Sunday, February 9, 2014

Snowy weather update

The other week I tried to post our meals/dinners that we had every day (Monday - Friday). I was semi-successful and posted Monday - Thursday, so I'll take that as a win! For anyone dying to know, our Friday night meal consisted of Quinoa Stuffed Peppers - see below for this recipe!). We have another busy week coming up, as I'll be working in Columbus two days and the boys' have their last swim lesson class of the session. I think we are done with swim lessons until the summer! It has been too cold and yucky outside to do anymore swimming. This winter has been brutal for me, as we moved back to Northwest Ohio in June - see this post and this one for more on the move, and it's been the snowiest and coldest winter in quite a while. Our house/property is on a small township road and we are pretty much surrounded by hills on each side, so traveling (with no 4x4 drive vehicles) has been a little treacherous and we have opted to stay home more than I care for with two very active little boys. This has given the boys and myself some severe cabin fever! I am so ready for some spring-like weather and a little time outside! This morning, like many others this winter, we woke up to 3+ inches of snow. It really is beautiful, but again, I'm pretty sure we have had enough! Anyway, I hope everyone is having a great weekend and enjoying time with family. Will have more to share hopefully in the next week, as we have made some developmental strides (Logan is chattering up a storm!) and Tim and I have hit a milestone in our relationship (10 years!).

Cute pic of my littles, couldn't help but share!

Another snow morning in NWO - taken this morning 2/9/14!
Here is the recipe of Stuffed Quinoa Peppers. It looks like a lot of steps, but here's how to cut down on prep. time. Make the quinoa ahead of time and store in the refrigerator or freezer until you want to use it. I always make a big batch of it and then just pull it out for various meals as I need it. For the ground turkey, again you can make this ahead of time and refrigerate or freeze it, but it's not too time consuming to brown up some meat, anyway. Just brown the turkey (or beef if you prefer) and throw in the spices and toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) or if you don't have those on-hand, whatever you have in the cupboard would work, I used pine nuts because that is all I had at the time! You can also make the sauce ahead of time and freeze it, or you can use salsa or whatever else you already have on-hand if you don't want to make a home-made sauce. This one is a pretty yummy salsa you could use, but anything would be yummy! It was nice because I had a while extra pepper, so I just threw it in a plastic bag in the fridge then put it back in the oven later for another meal. You can also just throw the cooked meat in a container in the fridge and chop up peppers and throw it in there with it, sprinkle with a little toasted panko or parmesan cheese and you have a bowl of goodness to eat later. (I did both of these and ended up eating this twice later as leftovers). The boys at my house thought this meal was OK, not their favorite, but oh well, you can't please everyone! I slacked and didn't get a picture, oh well, you'll just have to make it yourself!

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup quinoa

Extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 clove minced garlic
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 cup white wine  (you can use chicken broth as an alternative)
2 large red bell peppers
2 large green bell peppers
2 cups lightly packed stemmed and julienned kale leaves
1/4 cup toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 1/2 cups finely ground panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Roasted Tomatillo Avocado Sauce, recipe follows, for garnish
Fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

For the quinoa: Over medium-high heat, bring the broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. As the broth is coming to boil, add the quinoa, then stir and cover. Reduce the heat to a simmer and steam the quinoa until the grains pop, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

For the peppers: Set a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil and add the turkey, crushed red pepper flakes and garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until well browned, 5 to 7 minutes, while stirring with a wooden spoon and breaking up the pieces. Deglaze with the wine. While the turkey is browning, rinse the peppers and pat dry. With the pepper lying down on its side, cut off the top and remove the seeds and membrane. Repeat for the remaining peppers. Leave the stem on the top for presentation. Set aside.

Once the turkey is browned, shut off the heat and fold in the quinoa, kale and pepitas. Mix to incorporate all ingredients thoroughly. Check for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper if required.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the panko and Parmesan. Add a drizzle of olive oil to lightly moisten and season with salt and pepper. Set the peppers on a roasting tray cut-side up and stuff each with about 1/3 cup of filling. Top each pepper half with about 2 tablespoons of panko-Parmesan topping. Cover loosely with foil, place in the center of the oven and bake for 15 minutes. When the peppers are tender and cooked through, remove the foil and turn on the broiler. Cook under the broiler to brown the panko breadcrumbs and crisp up, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the peppers from the oven and allow to rest before serving.

To present, place 1/4 cup of Roasted Tomatillo Avocado Sauce on a plate and place the roasted, stuffed pepper halves in the middle of sauce. Garnish with parsley sprigs.

Roasted Tomatillo Avocado Sauce (good for any Mexican type dishes too):
6 medium tomatillos (about 8 ounces), husked
Olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and diced
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 jalapeno, coarsely chopped and seeds removed
1/2 sweet onion, like Maui or Vidallia, rough chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1 handful fresh cilantro leaves
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the tomatillos onto a baking sheet. Toss the tomatillos with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and place into the oven. Roast until nicely charred, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Combine the tomatillos, 1/4 cup water, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, avocado, garlic, jalapenos, onions, lime juice and cilantro in a blender and puree until completely smooth. Place in the refrigerator and allow the sauce to settle before serving, so it is smooth.