That was me being playful! How’d I do? On second thought let’s not! Riding the high of my 4 day cleanse down 7.5 lbs. I am happy with the jump start, and have decided that I will continue on. So I am home today, taking a break from my mind numbing routine. I started cleaning out my pantry and fridge, noticing what I could turn into quick meals, a dessert for the firehouse, and some nibbles for my three hungry angels! I have some pumpkin puree, expiring this month, some refrigerated pie crust up next, and I made some taco meat for my street tacos that my kids just love.
Ok I sat with this. I have some bananas that I didn’t freeze all of, what to do, what to do? So I thought, ok I love the combination of savory and sweet, so I will make some pumpkin empanadas. Thinking outside the box. Trust me on this! So now I know I will have extra filling left. No carbs for hubby and I, but we can still enjoy the same filling in a nice cubanelle pepper. Now if I had pablanos peppers on hand that would have been even better, I love the spice that they give off, but I am determined to use what’s on hand. Also, I have pie crust, two in fact, one will be blind baked, for a banana cream pie for the firehouse, and the other I am using for the empanadas. Now I made a version on a previous blog with puff pastry, and I also make a pretty mean homemade dough, but I am using what’s before me and I refuse to let anything go to waste. My father was born amidst the depression, and he refused to let anything go to waste, also, my grandparents immigrated from Italy, so they too knew the meaning of using what’s on hand and not wasting a thing, although with 12 children, I doubt much went to waste, more so, they more often, went without. My mother also had the same values, as she was the only girl in a household of 6 boys! I don’t know how she survived! So, like my father’s family, you dare not waste a thing. So growing up I was taught that it was a sin to waste, especially food, and I still feel strongly about this, maybe even more so, as we have become such a wasteful, disposable society. None the less, I am putting my resources to good use. So the other pie crust will be rolled, and cut into rounds for my empanadas. The filling from the leftover street tacos, will be used with the cubanelle peppers and cooked in a homemade easy-peasy enchilada sauce. Now I would normally use rice, but I am going to omit the rice and use black beans in this instead with a teeny bit of cheese. I cannot sans cheese with Mexican or Italian dishes. I can omit in all other areas, but I stand firm on that principle! I also thought about the yummy Italian Peppers that my Dad made with the cubanelle peppers some gravy (red) and using torn stale bread with pecorino romano cheese, and mozzarella. Delish! Now I won’t be eating them but my teens will. I am also throwing in a dish I made ahead for a busy week we have, I am making a Polynesian Chicken that my mother made many times growing up, as she always wanted to go to Hawaii and sadly never had the chance, but I guess the Pacific Island flavors of this dish made her believe she would one day visit.
There are times that we buy food with good intentions, and things happen and food spoils before it can be used. But there are so many people who live at poverty level or even well below, and our wanton society values have forced us to turn a blind eye to the plight of others, if we can start to think in terms of using our resources before us, and trying to do our share to lessen our carbon imprint, we can collectively make a difference.
One last thing I urge you to think about, I live within 2 blocks of a beautiful old church with a cemetery that dates back to the Civil War. The St. James Church has been in the neighborhood for generations, and is doing God’s work, to feed, clothe, and even financially support the community in need. They run a soup kitchen and food pantry, and are always below what they need to sustain all of the people who rely on the food between paychecks. I have donated many items in the course of my 15 years in this community, and I urge you to seek out one in your community and do the same. Now don’t go and empty your pantry of expired food! Check your labels!!! If you bought extra soup, or beans, or pasta, boxed mac and cheese, even soap that you may have bought but are allergic to and you have a case, which happened to me, but I know it went to good use. Clothing that you didn’t return that sat in your trunk, guilty. Any way you can help with time, clothing, food, or other valuable resources is truly a blessing, and not only are you helping lighten the load for those in need, you are lightening the load within your soul and karma will bless you in abundance. I truly believe in paying it forward, and I have raised my teens on those same values. Namaste.
Momma's Perfect Polynesian Chicken
A tasty South Pacific influenced dish that's full of flavor and yet figure friendly!!
Credit: CrazySexySavor.com/Susan Mangieri-Maurath
- 1/4 cup of ketchup
- 1 ½ cups of fresh cubed pineapple or 1 large can of unsweetened
- 2 whole boneless skinless chicken breast
- 1 clove of garlic minced
- 1 1/2 cups of red and green bell peppers large chunks, (I used a pkg. of assorted mini bell peppers I found at my local farmer’s market)
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 tbsp. fresh ginger minced or 2 tsp. dry
- ¼ cup of soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tbsps. brown sugar
- 1 tsp. of Chinese five spice
- 2 tbsp. of corn starch with some water to use a thickner for sauce
- Splash of apple cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar
- 1 bag of brown rice cooked *for this dish I used a mix of brown rice with quinoa the extra protein and fiber is a health bonus
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- Kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
- Heat a large skillet on medium high heat.
- Season chicken breasts both sides with a mix of salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, Chinese five spice, place in frying pan with a tbsp. of coconut oil or olive oil. Cook about 8 min. until cooked through. Place on plate to reserve.
- Add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil to same pan, add onion, garlic peppers, and let soften 2 min. add pineapple chunks, let cook one more min.
- In a small glass bowl, add ketchup, soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, set aside.
- In separate cup or bowl mix corn starch with a bit of water to make a slurry for thickening the sauce.
- Cut chicken in to cubes, add to pan, then add the sauce mixture and let simmer about 6 min. to let flavors meld. Then add the slurry of cornstarch and water to thicken, you can add more if you need to just add in with water. Whisking to pan as you add to incorporate well. Heat for about 5 minutes more or until thickened. You can add more ketchup if you like a richer sauce, since we are watching sugar and calories, I decreased the use of the ketchup.
- Serve over brown rice, garnish with cilantro. Devour!
Poppy's Favorite Italian Stuffed Peppers
An Italian peasant food that is filling, satisfying, and so delicious!
Credit: CrazySexySavor.com/Susan Mangieri-Maruath
- 1 lb. of cubanelle peppers
- 4 or 5 slices of stale white bread or Italian bread crust removed
- 1 clove of garlic minced
- 2 cups of homemade mariana or jar if you prefer
- ¼ cup of pecorino Romano cheese
- ½ cup of shredded Asiago cheese
- ½ cup of part skim mozzarella
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 tsp. each of dried oregano, dried basil
- Flat leaf parsley chopped
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- Drizzle of milk to make stale bread moist
- Mix stuffing mixture well, then begin stuffing mixture into peppers. If you have extra stuffing left over, which I usually do, you can roll the stuffing into balls and place alongside of the peppers.
- In a microwave safe bowl, heat marinara sauce just to warm.
- In a large bowl, add bread, and a bit of milk to soften, let sit for a minute or two.
- In a large stock pot add whole peppers and water to boil on stove top for 10 minutes, to soften.
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Crumble bread into pieces, add egg, cheeses, spices, salt and pepper, garlic, and parsley.
- Remove peppers from stove after about 10 minutes of boiling, rinse with cold water let cool. When cool enough to handle, remove top of pepper and remove seeds leaving pepper in tact to stuff.
- In a 9×13 baking dish place a layer of sauce, then add peppers and any stuffing balls on top of the sauce, add the remainder of the sauce to cover well, adding more sauce if needed. Top with a generous helping of pecorino Romano cheese. Cover with foil. Bake about 45 min. remove cover for last 5 minutes of cooking. Serve immediately. Devour!
Sexy Mexican Stuffed Peppers-With Taco Meat, Pumpkin, and Black Beans
A tasry Mexican influenced dish that's nutritious and oh some satisfying!
Credit: CrazySexySavor.com/Susan Mangieri-Maurath
- 1 lb. of cubanelle peppers
- ¾ lb. of leftover taco meat, or you can make a batch for this recipe with any taco seasoning of your choice.
- ½ cup of black beans
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 onion diced small
- 1 jalapeño pepper
- 1/3 of a cup of pumpkin puree
- Mexican blend shredded cheese about ½ cup
- 1 1/2 tsp. of taco seasoning, 1 ½ tsp. of chipotle chili powder 1 tsp. of cumin
- Kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste
- 2 cups of enchilada sauce (recipe, follows)
- Fill a large stock pot with water and add peppers bring to boil for 10 min.
- In a frying pan add a tablespoon of solid vegetable shortening, I like to use this only for Mexican food as I think it mimics the lard used in most authentic Mexican dishes, but you can substitute, if you prefer.
- Add onion, garlic, and jalapeño, and spices, saute for two to three min. until veg, are translucent. Add taco meat, black beans and pumpkin, heat for about 6 min. until heated through. Cook fully if using raw chop meat, and increase a whole taco seasoning pack.
- When peppers are done, remove from stove and cool in cold water, when cool enough to handle remove tops of peppers and seed, then slice in half lengthwise, set aside.
- In a large baking dish 9×13, layer half of the enchilada sauce on the bottom. Place pepper halves on top of sauce and fill each pepper generously with meat. When all meat is used up, sprinkle with cheese and add more sauce over top. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil for last 5 minutes to let cheese melt and brown. Serve immediately, garnish with some fresh guacamole, sour cream, and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro. Devour!
For the Enchilada Sauce
- 2 tablespoons of chili powder
- 1 ½ tsp. of chipotle chili powder
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. of onion powder
- 1 tsp. of garlic powder
- 1 (28 oz.) can of crushed tomatoes
- 4 Tablespoons of vegetable shortening
- 4 Tablespoons of flour
- 1 ½ tablespoons of brown sugar
- 1 ½ tsp. of unsweetened cocoa powder for depth of flavor
- In a sauce pan heat 4 tablespoons of shortening, when melted add flour to make a roux. Cook out flour for a minute or two.
- Add tomatoes, spices, sugar, and cocoa powder. Cook for 15 minutes until thickened. You may add a little water to thin out. I like to squeeze half a lime over top at the end to balance any acidity from the tomatoes.
- You can store any extra sauce in container for up to 2 weeks. Freezes beautifully.