Monday, October 24, 2011

Picadillo Stuffed Peppers

This has been in our recipe organizer for about 5 years. It's just that delicious. In fact, I had to toss the old copy because I could barely read it, it was so tattered.

I love the combo of sweet and savory. From the beginning, we substituted dried cranberries for raisins since my husband is not a fan. The cinnamon just adds enough flavor but certainly doesn't take over your taste buds.

Picadillo Stuffed Peppers
(c) Woman's Day
Recipe Ingredients

6 medium peppers, preferably red and yellow
1 jar (26 oz) pasta sauce
1 lb lean ground beef
2 small zucchini (12 oz), scrubbed and diced
11⁄2 cups chopped onions
2 tsp minced garlic
1⁄2 tsp ground cinnamon
1⁄2 tsp cumin
1⁄2 tsp salt
1⁄2 tsp pepper
1⁄3 cup raisins
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp olive oil


Cut 1⁄4 off stem end of peppers; remove seeds. Stand peppers and tops in a microwave-safe baking dish. Add 1⁄2 cup water, cover with vented plastic wrap and microwave on high 5 minutes, or until peppers are crisp-tender. Stir 11⁄2 cups pasta sauce into water in dish.
Meanwhile, sauté beef, zucchini and onions in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, breaking up meat, 7 minutes, or until beef is no longer pink and vegetables are almost tender.
Stir in garlic, cinnamon, cumin, salt and pepper; cook 1 minute until fragrant. Remove from heat; stir in raisins, vinegar, sugar and remaining sauce. Spoon into peppers; replace tops. Cover tightly and refrigerate up to 2 days.
To bake: Heat oven to 400°F. Uncover baking dish; brush peppers with the oil. Bake uncovered 30 minutes, or until sauce bubbles and pepper tops are lightly charred.

Friday, October 21, 2011


Almost a month ago, during my kickboxing class, I tweaked my back and then went to spin the next day. My own fault, but I could barely walk the next day. it's finally starting to feel a little better, of course, since I just made an appt to go to the chiropractor.

The worst part of this whole injury is not being able to workout. I am usually at the gym three-four times a week in addition to running outdoors. So I feel like a huge part of me is missing and I can't say anything more than it sucks!!

I did swim a few laps last week and ran last weekend. Stretching has never been something I have ever been good about remembering, but I have made sure I stretched out.

I am hopeful that the chiro will be able to fix me. My primary doc said 3-4 wks before an MRI would be done and since it's about 85% better, I'd rather try something else first.

November is already full of races, rugged maniac and hopefully my spin certification. So I really have no time to be down and out.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Spinach Meatball Subs

We love Skinnytaste's Spinach Italian meatballs, so I decided to change up spaghetti and meatball night to meatball subs. I haven't had a meatball sub in, oh, I can't even tell you the last time I had one. My husband and I really enjoyed our meatball subs immensely.  This is a pretty quick dinner, especially if you mix and roll the meatballs out ahead of time.

I follow the recipe for the Skinnytaste meatballs.

  • 1 lb 93% lean ground beef
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained of all liquid
  • 2 slices whole wheat Weight Watchers bread (or any half point bread) - I have omitted the past few times and the meatballs stay together without.
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley - I subbed dried oregano & basil for the parsley.  We are not fans of parsley in our family.
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese (or your favorite Parmesan Cheese)
  • salt and pepper

Wet bread with water then mash up with your hands. Add to large bowl and combine with chopped beef, chopped spinach, egg, garlic, parsley, grated cheese, salt and pepper. Mix all ingredients well until thoroughly combined. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, measure meat, then divide in two so that each meatball is 1/8th of a cup. Roll into little meatballs.
Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, add 1 tbsp olive oil on low heat. When oil is hot add as many meatballs that will fit, cook on low, turning often so that all side get browned. Cook until the centers are cooked through. When finished, place on a dish lined with paper towels to blot any excess oil. Drop meatballs into sauce and continue cooking the remaining meatballs, repeating the process. When all meatballs are in the sauce, simmer for an additional 15-20 minutes. 

For the subs:
Slice the rolls lengthwise and place 3-4 meatballs on the buns and top with shredded mozzarella, if desired. Place under the broiler until cheese is melted and golden.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pineapple Teriyaki Burgers

We love burgers and try to make them at least once a week changing them up weekly. Although I am a huge fan of a good ole American cheeseburger, I enjoy crazy burgers too!

Sadly, my mouth was watering over these burgers and taking a bite out of my dinner reigned over snapping a quick shot of the finished product.

  • 1lb. ground beef or turkey
  • 8oz. can pineapple rings
  • 1 tbsp. low salt soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated (ground ginger can be used too)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • 5 hamburger buns
In a large bowl, combine ground turkey with all ingredients except for the pineapple rings.  Mix well with hands.  Divide the ground meat into 5 equal balls and form into hamburger patties.  Embed a pineapple ring on top of each burger.  Grill the burgers until meat is cooked thoroughly.  Place the burger on the hamburger bun.

You can always make double the sauce, too, and add it to the burgers. However, I am a ketchup-on-any-burger girl.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Pasta with Broccoli, Tomato & Garlic Oil

Even since I was pregnant with my first daughter, the teeniest amount of tomato sauce will send me on a hunt for some form of antacid.  So I try to avoid it as much as possible or at the very least, limit how much we do cook with it. My husband suggested a pasta dish with garlic oil this week. I created this dish entirely on my own and was very proud of the results.


Garlic Oil:

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 1lb. pasta
  • 1 broccoli floret
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • parmesan cheese, for sprinkling
In a saute pan, heat the olive oil with garlic, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes.  Remove from heat after about 8-10 minutes, once the garlic is golden.  Set aside.

Boil water for the pasta.  Add the broccoli to the boiling water two-three minutes before the pasta.  Drain pasta and broccoli.  Toss with tomatoes & oil in a large bowl.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Apple Chips

After apple picking, we have quite a few apples that were calling to me.  As much as I would love to make an apple pie, cake or another delicious-but-not-waistline-friendly dessert, I decided to take a stab at apple chips.  And boy, did the house smell delicious.  This is a very simple recipe, but certainly healthy & delicious.  In fact, these apple chips didn't last 18 hours in our house.  They are all gone!


  • Apples, washed and quartered
  • juice from half a lemon
  • bowl of ice water
  • ground cinnamon
  • sugar, if desired


  1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and place a footed cooling rack on top of the parchment.  Fill a bowl with ice water and squeeze the juice from half a lemon.
  2. Cut each apple into quarters, removing the seeds.  Slice apple quarters thinly. (I used a mandolin on the thickest setting)  Place the slices in the water as soon as they are cut.  Keep them in the water until the oven has been preheated. Once the apples are ready to bake, blot dry and arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet.  Sprinkle with cinnamon, sugar, or a combination of, if desired.  I did use a very light sprinkling of sugar, but honestly, will forgo the sugar next time.  The cinnamon was more than enough for flavor
  3. Bake the apples at 250 degrees for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.  The apples will darken and shrink.  Let the apples cool.  The chips should crisp up.  If they are not dry & crispy, return to the oven for another 30 minutes.  
  4. Store in an air-tight container.  Chips should last about five to seven days, but they will probably all be eaten before that. 

About 4 apples worth of apple chips!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Blueberry Muffins

I have found it really hard to find an easy, but healthy muffin recipe.  My daughters love muffins for breakfast and they are a great option when we run out of the house in the morning to get to the gym.  Over the past few months, I have tried quite a few different blueberry muffin recipes and none of have fulfilling.  Either they aren't moist enough, or just aren't tasty enough.

Well, I took to my friend Lauren's blog (why I didn't start there first is beyond me!) and used her Very Berry Muffin recipe.  (P.S. Lauren - looking at two year old posts was very fun.  I cannot believe how big R. is now in comparison to two years ago.)

Very Berry Muffins
(c) Lauren's Kitchen

  • 4 tbsp butter (melted and cooled)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar (plus additional for sprinkling)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries (thawed and divided) -- I used only blueberries.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray muffin tin with cooking spray.

Combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a small bowl combine 1/2 cup berries and milk and mash well. In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar; add egg and beat well. Gradually mix in dry ingredients by hand. Mix in berry/milk mixture, followed by remaining berries and mix until just combined.

Using two spoons pour batter into prepared muffin tin, filling each chamber 3/4 full. Sprinkle top of muffins with sugar. Bake for 22-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

I loved this recipe because of it's simplicity and versatility.  I wasn't planning on making muffins last night, but am so very glad I did.  The house smelt divine while the muffins were baking and they were the perfect breakfast while we were trying to get out of the house for apple picking this morning.  

Sweet Potato & Corn Chowder

Since the temperature in NJ has been more autumn like the past few days, we wanted to add a soup to this week's menu.  It takes a lot for me to absolutely love a soup, especially as a main event for dinner.  As we were going through our usual sites and books for recipes, I decided to look for a corn chowder recipe and I stumbled across a sweet potato & corn chowder.

Absolutely delicious!  I made a few variations to the recipe and am glad I did.  This was an absolutely delicious and filling chowder and will definitely be added to the frequently made recipes.


  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red pepper, diced (I added this to the recipe)
  • 10 ounces frozen corn
  • 3-4 small sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup water 1 cup chicken broth (I changed)
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tbs. flour
  • 2 cups 1% milk


  1. Saute onion, red pepper, and garlic in oil over medium heat, for two minutes
  2. Add corn, potatoes, chicken broth, salt, pepper, and paprika. Bring to a boil on high heat.
  3. Once it boils, reduce heat to medium. Cook, covered, about 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk flour into 1/2 cup of the milk, until smooth.
  5. Gradually add the flour and milk mixture to the vegetables, stirring constantly.
  6. Continue to stir as you add the rest of the milk, cooking until soup boils and thickens.
  7. If desired, use a stick blender for about 5-10 seconds to blend.  (I added this step as well.  I think it gave it that extra blend of the flavors melding together!)