Whatcha Got Cookin'?

I have gotten into a good routine of prepping things for the week on Sundays so that we have more time when we get home to play trains and less time having to chop onions, because, priorities, you know? I am always on the look out for recipes that can be made ahead, and I recently stumbled across a delicious quinoa stuffed bell pepper dish on another blog that looked like a good make-ahead meal. I paired it with some baked beans (Maddie and Matty both prefer them over black) and a nice Abita Pecan Harvest poured into a fancy Allagash glass from our trip to the brewery two summers ago. Delicious! Here is my version of the recipe, modified to make ahead (I made them Sunday and we had them Tuesday night). 

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers, serves four to five adapted from A Beautiful Mess
1 cup quinoa (I used a mixture of colors)
5-6 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeds removed and chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 cup tomato sauce (I used 2tbsp of tomato paste instead)
1 3/4 cups vegetable broth (I used chicken since I had some to use up)
1 cup shredded cheddar (or pepper jack) cheese (I used a sharp cheddar mix)
3-4 bell peppers (I used 4 of the yellow and orange variety)

In a medium size pot heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Saute the garlic, jalapeno and onion until the onions begin to soften (about 2 minutes). Rinse the quinoa. Add the quinoa to the hot pot. Cook for one minute. Pour in the vegetable broth and tomato sauce, season with cumin. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. 
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut the bell peppers in half and remove the seeds and veins. Rub the peppers with 4-5 tablespoons olive oil. These don't need a lot of oil because as they roast they will start giving off their own juices. Bake for 10-12 minutes.Once the quinoa is cooked and the peppers have softened fill each pepper with the quinoa mixture.
Once the peppers were roasted and filled, I put them in a dish and covered them with saran wrap to hang out in the fridge until we were ready to eat them later in the week.
When we got home from work I preheated the oven and baked at 400 degrees for 12 minutes, but once I served them I noticed that the inside was a little cool because of the way I had stuffed the peppers (instead of halfsies) so if I cut them the same way next time I will probably put them in about 18 minutes. During the last two minutes of cooking add the cheese to the tops of the peppers. 
Matty and I had a yummy dinner and leftovers for me to take to work for lunch today, which is a good thing since it is a snowy mess in Boston; I am definitely going to need a nice hot lunch to get me through the day!

Maddie decided not to have any of our meal and stuck with her beloved Annie's mac and cheese, but she has been pretty adventurous this week with cheese tortellini Monday night and lots of sips from Mama's green smoothies in the morning. We try not to push anything on her and let her make decisions about what she eats, though we do always encourage her to try one bite before making the call as to whether or not she likes something. Hence, a lot of Annie's mac and cheese, pancakes, and fresh fruit get eaten in our house, but considering she has never had McDonald's and doesn't even like french fries, I would say our goal of her having a healthy relationship with food is going pretty well.

Though I am not so sure what is going to happen when we try fish with her again based on a certain new best friend/nightly snuggle buddy.....

Happy eating! I am going to go count the minutes until lunch now :)


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