What’s Cookin’ – Pico de Gallo

A long-time (I won’t say “old” because it sounds so awful) friend came to stay for a few days and made this absolutely amazing pico de gallo. It’s simple and wonderful and tastes so fresh …

tomato and avocadoPico de Gallo

1 large tomato

1 small onion

1 avocado

1 lime

salt and pepper to taste

*optional* jalapeño chili peppers – fresh, seeded and chopped; or canned, diced

*optional* cilantro, fresh chopped

Cut the tomato, onion and avocado into small dice. Zest the lime over them, then juice the lime over them and mix well, adding salt and pepper to taste. If you’re looking for a little heat or spiciness, add chilis ’til you’re happy. Although we’re not fans of cilantro, add it now if you like it. Chill. This is delicious on burgers or scooped with tortilla chips.

Microplane Adjustable Grater

There are a couple of Pampered Chef tools I bought at a party a few years ago that I love for the zesting and juicing.

For zesting, their Microplane Adjustable Grater is wonderful. I zest a lot of oranges, lemons and limes for recipes and we are fortunate enough to have a few citrus trees in our yard.

 

Citrus Juicer

 

 For juicing one or two pieces of fruit, I like their Citrus Juicer. Works like a dream and easily gets every last drop of juice.

What a great way to eat your fruits and vegetables!

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What’s Cookin’ – Stuffed Bell Peppers

The gorgeous red bell peppers from the farmers’ market made delicious Stuffed Bell Peppers. I’ve taken several different versions and tweaked them into this recipe that everyone seems to enjoy.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Stuffed Bell Peppers

1 cup long grain white rice

2 cups water

cooking oil

1 small onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound lean ground hamburger (ground turkey or chicken would also be good)

salt and pepper

1 – 26 oz. jar of spaghetti sauce

4 large or 6 medium bell peppers (red and yellow are our favorites – mild and sweet)

1 cup shredded cheese (we use colby jack)

Directions:

Place rice and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 12-15 minutes. When the rice is done, remove from heat and leave the lid on until time to add to the hamburger mixture.

In a large skillet, heat oil (I use extra virgin olive oil). Add onion and garlic, saute. Add hamburger, season with salt and pepper, cook until browned.

Melon Baller

Melon Baller

While onion, garlic and hamburger is cooking, wash and prepare peppers for stuffing. Cut peppers in half lengthwise, cut out stems and scrape out white membranes and seeds. (I have found the easiest way to do this is with a melon baller. They’re small, round and sharp and it goes much faster.) Place pepper shells, cut side up, in a large baking dish.

Once the hamburger is done, drain any grease. Stir in the cooked rice and the spaghetti sauce. Add a little hot water to the spaghetti sauce jar and shake it to get every last bit – put this in the hamburger mixture as well.

Spoon the hamburger mixture into the pepper shells. (I use a Pampered Chef Large Scoop for this.) Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Sprinkle grated cheese over the peppers and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

I have found that you can sneak other vegetables in, too. I like to chop mushrooms and saute them with the onion and garlic. This dish serves 4 to 8, depending on size of appetite. Hubby eats 2 pepper halves, I eat one at a sitting. They taste really good reheated, too, which is a bonus.