Lunch/Dinner Recipes

Lamb Meatballs with Dill Dip

lambdinner

 

It’s about time I post this recipe. I must have made these meatballs about 4 times in the past month alone.  My sister made these Aromatic Lamb Meatballs by Nigella Lawson while I was visiting her one day and they were the bomb. So, of course, I decided to change up the recipe and make my own Paleo version with an optional side of dairy goodness. This whole meal pictured above took me about 1 hour and 15 minutes to make, veggies, dip, and all included. If it was just the dip and meatballs it would have taken me under an hour. I served it with cooked frozen spinach (quick and cheap) mixed with grass-fed butter, s&p. And asparagus that was on sale at Weis, rubbed in oil, granulated garlic, s&p, then broiled on high for 8-10 minutes.

Switching gears here, I’m going to share a short, sweet, and random story. I recently went to one of my best friends birthday dinners and one of the ladies in the dinner group told me she’s a fan of my food blog and asked about how I got into the Paleo diet, how I got into cooking, and so on. Let me just say, I LOVE when anyone asks me this. I will save the whole story of how I started the Paleo diet for another post. But I must say, instances like this remind me of why I started this blog and why I’m sharing my recipes. So, this is a big thank you to that person. It’s a great motivation to keep posting and keep up with this blog. Thank you! 🙂

 

Ingredients:

Makes about 15-17, 1.5 inch meatballs

1lb ground lamb

1/4 cup finely diced yellow onion

3 tablespoons almond flour (optional)

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon salt

1 egg

 

Yogurt Dip:

2% or whole Fage Greek Yogurt-Whole is best

lemon juice

fresh dill, chopped

Granulated garlic

salt & pepper

*all of these ingredients don’t have measurements because I taste as I add them until I get the right balance. I advise starting by adding 1/2 teaspoon of s&p and garlic, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of chopped dill. Then taste and add more of each as you feel it needs. Taste as you go, only add a little at a time. I have extra pics below to give a better idea of what the final dip looked like.

 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Combine all meatball ingredients in a bowl. Mix well. Form mixture into 1.5 inch balls (about the size of golf balls) The mixture will be pretty sticky.

2. Bake meatballs for 25-28 minutes, or until no longer pink in the middle.

3. While the meatballs cook, make your dip. Grab your container of Fage (I had a medium size tub, refer to pics below) and mix it up with a spoon until smooth. Add salt, pepper, garlic, lemon juice, and chopped dill. Mix well, taste, add whatever you think it needs. Only add a little at a time.

photo 3 photo 1photo 4 photo 5

4. Serve with the dip and some broiled veggies or chopped spinach and enjoy!

Paleo Meat Sauce/Pasta Sauce

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It’s been almost a week since I last posted a recipe. We had this big snow storm and our roof ended up leaking through to our ceiling 😦 Since I have to be here while it’s being repaired today, I should post a recipe. I wanted to make several servings of something really easy, so what’s easier (and cheaper) than spaghetti sauce? The vegetables in this recipe can be cooked in a different order than I do in my directions. Some like to saute their veggies separately. Also, the order/time will depend on what vegetables you use. I used mushrooms in this one and I didn’t saute them separately because I like my mushrooms tougher than most. I like to bite into a mushroom, not cook it until it’s flimsy. That’s just a personal preference. There are so many possibilities with this sauce. You can add several diced peppers, add broiled broccoli, add double the mushrooms, add fresh basil, add riced cauliflower…you could even use turkey or italian sausage rather than beef, or all three! It’s a great way to use up whatever you have leftover in your fridge and not let good ingredients go to waste. So, here we go!

 

Ingredients:

1 14 oz can diced tomatoes, drained

1 lb ground beef, or turkey, or italian sausage

1/2-1 28 oz can tomato sauce (depending on what texture you want your sauce to have)

Half of a 25 oz jar of your favorite pasta sauce

2 tablespoon of honey, to balance out the acidity of the tomatoes

1-2 green peppers (get any color you want), diced

1 package of sliced mushrooms

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

1 small onion, diced

1/2-1 tablespoon italian seasoning

1/4-1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you want it)

Optional-small can of tomato paste for thickness and/or 1/2 cup of fresh basil, freshly grated parmesan cheese also optional

Salt and pepper to taste

1-2 tablespoons olive oil or butter, or whatever fat you want to use

For the ‘pasta’ either use spaghetti squash (look at buffalo chicken pasta recipe for instructions) or spiralized zucchini and/or squash like in my photo. I microwave the spirals, covered for 1 minute before serving.

 

Directions:

1. In a large pot or sauce pan, saute garlic and onion in the olive oil for a few minutes over medium/medium-high heat. Once the onions are translucent, add the ground beef and cook until browned, chopping into chunks and stirring here and there while it cooks.

2.Once it’s browned, add your diced peppers and sliced mushrooms and spices. Saute until softened. Add some more olive oil if you think it needs it.

3. Now it’s time to add your tomatoes. Start by adding the diced, drained tomatoes, half of the tomato sauce, and the half jar of pasta sauce. Then add the honey. Make sure it’s all well combined and taste it. If it is too sweet, add more salt. If it’s too acidic/salty add more honey to balance it. If you want more thickness, add tomato paste. If it’s too chunky and you prefer it to be more runny, add the rest of the tomato sauce. Always taste your food!

Paleo Reuben

Reubenpic1Reubenpic2

One thing I really, really missed when I started the Paleo diet were Reubens. I could eat them all day, every day. While on this diet I would only have a Reuben once or twice a year. Now, I have finally found a way I can eat them without the carb and grain loaded bread. Truly amazing. This was so much fun to experiment with and so easy to make. If you’re strict Paleo, Health Bent has a thousand island dressing recipe with only 5 ingredients. Also, you can substitute the heavy cream with full fat coconut milk in my recipe. Always use full fat cream, yogurt, cheese, etc. No point getting low-fat. It tastes worse in recipes, it’s usually higher in carbs, and fat does not make you fat. I can’t stress that enough. The whole ‘eating low fat’ thing was a fad that started in the 80s and just needs to die off already. If you would like to look into this, read Gary Taubes book Why We Get Fat.

 

…How did that just turn into a rant?….I guess that’s what happens when you write in a ‘stream of consciousness’ fashion…anyway…

 
 
Ingredients:

For the waffles (makes 4-5 square slices in my waffle maker):

2 cups almond flour

3 eggs, whisked

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons melted butter, cooled, or your fat of choice

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2-1 teaspoon  poppy seeds

1/2-1 teaspoon sesame seeds (sprinkle it and eyeball it. Doesn’t have to be exact. Same goes for poppy seeds)

1/2 cup heavy cream or coconut milk

salt and pepper to taste

 

For the reuben goodness:

.3-.5 lb corned beef, thinly sliced from the deli (get however much you want! you can always double this recipe!)

1/2-1 cup sauerkraut (again, as much as you want!)

Thousand island dressing

4-8 slices of swiss cheese

1/2-1 tablespoon butter

 
 

Directions:

1. Heat your waffle iron. In a large bowl, mix the almond flour, baking soda, garlic powder, s&p, and seeds. Then add the whisked eggs, heavy cream, and melted butter until well combined. Make sure your butter is cool so it won’t cook the eggs. Then spoonful the batter into you waffle iron and poof…Paleo sandwich bread.

2. When the waffles come out of the iron, set them on your plate(s), lay however many slices of swiss cheese you want on one side, so it will slightly start to melt over it.

3. In a large skillet, melt a tablespoon or 1/2 tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat. Add however much corned beef and sauerkraut you want for your sandwiches. You can keep them separate, but in the same skillet. Or mix it. Whatever you like. Heat it up, flipping/stirring, so the corned beef slices start to curl and get slightly browned.

4. Straight from the skillet, pile the corned beef and sauerkraut right on top of the swiss cheese so it melts even more.  Top it with dressing and another waffle slice.

Paleo Buffalo Chicken Pasta

buffalochickenpastapic

The man friend and I actually cooked this together last night. And when I’m in the kitchen with someone else, it usually doesn’t go over very well…Because I tend to hover. I catch myself nagging and saying things like “Are you sure you want to measure 6 tablespoons out with that 1/2 tablespoon measurement when there’s a tablespoon measuring spoon in this drawer?” and “Why are you stirring with that when you can stir with this?”…People just cook, measure, and chop things differently. I need to get over it, because I do really like his help in the kitchen and it’s a great way to bond. I have always found food/cooking to be very personal.

Something I have also noticed in the kitchen with the man friend is how many questions I get about (what I think is) cooking basics. I grew up with a caterer for a dad, so, I feel I know more than the average person my age in the kitchen. I feel extremely lucky. I also feel it’s very important for college students or anyone else with crazy busy schedules to know how to make easy, healthy, quick meals rather than sticking to making sandwiches and PPJ’s and microwavable meals all the time. This reminds me of listening to my friend and college classmate make jokes a few months ago about how her roommates didn’t know how to boil pasta or cut/slice vegetables and so she ended up cooking dinner most of the time. This is so wrong! Hilarious in many ways, but so wrong! And I must add, since this incredibly funny rant from my friend, her roommates have learned to cook pasta and cut basic vegetables.

So, I’m dedicating this recipe adaptation (adapted from Brittany Angell) to those college students, and for anyone who works extremely crazy hours like my man friend. This recipe is extremely simple, quick, has very few ingredients, requires only three different pans (only two you have to clean if you use foil), and is very low in carbs.

Be healthy 🙂

 
 

Ingredients:

Spaghetti squash, one big one or two small ones ( or substitute with zucchini noodles or sweet potato noodles, spiralized)

1 1/2 cup heavy cream or coconut milk

8 teaspoons of starch (I used arrowroot powder. You can use tapioca starch, or if you’re not paleo, then use flour or potato starch)

4-6 tablespoons unsalted butter or your fat of choice

6 tablespoons of your favorite buffalo sauce, hot sauce or wing sauce

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, depends on how spicy your buffalo sauce is)

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic (optional)

1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces

Salt & pepper to taste

 
 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 405 degrees.

2. Line a cookie sheet with foil. Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Lay face down on the foiled cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes (depending on the size of the squash) or until the skin is easily dented. I usually test it by using the handle of a knife to poke the sides. Once the squash is done, flip them over to let cool.

3. While the squash is cooking, gather the chili powder, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, salt & pepper to taste, starch, and cream, and buffalo/hot sauce in a sauce pan. Whisk on medium heat continuously until well combined and heated through. Set aside.

4. Add the chicken to a skillet with 2-3 tablespoons of butter, minced garlic (optional), salt and pepper. Cook on medium-high heat, stirring a little here and there, until done. Set aside.

5. Thread the cooled spaghetti squash with a fork into a large bowl. Add the cooked chicken and sauce and mix together well. Taste to see if you want to add more buffalo sauce.

6. Using the same skillet you cooked the chicken in, turn it on medium high/high heat and add the last 2-3 tablespoons of butter or your fat of choice. Quickly add some of the spaghetti squash and chicken mixture into the skillet. Just add enough to cover the bottom of the skillet. Stir/flip continuously and fry it until it’s thick and glossy looking. Then toss it in a serving bowl and enjoy! or fry up the rest and organize it into ziploc containers for leftovers the next day!

Spinach & Artichoke Chicken

s&pchickenpic

Some people who follow the Paleo diet include dairy into their diet. I try not to, but I can’t resist that cheesy goodness you see up there. Try to get the best quality cheeses you can afford for this recipe. I threw a little shit fit when I discovered Weis brand shredded cheeses include corn starch and potato starch (So deceitful, I can’t believe I didn’t read the label before I bought it!). This is almost as misleading as IHOP putting pancake batter in their omelets. The Weis cheese is still gluten free, but adds extra carbs I don’t need. Sargento is a pretty good brand. When I have a little extra time though, I like to shred my own cheese. I like the texture and it tastes better. You will notice a difference.

So, anyway, this recipe started as Closet Cooking’s Hot Spinach and Artichoke dip. When I made it the first time I thought it wasn’t a good dip consistency, not runny enough. Still tasted great though. The man friend and I devoured a pie dish full of this, dipping broccoli florets into it and that turned into a meal. While we were eating, I was thinking of how good this would taste on top of chicken or with chicken bites throughout it. After testing it out last night, turns out, it is amazing! And super easy! You could even make this version in your crock pot if you wanted to. Anyway, try this recipe out and let me know if you have any questions!

 

 

Ingredients:

.5-1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-1.5 inch cubes. I used one chicken breast the length of my hand for the one pictured here.

1 10 oz pack of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained. Squeeze all the water out of it.

1 14 oz can of artichoke hearts, quartered and roughly chopped

Half of a small onion, finely diced

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1 clove of garlic, grated

2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter, or whatever fat you like to cook with. Bacon fat would be interesting.

5 oz cream cheese, room temp (I get an 8 oz pack and slice a little over half of it…I don’t really measure it)

1/2 cup sour cream (full fat=less carbs)

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

1/2-1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Salt and pepper to taste

 

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grab a pie dish or something similar.

1. Melt a tablespoon of butter on medium heat in a skillet. Add diced onions, minced garlic, artichokes, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until onions are translucent.  About 5 minutes. Remove from pan and add to a large bowl to cool off.

2. Melt another tablespoon of butter in the same skillet you used for the artichoke mixture. Add the diced chicken with salt and pepper and italian seasoning. Cook just until it’s slightly under done. If there is any juice in the pan, drain just a little bit. This chicken is going to cook again in the oven. Add this slightly under done chicken to the bowl with the artichoke mixture to cool off.

3. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl-the cream cheese, sour cream, grated garlic clove, mayo, 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup mozzarella, and spinach.

4. Mix everything together with your hands or a spatula…whatever… you just want to make sure the chopped spinach is evenly throughout the mixture. Hands work the best.

5. Poor the mixture evenly into your pie dish and bake it for 20 minutes.

6. When the 20 minutes are up, take it out of the oven and top with extra parmesan and mozzarella cheese (as much cheese as you want. I say the more cheese on top the better!). Put it back in the oven on broil until the cheese is golden brown on top. If you have a broiler like mine, it happens very quickly. So keep an eye on it. After that you’re done! Enjoy!

Paleo Peri-Peri Chicken

periperichickenpic

My apologies for not posting in a few days. Had some kitchen disasters/Superbowl recipes crisis. I planned on making spinach and artichoke dip, wings, cheesecake mousse stuffed strawberries, and brownies. Brownies were an epic fail (one didn’t cook all the way through in time, and the other wasn’t sweet enough), didn’t have time to make the dip, and the wings weren’t spicy enough. However, the cheesecake mousse stuffed strawberries worked out well 🙂 They were a hit with the family and I will definitely be posting that recipe soon.

Note to self – do not experiment with new recipes 3 hours before the super bowl.

This recipe however, I’m well acquainted with. It’s from the blog The Iron You. Check it out. Good, healthy, Paleo recipes. Their recipes are more strict with the Paleo diet than the recipes I post.

Also, this chicken was awesome on salad with balsamic dressing, crumbled feta cheese, banana pepper rings, and cherry tomatoes.

periperichicksaladpic

I should also add, if you haven’t been to a Nandos yet, go. Good prices, the peri peri chicken cesar salad is delicious and their tasty sangria is half off before 6. Oh, and get the french fries because their dip is really good too.

Okay…I think that’s all…Enjoy this recipe!
 
 

Ingredients:

Bamboo Skewers, soaked in water for 5 minutes

2 lbs chicken breasts, cut into 1-1½-inch chunks. I cut them 1 inch so they cook faster. Impatience strikes again.

½ cup white vinegar

Juice of 2 lemons

Âź cup olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, crushed or minced. Whatever you got on hand. Crushed is better though.

1 small onion, thinly sliced

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon oregano or italian seasoning

2 to 3 teaspoons chili powder

1 ½ teaspoons salt

Ground black pepper to taste

Optional: 1/4-1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes for heat
 
 

Directions:

1. In a small bowl combine white vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, cayenne pepper, sea salt, garlic, shallot, paprika, oregano, chili powder, black pepper, and the red pepper flakes (optional)

2. In a shallow sealable container or in a large Ziplock bag, combine chicken chunks and marinade.
Cover or seal and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. The time you allow for marination makes a significant difference in this recipe. I marinate mine for 3-8 hours. Overnight would be best if you’re able to do that.

3. Remove the chicken from the marinade and skewer onto bamboo sticks that have been soaked in water for 5 minutes. I try to stick some of the onion slices on there too.

4. Heat a grill or a grill pan to medium heat. If you’re using an outdoor grill lightly oil the grill grates. I personally used a baking sheet, foiled it, then put a greased wire rack on top. Broiled on high 10-12 minutes, on the middle oven rack ( time depending on how small you cubed the chicken) turning them half way through.

5. Cook the chicken kebabs, until golden brown and cooked through, about  10 minutes turning regularly, until juices run clear.

6. Serve on salad or with your favorite grilled/broiled veggies.

Honey Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps

chickenlettucewrap3 chickenlettucewrap2 chicken lettuce wrap 1

This was really good. I’ve tried a few chicken lettuce wrap recipes the past couple of years and I always felt like something was missing. So, I decided to try another one last night and add some of my own touches. I got this recipe from wegottaeat and they apparently adapted theirs from Pioneer Woman (A blogger turned food network show chick).

I think I need to mention in this post my favorite/healthier substitute for Kikoman soy sauce- Organic Wheat Free Tamari Sauce. Check it out, you’ll probably find it in your local grocery stores gluten-free section.

This is what it looks like:

tamaripic


Ingredients:

2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp coconut palm sugar
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
A dash or two of ground red pepper
1/4-1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger or ground ginger
2 tsp sesame oil
4-6 tbsp honey, depending on how sweet you want it
2 tbsp + 1 tbsp set aside of wheat free Tamari sauce or soy sauce.
1-3 tbsp coconut oil or butter
1.5 lbs chicken breast, diced
1 small onion, finely diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup cashews, chopped
2 8oz cans of diced water chestnuts (I diced them up a little more, as you can see in the pics)
8 leaves romaine or iceberg lettuce, washed & dried..I find romaine to be a little easier with lettuce wraps.
sesame seeds or green onions for decor if you want
Directions:
1. For the sauce, mix together rice vinegar, coconut palm sugar, red pepper flakes, ground red pepper, ginger, sesame oil, honey, and 4 tbsp of Tamari/soy sauce – making sure to dissolve sugar. Set aside.
2. Heat coconut oil or butter in pan over medium to medium-high heat. Add diced chicken and brown. Don’t cook it for too long, you don’t want it to get tough. You don’t want to cook it all the way through, it will finish cooking later. Remove chicken from oil, put it in a separate bowl to the side.
3. Add diced onions and minced garlic to pan and a tablespoon or so of Tamari/soy sauce to the pan; brown. When onions and garlic are brown and tender, add stir fry sauce, browned chicken, water chestnuts, and cashews. Saute mixture for a few minutes and taste to see if you want to add more honey or Tamari/soy sauce. I added the honey and Tamari sauce by tablespoon and kept tasting it while it was sauteing, until it was just right.
Enjoy!

Sesame Ginger Salmon

asiansalmonrecipepic

I get my chinese take out fix from time to time. I don’t believe in depriving myself in dieting. I try to be paleo/low carb 80% of the time. If I told myself I could never have chinese food, waffles, or pizza again, I would probably want it even more. And when I would have it I would feel really bad about myself and gross. Everything in moderation. If I can remember the last time I had chinese take out, it’s probably too soon to have it again. I go about it that way with a lot of carb-loaded foods. I can’t remember the last time I had a hamburger on a bun….well….now I know what I’m gonna eat the next time I feel like indulging.

Anyway, I found this salmon recipe on the blog How Sweet It Is. Whip this salmon up with your favorite veggie side dish and dinner is served! Marinate it overnight or while you’re at work, class, whatever. Then throw it in the oven when you get home. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1.5 lbs raw salmon

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons toasted or plain sesame oil

2 tablespoons rice vinegar..Not exactly paleo, but come on…it’s just two tablespoons.

2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar

2 tablespoon wheat-free Tamari sauce

2-3 garlic cloves, grated

1 tablespoon/1inch freshly grated ginger. I freeze any fresh ginger root I get. Makes it easier to grate.

1-2 tablespoons toasted or plain sesame seeds

4 green onions, sliced for garnish

Salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for Glaze:

1/4-1/2 cup honey. I added more honey because I like a thicker glaze. I used 1/4 cup like the original recipe called for and it was too runny.

1 teaspoon toasted or plain sesame oil

1 teaspoon soy sauce or wheat-free Tamari sauce

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

1/2 teaspoons toasted or plain sesame seeds

Add a little Sriracha sauce for a kick 😉

Directions:

1. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack over top. Spray the rack with nonstick spray or rub it down with some olive oil and a paper towel.

2. In a large bowl or baking dish, combine olive oil, sesame oil, wheat-free Tamari sauce, garlic, ginger, rice vinegar, coconut palm sugar, and whisk well until combined. Add salmon to the dish or bag everything in a ziplock bag, then refrigerate and marinate for at least 30 minutes. The longer you marinate, the better it will taste. I let mine sit overnight.

3. Once you’re ready to cook it, preheat the broiler in your oven. If you have an oven like mine, you will want to put it on the High setting. Another option is to preheat your oven to 450F. Cooking time is the same.

4. While you wait for the oven to preheat, combine all of the glaze ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth.

5. Remove salmon and place directly on the wire rack. Sprinkle with a little bit of salt and pepper, then place in the oven on the top rack. Cook for 10-15 minutes, depending on the salmon’s thickness, until opaque and easily flakable with a fork. Keep an eye on it. I had one thick piece of salmon that took 20 minutes. Another way you can tell salmon is cooked is when you see a little of the white juices come out of the salmon…Ew…

Serve immediately with the glaze and green onions on top.

Italian Stuffed Peppers

stuffedpeppers

This recipe includes my touches to the recipe found on the blog Barbells and Bellinis. Really, you need to take a look at that blog. Anyway, I’m always looking for new paleo friendly recipes to try. The man friend works crazy off hours in his line of work and usually doesn’t have time to cook. I’m always doubling recipes and making sure there is a good amount leftover for him to take to work. This one is a favorite and fairly easy to make. Although, there’s a lot of chopping/prep involved. Also, keep in mind, if you follow this recipe you will probably have leftover filling mixture. Either grab some more peppers and another casserole dish or eat the leftover filling like chili, or on top of spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles…whatever…Enjoy and let me know what you think!

 

Ingredients:

1.5 lbs ground beef or ground turkey. They both work well in this recipe. A mix of both works well too.

3 carrots, diced and/or half of a cauliflower, chopped. I use cauliflower every time because the man friend hates cooked carrots.

3 celery stalks, diced

1/2 yellow onion, diced

1 large zucchini, diced

1 10 oz box of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained. I squeezed the water out of it by hand.

1 bunch of basil, chopped. If I don’t have fresh basil, I add more Italian seasoning or dried basil.

1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

1 tablespoon of dried oregano (I substituted this with another tablespoon of Italian seasoning)

1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning

1 tablespoon of salt. Be careful and check if your canned tomatoes have salt added to them already. If they do, only add ½ tablespoon or none at all.

1/4-1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Depending on how spicy you like it. 

3 cloves of garlic, minced 

1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes. Save a little less than a third of it to put in the bottom of the casserole dish.

1 16 ounce can of diced tomatoes, drained

1 8 ounce can of tomato sauce, saving some for bottom of the dish

8-10 assorted bell peppers, tops and seeds removed. I also slice a little off the bottoms so they sit upright in the baking dish. You could also cut the peppers in half and stuff them that way too.

1 cup Peccorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, shredded

2-4 tablespoons of olive oil. I added a little more when I used ground turkey, since turkey tends to be a little more dry than beef.

 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 F.

2. In a large pot, heat olive oil over high heat.  Add celery, carrots and/or chopped cauliflower, garlic, and onion and cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. I also diced the tops of the peppers and threw that in too. Why waste it?

3. Add zucchini, thawed and drained spinach, basil, nutmeg, oregano, Italian seasoning, salt, red pepper flakes and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  These veggies are going to be cooking again in the oven, so make sure they don’t get too soft. Add ground beef or ground turkey or mix of both and cook until browned, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Add crushed tomatoes (saving a little for the bottom of the dish), drained diced tomatoes, and tomato sauce (reserving 1/4 for bottom of casserole dish) and stir to combine.  Pour remainder of tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes in the bottom of a casserole dish with raised edges large enough to accommodate the peppers.

5. Fill bell peppers with meat and veggie filling (reeeaally pack the filling into each pepper) and place in the casserole dish.  Bake for 35 minutes.  In last 5 minutes of cooking, top peppers with the shredded Peccorino Romano or Parmesan cheese.

Like they say in the original post, this is a great recipe to double the portions and freeze. I’m the most impatient person ever, so I eat the leftover filling like a bowl of chili before the peppers finish cooking.