Thursday, August 11, 2011

White Bean and Eggplant Stuffed Peppers

I am forever grateful to my friend, Jen, who opened my eyes to homemade stuffed peppers! I was a young wife who didn't make much of anything and it was like a light bulb went on when I was fed the "yummiest" meal. How fun it is to make something so simple but have it transport you to a feeling that you're eating something very special. It also makes the husband very happt too. As Jen also taught me, the leftovers are great to use for stuffed pepper soup!

3 medium bell peppers
2 TBSP of olive oil
1/2 of a sweet onion - diced
2 cloves of garlic
1 small eggplant - diced
1/2 can of white beans
1 cup of tomato sauce
4-5 leaves of basil - chopped (if you have it)

Using a knife, carefully cut around the stem of the pepper. Remove the stem and all the insides you can reach. You can use a spoon to dig the ribs and seeds out if there are a lot left inside. Set peppers aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Sautee the onion on medium/low heat for 5 minutes to soften. Grate in the garlic cloves. If you don't have a grater, just chop it up very fine. Add in the diced eggplant. Season with salt and pepper to your taste. Sautee for 5 more minutes. Add in the white beans, basil and tomato sauce. Allow to simmer for just a couple of minutes. Remove from heat and spoon into the hollowed out pepper. Top with cheese and bake for 30-35 minutes. Serve with a side of pasta or a salad. Delicious!!!!

Sauteed ground meat and rice are great substitutions if you have those ingredients. Just sautee the meat in the onions and garlic with salt and pepper. Add in the pre-cooked rice at the end with the tomato sauce.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Molasses and Raisin Oatmeal Cookies

"The lack of baked goods in this house is a crime" ~ Joshua Braughler. Hungry husband of a wife who is doing a cleanse and ridding her body of sugar and other yuckies! Okay, I got the message! A "dieting" mama doesn't mean a dieting household! Cookies are the choice of sweets around here for the hubby and kids and it just so happens that oatmeal cookies, though delicious, just don't tempt me. Especially with raisins. So that was the clear choice of baking to satisfy the family before they began to pack their bags and head for nana's! These were warmly accepted with beautiful smiles on their precious faces. What a reward. And any recipe that I get to put black strap molasses into my family is a good one! Enjoy these wonderful little treats.  

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

2 sticks of softened butter
1-½ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
⅓ cups black strap molasses 
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2-½ cups whole wheat pastry flour (or unbleached flour)
2 cups whole oats
1 cup of raisins

In your mixer, combine butter, brown sugar, egg, molasses, vanilla. Add in the dry ingredients while mixing on low. Fold in the the raisins. Scoop onto baking pan. Bake for 11 minutes. Until firm to touch. Don't overbake.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Basil and Feta Bruschetta

Bruschetta is one of the most delicious and appetizing meals. That's why it's one of the most popular appetizers on the menu. But did you know that it is incredibley easy to throw together? And it can even be done on the grill if you don't want to heat the oven. Even in the winter months, it is just as delicious with canned ingredients! So smile and enjoy this delicious, fresh and beautiful dish. 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees OR heat your outdoor grill
1 Loaf of Italian bread (There is a recipe for homemade at the beginning of my blog posts)
1 large tomato diced
Crumbled Feta cheese (or shredded mozzarella)
5 or 6 leaves of basil chopped
Minced, zested, or dried garlic (or garlic salt)
Salt (if NOT using garlic salt)

Slice the bread into 1 inch thick slices. Drizzle with olive oil and set aside. Simply mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Sprinkle with your desired amounts of garlic, salt and pepper. Spread onto each slice of bread. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cheese is browned. And enjoy!

If you want to use your grill, place the olive oiled bread on the grill and toast one side. Flip over and top with toppings. Turn the heat on low, close the lid and let the cheese melt. YUM!

Bruschetta Stuffed Chicken

Summertime brings a bounty of goodness, doesn't it? My tomatoes and basil make me so happy and I am finding some amazing uses for them. Besides adding them into a white bean florentine soup and bruschetta, I was inspired by my recent change in eating habits to roll them up in a piece of chicken breast and enjoy the gifts of the summer in a delicious and healthy dinner. This took no time at all and was the perfect meal for the foodie in me. I hope you try this and enjoy every delicious bite!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Chicken breast pounding thinly
Garlic Salt
Basil Leaves
Feta Cheese
Tomato diced up

Spread the chicken out and sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper. Spread out basil leaves. Sprinkle the feta. Top with the diced tomatoes. At one end begin to roll the chicken. Secure with toothpicks. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-35 minutes.