Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers are one of my most favorite foods.  It has every component for a complete meal too and uses ingredients I always have on hand!  My family doesn’t love them as much as I do…but they will eat them.  The girls like the filling, so it works!  They are very, very simple and so delicious.  I LOVE red peppers and don’t love green….so I usually opt for the red, but will use green too.  It’s really just a personal preference!

This is one recipe, I have other recipes too for stuffed peppers….stay tuned for more!

Stuffed Peppers

4 large red or green peppers (cut tops off and clean inside seeds out)

2 cups of rice (cooked)

1 lb. ground turkey

Diced Vadalia Onion (about 1/2 c)

2 gloves of garlic (minced)

Oil

1 can diced tomatoes

1 small can of tomato sauce 

Breadcrumbs

Shredded Cheese — I used cheddar but you can use anything.

8×8 (or 9×9) Baking dish

********************************************************************

In a large pan heat oil and add garlic. Cook for 30 seconds. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add turkey and cook until browned. Add drained can of tomoatoes and cook for about 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and cook for about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and add to the mixture. Add handful of cheese and mix well. Stuff the peppers with mixture.  You can either half the peppers (like I did this time) or keep them whole and standing in the pan.  

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Top the peppers with a little more cheese and breadcrumbs.

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Cook for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.

Enjoy!

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~gianna~

Ropa Vieja (Crockpot)

This might be my first meat/beef/steak recipe, but it won’t be my last.  Even though I don’t eat it very often at all there are a few ways I will eat it.  This is one of the ways.  Ropa Vieja is a Spanish (Cuban specific)  way to cook flank steak, shredded in a sauce.  It is normally served over rice.  You can also serve plantains or beans with it!   Just a little fact that I heard about once, when I went to a Cuban restaurant in our area….Ropa Vieja means “Old Clothes”.    Who knew??

I have a few recipes for Ropa Vieja (that I will eventually add)….and I like the others better, but this one is still good!  The others have more spice to them…this one doesn’t.  Give it a try and let me know what you think!  I love cooking (and eating)  ethnic foods.   I just think it’s like a new little adventure when you cook with new spices, new ways, with new ingredients.  So if you have any great, different foods you think I should try…let me know!!!

Ropa Vieja

1 TBSP vegetable oil

2 LBS flank steak

1 C beef broth

1 8oz can crushed tomato (or just 1/4 of the larger can)

1 onion – sliced

1 green pepper — seeded and sliced

1 red pepper — seeded and sliced

2 cloves garlic

1 60z can tomato paste

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp cilantro

1 TBSP olive oil

1 TBSP white vinegar

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In frying pan, heat vegetable oil and cook steak about 4 minutes on each side.

Place steak in crock pot.

Add all other ingredients.  Mix well.

Cook on LOW 7-8 hours or HIGH 4 hours.

ENJOY!

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~gianna~

Shrimp Fettuccini Alfredo

My beautiful, talented, amazing cousin, Rachele just had a brand new baby…… yesterday  (YAY!!!!)    So it’s only fitting I post about it now, since it came from her!  🙂  CONGRATS, MAMA!!!

I had been looking for a new shrimp recipe recently and my cousin  sent me this recipe for Shrimp Fettucini Alfredo.    I don’t think she had even tried it yet……when she first sent it to me, but I’m glad she did!!  My husband and I really enjoyed it, Ava only liked the shrimp part and Olivia didn’t like it at all.   So I guess you’ll have to make it for yourself and decide how you feel.   It was very simple, very filling, and very good too!

Shrimp Fettuccini Alfredo

1 box (12 oz) fettuccini (I used plain, but you can use spinach too)

1 TBSP olive oil

1 small red onion (halved and sliced)

2 cloves of garlic

1 pound shrimp (cleaned, thawed and deveined)

2/3 cup Garden Vegetable Cream Cheese

1/3 cup heavy cream

2 TBSP dill (chopped)

2 TBSP capers

2 TBSP lemon juice

Salt & Pepper to taste

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Cook pasta as package suggests — cook, drain and reserve 1/2 cup pasta water.

Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat.

Add onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes.

Stir in shrimp, cream cheese, dill, capers, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Cooked 3-5 minutes or until shrimp are cooked.

Add pasta and reserved water to skillet.

Enjoy!

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~gianna~

Shrimp over Angel Hair

I cook shrimp a lot in my house because everyone loves it!  This recipe has been in my rotation for a long time.  When I say rotation I mean I make it every few months or more because I have so many other recipes that I make, but this one I know is a sure winner every time!  It’s another simple recipe and if you have shrimp on hand (I always have a bag or 2 of frozen uncooked shrimp in my freezer) it’s a great weeknight meal.  Add some garlic bread and a salad and you’re done!  Easy Peasy!

Shrimp Over Angel Hair

1/2-1 pound of angel hair pasta (cooked)

2 TBSP olive oil

3-4 cloves of garlic (minced)

2 ripe tomatoes (I use the small ones on the vine) — seeds removed and chopped

1/2 c water

chicken bullion cube

1 pound uncooked shrimp (cleaned and deveined)

basil

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Cook Pasta

In a pan on stove add oil and garlic and brown.

Add chopped tomatoes.

Add water, basil  and bullion cube and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add shrimp and cook until they turn pink.

Serve over pasta.

**We put Old Bay on the finished dish  just to add a little more spice/flavor, but you don’t have to!

ENJOY!

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~gianna~

Meatloaf…..Smeatloaf….Double Beatloaf……

I was never a huge fan of meatloaf….in fact growing up my Mom made it all the time and I never really ate it.  And if I did it was smothered in ketchup and the rest would be hidden in a napkin and thrown out after dinner.  I did like the potatoes that she made with it.   As I’ve grown up I still didn’t love it, but I have finally created a recipe that has added meatloaf to things I make!  It’s simple, a one pan meal, and it uses ground turkey instead of beef.  As you will see in a lot of my recipes I don’t cook a lot of  red meat (I just don’t like the taste)…so I try to swap it out lot of times with chicken or turkey!  It’s not that I’m against red meat or worry about the health aspect of it (obvii…just look at my other recipes) I just like the taste a bit better….this recipe pretty much tastes the same as ground beef, but it feels and tastes a little “lighter” to me.

Turkey Meatloaf 

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground turkey

1 egg

Approx 1 1/2 c. Italian bread crumb

Onion powder

Garlic powder

Salt and pepper

A nice large, handful of shredded mozzarella cheese.   (Did I say LARGE….Do it!)

1/2 of a Vidalia onion  (You can use any kind of onion)

Potatoes (any kind you like, I used red this time)

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°.

Mix all ingredients in a Kitchen Aid Mixer on medium until everything is incorporated.

Using olive oil, grease the bottom and sides of a 13×9 baking dish.

Form meat mixture into a loaf and put it in the center of baking dish.

Cut potatoes into large, bite-sized pieces and sprinkle them in the pan around the loaf.

Cut up some onions and sprinkle those around the loaf with the potatoes.

Sprinkle the potatoes and onions with a little garlic salt.

Cover w/ foil and cook for 45 minutes.  (Oven times may vary)

***Halfway through cooking….remove foil and give the potatoes and onions a good stir around the pan so they get browned and don’t burn.

***Remove foil with 10 minutes left…so it gets brown on the top!   You may want to slice a few pieces and make sure it’s not pink inside…sometimes depending on how thick the loaf is…it may need a little more time to cook.

 ***Don’t be alarmed if it starts to ooze white stuff…it’s the cheese! I freaked out a little the first time.****

ENJOY!!

meatloaf

When it’s done slice and serve …….I still like mine with ketchup!!!!!

~gianna~

 

Creamy Taco Mac

Here’s another recipe that has circulated around the internet and has gotten rave reviews….once I finally got around to making it I was happy I did.  It’s simple, easy and my family really likes it!    Even the girls  (usually my tough crowd) LOVE it!  It’s even better as a leftover!  Normally we aren’t big leftover people…..but I have made extra of this so we have leftovers for another night!   It’s that good!

Creamy Taco Mac

1 lbs ground turkey breast
1/2 vidalia onion, chopped
8 oz dry pasta + 1 cup reserved pasta water
1 can (14.5 oz) petite diced tomatoes
4 Tbsp mild taco seasoning
4 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Mexican blend cheese
salt & pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta per directions. Reserve one cup of pasta water.

Over medium heat, brown ground turkey until no longer pink.

Add onion and cook for 5 minutes.

Add taco seasoning and diced tomatoes.

Allow to simmer over low heat for 5 minutes.

Add cooked pasta, reserved water, cream cheese, and sour cream.

Give it a good stir until cheeses are melted and totally incorporated.

Simmer over low heat for 2-3 minutes.

Season with salt & pepper, as desired.

Top off with Mexican cheese.

ENJOY!!

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~gianna~

Kung Pao Shrimp

Taking a little break from football foods today, in honor of Chinese New Year,  tomorrow!

I had originally gotten a Kung Pao Chicken recipe from Sing For Your Supper.    I have made a bunch of her dishes and they are always excellent!    I’m sure you’ll see me blog about her recipes in the future….but in the meantime, you should definitely check out her blog for yourself!

OK back to the recipe…..I used her chicken recipe, but just swapped the chicken with approx. 1 pound of large, deveined shrimp.
As usual I served it with fried rice (I like it much better than white rice) and my husband and I both enjoyed it very much!    The perfect combo of sweet, nutty and spicy.    This recipe is nice because you can adjust how much spice you want in your life and it’s still very good!  My little ones aren’t huge fans of spicy foods, so I cut back the red pepper flakes on this one, but it was still pretty PAOerful!  Ha Ha Ha!  Sorry I had to!  🙂

Kung Pao Shrimp

1lb uncooked, deveined, shell removed large shrimp.

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons sesame oil

3 tablespoons of Vidalia onion chopped

3 garlic cloves (minced)

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (I used less than she called for b/c 2 of my taste tasters are my kids)

½ teaspoon ground ginger

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons sugar

1/3 cup dry roasted peanuts

Combine shrimp and cornstarch in a small bowl and toss to coat. Heat sesame oil in wok (or large deep-dish skillet) over medium heat, add shrimp and stir fry approx.  5-7 minutes (or until pink and fully cooked).    Remove shrimp from wok.

Add onions, garlic, red pepper flakes and ginger to the wok and stir fry for 15 seconds.

Combine vinegar, soy sauce and sugar in a small bowl. Mix well and add the sauce to the wok.

Return shrimp to the wok and coat with sauce. Stir in roasted peanuts. Heat thoroughly.  Place over white or fried rice.  

ENJOY!!!

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GONG HEY FAT CHOY!!!!

~gianna~

Fajitas

Fajitas are one of my favorite things in the world……I can’t even imagine anyone NOT liking them.  Cheese, peppers, sour cream, cheese, chicken, cheese, guacamole….CHEESE!!!!  And I  sometimes even use the full fat version of everything!!!!  Mmmmm….I love fajitas.

So while I have never met a chicken or shrimp fajita I didn’t like…I’ve also never met anyone who doesn’t like these fajitas….welllllll..except my sister-in-law, Ann…who slathered hers in ketchup when I made them for her and my brother in law!  I don’t think I ever made her fajitas again……and I probably never will!  🙂  Her loss!

These fajitas are so easy and so delicious, thanks to one special ingredient…the marinade!  It’s all in the marinade  and I’m not ashamed to admit it!  Someone perfected a perfect (in my opinion) fajita marinade and WOW it’s great!

marinade

When I make this I usually make extra so we have leftovers for lunch or another dinner.

So I don’t have many measurements and I sometimes substitute shrimp and it’s equally delicious!  I also love peppers and onions, so I go heavy on those!

Chicken Fajitas  (or shrimp)

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (washed, trimmed and sliced into bite sized pieces)

OR

Uncooked shrimp (devined and shell removed)

World Harbors Fajita marinade (I usually use 1/4 – half a bottle)

Olive oil

Red bell peppers  (washed, cleaned and cut into slices)

Green peppers (washed, cleaned and cut into slices)

Vidalia onion (cut in half and then sliced)

Olive oil

Shredded Mexican Blend Cheese  (LOTS!)

Sour Cream

Guacamole or Avocado

Salsa

Clean and cut chicken.

In a large pan add chicken and Fajita marinade and toss and cook until it’s done.  Usually takes about 10 minutes.

Wash and slice peppers and onions into strips.

In another large frying pan add peppers, onions and olive oil.  Just enough for sauteing.   And cook those until done.  “Done” for the peppers and onions is however you like them.  I like mine cooked until still slightly crunchy. 

Heat tortilla shells (follow directions on bag)

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Fill (or stuff…like I do) your tortillas with all the yummy toppings, roll it up and ENJOY!!!!

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~gianna~

Sausage & Peppers

This is always a crowd pleaser because it can be served as a main dish during a party or it can be served as an appetizer.  It can be served on bread or just in a plate and some do it over pasta.   I have become a huge fan of turkey sausage, so feel free to use that instead…..AND if you like a little spice in your life you may opt for hot sausage as opposed to sweet.    So as you can see, it’s very versatile.  It easy to make for a large group too.  My Mom used to make it all the time when she had large amounts of people over.   This recipe is what I usually make for my family of 4 (with a bit leftover),  so if you are making it for more people make sure you make more.   In the summer I usually  throw them on the grill for the last 10-15 minutes just to give them that nice grill taste, but here in Jersey it’s way too cold to be grilling when it;s just as easy and delicious to keep them in the oven.

Sausage & Peppers

1 package of sweet Italian sausage

1 red bell pepper

1 green pepper

1 vidalia onion

Olive oil

Salt

Pepper

Rolls, baguettes or a French loaf of bread

Preheat oven to 375.

Lightly oil the bottom of a 8×8 Pyrex dish.

With a fork pierce a few holes in each sausage link and lay them in Pyrex.

Cook for approx. 30 minutes.  Half way through flip them over.

At 30 minutes remove from oven and slice the links open (butterfly them) and return to oven.  Cook for about 15-20 more minutes until no longer pink inside.

OR

Slice links and put them on a preheated medium heat grill and cook for about 15 minutes until no longer pink.

While  sausage is cooking…

Slice peppers and onion and stir fry on stove top in olive oil  ans salt and pepper (to taste) until cooked, but still slightly crispy.  I like mine on the harder side, but if you like yours softer you can cook them longer.

Once sausage and peppers and onions are fully cooked serve both on bread of your choice.  I like to eat mine with ketchup, but you can also use your favorite marinara sauce or eat it plain!

 ENJOY!

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~gianna~ 

Crockpot Baby Back Ribs

I love using my crockpot, but sometimes it gets hard finding recipes I like in the crockpot.  Sometimes the recipes make the food too wet or too dry and sometimes it tastes “crockpotty” (the taste it gets from sitting in a crockpot all day — there is a certain taste, trust me).  

So I decided to give baby back ribs a try in the crockpot.   Last time I made ribs in the crockpot, they were very good…..but I used country ribs (bone in)….this time I decided to use baby back and cook them on low instead of high!  I also changed things around a bit.   I gave them a dry rub and waited to add the BBQ sauce (Sweet Baby Rays obviously!) until the end!  And HOLY COW….I hit a home run!  These were AMAZING!  Probably one of the best things I’ve made in my crockpot!


1 large rack of baby back ribs (I honestly don’t remember how much it weighed).

1 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp garlic salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp tyhme

1 TBSP brown sugar

Bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce (I use…..all together now……Sweet Baby Rays)

Cut your ribs into sections (4 ribs in each)….you should get 4 or 5 sections.  

Combine all your dry ingredients and give those ribs a good rub down…make sure to coat the entire thing. 

Generously spray your crockpot with cooking spray.

Stack your ribs sideways/vertically in the crockpot….bone side down.  Kind of lay them against each other.

Cover and cook on LOW for about 8 hours.

After the 8 hours is up, uncover and brush the ribs with BBQ sauce.  I pretty much smothered mine…but I like them saucey!  Cover and turn heat up to HIGH and cook for another 30 minutes!

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~gianna~

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