This has been an odd weather week in San Diego. And, yes, “odd weather week” is a very rare description for this part of the country. I still find it amusing when the weather forecasters tell us to buckle up for a major warm up. Usually that means we will go from 70 degrees to 73. What is truly pathetic is that I feel it, and I get annoyed with the “heat spell.” So whether you are in San Diego braving 73 degrees and some humidity blowing in from Cabo or you are in Cleveland, Ohio feeling a true summer warm up, you may want to avoid standing over or near your oven or stove. That is when the most easily loved appliance comes into play. I always thought of slow cooker meals being more for the winter season, but I’m loving it on these
hot warmer days. Another huge benefit, the ability to walk away! So even if you are home, no need to tend to the pot! This truly is an easy lover. I’m pretty sure Phil was referring to a slow cooker.
I have two recipes that I really loved making (and eating) this week. The first might not sound so “Summery” especially due to the pumpkin addition, but I love Fall, and I already miss it. Yes, we get Fall in San Diego. It goes from 70 to 68. Leaves fall to the ground! Stop judging me! The first recipe caught my eye in the San Diego Union Tribune which was adapted from Michele Corbett’s site, http://www.cookingonthefrontburners.com. I made a few changes, but if you would like to see the original recipe, please check out Michele’s website. The second recipe is from Martha Stewart’s site, but I’ve made a couple of changes to the original recipe. For the original recipe, check out: http://www.marthastewart.com/341733/slow-cooker-greek-stuffed-peppers.
Meaty (or Not) Pumpkin Chili
16 oz ground sirloin (or ground turkey, or ground chicken, or tempeh, or tofu – You get the idea.)
1 Tablespoon grapeseed oil, if needed
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 chopped yellow, red, or orange pepper
3 cloves minced garlic
2 cups crushed tomatoes
4 ounces can diced green chilies
1 cup pumpkin pie filling (not puree)
1 cup chicken broth
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
15 oz can black beans rinsed and drained
Toppings – sour cream or Greek yogurt
- Brown the ground sirloin in a Dutch oven (or similar pot). Drain most of the fat. Add the onion, celery, pepper and garlic, and sauté for 5 minutes. You can add a bit of grapeseed oil if the ingredients start to stick to the bottom of the pot. *If you opt to go the vegetarian route, simply add the tempeh or tofu after the vegetables have sautéed, and continue sautéing until heated throughout.
- Add tomatoes and chilies and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add pumpkin, broth, seasonings, and beans. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Serve with sour cream or yogurt.
Slow-Cooker Greek Stuffed Peppers
5 large bell peppers
1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup crumbled feta (4 ounces)
1/2 cup quinoa (*You can really use any type of grain. Just don’t pre-cook the grain. Add it to the mix uncooked.)
4 scallions, thinly sliced
2 garlic clove, minced
1-2 teaspoon dried oregano
Spoonful of Sambal Oelek (*This really is to taste. I like food with a kick, so I put in a good amount. You can skip it all together if you prefer your meals on the mild side.)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper (*Make sure to go easy on the salt since feta is salty.)
Chicken stock or water, about 1/2 cup (*This is added to the bottom of the slow cooker to ensure the peppers do not stick. You just need enough liquid to coat the bottom, then the peppers are placed in the liquid upright.)
Lemon wedges, for serving
- Slice a very thin layer from the base of each bell pepper so they sit flat. Slice off tops just below stem. Discard stems; chop tops, and place in a medium bowl. Remove ribs and seeds from peppers.
- Add beans, feta, quinoa, scallions, garlic, oregano, and sambal oelek to bowl. Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Stuff peppers with bean mixture; place upright in slow cooker. I opted to add a 1/2 a cup of chicken stock to the bottom of the slow cooker just to ensure the peppers wouldn’t stick. Cover; cook on high, 4 hours.
- Serve with lemon wedges.
On another note, I purchased Organic Edamame Spaghetti at Costco last week. The only ingredients are water and edamame. I had to give it a try. The box has two recipes listed, both of which are very high in fat content. I opted to simply cook the spaghetti and serve it with a mushroom tomato sauce topped with Parmesan. I’m glad I tried it, but I will not buy it again. The flavor was not remarkable, but what really got me was the texture. It was spongy. I am left with a lot of the stuff, so I will use it, but I will stick to eating edamame the old-fashioned way – from the pod!
I hope everyone has a great week, and you can rest assured I will be fixated on the Cleveland Cavaliers capturing the NBA Finals trophy! Go Cavs! #allin
Take Care and Happy Eating!