Thursday, March 20, 2014

"Sweet" Pepper Nachos!

Since we strive for a low grain diet around here I needed something to replace corn tortillas in our favorite easy weeknight dinner: NACHOS! My kids love nachos. They can customize their own toppings, and except for the tortillas I feel good about feeding this dish to my family.

Fast forward; one day I was preparing my produce delivery (shout out to Door To Door Organics) and those super cute sweet peppers were offered.

LIGHT BULB! I could cut these cuties in half and have CHIPS! I got to work and here's how I did it:

8 - 16 oz of sweet peppers (pictured above)
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 pound grass fed beef
1-2 tbsp Penzey's southwest seasoning or taco seasoning of your choice 
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Toppings of your choice: plain greek yogurt (instead of sour cream), salsa, black beans, cilantro, chopped tomato, avocado or anything you love on YOUR nachos.

Slice the peppers in half, lengthwise and remove seeds. Place in a 9 x 13 pan or baking sheet. I bake mine at 350 for about 10-15 minutes. This is really just to warm them up, because we like a bit of crunch! While your peppers are cooking, sauté onions, ground beef & southwest seasoning in a skillet until meat is browned.  At this point I make a pile of meat and slather in toppings, then put peppers on the side to "scoop" with. It's a fork kind of meal....unless you love messy fingers! 

My kids eat this up and clean their plates. I feel great about sneaking (ahem, I mean offering) so many veggies in one meal and they feel like they are getting junk food! WIN!

How do you sneak *ahem* Offer vegetables to get your kids to eat them? I really hope you enjoy this quick, easy weeknight meal! Let me know how it goes over at your house!!!

God Bless from my (im)perfect mess....

Monday, March 10, 2014

Obsess Much? The story of how I became addicted to cauliflower...

So cauliflower, you know that stuff you refused to eat as a kid and only ate as an adult because you knew it was good for you? Yeah, that stuff. Well, get ready to be blown away!

*whew* ok, admitting it is the first step, right?

I started eating cauliflower with a passion about 5 years ago. I found an AWESOME meatball recipe {BBQ Meatballs} from Ree Drummond (over at The Pioneer Woman) and wanted to eat them with mashed potatoes. I also have a carb issue. I love carbs...the carbs do not love me back -or- they love me too much, depends on how you look at it. In any case I heard you could mash up cauliflower and use it as a substitute. Well, my first few attempts were gross, until I tried using my immersion blender to get that smooth, creamy consistency that we all know and love.


In the years since that was really the only way I'd eat cauliflower. I happened upon a "buffalo" cauliflower recipe a few months ago. It has changed my world. I now get no less than 4 heads of cauliflower in my produce delivery every week & my family has fallen in love with cauliflower!

I want to share a few of the ways we have made it up around here:

1. Mashed Cauliflower which is really pureed, but you get the idea
Cut one head of cauliflower into florets, steam until soft
Drain water from pan
Add 2 tbsp butter
Using immersion blender, blend to desired consistency
Salt to taste
(we love ours with Ree's BBQ meatballs, which of course I make with ground goose or venison)

2. Buffalo Cauliflower. This is a great "game" night snack
Cut 1 head of cauliflower into florets, place into 9x13 pan
In saucepan, melt 3 tbsp butter with 1/3-1/2 c hot sauce 
(use more if your head of cauliflower is bigger than average)
Once melted, pour over cauliflower in pan. Stir to distribute
Bake for 20 minutes (ish) at 400

3. Lemon Dijon Cauliflower. Elegant & delicious
Cut 1 head of cauliflower into florets, place into 9x13 pan & season with salt
Bake at 400 for 15 minutes then remove from oven
In the meantime in a saucepan, melt 5-6 tbsp butter
Once melted, whisk in 2 tbsp dijon and 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Pour over cauliflower in pan. Stir to distribute
Return to oven and bake 10-15 more minutes

4. Cauliflower "pizza" Would be a great light lunch with a salad
Cut one head of cauliflower into florets, steam until soft
Drain water, if necessary
Use a fork to lightly break apart the florets, place in large bowl
Add 2 eggs, 2 c shredded mozzarella cheese, 1 tsp salt & 1 tsp italian seasoning
Mix well
Press into a pizza pan or cookie sheet making sure it's evenly spread
Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes until golden
Remove from oven and top with sliced tomato and a sprinkle of cheese
Return to oven to melt cheese (about 5-10 more minutes)

5. Cauliflower rice The perfect low carb side for stir fry!
Cut one head of cauliflower into florets, steam until soft
Drain water, if necessary
Use a fork to lightly break apart the florets
This results in a texture similar to rice

6. Cauliflower  Cheese Sticks
Follow the above steps for "cauliflower rice" then proceed
Prepare two cookie sheets with a piece of parchment paper
Add 2 cloves of minced garlic, 3 large egg whites, 1 1/2 c mozzarella cheese and 2 tsp italian seasoning 
Stir to mix well and press onto one of the prepared sheet pans
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes
Remove from oven, using the other sheet pan prepared earlier, flip "loaf" onto it
Season the bottom (now face up) with more italian seasoning and 1/2 c mozzarella cheese
Bake an additional 10-15 minutes
Cool, it will harden slightly, then cut into pieces.
Serve with marinara.

How's that? Nearly one delicious cauliflower recipe for each day of the week! Try one and you too may just be head over heels in love with cauliflower!