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Posts Tagged ‘Bell pepper’

This Cajun dish is a good fall-back for me when I’ve exhausted all of my eggplant recipes. It freezes well and is enjoyed by everyone in the family. It makes a filling meal when paired with some peas (purple hull, crowder, or limas) and some fresh fruit.

WHAT YOU NEED: DSC00109

1/2 stick margarine

2 large purple eggplants (peeled and cubed)

1 lb. good ground chuck

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 cup finely chopped bell pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup water

1 tsp. each of salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme

2 cups cooked hot white rice (I used brown; recipe below)

WHAT YOU DO:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a 9 by 11 inch pyrex dish with a non stick spray.

Prep eggplant. I used Fairy Tale Eggplant from the CSA box.

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Chopped Fairy Tale eggplant

Saute’ onion and bell pepper in melted margarine. I used about half of the amount called for; you could also use olive oil.

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When onion and bell pepper are softened, add garlic and stir to prevent burning.

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Garlic joins the mix!

Add meat and brown slightly; then, add seasonings, eggplant, and water.

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Cover and simmer for 20 minutes on medium low heat.

Add rice* and pour into the pyrex dish.

Sprinkle with 1/2 cup bread crumbs and bake at 350* for 30 minutes.

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Eggplant dressing with beef!

* The original recipe calls for white rice, but it works just as well with brown rice. Since the oven is hot already, I like to bake up two recipes of Alton Brown’s Baked Brown Rice. After reading reviews, I cut back on the rice to 1 cup and use chicken broth rather than water for deeper flavor. I omit the salt because of the chicken broth.

BAKED BROWN RICE: 1 cup brown rice mixed with 2 1/2 cups boiling chicken broth mixed in small baking dish. (I spray dish with non-stick spray.) Cover tightly with foil and bake at 375* for one hour. Fluff with fork and let rest 10 minutes before serving.

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Boiling chicken broth gets brown rice to cooking!

I used one pan in the recipe; the other pan got divided into 1/2 cup portions, bagged, and frozen for future meals. It’s a snap to zap a bag in the microwave for a quick addition to supper!

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Double the recipe and freeze one for later!

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This recipe was featured in the local paper. It uses several ingredients in our weekly CSA boxes, so naturally I grabbed the scissors and clipped it out! That night, Hubby was grilling brats and zucchini anyway, so I had him grill the eggplant while he was at it.

 

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Colorful ingredients!

WHAT YOU NEED:

1 large eggplant, sliced into ½-inch-thick slices

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

2 medium tomatoes, seeds removed, diced

2 ribs celery, diced

1 orange or yellow bell pepper, cored and diced

3 scallions, sliced

6 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup fresh basil leaves, torn

Balsamic glaze, to serve

Baguette or pita, to serve

WHAT YOU DO:

Heat the grill to medium. Use 2 tablespoons of the oil to brush each eggplant slice on both sides. Sprinkle the slices with salt and pepper. Grill until tender, 3 to 5 minutes per side.

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Ready for the grill!

Allow the eggplant slices to cool until easily handled; then dice. Mine were in the refrigerator since Hubby had grilled them two nights before. It was great to have this step already done!

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Great smoky flavor!

Mix the crushed garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper,  and set aside. This allows the garlic time to infuse the oil.

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Garlic infused olive oil!

Finely chop all the other ingredients. You don’t want huge pieces of onion or bell pepper. This takes a few minutes, but it sure is a colorful mixture! I made a few substitutions so I could use items I had on hand: red onion for the scallions; cherry tomatoes for whole tomatoes.

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Pretty enough to eat!

In a large bowl, gently mix together the eggplant, tomatoes, celery, bell pepper, scallions, and basil.  Season with salt and pepper. Fold in the garlic olive oil.

Allow to sit for at least 2 hours for best flavor. I set it nearby on a counter and stirred it every 30 minutes or so to allow the garlic oil to penetrate all of the ingredients.

Serve on baguette or pita bread and drizzle with balsamic glaze. (I actually forgot the balsamic glaze but it was delicious without it!) I had some left-over sub rolls in the pantry, so I smeared them with more garlic olive oil and toasted them up.

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Smoky goodness on crusty bread!

 I served this as a side item with our lunch. Everyone agreed it is a delicious way to get in lots of veggies! The grilled eggplant is smoky and adds a wonderful layer of flavor to the crunchy vegetables. Our daughter took the left-overs home and planned to use them in a frittata.

This is a delicious way to use an eggplant!

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Another perfect head of cabbage in the CSA box presented an opportunity to try a recipe I got from my sister-in-law years ago. I discovered I’ve been missing out on an easy and delicious one-pot meal!  Bake some hot cornbread to sop up the juices and you’ll be in comfort-food zone on a cold, wet evening.

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WHAT YOU NEED:

head of cabbage

1 lb. ground beef

1/2 lb. breakfast sausage (bulk, not link or patties)

1 onion, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can Rotel tomatoes

WHAT YOU DO:

Brown ground beef and sausage. When nicely caramelized, add chopped onion and bell pepper and cook until transparent. You don’t need to add much salt/pepper because of the soup and tomatoes.

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Add onion and garlic to caramelized beef/sausage.

Add garlic and stir to prevent burning. Turn off heat and elevate skillet to drain off fat. While this drains, give the cabbage a rough chop and place in bottom of a greased oven-proof casserole dish.

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Elevate skillet to drain off fat.

Remove fat from skillet. If there isn’t much, I use a paper towel to soak it up.

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Paper towel absorbs fat.

Stir in soup and tomatoes. Mix well. These two ingredients provide the moisture (and seasoning) for the cabbage to absorb.

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Tomatoes and soup provide moisture.

Pour meat mixture on top of cabbage.

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Meat mixture on top of cabbage!

Cover with lid and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove lid, stir well, and cook 30 more minutes, without a lid. Serve with hot cornbread!

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Cold weather comfort food!

 

 

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My husband loves stuffed bell peppers, so what to do with all these farm peppers was a no-brainer!

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WHAT YOU NEED:
1 lb. ground beef
1 small onion
2-3 pods of garlic
salt and pepper
2 cups of cooked rice
6-8 bell peppers

FOR THE SAUCE TOPPING
8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. chili powder
1 Tbl Worcestershire sauce
A few drops Hot Sauce if desired

WHAT YOU DO:

BROWN the ground beef and season with chopped onion, chopped garlic and salt and pepper.

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Ground beef seasoned with onion and garlic.

Fold in the cooked rice. I learned this recipe from my Cajun mother-in-law, and she always uses white rice, but since I’ve been trying to use more brown rice, that’s what I used this time. I am so happy with Alton Brown’s method of cooking brown rice. It’s a no-fail method!

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Perfectly cooked, fluffy brown rice every time!

There are 269 reviews to Alton’s method with some great ideas of “add ins” such as chicken and different spices. I follow the suggestion of using chicken broth instead of water and leaving out the salt. I usually double the recipe and freeze the left-overs in 2 cup portions.

PREPARE the peppers by cutting off the tops and scooping out the seeds and membranes.

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I chopped up the tops and froze to use later.

BLANCH the bell peppers for one minute. This makes them more pliable when stuffing and helps them bake up nice and tender.

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Blanch the peppers to make them pliable for stuffing.

Stuff the beef/rice mixture into the blanched bell peppers. I begin by filling them ¾ full and then add more if there is mixture left over.

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Mix up the tomato sauce topping and spoon over the top of each pepper.

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Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Enjoy now, or cool and then freeze to enjoy later!

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These unseasonable and delightful cooler temps are the perfect incentive for meals out on the patio. Our daughter invited us over for supper and backyard games and served pizza topped with the most delicious veggies I’ve ever eaten. When I inquired, she said she followed this recipe.

I’ve roasted vegetables before, but I’ve always used large chunks and served as a side to the entrée. This version calls for smaller pieces roasted until almost charred. They are then used to top pizza or added to sandwiches or hot pasta. This is a great way to use up that lone yellow squash or eggplant you have in the refrigerator. I changed up the recipe and added yellow squash and mushrooms.

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Use whatever veggies you have on hand.

WHAT YOU NEED:

1 medium eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 large bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 yellow squash

1 medium onion, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 cup chopped mushrooms

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ tsp. freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar

WHAT YOU DO:

Preheat oven to 450°.

Prepare vegetables for roasting. Here you see red bell pepper, green bell pepper, eggplant and yellow squash. Since mushrooms cook so quickly, I held them out until the last 15 minutes of roasting.

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Uniform pieces make for even roasting.

Prepare the oil mixture. I nestled a plastic storage bag into a bowl and added the oil, garlic, salt and pepper.

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A press easily crushes garlic.

Add the chopped veggies to the bag. Gently shake and massage through the bag to coat evenly with the oil mixture. My hands stayed clean,  and I tossed the bag when done.

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Quick and easy clean-up!

Line a 15- x 10-inch jelly-roll pan with parchment paper and spread out vegetables.

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Parchment paper helps in clean-up.

Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until vegetables are tender and slightly charred, stirring halfway through.  (Remember to add the mushrooms if using.)

I recommend that you check often during the last 20 minutes. Mine went from “almost ready” to “Oops! Almost too much!” very quickly!

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Charring the veggies adds a smoky flavor.

Let cool slightly (about 10 minutes). Toss with basil and vinegar. I love balsamic vinegar! Coupled with the fresh basil, it adds a unique depth of flavor.

Use immediately, store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 2 days, or freeze for later use. I used these for pizza, but I’m anxious to try them tossed with hot pasta and covered with a fresh tomato sauce like this one or Allison’s version here.

I hope you enjoy this version of roasted veggies!

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I’ve made this recipe three times in two weeks. It is delicious and uses up those eggplants exploding in our garden.

Our grandson asked why it’s called an eggplant if it doesn’t have an egg in it. I explained that it’s probably because it is shaped like an egg. I did an internet search and read that Solanum melongena is technically a fruit, but like the tomato, it is referred to as a vegetable. Early varieties of eggplant were smaller and white, resembling eggs, hence the name. (I was right!)

Experimental botanist Thomas Jefferson brought the eggplant to the United States, where it was primarily used as a table ornament until the 20th century. Today, thanks to Asian and Southern European influences, it is finding its way into more and more dishes. It is a good meat substitute, making it attractive to vegetarians. Eggplant actually has a quite bland flavor, but it soaks up flavors of accompanying foods, herbs, and spices like a sponge, much like tofu.

Eggplant spoil fast, so it’s best to use them as quickly as possible. Stored in the crisper of the refrigerator, unwrapped, it can last up to a week or longer. Eggplant cannot be stored in the freezer, unless cooked. Bags of frozen cooked eggplant are handy to have!

This recipe for Eggplant Corn Casserole is from that cookbook I mentioned last week. It worked well to prepare it up until the baking part and then refrigerate overnight. This allowed me to pop it into the oven and bake right before our Sunday lunch, so it was nice and hot and bubbly!

WHAT YOU NEED:

1 medium eggplant, peeled and cubed

1 medium onion, chopped fine

1 medium bell pepper, chopped fine

Garlic, chopped fine

1 can cream style corn

1 egg

1 cup bread crumbs

½ cup grated cheese and more for topping

Salt and pepper

Basic ingredients for this tasty casserole!

Basic ingredients for this tasty casserole!

WHAT YOU DO:

Prepare your eggplant by peeling and cubing. I thought my eggplant were on the small side, so I used two.

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Stabilize the eggplant by cutting off both ends;
then use sharp knife to remove peeling.

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Stack thick slices and cut into cubes.

I read conflicting articles about salting/sweating to remove the bitterness. I was always taught to do this, and that was confirmed by this Good Housekeeping article which states that the eggplant has a naturally occurring enzyme that can leave a bitter aftertaste in some dishes.

One way is to peel, slice thickly, place on paper towels in a single layer, and generously sprinkle with kosher salt. Allow to sit for a minimum of 20 minutes. When ready, blot off the surface liquid and any remaining salt left on the eggplant. The enzymes have been denatured, and the eggplant is now ready to prepare.

Another article said to soak the peeled eggplant in heavily salted water for at least 10 minutes, rinse with cold water, and drain well. Since I was going to par-boil the cubed eggplant, that is the process I used. After soaking in salt water for 10 minutes, I rinsed it well, added fresh water, and boiled until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain well.

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Soak peeled, cubed eggplant in salt water for 10 minutes.

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Boil eggplant until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain well.

While eggplant is boiling, sauté the chopped onion and bell pepper in some olive oil. When it is translucent, turn off the heat, add the chopped garlic and stir quickly to prevent the garlic from burning. I added the garlic to the original recipe. I learned many cooking tips from my Cajun mother-in-law, and the addition of garlic to onion and bell pepper (called The Trinity) is a must for flavorful cooking!

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Cajun cooks refer to this trio as The Trinity.

Add the cream-style corn to the skillet, and then pour the beaten egg onto the corn. The cool corn prevents the egg from cooking in the hot onion mixture. Stir to mix.

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Add the beaten egg to the cool corn rather than the hot onion mixture.

Next add the bread crumbs, cheese, and salt and pepper.

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Bread crumbs work with egg as a binder.
The cheese just adds flavor!

I coated a small rectangular glass baking dish with cooking spray before pouring in the eggplant/corn mixture. Pop it into a 350 degree oven and bake uncovered for about 30 minutes. It should bubble and begin to thicken up. Top with additional grated cheddar cheese and allow to melt before serving.

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Melted cheddar cheese is the perfect topping!

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I am having the best time with a new cookbook given to me by a friend. I have marked several recipes and have already tried quite a few.

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Lots of great recipes in this cookbook!

I was very happy to see this recipe for Summer Vegetable Casserole as it uses every vegetable I am currently getting in the CSA box!

WHAT YOU NEED:

Squash

Onions

Bell pepper

Tomatoes

uncooked rice

Slices of butter

Salt and pepper or seasoning blend of choice

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Fresh ingredients are plentiful in our CSA boxes!

WHAT YOU DO:

Wash and slice veggies; the tomatoes should be sliced fairly thickly.

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Thinly slice veggies, but slice tomatoes thicker.

In a greased casserole dish (or crock pot), layer vegetables with a layer of raw rice between each layer. The moisture in the veggies will cook the rice.

Season the veggie layers as you go. The recipe calls for just salt and pepper. I used an Italian spice blend. Start with squash, then 1/4 cup of raw rice, onion, 1/4 cup raw rice, bell pepper, 1/4 cup raw rice, and then tomatoes. Pats of butter go on top of the tomatoes.

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Layers of sliced vegetables and rice are topped with butter.

Repeat the layers if you have room. I was surprised at how much mine cooked down. I could have definitely put in more layers. Next time…..

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Veggies really cooked down, so pack ’em in there!

The recipe states to cook at 325 degrees for 1 ½ hours. I wanted to use a crock pot, so I could put it on Sunday morning and serve it for lunch after church. My research suggested 4-6 hours on HIGH. I put it on about 7 a.m. and we ate about 11:30. It was tender and yummy!

I will definitely be making this again!

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