recipes

Italian Sausage and Veggie Stuffed Peppers

ACS_0048.jpg

I love recipes that are 1. delicious 2. easily customizable and 3. can withstand adding lots of extra veggies!. This stuffed pepper recipe fits all of these so well! Oh, and it also needs to make good leftovers. Yep, does that too. 

This summer I have been going to the local farmer’s market more often and I’ve discovered some of the best, high-quality meats from one of the farms, Pastimes Farm and Bakery out of Lincoln, Missouri.  If you’ve never thought about purchasing meat at your farmer’s market, I would encourage you to check it out. They often have grass-fed and pasture-raised meats at a competitive price. We have really been loving their Italian pork sausage, which is where I got the idea for the stuffed peppers. It is unbelievably flavorful and works perfectly in this recipe. We also love to use it for homemade pizza.

What to serve with stuffed peppers

Stuffed peppers can really be a meal in itself. You have your protein with the meat or a meat substitute, fat from the meat and olive oil, carbs from the veggies and rice, and lots of veggies of different colors. Here are a few ideas for side dishes:

  • small side salad

  • roasted potatoes or sweet potatoes

  • fruit or fruit salad

Substitution Options

There are a lot of different things you can do with this recipe. You can change out proteins, veggies, starch or just eat the filling on its own. Customize to your hearts desire, friends. Here are some ideas:

  • Use ground beef, turkey, chicken or pork in place of the sausage. You will want to add some additional seasonings for flavor.

  • I think lentils or black beans would be really good here as a substitute for the meat. Or even half meat and half beans.

  • You can really mix up the veggies for your taste preferences, sensitivities or what you have available and need to use from your fridge. I like veggies that will hold up well and still have a little crunch like the broccoli slaw and zucchini. Some ideas that would work are chopped or shredded carrots, celery, eggplant, diced tomatoes, and mushrooms. 

  • You can use quinoa in place of rice. You could use all grains instead of cauliflower rice or all cauliflower rice instead of grains. Lots of options here. 

  • If you eat dairy, you could mix in feta or goat cheese or top with shredded cheese. 

  • There is always the option to eat the filling plain or in a wrap if you’re not a big fan of bell peppers. I serve the filling with a little additional rice for my son when we have this and he really likes it. It would also be really good over a baked sweet potato.

ACS_0044.JPG

Italian Sausage and Veggie Stuffed Peppers

Gluten-free, dairy-free, option for grain-free

Makes: 4-6 servings

Ingredients:
  • 4 -6 bell peppers, any color (use fewer if serving some of the filling on its own)
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli slaw
  • ½-¾ cup chopped zucchini
  • 1 ½ cup or 6-8oz riced cauliflower
  • ½ - 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup chopped spinach
  • 1# ground Italian sausage or meat of choice
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • Instructions:
    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    2. Heat olive oil in pan over medium heat.
    3. Saute onion in olive oil until soft.
    4. Add ground sausage to onions and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon. Drain if needed.
    5. While meat is cooking, slice each pepper in half lengthwise and remove tops and cores.
    6. Add broccoli slaw, zucchini, riced cauliflower and rice to meat mixture. Cook another 5 minutes until tender.
    7. Add spinach and cook until just wilted.
    8. Stir in Italian seasoning and sauce.
    9. Spoon meat mixture into peppers. Can cover with foil to prevent the meat mixture from getting overcooked.
    10. Bake until peppers are tender, about 30 minutes.
ACS_0046.JPG


I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do! If you try this recipe, please leave a comment! I love your feedback.

Cheers!

Lin

Roasted Chicken 4 Ways

A little bit of meal prepping can go a really long way when it comes to saving time and energy with meals. It is great whether you work full-time (or more), have kids in multiple activities throughout the week or just want something easy to make so you have more time for your favorite shows. Is anyone else watching Ozark right now? OMG! And, how 'bout them Chiefs! There are a few things I like to have on hand to keep lunch simple or to use for dinner when we are running out the door to soccer practice and baseball games.

One of our staples is roasted chicken. I love how versatile it is as far as flavors go and ways to use it. I roast a large pack of boneless chicken breasts at least weekly and use them in some darn delicious meals. Real chefs would tell you to use bone-in chicken for flavor but I don't care to mess with the bone-in breasts myself. If you don't mind it then give it a try! I also like to keep a lot of fresh veggies on hand so I often have most of the ingredients of the recipes I'm giving you today. With the chicken already cooked, meals come together in no time!

Roasting the chicken is super easy.  Here's how:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  2. Line a baking sheet with foil.

  3. Wash, pat dry and trim chicken breasts. Place on pan.

  4. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil on both sides of each chicken breast.

  5. Add seasonings to both sides. Here are a few ideas:

    • Lemon pepper and Italian seasoning

    • Garlic, onion and chili powder with a little salt

    • Use your favorite combo

  6. Roast for 20-25 minutes depending on thickness of chicken. Check at 20 minutes for internal temperature of 165 degrees. Cook longer if needed.

  7. Store leftovers in refrigerator for 4-7 days (you'll see different amount of time from different sources).

Now for the good stuff. Really the options are endless with roasted chicken but here are my current favorites.

Chicken Salad

I absolutely love chicken salad! I could eat it daily and I did recently after we took a big batch to a party and had leftovers. It is also versatile as far as what you can add to it, the type of dressing and how you eat it. The key to it is adding some dried tarragon!

FullSizeRender (6) 2.jpg

Ingredients:

IMG_7829 2.jpg
  • 2 roasted chicken breasts, diced or shredded

  • 1 cup diced celery (2-3 stalks)

  • 1 cup halved grapes, green or red

  • 1 cup diced apples (I use pink lady)

  • 1-2 t dried tarragon

  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt

  • 1/8 cup mayo (or more greek yogurt)

  • slivered almonds or chopped walnuts (optional)

  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in small bowl. Add more greek yogurt to liking. Serve as sandwich, with crackers or eat as is. Enjoy!

Thai Chicken Chopped Salad with Peanut Dressing

IMG_7872.jpg

This is currently my favorite salad to make. I've been making a few Thai flavored dishes throughout the past year and figured out how to throw my own peanut dressing together without a recipe but I will send you to a great blog with a great recipe. This salad can be just a dump everything from your crisper drawer in it and go or you can use more traditional veggies.

Ingredients:

  • Salad mix of choice (I prefer a kale salad mix or shredded cabbage with some leafy greens)

  • Veggies of choice

    • shredded carrots

    • sugar snap peas or snow peas

    • thin sliced bell peppers

    • spiralized zucchini - I am using the OXO table top spiralizer and I love it!

  • Diced roasted chicken breast

  • You could add a cooked grain like brown rice or quinoa as well.

  • Thai peanut dressing from Gimme Some Oven- scroll to the bottom for more salad dressing recipes

  • optional toppings - cilantro, chopped peanuts, slivered almonds, green onion

Directions:

Toss together all ingredients. Add toppings as desired. Enjoy.

Baked Sweet Potato with Chicken

This is one of my favorite lunches because it is fast, easy and it fills me up. Just add some fruit on the side.

Ingredients:

  • roasted chicken breast (or just 1/2 if it is large)

  • small sweet potato

  • butter or ghee

  • shredded Italian or parmesan cheese, optional

  • other topping options: salsa, jalapenos, greens, cilantro or other herbs

Directions:

  1. Wash sweet potato and poke holes in skin with knife.

  2. Microwave sweet potato 4-5 minutes or longer depending on thickness.

  3. Reheat chicken in pan or microwave.

  4. Slice cooked sweet potato in half lengthwise. Add a bit of butter or ghee.

  5. Top sweet potato with chicken. Add shredded cheese or other toppings as desired.

  6. Enjoy!

Chicken Tacos

This one is a no brainer because who doesn't love chicken tacos? Perfect for your taco Tuesday instastory, right? I don't need to give you a recipe for this one because we all have our own way with taco night. For the chicken, just throw some cumin and chili powder on it if you didn't add that already. I prefer a taco salad with lots of shredded lettuce, jalapenos, salsa and avocado. Don't forget the cilantro...and a tequila cocktail!

I hope this gives you a few more easy weeknight recipes to add to your arsenal. Also, some different ways to use leftover or pre-prepped chicken.  Have a great weekend, friends!

Lin

Homemade Larabars

Happy Tuesday morning!  Did you know that Tuesday is the most productive day of the week.  You have to get over your Monday is so rough attitude and then you are ready to totally kill it on Tuesday!  I’m bringing you recipes for homemade bars that are great for a post-workout snack or to satisfy your sweet tooth…or to eat anytime, really.  Get productive today and make these!

Tuesday is my favorite workout class, my mid-morning Barre Express class. Express means 45 minutes instead of 60 minutes and who doesn’t love to get their workout done in express fashion?  I do!  It is a fun, muscle focused class without any jumping! That’s what I’m talking about!

I don’t love eating my usual breakfast right before I workout so I usually stick to some fruit and peanut butter or a small bowl of oatmeal about 1-2 hours prior. The one small problem is that on my way home I am pretty hungry.  My tummy wants all the quick, easy snacks while my brain says “don’t ruin those 45 minutes”.  Post workout I like to incorporate protein and carbs in a small snack or mini meal for energy and tissue repair.

I discovered Larabars® when we did the Whole 30 challenge last year.  We meaning my husband, Dan, and I – bless his heart.  I know they are not technically approved because they encourage meals only and no snacking.  But I workout hard usually 6 days a week and I sometimes needed something between meals or on the go.  Dan liked them as an easy snack at work because he was constantly in and out of meetings. These suckers were getting pretty pricey when we would each have one most days of the week so I found some inspiration to come up with my own.

These bars are great because they are real food and don’t have additives like a lot of other bars do.  They are sweetened naturally with dates and contain no added sugar or artificial sweeteners.  Whole 30ers make sure to opt for ones without chocolate chips, peanuts, peanut butter or flavor extracts. Flavor extracts are made with alcohol and alcohol is a big, fat NO (insert angry emoji here).

 

These homemade bars are super simple.  You just need a food processor and a few ingredients.  The variety options are endless with different add ins and flavors. My favorite flavors to make right now are cashew chocolate hazelnut and a take on Almond Joy with coconut, almond and cocoa.  I usually have these ingredients on hand so it’s easy to make a batch.

Let’s talk about nutrition in these bars.  Dates contain magnesium, fiber, potassium and vitamin B6.  They are great for your digestive system! Dates do contribute a significant amount of sugar, though it is a natural source.  They are low on the glycemic index meaning they don’t cause as high of a spike in blood sugar.  Cashews and almonds are good sources of healthy unsaturated fats as well as vitamin E, copper and magnesium. The best part about these bars are they contain only a few ingredients and all ingredients are recognizable.  Check out the ingredients on a “nutrition” bar next time you are at the store and see how many ingredients there are and how many you don’t recognize.

I hope these bars give you another snack option to keep on hand and maybe inspire you to DIY more often.  It’s so nice when we can control what goes in our food and ultimately in our bodies!