Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Couscous-Stuffed Peppers with Fresh Basil Sauce

 With red bell peppers 3/$1.00, we've been eating lot and lots of them. We made these on Sunday and they were awesome. It was a combination of sort of unexpected flavors, but we were pleasantly surprised. For Siena, I just gave her some of the filling and she ate it like a champ. Plus, it was a great excuse to use some of our basil that is taking over the garden!


1 cup low-sodium chicken broth 
2 tsp cumin   
3/4 cup whole wheat couscous  
1 cup canned garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained  
1/4 cup dried currants or cranberries 
1 packed cup chopped baby spinach leaves  
1/3-1/2 cup (approx. 4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling  
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper  
4 bell peppers ( I used red)hot water, as needed (I used chicken broth)


1 packed cup fresh basil leaves  
1/4-1/3 cup (about 4 ounces) creme fraiche ( I used sour cream)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon water
1-2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped  
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, plus a little zest! (about 1/2 a lemon)
1/4 teaspoon sugar  
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus extra, as needed  
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra, as needed


1. Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Prepare the filling: In a medium saucepan bring the chicken broth and cumin to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the couscous. Cover the pan until the couscous is tender and all of the liquid has been absorbed, about 5 to 6 minutes. Put the couscous in a large bowl and add the beans, currants, spinach, feta and 1/4 cup olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir until all the ingredients are combined. 

2. Slice the tops off the peppers and remove all the ribs and seeds. If necessary, cut a very thin slice from the base to help the peppers stand up. Stuff the peppers with the filling and drizzle the tops with olive oil. Put the peppers in an 8 by 8-inch square baking dish. Fill the baking dish with 3/4-inch hot water or broth, cover with foil, and bake until the filling is golden and the peppers are cooked through, about 45-55 minutes, removing foil last 15 min or so .

3. While peppers are baking, in a food processor, blender, or with an immersion blender, combine the basil, sour cream, olive oil, water, garlic, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste.

4. Remove the peppers from the oven and arrange on serving plates. Spoon the sauce around the peppers and serve. 

Serves 4 
*Right now, it was meatless, to make it truly vegetarian swap the chicken broth for vegetable broth

adapted slightly from Giada

Monday, June 11, 2012

"Spicy" Chicken & Black Bean Pasta

We've been enjoying this recipe for a while, but only this past time did Siena gobble it all up! I'm not sure if it is just taste buds maturing a bit, but every time she eats a meal completely unmodified I want to jump for joy. Really, I could go on and on about how happy this makes me- in fact, I'm sure I will as I post other recipes of food she willingly (and knowingly) eats.

 This makes a lot! I halved the original recipe and we still ate it for 2-3 days. The original is a little spicier (hence the name), but I'm wimpy so this ratio of spices seemed to work out pretty well.

1/2 lb whole wheat pasta, cooked al dente  (spaghetti & fettuccine work great)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1-2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces (1 is plenty for our family)*
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1-2 garlic cloves
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1/2 bunch green onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper
1 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
2-4  oz feta cheese, crumbled
2 small Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 c fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

1. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil  over medium heat. Add chicken, chili powder, cumin, and garlic. Saute until chicken is cooked through, but not browned. Remove chicken and set aside.

2 .Return skillet to heat. Add jalapenos, green onions, and red bell pepper; saute 3-4 minutes. Stir in black beans; heat about 3 minutes. Add feta and chicken, and heat thoroughly. Remove from heat and stir in tomatoes. Toss pasta gently with sauce and sprinkle with cilantro.

*I think this could easily be adapted to be vegetarian-just add spices when you saute jalapenos, onions, and pepper. I'd also consider increasing the black beans.

adapted from Lauren Loves Food