adapted from SkinnyTaste)
A few notes: Feel free to substitute any other ground meat for the turkey -- beef, chicken, even lamb or veal. The cheese and type of rice can be varied as well. For example, a great combo would be ground beef and topping it with some bleu cheese. To die for!
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 onion, minced (about 1/3 cup)
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 large red bell peppers
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups cooked rice (I used brown)
Nonstick cooking spray
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Heat oven to 400F. Coat a large skillet over medium high heat with nonstick spray. Add onion, garlic, and parsley to pan. Saute about 2 minutes and add turkey to pan. Season with salt, garlic powder, and cumin, and brown meat for several minutes (5-7) until turkey is cooked through completely. Add tomato sauce, 1/2 cup chicken broth, and simmer on low heat for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir rice into turkey mixture.
Cut the bell peppers in half, lengthwise,and remove all seeds and stems. Place 6 halves in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, open side up. Add 1/4 cup cheese to cooled rice and turkey mixture, stirring to distribute evenly. Spoon the meat rice mixture into peppers, packing as much as you can into each. Pour the remaining chicken broth into the dish to surround the peppers. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes. Top with remaining cheese and enjoy!