Tag Archives: bell pepper

Linguine With Beef Sauce

30 Apr

Pasta. It’s the food that most people have a love-hate relationship with. I’m on the side that pasta is our friend. But like everything else in the food world, eat in moderation and eat the right pasta. You can now buy whole wheat, gluten-free, and even spinach pasta. There are so many options when it comes to pasta that every diet can find their own version of pasta that doesn’t break any rules. I’ve had a lot of posts about pasta. The thing I love about it is the amount of variation you can have with your sauces. I stock my cupboards with linguine, spaghetti, shells, elbows and penne. Always. (I personally like Barilla’s pasta, especially their whole wheat line.) Along with canned tomatoes and the little cans of pasta sauce and tomato paste it’s always easy to whip up some fresh tasting sauce. I found this great picture diagram of the different varieties. What are your go to faves?pasta shapes

So one night I needed to make some dinner and I looked in my fridge and freezer to see what I had. There was some left over ground beef, a few mushrooms, a chunk of onion, chives and half a green  bell pepper. I had spinach too and I thought I would use it but I didn’t. Oh well, no harm done. I paired this with linguine. Hope you enjoy! What do you like in your pasta sauce?

Linguine with Beef Sauce Ingredients, Spinach, Bell Pepper, Canned Diced Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Garlic, Onion, Chives, Ground Beef, Linguine

Linguine with Beef Sauce Ingredients L-R: Spinach (not used), Bell Pepper, Canned Diced Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Garlic, Onion, Chives, Ground Beef, Linguine

LINGUINE WITH BEEF SAUCE (serves 2 or 3)

  • 4 to 6 oz of Linguine (2 oz per serving)
  • 4 to 6 oz of Ground Beef (2 oz per serving)
  • Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Bell Pepper
  • 3 Cremini Mushrooms
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Onion
  • 1 Can Diced Tomatoes
  • Chopped Chives for Garnish
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

In a large pot boil about 4 quarts of water. While you wait for your water to boil prep your veggies. Slice your bell pepper into thin slices, chop your onion, slice your mushrooms thinly and dice your garlic clove.

Sliced mushrooms, bell peppers and diced onions

Sliced mushrooms, bell peppers and diced onions

In a large saucepan (the one I used worked but I wish I had used a larger one) heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Once it’s hot add in your garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds to a minute. Then add in your chopped onions and sauté for a minute or two. Then add in your bell peppers.

Sauteing your veggies and ground beef together.

Sauteing your veggies and ground beef together.

Push all the veggies to the outer rim of the pan and then add in your ground beef in the center to cook. Once browned reduce the heat to medium and add your mushrooms and combine all veggies and meat together. Cook for another few minutes until the mushrooms are browned.

When your water is boiling add in your linguine (or pasta of choice) and cook for about 6-8 minutes until al dente. Taste a piece for doneness. Be sure to stir the pasta every minute or so so that it doesn’t stick to itself.

Linguine into the pot of boiling water

Linguine into the pot of boiling water

Once your mushrooms are browned open your can of diced tomatoes and add to your sauce pan. Reduce heat to low and add in salt and pepper. (If you want, now is also the time to add any additional seasonings like basil or oregano-dried or fresh.) Stir to combine all ingredients. Let cook over low heat until your pasta is done cooking and you’ve drained it, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Add in your diced tomatoes and simmer for a few more minutes.

Add in your diced tomatoes and simmer for a few more minutes.

Serve the pasta sauce over the linguine and garnish with chopped fresh chives. Enjoy with a nice glass of red wine!

Linguine with Beef Sauce ready to eat!

Linguine with Beef Sauce ready to eat!

Breakfast Hash For Dinner

25 Mar

Breakfast for dinner. So popular that many IHOPs are open 24 hours a day and a number of other restaurants serve breakfast all day. There’s something about pancakes and eggs for dinner that make you feel like you’re having a real treat. I love having breakfast for dinner so much that for my winter formal my junior year of high school, my friends and I chose to go to IHOP for dinner before the dance! We definitely got a few odd looks walking into the Visalia IHOP in our formals and suits. So one day I was poking around Joy The Baker’s website and I found her recipe for Breakfast Hash. I knew I wanted to make it eventually and while she made hers for breakfast, I ended up making mine for dinner. It was absolutely delicious and made enough that I had leftovers for a couple of nights. This is a great dish to share with a family or roommate too!

Breakfast Hash Ingredients L-R: Spinach, Ground Sausage, Egg, Onion, Baby Potatoes, Bell Peppers, Garlic, Mushrooms, Chives, Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper

Breakfast Hash Ingredients L-R: Spinach, Ground Sausage, Egg, Onion, Baby Potatoes, Bell Peppers, Garlic, Mushrooms, Chives, Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper

SPINACH AND POTATO BREAKFAST HASH (serves about 3 or 4 depending on serving size)

  • 1 1/2 Pounds Fingerling Potatoes (russet or new potatoes will also be great)
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 4 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 6 Oz. Sausage (pork, chicken, turkey or vegetarian sausage all work)
  • 1 Tsp fennel seeds (I did not use)
  • Salt & Pepper To Taste
  • 2 Cups Baby Spinach Leaves
  • 1 Egg for each serving

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Begin by slicing up your potatoes into bite-size pieces and arranging them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through. The smaller the chunks the less time they need for baking.

Colorful baby potatoes

Colorful baby potatoes

Roasting Baby Potatoes

Baby potatoes ready for roasting

Before you start cooking the rest of the hash you want to prep all your vegetables, ie. mise en place. The original recipe calls for 1 bell pepper, but since I already had half of a red one so I bought a green one and used half of that as well. Feel free to use whichever colors you want. Chop your bell peppers into small bite-size pieces. Do the same with your onion. Mince your garlic cloves as well.

Diced Vegetables

sliced cremini mushrooms

Mushrooms sliced and ready for the pan

Measure out your meat and in a small saute pan heat about a tablespoon of oil over medium high heat and break up your meat into small chunks and cook until browned. Remove to a small bowl and set aside.

Weighing out the sausage and then browning it in a small pan.

Weighing out the sausage and then browning it in a small pan.

In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat and add in your onions and bell peppers about 5 to 7 minutes until mostly cooked. Season with salt and pepper and then add in your minced garlic and cook for another minute or so. Remove to another small bowl.

Sauteing the onions, bell peppers and garlic.

Sauteing the onions, bell peppers and garlic.

By now your potatoes should be done cooking. Remove from the oven and place in your large skillet you just cooked your onions and peppers in. Turn the heat back on to medium and add in your meat of choice and pan fry together for about 5 minutes until the meat has finished cooking and the potatoes have turned a nice golden brown. This is the point when you would add in your fennel seeds. Add back in your onions and peppers and stir to combine.

Roasted Baby Potatoes

Roasted Baby Potatoes fresh from the oven

Cooking the meat, potatoes and mushrooms first, then add in the onions and bell peppers.

Cooking the meat, potatoes and mushrooms first, then add in the onions and bell peppers.

In your small saute pan fry your egg(s) to your desired doneness. I like mine somewhere between over easy and over medium so that the yolk can be mixed with the rest of the hash. Side note, I never liked my eggs this way until I studied abroad in France and that’s how they made the eggs at school. I fell in love and with something like this hash to mix it with I think you will too!

fried egg

I fried my egg to over easy.

When you turn your egg over, turn the heat off of your hash and add your spinach leaves (only enough for the number of servings you’re eating that night/morning), stirring to mix the spinach and wilt the leaves from the residual heat. Spoon mixture onto plates or pasta bowls and add your egg on top. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy with a glass of red wine, milk, or a glass of OJ.

Adding spinach

After turning off the heat add spinach leaves that will wilt just slightly.

To reheat as leftovers, add fresh spinach each night or morning you heat it up. Put enough of the hash in a small saute pan and heat over medium heat rather than nuke it in the microwave. Be sure to make a fresh egg as well. And enjoy once again!

Breakfast Hash with Fried Egg

Breakfast Hash with Fried Egg ready to eat!

Stuffed Portobello Mushroom

28 Feb

As a kid, I hated mushrooms. I mean really, what kid under the age of 12 likes mushrooms? But I don’t think I had a Portobello mushroom till I was in college and it was as a Portobello mushroom burger. It was so good I remember asking myself why I hadn’t had one earlier! So when my cookbook “The Pleasures of Cooking For One” had a recipe for a stuffed Portobello mushroom I just had to make it. It was so delicious and easy that I’ve made it a few times and this time I documented it to share with you. You can make one for yourself, or a little extra stuffing for more guests. And I bet you could do it on a small-scale for a party. Hmmm…now that has me thinking…Anyway, if you skip the meat in the stuffing and use another vegetable or tofu this will also work as a great vegetarian meal. Because I had part of a bell pepper in my fridge I used that as well. It added some great color to the meal. I was also going to sauté some onion, but forgot to once I started cooking. Gah! Anyways, enjoy!

Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Ingredients L-R: Salt & Pepper, Bread Crumbs, Onion, Bell Pepper, Butter, Oregano, Basil, Portobello Mushroom, Ground Beef, Olive Oil

Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Ingredients L-R: Salt & Pepper, Bread Crumbs, Onion, Bell Pepper, Butter, Oregano, Basil, Portobello Mushroom, Ground Beef, Olive Oil

STUFFED PORTOBELLO MUSHROOM (serves 1)

  • 1 Portobello Mushroom
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 Heaping Tbsp Fresh Parsley, Chives, Tarragon or Sage
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp Chopped/Crumbled Meat: Ground Sausage, Ground Beef, Ham, Bacon, Prosciutto (your choice)
  • Olive Oil
  • 1/4 to 1/3 Cup Fresh Breadcrumbs

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. If your meat is uncooked heat a small skillet and add about a teaspoon of olive oil and cook up your meat. Add in your chopped bell pepper and onion as well if you decide to add that them in. When done put into a small bowl and set aside. I have used ground beef or sausage so far as it’s cheaper and I can buy a large amount and use the rest for other meals.

Ground Beef & Bell Pepper

Cooking up the ground beef and chopped bell pepper.

Next, cut off the stem of your mushroom and trim off any tough part. Make sure to wipe off any dirt (especially if you get your mushroom from a farmer’s market).

Portobello Mushroom

The stem is easily torn off from the mushroom cap.

Take the stem and chop into small pieces. Peel and slice your garlic into thin slivers. Use your pairing knife so you have more control in making the slivers. In your same small skillet, melt your butter and sauté the garlic and the mushroom stem pieces for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper and then add in your herb and meat of choices. Turn the heat off and let sit in the pan while you prep your mushroom.

Chopped up Portobello Mushroom Stem

Chopped up Portobello Mushroom Stem

Portobello Mushroom Stem

Cooking up the mushroom stem pieces

Pour about a teaspoon of olive oil on your mushroom cap and rub all over with your fingers. Add more if needed to coat the outside and the inside evenly. Season the mushroom with salt and pepper. Place in a baking dish with the cup side up, the side that looks like a grill. I use a small Pyrex dish. Spoon your stuffing into the cup of the mushroom making sure it completely fills the cap. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top to your desired amount.

The mushroom is ready for the oven. The top is the cap filled with the stuffing and the bottom is with the bread crumbs sprinkled on top.

The mushroom is ready for the oven. The top is the cap filled with the stuffing and the bottom is with the bread crumbs sprinkled on top.

Place your baking dish in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes. The bread crumbs should be browned and crispy. Remove from oven and enjoy!

Stuffed Portobello Mushroom

My stuffed Portobello mushroom is ready to eat! Yum!

Chicken Stir Fry with Plum Salsa

28 Aug Red Plums

So my roommate was sent to Alaska for work at the last minute for a couple of weeks. She normally gets a box of produce delivered every couple of weeks and when she arranged to have it delivered after her return, somehow it came the second week she was away. So I had a box of produce to myself, it was like my own version of Chopped! So throughout the day I had to consider what to do with some plums, heirloom tomatoes and a bell pepper. I also had part of an onion, garlic and chicken breasts. I finally decided on a chicken stir fry with plum salsa. I picked up some brown rice on my way home from work and was ready to have some fun in the kitchen! I decided it was a success and something I’d make again. I hope you enjoy as well!

CHICKEN STIR FRY WITH PLUM SALSA AND BROWN RICE (serves 2)

Chicken Stir Fry and Plum Salsa Ingredients L-R: Olive Oil, Chicken Breast, Heirloom Tomatoes, Yellow Onion, Garlic, Red Plums, Green Bell Pepper, Parsley, Salt & Pepper

Chicken Stir Fry and Plum Salsa Ingredients L-R: Olive Oil, Chicken Breast, Heirloom Tomatoes, Yellow Onion, Garlic, Red Plums, Green Bell Pepper, Parsley, Salt & Pepper

  • 1 Chicken Breast
  • 1 Small Plum
  • 1 Small/Medium Heirloom Tomato (or any other tomato the size of a lemon)
  • 1/2 of a Bell Pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup of diced onion
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Olive Oil

I chose to use brown rice so I started that first in my rice cooker. I must say that I love my rice cooker and think everyone should own one. You combine your rice and water, press start and walk away. It will take about 30-40 minutes depending on how much rice you’re cooking.

Heirloom Tomatoes Red PlumsThis is another recipe that you want to do all your prep work first before starting to cook. Dice up your tomato and plum into small chunks along with your onion to about a 1/4 to a 1/3 of a cup. Cut the bell pepper in half and store one half for another recipe and slice the other half into small strips. Finally slice your chicken into thin strips and set aside.

Mise en Place: Red Plum, Yellow Onion, Heirloom Tomato, Bell Pepper

Mise en Place: Red Plum, Yellow Onion, Heirloom Tomato, Bell Pepper

In a medium saucepan, add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Chop your garlic and add to the hot oil and cook for about a minute, then add in your onions and saute for a couple of minutes. Add in your bell pepper, plum and tomato and cook for a few more minutes. Then push all to the sides of the pan, making a ring. Add about a teaspoon more olive oil to the empty space and add in half of your chicken strips, or all if they fit. The other half can be cooked later or saved back in the freezer to cook another night, your choice.

Chicken Stir Fry and Plum Salsa

Red Plum salsa cooking.

Chicken Stir Fry and Plum Salsa

Adding in the chicken to the salsa.

Chicken Stir Fry and Plum Salsa

Sprinkle salt and pepper on the chicken. After about 5 minutes, or once the chicken pieces start turning white, flip them over and salt and pepper again. Cook another 5 or 6 minutes, or until done. If your rice isn’t done, turn off the heat and cover the chicken with a cover to keep the heat in. Serve over rice, sprinkle with fresh parsley (optional) and enjoy!

Chicken Stir Fry and Plum Salsa

Chicken Stir Fry and Plum Salsa

Chicken Stir Fry

2 May

Among easy dinner recipes, stir fry is one of them. It’s also one that you can be creative with and pick and choose the vegetables and protein you like, a sauce to your choosing, as well as the side dish to serve it with. For today’s stir fry I chose chicken (I had a frozen breast in my freezer), snow peas, bell pepper, onion and mushrooms. A friend had given me Sesame Soy Ginger Vinaigrette from Trader Joe’s so I used that as my sauce. Other good veggie choices include carrots, zucchini, baby corn, broccoli, cauliflower, and Bok Choy. You can pretty much use any vegetables you want, but these are the most common. For protein use steak, tofu, pork, or shrimp. Just get creative and use what YOU like. I personally do not like broccoli so you will probably not see it on my blog, ever, lol. I like pairing my stir fry with brown rice. It’s healthy and super easy to make, especially if you have a rice cooker. I paired my meal with Vinas Chilenas Cabernet Sauvignon from Trader Joe’s. It’s a cheap cab (like $5 cheap) that is pretty yummy! Let me know what you like to put in your stir fry in the comments below!

Chicken Stir Fry Ingredients L-R: Sesame Soy Ginger Vinaigrette, Mushrooms, Red Pepper, Chicken Breast, Snow Peas, Onion

Chicken Stir Fry Ingredients L-R: Sesame Soy Ginger Vinaigrette, Mushrooms, Red Pepper, Chicken Breast, Snow Peas, Onion

CHICKEN STIR FRY WITH BROWN RICE (serves 3)

  • 1 Boneless and Skinless Chicken Breast
  • 1 Medium Bell Pepper (any color)
  • 1/2 Medium Onion (any color)
  • 3 or 4 Button Mushrooms
  • A Large Handful of Snow Peas
  • 1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • 1 1/2 Cups Dry Brown Rice
  • 3-4 Tbsp Sesame Soy Ginger Vinaigrette (or other sauce of your choice)

Start your rice in your rice cooker first. Add your rice and twice the amount of water, cover and press the on button. It will take about 30-35 minutes or so. The lovely thing about a rice cooker is you don’t have to worry about stirring it or wait for the water to boil.

Rice cooker all ready and has started cooking.

Rice cooker all ready and has started cooking.

Next, prep all your vegetables and chicken. Slice up your bell pepper, onion and mushrooms and set aside. Cut up your chicken in about 1 to 2 inch pieces and set aside.

Veggies mise en place.

Veggies mise en place.

Chicken breast cut and ready for the pan

Chicken breast cut and ready for the pan

Heat your oil in a large saucepan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add in your onions and cook for a couple of minutes. Add in your bell pepper and cook another minute or so. Then add in your mushrooms and snow peas for another couple of minutes. Move all your vegetables to the outer parts of your pan and add in your chicken. Keep the chicken moving around every couple of minutes so it’s evenly cooked, mixing in your vegetables. Should take about 7-10 minutes.  Turn your heat down to low-medium and add salt and pepper (about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp each) and mix well. Then add in the Sesame Soy Ginger Vinaigrette (or soy sauce or other sauce you’ve decided on) and mix well so it coats all your veggies and chicken.

Chicken Stir Fry

Chicken Stir Fry

Chicken Stir Fry is all done!

Chicken Stir Fry is all done!

Once your rice is done, I like to stir it up to pull up any that might start to stick to the bottom. It’s also the warmest on the bottom! Serve about half a cup of rice with about a third of the chicken and veggie mixture. If needed, add more sauce on top and enjoy!

Brown rice is almost done!

Brown rice is almost done!

Brown rice is all done!

Brown rice is all done!

Chicken Stir Fry and a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. Yum!

Chicken Stir Fry and a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. Yum!

%d bloggers like this: