speaking of sal

Life, people and observations from Sal.

"any theme" stuffed peppers

When I tell people that like to cook, the number one question I get asked is "What is your favorite thing to make?" or "What is your go-to?" and I always have a hard time answering. 

My answer almost always involves a series of questions that I either say to myself, or out loud, to qualify my response: Am I cooking for just me or a group? What season is it? What is in the fridge/pantry already? 

But. I do have a few repeat recipes. One of those repeats is these DELICIOUS "any-theme" stuffed peppers

The particular version I am sharing in this post is Italian. I have also made Mexican-themed, or spicy sausage versions as well. 

INGREDIENTS: serves 4-8 (depending on appetites and desire for leftovers)

Yummy onions cooking in ground beef juices!

Yummy onions cooking in ground beef juices!

4 bell peppers cut in half (I loathe green peppers, so I picked red, yellow and orange, but green would work too)
1 medium yellow/white onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large package fresh mozzarella cheese (example)
1 lb. lean ground beef (could use ground turkey or Italian sausage too)
6-7 leaves fresh basil
1 egg
1 cup (gluten free) unseasoned bread crumbs (I use Glutino)
Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS: 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large skillet on medium-high heat, brown ground beef. Once cooked through, place ground beef onto a paper towel-lined plate to cool (and soak up excess oil). In the oils left by the beef, saute the onions, until translucent, then add the garlic to the onions to cook for 1-2 more minutes. Set onions and garlic aside with ground beef to cool.

While the ground beef mixture cools, cut eight slices (one for each pepper half) from the fresh mozzarella and set aside. Cut the remaining mozzarella into cubes. 

In a large bowl, combine the ground beef mixture, cubed mozzarella cheese, breadcrumbs and egg until just incorporated.

Arrange peppers (as pictured) in a large baking dish, open side up. Using a big spoon, fill each pepper with ground beef mixture. Top each pepper with a slice of mozzarella cheese.

Arrange peppers in pan, open side up. The closer together they can be, the better so they dont tip over!

Arrange peppers in pan, open side up. The closer together they can be, the better so they dont tip over!

Cover baking dish with aluminum foil. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove foil and return to the oven for 4-6 minutes until cheese is golden brown. Top with chopped fresh basil.

Enjoy!

Top each pepper with a slice of mozzarella. CHEEESY!

Top each pepper with a slice of mozzarella. CHEEESY!

Serve with chopped fresh basil for more color!

Serve with chopped fresh basil for more color!

ENJOY! Tell me if you like them!

ENJOY! Tell me if you like them!

easy red-skin potatoes

The potatoes will "sweat" in the bag because of the salt and lemon juice. This makes the finished product crispy and golden-brown! 

The potatoes will "sweat" in the bag because of the salt and lemon juice. This makes the finished product crispy and golden-brown! 

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut potatoes into bite-sized pieces and put them in the plastic bag. Pour the olive oil, chives, lemon juice and seasonings over the potatoes. With the bag [tightly] closed, shake the ingredients together until the potatoes are well-coated. Let the mixture sit in the refrigerator for up to a few hours. I usually cook them within an hour or so. Pour the contents of the bag into a large baking dish and spread the potatoes into an even layer so they will crisp up nicely. Cook the potatoes at 375 for about 35 minutes until the edges are golden brown and the insides are fork-tender. 
 

ENJOY!

Of all the easy side dishes I make, this has to be my I-need-a-starch-for-the-meal favorite. These go-to red potatoes are delicious and very simple to prepare. In fact, many of the ingredients could be substituted for your favorite herbs and spices. 

RECIPE

plastic, resealable bags are one of my favorite kitchen tools! My grandma even reuses them! 

plastic, resealable bags are one of my favorite kitchen tools! My grandma even reuses them! 

Ingredients:

10-12 red-skin potatoes 
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp chopped chives
1 Tbsp lemon juice (I cheated and used the plastic squeezy kind)
1 Tsp each of kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, ground mustard and parsley flakes
1 large resealable plastic bag

let the potatoes have their space! by putting them in a larger, shallow dish they will crisp up instead of steam.

let the potatoes have their space! by putting them in a larger, shallow dish they will crisp up instead of steam.