Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

I struggle to find new foods to tantalize my palate and make me feel full and fulfilled in the cold Fall and Winter months. I have always wanted to try stuffed peppers, but they looked like a lot of work and kind of messy. I must've been feeling adventurous the other day (or just really starving) and happened to have the ingredients on hand so I went for it. I peeked at some random recipes online and then tweaked a few to fit my unique dietary needs. The result was a delicious comfort food that even my husband enjoyed. I included cheese in the recipe because I used it in my husband's peppers, but you can omit the dairy or anything else you cannot tolerate. Or you can add onions, tomatoes, and whatever else you like, if you are able to enjoy those foods. Just add them by the half cup full or so. Now give these babies a try. They are very tasty and healthy! 

Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers 

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 teaspoon garlic
1 8-oz package mushrooms, stems removed , caps sliced very thin
3 large carrots, grated
1 14.5-oz can homemade chicken stock or store bought; if can tolerate 
3/4 cups quinoa
1 15-oz can black beans 
1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese (omit if dairy free), 1/2 cup reserved
Salt and pepper to taste 
4 large bell peppers, halved lengthwise, ribs removed

Preheat oven to 350. 
Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add celery and sauté until soft, about 5 mins. Stir in garlic and mushrooms and cook until soft, about 1 minute. Stir in carrots, vegetable broth, and quinoa. Cover and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 20 minutes, or until quinoa is tender. Remove from heat and stir in black beans, corn, and 1 cup cheese (if using cheese). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Fill bottom of baking dish with about 1/2 inch water. Fill each bell pepper with 3/4 cup quinoa mixture and place in baking dish. Cover with foil and bake 40 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle each pepper with 1 tablespoon of reserved cheese (if using). Bake 15 minutes more or until tops of peppers are browned. Let stand 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy. 

Homemade Crockpot Chicken Stock - Intersitial Cystitis Friendly

Soup is a Fall/Winter staple. Comfort food at its finest, warm to the bones on those cold winter nights, and healing to the body on those sick days. However, nearly all of the prepared canned or boxed soups from the store are not IC friendly. Good thing a yummy soup stock is easy to create and tweak into something we IC-ers can enjoy. Just throw everything into a crockpot and go about your day. I recently made a whole chicken so not only did I have dinner for a couple of days, but then I used the chicken carcass to make my stock. I definitely recommend doing it this way- two birds, one stone. If you're looking for an IC friendly crockpot roasted chicken recipe, check out my Instagram. It's so easy! Just throw a whole chicken in your crockpot with a little water, top with all of your favorite seasonings, and let your crockpot do its thing. Easy peasy lemon squeezy... okay, maybe not lemon. Our bladders wouldn't like that. ;) Now get that crockpot out, do yourself a favor, and make this. Trust me, you'll thank yourself. Hello, easy Fall comfort food!











Homemade Crockpot Chicken Stock

Yield: Makes about 2 quarts of stock.

Leftover bones and skin from a cooked or raw chicken carcass
4 stalks celery, chopped to fit in crockpot
1/2 small onion, if can tolerate
4 carrots, chopped to fit in crockpot
2 tablespoons parsley
2 tablespoons oregano
2 tablespoons basil
1 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon thyme
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
6-8 cups water
Put leftover bones and skin from a chicken carcass into a crockpot and cover with cold water. Add veggies and seasonings. Cook on low heat 8-10 hours. Remove the bones and strain the stock. Store in refrigerator overnight. Skim fat from top once cooled (I have skipped this step and it really didn't bother me to have the extra fat on top, it reheats and blends in just fine). You can then use within a few days or freeze for a few months. Again, feel free to omit or add anything you like. Enjoy!

Xx, A!