Don’t be square, circle around to an easy, colorful dish even with leftovers.

Appetizers / May 8, 2015

I just returned from a long business trip, so you can imagine just how empty my fridge and pantry had become in my absence. Then when I threw out all the leftovers that my husband didn’t eat — because he went out with his friends almost every night — it was positively impoverished looking. (Ron said he missed me, but I wonder?) So when it was time for dinner the first night in my kitchen, I had to do some creative thinking. The resulting success was a combination of some leftovers I was able to keep, and some warmed up hamburgers simply cut into cubes to look dressier.

After some quick thinking, I came up with this meal: Cheesy Stuffed Mini Peppers with Latin Cubed Burgers and a Fig Ginger Port Wine Reduction. Seriously, it’s rice, cheese, peppers, burgers, dried fruit and grape juice. Hello! You can impress with the right title!

So first I combined the cottage cheese, Pecorino-Romano cheese, goat cheese, rice, egg and some seasoning. (I added the rice because as I was creating it, the mixture got too thin and I needed another binder. Enter left over white rice.)
By cutting the ends off the little peppers, and coring out the white pith, I had a nice little vessel for my cheesy creation.
Now for some dressed up sauce to make it look like I SPENT. ALL. DAY. — Cutting up some candied ginger and packaged small dates, which I warmed in butter, I had the perfect base for the rest of the port wine I had in the back of my pantry, (thank goodness!) which I let reduce down to a lovely, sweet and flavorful sauce.
Good heavens. I didn’t even have any meat in the house. Just some Sriracha Burgers I had made weeks before and put in the freezer. Zippidy-doo-de-frost in my microwave and they were ready to eat. I just took a knife and cut the round edges off so they were square and stacked them for drama, and I was set. Hello happiness!
Phew. Time to head to the supermarket.

Cheesy Stuffed Peppers With Fig Ginger Port Wine Reduction


8-10 small mini peppers, tops cut off, rinsed and insides hollowed out
2 T oil for greasing baking dish and rubbing on peppers
½ C cottage cheese
2 oz goat cheese
1 egg
1/3 C grated pecorino Romano cheese
½ C leftover white rice
1 t Salt and ½ t pepper
¼ C chopped packaged mission figs (not fresh)
2 T chopped candied ginger
1 T honey
1 T butter
Splash of champagne vinegar
¾ to 1 C port wine
Sriracha sauce to garnish


  • Mix all stuffing ingredients; cottage cheese to salt and pepper. Stuff peppers and lay in a shallow baking dish rubbed with 1 T of the oil. Then rub the rest of the oil on top. Cook in a 375 oven for 35-40 minutes, until the tops begin to blister.
  • In a small sauté pan, melt the butter, and add the ginger and figs and let cook for about 1 minute or until warmed through and before the butter browns. Add the splash of champagne vinegar. Then add the port wine, and the honey. Stir, set on low and let it bubble and reduce down for about 15 minutes. It won’t be all the way thick but you’ll see some thickening as it reduces by half or more. Take off stove and let sit for about 15 minutes to thicken naturally.
  • Remove the peppers and plate on a smear of Sriracha if desired. Cover with the reduction sauce, and garnish with a baby turnip green leaf. I served it with a spiced up meatball/burger.

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