Friday, December 9, 2016

Stuffed Peppers

One of the best secrets for stretching your food budget is to decrease your overall meat consumption--easy! But what if you are not willing to go meatless or vegetarian or vegan? For that, my friend, there are other secrets like using just enough protein to satisfy your inner carnivore without making meats your main dish! 

Taking vegetables and turning them into vehicles of deliciousness and satiety can give you two for one--getting your protein and eating your veggies--all while stretching your dollars and feeling incredibly content!


Aside from that, there is a global environmental crisis for which we are responsible...so, take some action and reduce the carbon footprint by consuming less meat which has been convincingly proven to be a major contributor to our environmental decline!

Other recipes featuring "meat as a side" or "stretching your meat dollars" are the 50-50 Burgers from last years blog recipes--check them out as well--but first...Stuffed Peppers or Zucchini or Tomatoes or Burritos!

Stuffed Everything

Equipment:
Small skillet or saucepan
Saucepan with lid, if making homemade rice
Pyrex baking dish (to fit as many peppers or zucchini boast as needed)

Ingredients:
2 cups of brown (or white) rice, cooked
1 lb ground beef, browned
1/3 cup black beans
1/3 cup corn
1/3 cup diced tomatoes or salsa
1 onion, chopped and sautéed 
1 cup Colby Jack cheese (or any left over cheeses), shredded
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 eggs
1 tsp thyme, oregano, basil 
3/4 tsp Salt 
1/2 tsp Pepper 


4-6 large bell peppers, tops, inner ribs and seeds removed

Instructions:
1. Wash your hands.
2. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.
3. Prep all your ingredients--cook rice, saute onions, brown meat, hollow peppers, etc.




4. Combine all ingredients (from rice thru salt & pepper) until well-mixed.


5. Salt & pepper the inside of each bell pepper.
6. Add a bottom sprinkle of cheese to each bell pepper.


7. Stuff peppers and top with sprinkle of cheese.
8. Line up the peppers in your baking dish and bake for 25-35 minutes.


9. Broil briefly for golden brown bake!
10. Remember this is a great filling for burritos or saving in the freezer for future use!



Tips:

  • No Money:
    • don't use meat at all
    • by rice, bulgur, quinoa, farro in bulk--any of those might work just as well as rice
    • stock up on canned products when they are on sale, i.e. 2 for 1 coupons
    • use green peppers (ultra cheap) if mixed peppers too expensive
  • No Waste:
    • add any veggies, especially those no longer ideal for raw snacking
    • saute the veggies for extra flavor before adding to rice
    • great recipe for left-over rice
    • leftovers? freeze or wrap into burritos (which can be frozen as well)
  • No Equipment:
    • Saucepan with lid
    • Large Bowl
    • Baking dish
    • Skillet
    • Stove Top or Hot Plate
    • if you have limited equipment, then you will have saute onions, brown meat and make rice in steps
  • No Skills:
    • review some of my early blogs--How To Saute Mushrooms (can use for onions as well)
    • use Uncle Ben's One-Minute Rice--can you boil water?
    • otherwise, you need to learn some basic skills
  • No Health:
    • try using zucchini, tomatoes for other vegetable options
    • great way to reduce carbs
    • limit salt added--instead use spices / herbs / pepper / salsa
    • easy was to increase vegetables, minerals, vitamins and fiber
    • great way to have meat as "a side" 
  • No Time:
    • great for bulk prepping and freezing, especially the mini-burritos
    • saves time later, but up front...you will need to invest on this one!