Easy Creole Stuffed Peppers

As cooler weather blows in, even here in Florida, comfort food comes to mind.  Something that will stick to your ribs and warm you to your bones.  But that doesn’t have to be a recipe that keeps you in the kitchen for hours, simmering away. 

These flavor packed stuffed peppers are super easy to make and need only five ingredients.  It was originally created for a contest that had to use Progresso soup (as you can see by the picture!).  The soup makes a great base, and the couscous actually cooks right in it, which really carries the flavor throughout the recipe.  

Easy Creole Stuffed Peppers

Easy Creole Stuffed Peppers

2 green bell peppers
18.5 ounce can Progresso Rich and Hearty Lentil and Andouille Sausage Soup
1/2 cup couscous
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
4 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded
Additional fresh cilantro for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray an 8″ x 8″ x 2″ baking dish with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

Cut the top 1/4-inch off of the peppers, remove seeds and veins. If necessary, cut a very small slice off of the bottom of the peppers so that they sit flat. Place peppers onto a microwave-safe plate and microwave on high until they begin to slightly soften, approximately 2 – 3 minutes. Remove from microwave; set aside.

Place the soup into a medium saucepan with a lid. Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the couscous, place lid onto saucepan and remove from heat. Allow to sit 5 minutes; stir. Mix in the chopped cilantro.

Fill the peppers halfway with the soup/couscous filling. Add 1/4 of the shredded cheese into each pepper; top with remaining filling. Place stuffed peppers into the prepared baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and place in preheated oven. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes until heated through. Top peppers evenly with the remaining shredded cheese. Broil under high heat until cheese melts and begins to bubble.

Garnish with fresh cilantro and enjoy!

Makes 2

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Spicy Kickoff Shrimp Hoagies

A few years back there was a contest that needed to incorporate mustard into a game day dish.  Hence, the Spicy Kickoff Shrimp Hoagie was invented.  This recipe layers a lot of flavors and is super easy to make.  It starts by using frozen breaded shrimp, that once cooked, are tossed in a homemade spicy butter compound, that melts to create a sauce.  The sandwiches are topped with a slaw tossed with a mustard ranch dressing, and the remaining dressing is served on the side.  Give this one a try!!

Spicy Kickoff Shrimp Hoagies

Spicy Kickoff Shrimp Hoagies

9 ounce box frozen breaded jumbo butterfly shrimp
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons Sriracha
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle
1 teaspoon Creole seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup good quality ranch salad dressing
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
3/4 cup finely shredded cabbage
3 tablespoons shredded carrot (approximately 1 small carrot)
1 8-inch soft hoagie roll, split, then cut in half

Carefully cut the tails off of the shrimp, then bake according to package directions.

While shrimp cook, in a medium bowl, mix together the butter, dry mustard, Sriracha, ground chipotle, Creole seasoning and oregano; set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together the ranch dressing and prepared mustard.

In a small bowl, toss together the cabbage and carrot; top with 2 – 3 tablespoons of the mustard ranch and toss to fully coat.

When shrimp are cooked and while they are still hot, add them to the bowl with the seasoned butter mixture. Using two spoons, toss shrimp until butter mixture melts and fully coats the shrimp.

To assemble the hoagies, evenly divide the shrimp between cut roll, top with the slaw, drizzle with some of the mustard ranch. Serve with remaining mustard ranch on the side.

Serves 2.Facebooktwitterpinterest

Cucumber Cooler

With the holidays approaching it’s a great time to share a new cocktail with you.  This creation was for a vodka contest a few years back.  Even though it has cucumber in it, you may think of it as a summer cocktail…which it is fabulous on a hot summer day…but it is just as perfect for a brunch or your holiday celebrations.  It is light and refreshing, and the mint gives it that holiday flair.

Cucumber Cooler

Cucumber Cooler

2-inch slice of a cucumber
5 mint leaves
1 1/2 ounces simple syrup
1 1/2 ounces vodka
3 ounces club soda
Additional cucumber and mint for garnish

Cut the cucumber slice into 1/2-inch slices, then cut in half. Place cucumber into a cocktail shaker, add in the mint leaves and muddle. Add in the simple syrup and vodka. Close and shake; then strain into an ice filled rocks glass. Top with the club soda.

Garnish with a thin slice of cucumber and mint leaves.

Makes 1 drink.Facebooktwitterpinterest

Chicken Bolognese with Creamy Garlicky Polenta

With our first cold snap of the season, thoughts of a big bowl of warm comfort food comes to mind.  But, you don’t have to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, nor need a ton of ingredients to create that big ol’ hug in a bowl…as well as giving it a different and tasty spin!

My Bolognese uses frozen chopped veggies, which saves tons of prep time, and a can of diced tomatoes with green chilies adds another layer of flavor.  Of course, the touch of wine doesn’t hurt either!!  My favorite part of this recipe is the polenta.  I love serving the Bolognese over it as opposed to a standard pasta.  It gives the dish additional flavor, texture and just seems a bit fancy!

Chicken Bolognese with Creamy Garlicky Polenta

Chicken Bolognese with Creamy Garlicky Polenta

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 cup frozen seasoning blend chopped vegetables (onions, celery, green & red bell pepper)
1/2 pound ground chicken
14.5 ounce can petite cut diced tomatoes with green chilies
1/4 cup red wine
3 tablespoons minced fresh basil, divided
1 cup milk, plus up to 1/2 additional cup
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup fast cooking polenta
1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons finely shredded parmesan cheese, divided
Additional finely shredded parmesan cheese, minced fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil for garnish

Heat 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the frozen vegetables and cook until heated through, approximately 2 – 3 minutes. Add in 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil and the ground chicken. Cook until chicken is cooked through, approximately 3 – 4 minutes, breaking up the chicken into small pieces as it cooks. Stir in the diced tomatoes with juices, red wine and 1 tablespoon basil. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook at a low boil for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When Bolognese has cooked approximately 20 minutes, prepare the polenta.

Place the 1 cup milk, garlic powder, and remaining 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high heat just until it is about to boil. Stir in the polenta and cook, stirring constantly, until it begins to thicken, approximately 3 – 4 minutes. Stir in the 1/3 cup parmesan, and 1 tablespoon basil. Stir in enough milk (from the additional 1/2 cup) to loosen to desired creamy consistency.

When ready to serve, stir into the Bolognese the remaining 1 tablespoon basil and remaining 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese.

To serve, spoon polenta evenly into two serving bowls, top with the Bolognese. Garnish with additional shredded parmesan cheese and minced fresh basil; drizzle each with about 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil.

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Ribfest 2018

This is the first time in years I have been home over Veteran’s Day weekend so was able to attend one of my favorite events that I have really missed.  It is the Northeast Exchange Club’s Ribfest held in Vinoy Park  on the waterfront in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida, and this year was their 30th anniversary.  The net proceeds of the event helps the community in its efforts to prevent child abuse, helped build a new children’s hospital, contributes to many youth oriented causes, helps individuals in need and promotes Americanism.  So besides being a really fun and yummy event, raises money for some really good causes.

There were some mighty tasty ribs this year…some I liked the tenderness of the meat, some I liked the smokiness of the meat, some had better sauce.  But my favorite all around was Desperado’s BBQ & Rib Co. (and to be honest they are normally my favorite – always spot on!!).  They also have live music each day of the event.  If you are ever in the St. Petersburg/Tampa, Florida area around Veteran’s Day, try and squeeze this one into your schedule! (Don’t let the short lines fool you – we went right when the event opened to try and beat the crowds, the event does gets PACKED!!! )

 

 

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