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You can put as much or as little of some things as you want.  I put a generous amount of cheese on the bottom and top.  I don’t use as much corn and I don’t use as many tomatoes.  It still turns out really good.


  • 6-7 large bell peppers (any color)
  • 1 box of spanish rice
  • 2 tblspn extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno cleaned out and chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can corn
  • 3-4 cups Mozzarella cheese
  •  Parsley

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Start a large pot of water to boil.  In medium skillet add olive oil, onions, garlic, jalapenos, salt and pepper.  Cook until translucent.  Add ground beef, brown, DO NOT DRAIN!  Cut tops off peppers, clean out, add to boiling water, cook about 4 minutes.  Remove and set upside down to drain..  Add rice from box to skillet mixture and mix well.  Cook and stir until rice is brown/golden, about 3 minutes.  Turn heat up a little and add seasoning from box, the tomatoes, and water.  Allow mixture to come to boil.  Add beans and corn, return to boil.  Place lid on and turn heat to simmer; cook about 15 minutes or until rice is done.  Let stand about 5 minutes.  Place a little mozzarella cheese in  of peppers , then a little parsley (optional), then add rice mixture.  Top mixture with mozzarella cheese and parsley.  Arrange peppers in pan.  I like to pour whatever is left of the mixture into the bottom of the pan around the peppers and put some cheese on top of that.  Place it in the oven until cheese melts.



White Bean and Kale Minestrone

This soup is really good, despite being very simple.  How awesome is that?  I found this recipe on a really cool website that I came across recently, called Cookus Interruptus.  It’s a cooking website from the author of a book called Feeding the Whole Family: Cooking with Whole FoodsThe website features about 100 recipes, many of which come from the book, and best of all, they’re each accompanied by great videos, which are both instructive and hilarious.  Their shtick is trying to cook meals amid the chaos of wacky family members, and it’s a fun way to learn good but relatively simple dishes made from whole foods.  I highly recommend poking around the site and checking out some of their videos.  You’ll enjoy your visit.

This is one of the recipes that caught my eye, for White Bean and Kale Minestrone.  That it was called “minestrone” struck me as odd, since I think of minestrone as a red vegetable soup with kidney beans and little pasta noodles.  So I looked it up on Wikipedia and discovered that minestrone is actually a somewhat generic term for a wide variety of soups or stews, which often feature seasonal vegetables and sometimes pasta.  But the defining feature seems to be that the soup has a bean base (and according to some, those should be roman beans, aka cranberry or borlotti beans to be genuine–but we won’t split hairs).  So I guess this qualifies as a minestrone due to the beans and bean broth that form the base of the soup.  Whatever you call it, it was delicious, despite being very simple and easy to make.  It’s also very healthful, consisting mainly of two highly nutritious ingredients: beans, which are a great source of protein and fiber; and kale, a leafy vegetable full of all sorts of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.  We’ll definitely be making this again. Read the rest of this entry »

Split-pea soup

I need your help on this one, family.  I vaguely remember some story we used to read, or maybe it was a Shel Silverstein poem, that involved split-pea soup, portraying it as something rather gross.  Do any of you remember?  If not, I may have to scour the bookshelf in Kristin’s old room when we’re out there in June.  Anyway, we made split-pea soup for dinner tonight.  It was the first time I’ve had it (that I recall), and it was quite good.  It had a very pleasant, pea-centric vegetable flavor, with a nice bacony smokiness owing to the smoked ham hocks we cooked it with.  

The soup itself was good, but it was made great in delicious sourdough bread bowls.  For the bread bowls, I used the same sourdough bread recipe I’ve posted in the past.  The recipe as posted will make 8 bread bowls (I scaled it to 3/4 of the posted recipe, to make 6 bowls)  Each loaf should be about the 250g if you have a scale, or about the size of a baseball (perhaps a bit smaller) when you form the loaves.  You can let them rise in small cereal or soup bowls (preferably ones with tall sides rather than wide, shallow bowls), lined with flour-dusted cotten cloths (like cloth napkins, scraps of muslin, or whatever you have around).  Instead of making slashes across the loaves, I sliced a circle around the top, which makes it easier to cut out the top for the bread bowl.  Once the loaves are baked and cooled, just slice off the top, then cut around the sides of the loaf and use a spoon to dig out the interior crumb to make the bread bowl.  I’d put these up against Panera, or any other sourdough bread bowls you might find anywhere–they were that good.  Read the rest of this entry »

Roast chicken on a bed of root vegetables

I made this for Mother’s Day dinner on Sunday night, and it turned out great.  I must confess that this is not my picture–I pilfered it from the blog site where I got the recipe.  But ours looked pretty much the same, except that it was in our 9×13 Pampered Chef pan instead of a cast iron pan as pictured above.  The recipe is from famed chef Thomas Keller, known mostly for his restaurant The French Laundry.  He has another newer restaurant called ad hoc, which serves simple but very good dishes, as opposed to the notoriously intricate and extravagant preparations at The French Laundry.  The dish comes from Keller’s cookbook ad hoc at home, by way of one of my favorite food blogs, Simply Recipes.

This is roast chicken on a bed of root vegetables (click for the recipe), and that’s about all there is to it.  You cut up the vegetables and spread them in the pan, tossed with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Then set the chicken on top, also seasoned liberally with olive oil, salt and pepper, with some garlic cloves and thyme sprigs in the cavity, and roast it in the oven.  That’s it.  It’s pretty simple, but turns out great.  The chicken was moist and tender, and the vegetables were great.  A couple of notes from my experience with it: Read the rest of this entry »

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Hey guys, this was one of the best burgers i’ve made!  It was great and i did it all on the new grill Elise got me!  I just got one of those weird looking tubes of ground beef in the meat section of Walmart.  It was cheaper than the other meat and i was a little worried but it turned out to have a great flavor and it grilled beautifully.  I got the 80/20 mix so the meat would have a little more flavor from the extra fat in it. It seemed to stay together while it was on the grill a little bit easier than a more lean ground beef.   I added some onion powder, garlic, S & P, seasoning salt, and little bit of worcestershire sauce.  I added the spices to the raw meat in a bowl and mixed it all together before forming the patties.  I read in Weber Grills book on grilling to always season your meat before cooking.  You will always get more flavor seasoning before cooking than seasoning with the same amount of spices during or after the cooking process.  I’ve been doing this with my steaks and other cuts of meat and It has proved true every time.  For meats other than hamburger it helps to dry the surface of the meat with a paper towel and then really press the seasoning into the dried meat. Anyway back to the burger, I got the idea from Red Robin’s Banzai Burger.  I grilled some pineapple rings for a couple minutes, not too long, just to kind of carmelize the pineapple a little bit then stacked that on the burger, threw a little munster cheese on top of that and put it on a fresh toasted bun a little mayo lettuce and tomato and a few squirts of hickory brown sugar bbq sauce,  The sauce brand was Sweet Baby Ray’s, by far the best bbq sauce i’ve found that is affordable I absolutely reccomend it. The bbq sauce mixed with the pineapple was a great flavor, Elise and I loved it but i would have preferred using a teryaki sauce instead of bbq sauce we just didn’t have any.  I’ll have to try that soon and let you guys know how it goes.  I hope you guys try it and enjoy it!

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