Meatless Recipe #10 : Potato Cheese Soup

20150823_174955_resizedSummer is quickly leaving us. Temps are in the 80’s all this week. It’s nice and cool out. It might get as low as 58 tonight. And with all that rain we had back in the spring and summer, we are going to have a beautiful autumn this year!  And autumn means it’s time to start making soup!  I love one pot meals, like soup, and one of my favs is potato cheese soup.

Potatoes were a staple on the dinner table growing up.  We always had mashed potatoes, fried potatoes, or boiled potatoes with a meal. I love a good baked potato now and then, and will eat potatoes if they are served but I rarely cook them myself to have with a meal other than mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving. If I even think of buying a whole bag of potatoes these days, I’ve got some particular meal in mind that will use most of them up like potato cheese soup.

This is a good one pot meal for those who love soup on those nice cool weekends in autumn or winter. It serves about six to eight depending on how big your bowls are and it’s super easy to make.

Here’s your grocery list:

6 large russet potatoes – peeled and cubed
1 yellow onion chopped
1 32 oz. box of vegetable broth
1 stick of unsalted butter
1/2 pint of heavy cream (small carton)  optional
4 cups of Mexican shredded cheese
Salt, pepper, cumin, onion powder, and garlic salt

Toppings:  Sour cream, Bacos, and more shredded cheese

Start my melting half the stick of butter on low heat in a large pot. Don’t bother with a skillet. I like to cook a one pot meal in exactly that – one pot – instead of using a skillet and having to transfer things over to the pot later. Once the butter is melted, add the chopped onion and saute it for about five minutes.

Then add half the box of vegetable broth to the pot.  Follow this with all of your peeled and cubed potatoes and stir on medium heat. It won’t hurt to start seasoning it a bit with salt, pepper, cumin, onion powder, and garlic salt while the potatoes are cooking.  As the mix comes to a boil, stir it and start mashing up some of the potatoes.  You can use a potato masher if you want; I just don’t like all of the potatoes to be mashed. I like the soup to be a little chunky so I usually just use a wooden spoon to break up some of the potatoes.  You can add more broth as needed if it starts to cook down.

Once the potatoes are softened and the soup is the consistency you want, turn the heat back down to low and add the rest of the broth and the other half stick of butter.  Stir until the butter is melted.  Then you are ready to start adding your cheese. You’ve probably noticed I use the Mexican shredded cheese for everything. That’s because it’s a nice mix of both yellow and white cheeses.  If you like one more than the other, then feel free to only use white or yellow shredded cheese. I like to add handfuls at a time and stir the soup until the cheese is melted.  Once all the cheese is added, start slowing pouring in your carton of cream while you are still stirring. Remember, the cream is optional and definitely adds calories to the soup, but it does give it a nice creamy texture. Season with more salt, pepper, cumin, onion powder, and garlic salt if needed and you are done.

Serve the soup with Bacos, sour cream, and more shredded cheese on top.

If you serve six, each bowl is about 363 calories without the cream, and 497 calories with the cream. There’s 11 grams of protein and only 2 grams of sugar in this recipe (with or without the cream).   It’s also loaded in Potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Calcium.

What’s your favorite soup that you like to make during the cooler months?

Meatless Recipe #9: Mexican Breakfast Frittata

20150823_101142_resizedI suck at making omelets.  Mainly when it comes to flipping or folding them.  So I always end up just scrambling them and calling it cowboy breakfast hash.

Years ago I watched someone on The Food Network make a breakfast frittata and thought, I could do that!  And they are pretty easy to make. Who needs omelets when you can do this instead, right?

When I first made this recipe, I put a lot more ingredients into it: cauliflower, sausage, peppers, onions, broccoli, tomatoes, mushrooms… And you still can if you want but I much prefer a simpler version these days.

I chop half of a green bell pepper and half of a yellow onion and mix them in a bowl.  Add about 1/2 cup of Mexican shredded cheese. Then add about 1/2 cup of your favorite salsa.  Add about six eggs and mix well.  Then add some salt and pepper. This amount makes about 4 large frittatas.

Take a large muffin tin and grease 4 of the cups with butter or Pam cooking spray. Then pour your egg batter into these four cups and bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.  You know they are done because they’ll rise a bit and appear solid on top.  You’ll also notice the edges just start to brown a bit.

Take them out of the oven and let them cool a bit.  The risen top will sink back down. They should pop right out of your tin just like muffins. Still hot and ready to serve!

Here’s your grocery list:

1/2 green bell pepper chopped
1/2 yellow onion chopped
1/2 cup of salsa
1/2 cup of shredded Mexican cheese
6 eggs
Salt and pepper
Butter or cooking spray for the muffin tin

Each frittata is about 184 calories and 14 grams of protein.  If I was going to add anything else to it, it would probably be fresh chopped mushroom.  When I was eating meat, I loved sausage in them!

What is your favorite way to eat eggs?

Meatless Recipe #8: Chinese Salad with Ramen

20150816_150418_resizedThis is a recipe I think I saw on a cooking show on Food Network years ago, but it was for Chinese chicken salad.  It was yummy, but another one of those recipes I probably only made once a year. And I haven’t made it in several years actually. I found a can of water chestnuts in my pantry about a week ago. I’d probably bought them with intentions of making the salad again, but just never have.  So, I decided I’d do it this weekend.

The best part about this recipe is that it only takes about ten minutes to make and you don’t have to chop anything. Head to the Chinese section of your grocery store and pick up a can of baby corn, a can of water chestnuts, a can of mushrooms, and a can of bamboo shoots.

Dynasty actually makes a can of stir fry veggies that contain all of these items, except instead of corn you get bean sprouts. I bought this can of mix veggies for the chicken salad version, but I like the addition of the baby corn and I don’t like sprouts, so I bought everything separately for the salad this time instead of the mixed can. But you could certainly use it if you wanted, cutting your prep time down even more because you’ll only have one can to open and drain.20150816_144906_resized

Instead of the sprouts, I like to use a cole slaw mix of cabbage and carrots.  It gives the salad a bit more crunch and I just think it tastes better than sprouts. You’ll also need one pack of Ramen noodles, not cooked and without the seasoning packet.  How many of you always end up with empty packets of Ramen seasoning in your pantry?  What do you do with them?  Do you just add them to another bowl of Ramen and double up on the seasoning or is there some other cool recipe out there I don’t know about?  I’ll have to Google that some day.

The only other ingredient is soy sauce.  I used Ponzu sauce this time.  I’d never used it before and bought a bottle recently to give it a try.  Ponzu is just citrus flavored soy sauce.  It’s got a nice tangy flavor.

So here we go with how to prep this salad.  Open all your cans (or one can) of veggies and dump them in a colander.  Toss them while washing the veggies and then give them a good shake to get rid of any extra water. Then mix them in a bowl with two cups of slaw and half the Ramen noodles.  You’ll have to give the Ramen a good smash.  It helps to hold the block between your palms and squeeze it.

Then add about 4 tablespoons of Ponzu or Soy.  You can add more to taste.  The flavor gets stronger if you let the salad sit in the fridge overnight. Add a dash of salt and give it all another good toss and serve.  Done!  I like to mix it in a giant bowl with a lid so I can shake it up. Like I said, you’ll spend more time opening the cans and smashing the Ramen noodles than it takes to make the salad.

Here’s your grocery list:

2 cups of cole slaw mix
1 8 oz. can of bamboo shoots drained and washed
1 8 oz. can of water chestnuts drained and washed
1 8 oz. can of baby corn drained and washed
1 7 oz. can of mushrooms drained and washed
1/2 block of Ramen noodles – uncooked and with no seasoning
4 tbs. of Ponzu or Soy Sauce
Dash of salt

Toss everything together and serve!  Don’t you love easy instructions?

Like I said, you could add chicken to this recipe if you want.  It was quite yummy before when I was eating meat. But it gets even better!  You get about six small servings from this recipe. Each serving is only 88 calories without the addition of chicken. It’s also very low in sugar and fat, and has 4 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber per serving.

Meatless Recipe #7: Broccoli and Grape Salad

20150815_160211_resizedToday, I was choppin’ broccoli (SNL reference)! I can’t take full credit for this recipe.  If you search the web, you’ll find several versions of it out there. I’ve seen it in the deli at the grocery store too. Usually J makes this recipe at least once a year during the summer. It’s one of his favs.  He usually adds tomatoes to his which as you know, I don’t like. But I was craving the salad and was having company today so I decided it would be a nice cold lunch for a hot day here in St. Louis at the end of summer so I made my own.

The base of the recipe is usually always the same.  You start with about 4 cups of fresh broccoli, a cup of chopped grapes, and 1/2 cup of chopped purple onion. Some people add pasta and some don’t.  I chose to try it with 2 cups of bow tie pasta.  Some people add nuts or Bacos.  I added about 1/2 cup of chopped pecans.  Some add carrots too, but I left those out.  That’s it for the salad itself!  It serves about six.

The dressing is just 1 cup of mayo mixed with a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and about 2 tablespoons of white sugar.  Mix that well and pour it over the salad and toss.  The dressing should be sweet with a bit of tang.  I’m not a huge fan of mayo so I stick to one cup for my dressing, even though this size of salad could probably use double the dressing if you want it to be a bit more creamy. Remember the grapes give the salad a sweet taste too so don’t go overboard with the sugar in the dressing.  Once I’ve added the dressing I put the salad in the fridge and let it chill for a while before serving.

Here is your grocery list:

4 cups of broccoli florets (this is about one medium head or two small bags of pre-chopped broccoli)
1 cup of chopped seedless grapes (I like red grapes)
1/2 cup of purple onion chopped
1/2 cup of chopped pecans (or nuts of your choice)
2 cups of bow tie pasta cooked and drained
1 cup of mayo
3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (or to taste)
2 tablespoons of sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Boil the pasta and drain.
  2. Chop the broccoli if needed.
  3. Mix the pasta, broccoli, grapes, pecans, and onion in a bowl.
  4. Mix the vinegar, mayo, and sugar in a container and pour over the salad and toss well.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste. Store salad in the fridge for about 15 to 30 minutes before serving.

If you serve six, each serving is about 386 calories (most of this is from the mayo so tread lightly). There’s about 6 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber per serving as well.

This is a great summer salad for parties or brunches. You’ll be surprised how well the grapes, onion, and broccoli go together!

Ingredients of a Healthy Relationship – Part 5

375x321_lose_weight_fast_how_to_do_it_quickly_ref_guideIt’s been 45 days since I went (semi) meatless and so far I’ve lost 13 lbs!  By semi, I mean I only eat meat at lunch at work, and even then it’s probably only 2 or 3 times a week and it’s always a healthy portion. And never fast food!  My favorite “meat” lunches are one of those flavored Tuna Select packs or a chicken sandwich.  But most of the time I’m eating leftovers from the night before so that’s meatless. Breakfast and dinner through the week, and the entire weekend, is always meatless.

My sister read a Facebook post of mine about it and told my mom. My mom told me she didn’t know I was dieting. I happily told her I wasn’t dieting! She was also shocked to learn I’d lost that much weight just by cutting out meat.  It’s been too hot to walk or ride my bike so there’s been little exercise involved either.  But that will change soon when the temperatures start dropping as we get into the autumn months. I know from previous diets and trips to the gym that eventually you reach a plateau where the weight won’t come off.  I think amping up the exercise regimen will help then.

Two weeks ago we actually decided to go out to eat at The Pasta House for lunch on a Saturday.  We went in thinking we’d just get soup and salad.  That all changed when we picked up the menu. I decided I wanted pasta con broccoli and minestrone. John picked a mushroom risotto to go with his soup.  And it was very tempting so we got garlic bread to go with it and an appetizer of mushrooms.  We thought the plate of mushrooms would only be about 12 pieces.  Wrong!  It was about 48 pieces.  We probably didn’t even eat a dozen of them.  But we finished off the bread, soup, and pasta and took the mushrooms home. Total bill, including two teas to drink, was over $50 after tip!

It made us sick.  Not only was the bill disappointing, but the amount of food we ate made us feel gross.  The money could have bought groceries for a week or almost filled up both of our cars with gas.  And we didn’t touch the mushrooms at home so those got thrown away.  And that’s pretty much how I felt about the whole experience. We ate too much and we threw our money away. J agreed.  We’ll never do that again.

Some of you might still not be convinced that this is actually working. Even Mom couldn’t believe J had been completely without beef since late June, but it’s true. He even picked out the bacon from a recent can of baked beans we opened for a meal and asked that I not buy that kind anymore.

I’ll be the first to admit, it hasn’t been easy. Not only have we changed the way we eat, but that required us to change the way we shop and the way we cook.  I’ve probably searched for more recipes online over the past month than I ever did before.  And I am also saving money when I go to buy groceries (I do all the grocery shopping).  Meat is expensive and that alone added about $50 to the grocery bill every two weeks.  Now I shop every weekend for fresh ingredients and buy less. I also try to plan meals ahead for the week, and I rarely did that before.

I’ll say it again…we aren’t dieting.  We’ve still been snacking on cookies. We still enjoy toast with homemade jam. We bought an apple pie a few weeks ago and had it with ice cream.  J made a homemade black berry cobbler for us one week. Potato chips are still a weakness. I still drink diet soda and J still drinks root beer. So we are still enjoying sweets and such, but obviously only in moderation.  Hey, I gave up coffee in February. I’m not about to give up cookies.

Meatless Recipe #6: Spaghetti

unnamedSpaghetti is another meal we have in our house at least once a month. I was craving it and decided to make a meatless version.  In the past, it was noodles, sauce, an onion, and hamburger meat. Not anymore!

I love it so much it’s also usually a dinner at Mom’s house when I go home.  She has a red sauce and a white sauce spaghetti recipe and usually makes a pot of both when I visit.  It’s served with homemade slaw, green beans, corn, and bread sticks. Nothing beats Mom’s spaghetti and I’ve never been able to replicate it.  And, meatless or not, I probably won’t stop eating it when I go home.  It’s one of those fond memories of home.

I will say this meatless version was awesome though.  And again, if I didn’t tell you what was in it, you’d probably never guess it wasn’t meat.

Here’s your grocery list:

1 medium yellow onion chopped
1 25 oz. can or jar of pasta sauce (your choice…I use Simple Truth Organic Mushroom)
1 box of Light Life Smart Ground Original Crumbles
1 4 oz. can of mushrooms drained
1 box of spaghetti noodles (I use about half the box and break the noodles in half. I also prefer wheat noodles.)
Salt, Pepper, Italian Seasoning (or fresh Oregano)

Boil the noodles until tender and then drain. Keep about a cup of the starchy water! While the noodles are boiling, saute the onions with a bit of butter or coconut oil.  Add the cup of water you saved back to the noodles and stir. Remember, the water keeps the noodles from getting too dry and also makes them nice and glossy looking. Add the onions and mushrooms to the noodles and toss while cooking on medium heat. Immediately stir in the entire jar of sauce or how much ever you prefer.  Add the smart ground crumbles (this is the same ingredient I had in my meatless chili recipe). I use the entire box. Then season with salt, pepper, and Italian seasonings. You could even add minced garlic or diced peppers if you want. Stir until hot and then serve with Parmesan cheese.

You could easily get about 8 small portions out of this if you use the entire box of noodles, but for two of us, it’s about 6 servings. If you use the entire box of noodles to make a large pot, then 6 servings are about 630 calories each. That’s kind of high, but for us this is a one pot meal that we don’t really eat with anything else so we don’t mind the high calorie count. Plus, it’s got 30 grams of protein per serving, 11 grams of fiber, and only 3 grams of fat.  Again, you can control the calorie count by what type of sauce you use and how much, what type of noodles you use and how much, and what else you choose to eat with your spaghetti.

How you like your spaghetti?

Meatless Recipe #5: Seitan Stir Fry with Basil Thai Sauce

Seitan-CroppedI’ve been craving Chinese food but didn’t want to get take out so last night I made a stir fry dish with Jasmine rice and it satisfied the craving. This is another simple recipe with only three main ingredients: rice, veggies, and seitan.

Seitan is a clean protein and meat substitute. Protein-rich seitan (pronounced say-tahn) is a tender and juicy food derived from wheat and prepared in a broth. In 7th century China, it was crafted by Mahayana Buddhist monks to support a nutritious, vegetarian diet. It’s low in fat and has zero cholesterol, and 27 grams of protein per serving (4 oz.).

I used a frozen bag of stir fry veggies consisting of green beans, carrots, celery, and mushrooms. While the rice was boiling, I added the veggies to a hot pan with a bit of coconut oil.  I also added a few more fresh mushrooms that I had cut up just for some added substance. As the veggies were heating up, I seasoned them with a bit of pink Himalayan salt and some powdered ginger.

We switched to only using pink Himalayan salt back in March. It’s much healthier for you and is the purest salt there is. You can read about some of the benefits of pink salt here.  I mention this because going forward, you’ll know that if salt is an ingredient in my recipes, I’m only using pink salt.

20150731_182306_resizedNext, I added one box of Sweet Earth Chipotle Style Seitan to my veggies and stirred the mix until the seitan was heated through (It’s already cooked.)  I added a small pat of butter to the rice for flavor and then scooped it onto the plate making a nice bed.  Then I layered the veggie/seitan mix over the rice.  I topped it with Thai Basil Sauce and served.

This recipe serves 4 and is about 252 calories per serving. It has zero cholesterol, 3 grams of fiber, and 18 grams of protein per serving.

Here is your grocery list:

2 cups of Jasmine rice (prepared)
1 frozen bag of stir fry vegetables
3 tablespoons of coconut oil
1 box of Sweet Earth Chipotle Style Seitan
1/2 cup of chopped mushrooms (Optional. Add your own veggie of choice for more flavor.)
Powdered ginger to taste
Pink salt to taste
Thai Basil Sauce or sauce of your choice

  1. Prepare the rice. Add a pat of butter for flavor.
  2. Sautee the veggies in a hot pan with coconut oil.
  3. Add Seitan and stir until heated through.
  4. Season mixture with salt and ginger.
  5. Serve the mixture over a bed of rice.
  6. Top with basil sauce.

Meatless Recipe #4 – California Veggie Penne

unnamedThis is another recipe I found my searching the web and Pinterest. I found a recipe or two that I liked for penne rigate and then I put my own twist on it. Macaroni, Spaghetti, and Lasagna noodles have always been a staple in our house but I wanted to switch it up and try something new.  So I chose the penne rigate noodle because they are a little bigger and I thought they’d add more substance to a smaller portion.

I call this one “California Veggie” because that’s the name of the bag of frozen vegetables that I used in it. This is a cauliflower, broccoli, and carrot mixture but you could use whatever you want.  Or you could use fresh veggies too.

The best thing about this recipe besides taste is that I can make it in under thirty minutes and it only has four main ingredients: noodles, a bag of frozen vegetables, one can of tomatoes, and chickenless chicken strips. Yep, you read that correctly!  It’s another bean based protein food that I love.  I saw it at Whole Foods a few weeks ago and picked it up and it does taste just like chicken!  I’ve only tried the Southwestern flavor so far, but I’m sure the other flavors are just as good too.unnamed (1)

Instead of canned tomatoes, you could certainly use a pasta sauce. The first time I made this dish I used a can of thick diced tomatoes that did not have a lot of sauce in them. The second time I made it (pictured above) I used a can of crushed tomatoes that had more red sauce.  I actually prefer the lesser sauce version over more sauce but both were yummy.

Start by bringing the noodles to a boil in salt water. I use only about two cups of noodles. Once they are tender, drain the noodles but keep about half a cup of the hot starchy water. Once the noodles are drained, put them back in the pot. Add a pat of real butter to them along with the pasta water you saved. You know how once you drain your noodles, if you leave them sitting there too long they tend to dry out.  Well, adding just a bit of that starchy water and the butter to them makes the noodles shiny and keeps them from drying out.  Turn your stove to medium heat because you don’t want the noodles to start boiling again. They will soak up the water as you add the rest of the ingredients.

Then add your bag of frozen veggies. At this point, I season with salt and pepper.  I also add a bit of Italian seasoning.  The first time I made this I used spicey oregano from our herb garden. The second time I made this I used basil from the garden. Whatever spices you like in your Italian dishes will be just fine. Onion is another staple in Italian dishes for me so I chopped up about 1/4 cup of fresh yellow onion and added it to the mixture.  Next add your can of tomatoes. Stir the mixture so that the veggies unthaw and the mixture gets heated throughout.

Then I add about one dozen chickenless strips and continue to mix and toss. Once everything is heated well, you are ready to serve! This recipe makes about four decent sized portions that are only about 195 calories each. It has about 1 gram of fat, 5 grams of fiber, 6 grams of sugar (mostly from the canned tomatoes), and 12 grams of protein per serving.

Here’s your grocery list:

1 Box of Penne Rigate Noodles (you’ll only use 2 cups in the recipe)
1 Can of Diced or Crushed Tomatoes (do not drain)
1 Bag of California Style Frozen Veggies (or veggie mix of your choice)
1 Pack of Chickenless Chicken Strips (use about 12 strips in the recipe)
1/4 of chopped yellow onion
Salt, Pepper, and Italian Seasonings (Oregano or Basil), and 1 pat of butter

  1. Boil the pasta in a pot and drain when tender. Keep about 1/2 cup of the hot water.
  2. Put the pasta back in the pot on low heat. Add the butter and the 1/2 cup of water to the pasta.
  3. Add the frozen veggies and can of tomato sauce to the pasta and mix.
  4. Season with salt, pepper, and Italian Seasonings.
  5. Add the chickenless strips and continue to stir and mix until heated throughout.
  6. Serve with dinner rolls and Parmesan cheese.

Meatless Recipe #3 – Chili

chiliChili is one of those dishes that we consume in our house at least once a month, even in the summer. Nothing beats a pot of homemade chili. In the winter, I like to let it simmer in the crock pot all day on a lazy Sunday. Previously, I kept it pretty simple and made it with just chili beans, kidney beans, diced tomatoes, onions, chili sauce, hamburger meat, and seasoning.

Once we decided to go meatless, I started searching for vegetarian chili recipes online. Most of these recipes incorporate more vegetables like peppers, corn, or even celery into the recipe. To me, that’s not chili. That’s soup! So I wanted to stick to my original recipe and just eliminate the hamburger meat.

00011110849403_fullI started with a chopped onion which I sauteed for a few minutes on high heat in a large pot. Then I added a large 40 oz. can of chili beans as my base. Then I added two 15 oz. cans of diced tomatoes. I like Hunt’s diced tomatoes with sweet onions but any kind will do. Then, I added a 15 oz. can of Simple Truth Organic Tri-Blend Beans. I was tempted to had two cans but with the chili beans and one can of the Tri-Blend, I thought it had plenty of beans.

Next I added 1 packed of chili seasoning. Again, any kind will do. I always add a bit more chili 4293407348_c0865a8dd6_bpowder for taste anyway. Then I poured in half a bottle of chili sauce. I like Heinz Chili Sauce but will actually buy the generic brand most of the time because it’s cheaper and tastes the same.

Add salt and pepper for taste, and most of the time I add about a teaspoon of sugar. We have used a dash of cinnamon before instead of sugar. Yep, you read that right! Cinnamon!  I’ve also heard of people adding some dark chocolate to their chili. Give it a try sometime. But for this pot of chili, I used plain old sugar.

Product-Smart-Ground-Original_0At this point, I thought the chili tasted great but I had recently bought a new meatless ingredient that I was eager to try. I’d been saving it for tacos, but thought what the heck! It’s called Lightlife Smart Ground Original Meatless Crumbles. So, we added the entire box to the chili. It’s basically made from beans and only has 70 calories per 1/3 cup. And each serving has 11 grams of protein and less than 1 gram of sugar. And it was awesome!  Had I not told you what it was before tasting the chili, you probably would have never guessed that it wasn’t meat. It really helped “beef” up the recipe.

We eat our chili topped with a bit of sour cream, shredded cheese, and some corn chips. And it was amazing!  We’ve definitely perfected the recipe for meatless chili. Look out, winter, here we come!

Here’s your grocery list:

1 40 oz. can of chili beans (any kind)
1 large yellow onion – chopped
1 15 oz can of kidney beans or black beans or tri-bean blend
2 15 oz cans of diced tomatoes (do not drain)
1/2 bottle of chili sauce
1 pack of chili seasoning
1 box of Lightlife Meatless Crumbles
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon of sugar or cinammon

– Sautee the onion on medium heat for 5 minutes in a large pot
– Add all canned ingredients to the pot and stir
– Add chili sauce and seasonings and continue to stir
– Add the meatless crumbles and stir
-Bring just to a low boil and serve
– Top with cheese, sour cream, and corn ships

This recipe made about 6 large bowls (2 cups per bowl). That’s about 308 calories per serving, 23 grams of protein, and 15 grams of fiber. And if you watch what type of beans you use, it will have zero grams of fat!

How do you make chili?  What are some of your favorite staple ingredients for a pot of chili?

Meatless Recipe #2 – Stuffed Peppers Mexican Style

PepperThis is a recipe I’ve made on occasion but have now made two or three times since we went meatless. In the past, I made it with hamburger meat, Spanish rice, taco seasoning, and either salsa or canned Rotel.

It’s pretty much the same now except I replaced the meat with refried beans. I’ve also added Quinoa instead of rice before and I like to add corn or onions to it for more flavor. In the past, I always used green bell peppers but a few weeks ago I made it with yellow and red peppers which are much sweeter. I love a good versatile recipe like this! Here’s my latest version:

I cut the tops off of two large bell peppers and removed all of the seeds and then set the peppers aside. Then in a large bowl I mixed together 1 pack of Uncle Ben’s Spanish Style Ready Rice (I don’t cook it first), half a cup of whole kernel corn (we grow corn so I used one ear and cut the kernels off), half a can of refried beans, and about one cup of salsa.

I pack this mixture into the peppers and then sit the the peppers in a shallow Pyrex dish with about an inch of water in the bottom. The water keeps the bottoms from burning. Then I baked them in the oven for about thirty minutes at 350 degrees. You’ll know they are nice and tender when the peppers start to wrinkle around the top. Top them with some shredded cheese right before you serve them. That’s it!

Each stuffed pepper is about 260 calories if you follow this recipe. They also have about 10 grams of protein and only 4 grams of fat depending on what type of beans you use. I like Simple Truth Organic refried beans. For salsa, I’ve used Pace or On The Border before. For this last meal, I used Carlita’s Thick and Chunky Mild Salsa because I discovered it’s very low in sugar – only about 1 gram of sugar per serving.

Here’s your grocery list:

1 Pack of Uncle Ben’s Spanish Style Ready Rice
1 15 oz. Can of Refried Beans (You will only use half for two peppers.)
1/2 Cup of Whole Kernel Corn (Fresh or canned. If you use canned, be sure to drain.)
1 Cup of Salsa
2 Large Bell Peppers (Make sure they are level on the bottom so they sit up.)
Some shredded cheese for garnish

  1. Cut the tops off the bell peppers and remove the seeds.
  2. In a large bowl mix the rice, corn, beans, and salsa together.
  3. Pack the mixture into the bell peppers.
  4. Place the peppers in a Pyrex or casserole dish with about one inch of water in the bottom of the dish.
  5. Bake the peppers for thirty minutes at 350 degrees.
  6. Remove the peppers from the oven and top with shredded cheese before serving.

peppergenderHave you seen the post about how to determine the sex of a pepper by how many bumps are on the bottom? It says male peppers have 3 bumps and are good for cooking in dishes. Female peppers have 4 bumps and have more seeds or taste sweeter and are good for seed collecting or eating raw.

Well, folks, guess what? Peppers don’t have a sex. They are hermaphroditic. This “three bump or four bump” method is just a culinary way of remembering how a pepper tastes and how to use it when cooking. Assigning them a sex makes it easier to remember. So the method is true, but the peppers don’t really have a gender.

What is your favorite type of pepper and how do you enjoy cooking with it?  Do you have a favorite stuffed pepper recipe?