stuffed

Cajun Meat Loaf-Stuffed Peppers

March 2 013 Edited Cajun Meat Loaf Stuffed Peppers

Continuing on with the “everything is broken except my bones” theme that my life has become, the internet connection at my home has (for lack of anything more eloquent to say), crapped out. Three people have tried to fix it in as many days, and no dice. So much for that Mercury retrograde theory…

Alas, tonight I’m posting live from my local coffee shop and bringing you Cajun-style meatloaf stuffed peppers two days after the revelry of Mardi Gras.

Given the state of affairs in this beautiful but so damn imperfect world we live in, a lack of internet service in my home is not a big deal. It’s inconvenient and particularly trying given one of my two major character flaws is impatience. I do not particularly like being this way. I’ve tried to overcome it, but I swear it is hard wired into my cells.

The other character flaw, in case you were curious, is taking out my frustration on the ones I love the most. If I ever yell at you about nonsense, no worries, it’s just my way of telling you I love you. Upon digesting that explanation, you may be thinking that I actually have three major character flaws, one of which is self-delusion. Let’s move on.

March 2 073 Edited Cajun Meat Loaf Stuffed Peppers

Practically everything I do relies on the internet. This makes me wonder, what the heck was I doing 15 years ago? I mean really, how did the world work? I vaguely remember getting letters (letters!) from my grandparents delivered in the mail. But goodness, how did I shop? Or entertain myself? (The answers to both of those are “I didn’t” and “I drank more beer”. )

After the trials and tribulations of the past month, my mindset is slowly shifting to the point that I am willing to expect things not to work. In the past, I have tried on the mindset where I did not expect too much so I would not feel disappointed when things did not work out. In hindsight, all that did was lower my expectations and sell myself short. But the world tends towards chaos, does it not?

I would love to say a lack of working internet connection in my home gives me a greater appreciation for things, but if it does, it is so incremental that I do not notice it. The fact of the matter is I am accustomed to connecting with whatever I want whenever I want. I expect hot, clean water coming out of my tap and appliances that wash, dry, cool, heat and the like. I am so damn spoiled, and I don’t even appreciate it.

March 2 028 Edited Cajun Meat Loaf Stuffed Peppers

So let us appreciate the food. The food we all need to nourish us. The food that, for most of us, is not just nourishment but a true source of enjoyment. How lucky we are.

All my life I have enjoyed stuffed peppers with meat and rice. Encountering a stuffed pepper recipe that was basically a meatball in a pepper shell rocked my world. Other than the Tabasco, I am not so sure what is Cajun about them, but pay that no mind. They are delicious.

A word on the cooking. The peppers had a lot of juice to them, i.e.) the bottom of the baking dish seemed really greasy. I cooked with lean meat, but still, there was quite a bit of juice going on by the time all was said and baked. Some of it was from the peppers, no doubt, but it was a nuance I find worth mentioning.

Serve the peppers alone or with a side of rice. If you want to go Cajun-crazy, this Cajun rice recipe would be a good choice. If vegetables are not your thing, enjoy the meatloaf recipe or form the mixture into meatballs. It really does not matter how you enjoy your food, so as long as you appreciate it as you do. Happy eating!

March 2 031 Edited Cajun Meat Loaf Stuffed Peppers

Cajun Meat Loaf-Stuffed Peppers
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 8 (or 9) bell peppers
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 small to medium yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire
  • 2 tablespoons hot red pepper sauce (like Tabasco)
  • 1½ teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ cup ketchup, plus additional for topping the peppers once stuffed
  • 1 pound ground meat of your choice: beef, turkey, or chicken
  • ½ pound spicy ground sausage
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Instructions
  1. Core the eight peppers and cut them in half to serve as shells for the meatloaf. Place the pepper shells in a lightly oiled baking dish (I used two 8 x 8 dishes; my 13 x 9 pan was too small). If you have an extra bell pepper or half bell pepper on hand, go ahead and dice it to add to the meatloaf mixture. You will want ½ cup of diced pepper. Set peppers aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the onion, and if using, the diced bell pepper. Saute until tender, stirring occasionally, about five minutes.
  4. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, cumin, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
  5. Once the sauces and spices are well incorporated, turn heat to low and stir in the ketchup. Allow to simmer for about five minutes.
  6. Remove from the heat and add the meat, sausage and lightly beaten eggs to the skillet.
  7. Spoon the meat mixture into the prepared pepper shells and top with a dollop of ketchup spread across the top.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes. The meat loaves will be golden brown on top, and the peppers will be soft.

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Pillows

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All I could think about when I walked through the door this afternoon was my head hitting the pillow. I really wanted to take a nap, but instead I baked peanut butter chocolate pillows. Fair trade, I suppose.

When I think of peanut butter and chocolate, buckeyes naturally come to mind. However, unless it is a Saturday in November or the week before Christmas, I will never be found making buckeyes to satisfy a peanut butter and chocolate craving.

I would like to claim I simply eat a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup when the mood strikes. Instead, I stick a few chocolate chips on top of a spoonful of peanut butter. Never a proud moment.

8736031089 13926e8b8d z Peanut Butter Chocolate Pillows

Fortunately, for the sake of my pride, I discovered this recipe over the weekend. At first glance, these cookies may sound complicated. They involve mixing dough and beating filling and wrapping them both together into a cookie.

In reality, the cookies really take very little time to prepare. I made these cookies, snapped their photos and washed the dishes in just one hour’s time. Which left plenty of time for a nap.

Chocolate and peanut butter not your favorite? Try stuffing chocolate cherry cookies with sweet cream cheese or snickerdoodles with dulce de coco instead. Enjoy!

8736031219 3bc4d88b49 z Peanut Butter Chocolate Pillows

Peanut Butter Chocolate Pillows
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • For the Dough
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup agave nectar (or maple syrup)
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups all purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • For the Filling
  • ¾ cup peanut butter
  • ⅔ cup powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk
  • ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Mix the canola oil, sugar, agave nectar (or maple syrup), milk and vanilla extract together in a large bowl until well combined.
  2. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt and stir again until combined to form a moist dough.
  3. Pop the dough into the refrigerator to chill while you prepare the peanut butter filling.
  4. Prepare the filling by beating the peanut butter, powdered sugar, two tablespoons of the milk and the vanilla extract together until smooth. If the filling remains crumbly and will not come together, add the additional tablespoon of milk one teaspoon at a time until it holds its shape. Likewise, if the filling gets too runny, bring it back together with additional powdered sugar. The filling should be soft and moist but firm enough to hold together.
  5. Roll the filling into 24 small balls. Divide the dough in half, then divide those halves in half so you have four pieces of filling. Roll six balls from each filling quarter. I found this amounted to a heaping two tablespoons of filling per ball.
  6. Assemble to cookies by flattening about a tablespoon (maybe a little more) of chilled dough into the palm of your hand.
  7. Place a peanut butter ball on top of that disc of dough and wrap the dough up around it.
  8. Make sure the chocolate dough ball is well sealed around the peanut butter ball, then place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  9. Repeat until all of the dough and balls of filling are formed into cookies. I suggest working in batches and refrigerating both the chocolate cookie dough and the peanut butter balls during any down time (see note).
  10. Bake the cookies in a 350 degree F oven for 10 minutes.
  11. Enjoy fresh out of the oven or warm cooled cookies in a microwave for 10-12 seconds for a warm treat.
Notes
The original recipe did not call for chilling the dough or the filling, but I find this helps stuffed cookies hold their shape much better than baking room temperature dough and filling. The original recipe also called for maple syrup, but I used agave nectar instead.

 

Stuffed! Sweet Spiced Apples

Stuffed Apples 021 Edited Stuffed! Sweet Spiced Apples

Though it is now well past Thanksgiving, I can’t help but leave November with one final Stuffed! recipe. It seems appropriate considering stuffed is how I, and I suspect many of you, felt about a week ago.

These stuffed apples are good for ridding the kitchen of a few lingering cranberries. They also make for a sweet and filling dessert that, aside from the brown sugar, is not all that unhealthy.

Stuffed Apples 015 Edited Stuffed! Sweet Spiced Apples

The cranberries themselves add a nice tart pop to the sweet baked apple and spiced brown sugar. Though I did not garnish my stuffed apples, allowing a dollop of ice cream or cool whip to melt over their tops seems like a great idea. With just a few simple steps and a little bit of time, you too can enjoy sweet stuffed apples.

Another way to use up fresh cranberries is to sugar them. This creates a fun snack as well as a simple syrup good for flavoring sparkling water. Click here to view the recipe.  If cranberry sauce remains in your kitchen, a recipe for warm cranberry dip can solve your problems.

Stuffed Apples 023 Edited Stuffed! Sweet Spiced Apples

So long, November. Hello, holiday baking…

5.0 from 1 reviews

Sweet Spiced Apples
 
Author:
Serves: 5
Ingredients
  • 5 medium apples
  • ⅓ cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, optional
Instructions
  1. Core or hollow out the centers of apples. Be sure to leave the bottoms fully intact.
  2. If desired, peel the top third of each apple.
  3. Combine the cranberries, brown sugar, walnuts, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the apples.
  5. Place in a slow cooker and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until tender.
  6. Garnish with whipped cream or ice cream if desired.