Stuffed Peppers and Eggs

September 24, 2012 Entrees, Menu 1 Comment

Some of my favorite go-to meals during the week, especially on the days when there’s not a lot of time to prepare a big meal, are the old-fashion standards. Potatoes and eggs, pasta and beans, a quick soup, and my personal favorite, a nice peppers and eggs sandwich. For this post, we’re going to get a little creative with the peppers and eggs. This recipe will save you prep time, as the peppers and eggs bake in the oven instead of on the stovetop. It also makes for a nice looking presentation if you’re serving it as a meal any time of the day for family and friends.

Bell peppers (green or red) work best for this. Instead of dicing your bell peppers, you are simply going to cut the pepper in half length-wise, from the top of the stem to the bottom of the pepper. No need to remove the stem, it helps with the presentation. Gut out all of the seeds, but be sure not to puncture the pepper. You don’t want any holes in the pepper (I’ll explain why in just a bit). Lightly wipe down the peppers, both inside and out, with a little olive oil. Place the peppers cut side up on a lightly greased baking dish.

Next, you’ll want to mix up your eggs. You’ll need two eggs per pepper. I use a basic mixture of egg, salt, pepper and some parmesan or feta for taste and texture, topped with a little bruschetta. You can add whatever ingredients you normally like to add to your eggs. Chopped mushrooms, bacon bits, ham, onion….go wild!

Carefully pour the egg mixture into the pepper halves, almost to the top of the pepper. This is why it is important that you do not puncture the peppers…you don’t want your batter to run out all over the baking dish. You can then top the peppers with shredded cheese, breadcrumbs, sliced tomatoes, salsa…again, whatever you prefer with your eggs.  Place the tray into a 350º pre-heated oven. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until the egg batter has set firmly in the peppers. Serve immediately.

*Note – if you add liquid to your egg mixture, say milk or water, or a liquify salsa mixture, you will need to add additional baking time for the egg batter to settle. Keep checking on the peppers and eggs, just to make sure that they don’t burn.

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Fresh Basil-Mint Pesto

September 17, 2012 Appetizer 1 Comment

Even though it may be a bit late in the season to talk about using fresh herbs from your garden (my herb plants starting going south a few weeks back), it’s never a bad time to keep this quick tip in mind next time you are making fresh pesto. By simply cutting the amount of fresh basil in half, and replacing the other half with fresh mint – in other words, using equal parts basil and pesto – you end up with a tasty and vibrant alternative to an already fresh home made sauce. Whether you are serving it on pasta, chicken, salmon, baked potato, or as a vegetable dip, the fresh mint pesto will be sure to please!

 

 

 

 

Fresh Basil-Mint Pesto
Adapted from simplyrecipes.com

1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
1 cup fresh mint leaves, packed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine the basil and mint with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.

Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Use immediately, or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to a week.
Makes 1 cup.

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Escarole and Beans

September 10, 2012 Appetizer, Menu No Comments

Traditional side dishes are often my favorite part of a big Italian meal. The simplicity of sauteed greens (such as swiss chard, broccoli rabe or mustard greens) are always the perfect balance to the main course. Today I am sharing with you one of my favorites, sauteed escarole with beans.

Escarole is a mild green that is often used in soups – escarole and bean soup being one of the more common Italian soups. In my version, the escarole and beans are heated separately, then combined to make a delicious, creamy side that is perfect for serving with crusty Italian bread. You can add cooked sausage, bacon or ham to this dish for additional flavor.

 

 

 

ESCAROLE AND BEANS

1 large head Escarole, thoroughly cleaned and chopped
2 tbspn olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 16 oz can cannellini or garbanzo beans, undrained
salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, heat one tbspn olive oil. Add garlic. When fragrant, add chopped escarole, tossing well until all leaves are coated. Stir for about 10 minutes, or until tender. Remove from skillet, season with salt and pepper. Place in a covered bowl and set aside.

Rinse skillet for reuse. Heat remaining tbsn olive oil, again adding garlic when oil is heated. Add the beans and their juices. Stir and simmer until a creamy sauce develops, about 10 minutes. Add escarole to the pan, toss and simmer for a few more minutes.

Serve on a platter with crusty Italian bread.

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