Four Dinners That Satisfy, and Why it YOU Should Know It Can TASTE AMAZING!

Appetizers / June 9, 2016

I should begin with this alert:  I am toting a serious soap box in this blog post, so beware the roaring culineer!!!

That said, I was in Sam’s Club yesterday. And I just don’t know what to say. I used to be turned off by 5 pound jars of mayonnaise even when everyone around me was singing the praises of LARGE equals GOOD. Now I’m just turned off altogether. Is this bashing? No. Is this an honest opinion by someone who, over the course of refining my cooking techniques over the last few years has reached a point where I am almost sickened by what we pass off as food?

YES.

Why? Because someone is fooling you into thinking your lives are complete WITHOUT it. By relegating nourishment to the basement of your priority list, you’re depriving yourself of something so wonderful. ​

​You have five senses. So do I. Some folks have perhaps lost the use of theirs, which is not the case for most of us. We just choose not to use them. It’s like we are all morphing into creatures who can only taste salty and sweet. I’m just wondering why TASTE and QUALITY got trampled along with bell bottoms and rotary phones back in the 70’s? We have all seen the charts. We spend less of our earned living on food today than 50 years ago. And in America, where food is plentiful, we still go for big, puffed up, sugary fillers instead of choosing to explore the most rewarding adventure of all: REAL FOOD.

I get it. We turned the tide on civilization when food became easy to grow, distribute and buy. We saved countless people from starvation and helped entire countries create economies that allowed them access to better education, healthcare and the opportunity for peaceful lives. But somewhere along the way we started caring more about the quality of gas for our cars as opposed to the quality of food that goes into our bodies. We started feeling like if we could get dinner for $1, why on earth should we pay $20? And while there is certainly an argument to be made that expensive is not always good, why not use a different benchmark, if you can, to calculate what your own body is worth?

Hmmm. Let me just show you with pictures. Which of course come with recipes. Because that’s what I do. And to get them you have to read a little editorial. But I will make sure I give you some tips along with the raving and ranting. Deal? And you? You will promise to try something new and give those two senses, SMELL and TASTE a little more excitement and reward than usual?

​Excellent. I feel MUUUUCH better now.

So enjoy these four main dish recipes from someone who wishes I was COOKING THEM FOR YOU!


Roasted Mini Pepper Chicken Poppers

Serves 4


Ingredients:

8 mini yellow peppers halved, and seeds removed. You can use red and orange peppers as well
4 T good olive oil
1 C chopped fully cooked grilled chicken breasts (prepackaged) I used an organic choice from Publix
½ C fresh grated asiago cheese
2 heaping T mayonnaise, or enough to bind the cheese
2 t herb seasoning. I used World Market Smoked Peppercorn Sage Rub
Handful of chopped cilantro
1 t kosher salt and ½ t fresh cracked pepper
¼ C green goddess dressing to garnish


Method:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Rub the olive oil all over the halved peppers. Place on a baking sheet cavity side up. Mix the mayonnaise with the grated asiago choose combining just enough of the mayonnaise to bind the cheese into a moist paste. Divide the cheese mixture among the peppers, pushing itinside the cavity of the pepper. Then put in the chicken. I liked to stack mine high but it depends on the shape and depth of the pepper halve. The point is to make sure it can be held in your hand and eaten in one bite without it spilling. Then sprinkle with the peppercorn seasoning, or seasoning of your choice. Steak seasoning would be good, as well as Herbs de Provence. Then the salt and pepper and finally top with the chopped cilantro. Roast for 15 minutes. Remove, let cool for about 5 minutes. Place on a serving platter and drizzle with the green goddess dressing. Serve!

Chinese Chicken Salad

Makes 9 pies


Ingredients:

1 small head of green cabbage, sliced thinly
1 large red pepper, chopped into small chunks
1/3 C slivered almonds
2 green onions, chopped
¾ C fresh cilantro chopped
1 ½ C chicken, chopped (I used left over roasted chicken. It’s the only way to go!)


Dressing:

¼ C rice wine vinegar
1/8 C soy sauce
Just slightly less than
¼ C mild oil, like canola
½ t sesame oil
Salt and pepper
1 T sugar


Directions:

  • Mix dressing and set aside, combine all other ingredients, toss with dressing, serve.

Italian Stuffed Peppers

Stuffs 6 large peppers


Ingredients:

6 yellow or orange peppers
1 lb ground mild Italian sausage
1 lb 92% lean ground beef
Handful of fresh oregano
3 T of fresh oregano
1 T of fresh rosemary, chopped
1 egg
¼ C heavy cream
¼ C plain bread crumbs
1/3 C sweet white onion, chopped
½ C grated parmesan cheese
Zest from one lemon
Kosher Salt and pepper
½ lb mozzarella cheese grated
3 T olive oil
1 t paprika
1 T butter for greasing baking dish


Sauce:

2 15 ounce (or that appx size) cans of basil and oregano flavored diced tomatoes
1/3 C tomato sauce
1 T fresh oregano


Direction:

  • Cut the tops off the peppers and dig out the white pith in each one. Make a cut on the bottom to flatten the pepper being careful not to cut so deep you cut through and open the pepper so it has no bottom. Put in a large baking dish that has the bottom lightly buttered.
  • Grate the cheese and set aside. Put the two cans of tomatoes and the tomato sauce in a saucepan along with the 1 T fresh oregano. Bring to simmer and cook for 10 minutes, cover and keep warm.
  • In another large bowl combine the sausage all the way through the salt and pepper. Blend with hands, divide and fill each of the peppers with the meat mixture all the way to the top. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle paprika on top. Cook in a 400 degree F oven for about 40 minutes. Top each with about 1/3 C mozzarella cheese and return to oven with broiler on. Cook until the cheese is melted and begins to bubble. Serve over rice, and ladle the tomato mixture on top.


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