This photo is nowhere near as bad as what my mother used to make on a weekly basis. She used only hamburger and rice and put it in the green bell pepper. The gook from the hamburger sat on top and it was hard to look at, let alone eat. To this day, the thought of it takes away my appetite.
Here is the problem. My husband loves it and has fond memories of eating it when younger.
So I thought about it and came up with my own version of Stuffed Bell Peppers
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut the tops off the peppers. Remove and discard the stems, then finely chop the tops; set aside. Scoop out the seeds and as much of the membrane as you can. Place the peppers cut-side up in a baking dish just large enough to hold them upright.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef, season with salt and pepper and cook, breaking up the lumps, until the meat is cooked through and just beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to get rid of the fat.
Wipe out the skillet and add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the onions and chopped peppers and cook until beginning to soften (3 to 4 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and a pinch or 2 of red pepper flakes. Cook until everything is heated through, then stir in the beef and rice. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Stir in 4 oz of the cheese.
Fill the peppers with the rice mixture and top each with a sprinkle of the remaining cheese. Pour a small amount of water into the bottom of the baking dish and drizzle the peppers with a little olive oil. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake until the peppers are soft and the cheese is melted and lightly browned, another 15 to 20 minutes.
Since I still could not get my head around the “bell pepper” part of this, I put a little in miniature pie plates and just baked. I actually liked it. It is not as pretty, but it was yummy.
The other thing that I actually did, was use leftovers. I had made mushroom and onion risotto the previous night so I just used it in place of the rice, onion, and garlic. The risotto was a good way to use a bottle of white wine that I did not like the taste, but if you added a bit of butter to the risotto, it was DELICIOUS! I used Romano cheese, so the risotto was dairy free. But the pepper jack was not. It is amazing how much different Pepper Jack cheese tastes when cooked, as it is not one of the cheeses I would normally buy.
The original recipe was from Lee Drummond, but she added zucchini, and even though I have it over-growing in my garden, it did not appeal to me in this dish.
BTW my husband loved it. I served it with baby carrots, so he was a happy husband.
Going to make this tonight for dinner. I will post my photo later, for a comparison.
2 big handfuls fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1/2 jalapeno, sliced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, grated
2 limes, juiced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 (6-ounce) block sushi-quality tuna
1 ripe avocado, halved, peeled, pitted, and sliced
- In a mixing bowl, combine the cilantro, jalapeno, ginger, garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, sugar, salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir the ingredients together until well incorporated.
- Place a skillet over medium-high heat and coat with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season the tuna generously with salt and pepper. Lay the tuna in the hot oil and sear for 1 minute on each side to form a slight crust. Pour 1/2 of the cilantro mixture into the pan to coat the fish. Serve the seared tuna with the sliced avocado and the remaining cilantro sauce drizzled over the whole plate.
Washing mugs in the tub and getting hooked on Pop-Tarts. Here’s what to expect if you stay at home during construction according to Houzz.
Home remodeling pros and those who have been through a kitchen remodel agree that the best way to get through it is to flee and stay somewhere else. But this option is not always viable, so here is what to expect if you have to live in your house through a remodel and how to prepare for it.
Be Fully Aware of What’s Going to Happen
It’s going to be messy. It’s going to be noisy. For about a full week, you’re going to walk into a gutted kitchen expecting to turn on the coffee maker and then realize that you are barefoot in a construction zone. (It’s OK; it happens to the best of us.)
There will likely be frustrating delays and unexpected change orders. Unable to fix anything else for breakfast, you may get addicted to Pop-Tarts. You will find yourself rinsing a dish in a small powder room sink or a bathtub. You won’t be able to imagine wanting to dine at a restaurant again, and you’re going to feel the hit of all that dining out on your wallet.
Concentrate on letting go of control because if you try to hold on to it, you’re toast. This would be a good time to take up yoga or learn to meditate. In addition to helping you find a calm place mentally, it’s a great excuse to get out of the house. Find some good classes or apps and head to the park.
Plan to do the following before demolition begins:
- Carve out time to pack up the kitchen properly or arrange for movers since it’s a big task.
- Think about whether some sort of refrigeration will be possible. Perhaps there’s an old fridge in the garage you use for the beer or a minifridge elsewhere in the house. It’s worth renting a small one or buying one secondhand. Just be sure there is a place you can plug it in outside the kitchen.
- Include takeout food and restaurant expenses in your overall renovation budget.
- Change your attitude. Tell yourself and anyone who usually listens to you vent that you’re adopting a chic, healthy European lifestyle that involves stopping by the market every day for that night’s supper provisions. Note that these shopping trips will require some time management, but on the plus side, they will get you out of the construction zone.
Set Up a Makeshift Kitchenette
If possible, set up a mini kitchen in another room. Think about what equipment might come in handy for throwing together meals. Suggestions include:
- Electric teakettle
- Toaster or toaster oven
- Slow cooker
- Portable electric grill
- Electric frying pan (if you have a place to clean it)
Find portable appliances
For the rest of us, it’s more of a challenge. The mini kitchen can go just about anywhere in your house, but cleanup is the catch. So think about how you’re going to handle a small-appliance cooking mess before you make it — this may involve the patio, a hose, and a dishwashing tub.
I didn’t include measuring cups or mixing bowls among the things to leave out of the packing boxes because making pancakes or anything else that requires them is not an easily cleaned-up meal and rinsing out a batter bowl in the small sink in your lovely master bathroom is a bad idea.
Now that you know better and other messy stuff is a no-go, get used to the reality of your new at-home menu. It will consist mostly of food you can toast indoors or grill outdoors, as well as soup, cereal, and cold sandwiches. You’re going to want to buy stuff at the grocery store that you can eaat with a spoon.
Clean Up Immediately
Keep dish detergent, a scrub brush and a dish towel at the sink you’ve designated as your cleanup site. The designated food trash can should have a lid to contain odors and keep pests away. Scrape dishes into the trash, wash them, dry them and put them back in their designated spots.
Figuring out what not to pack is key because once you box up your stuff, you won’t be able to find anything you need until after the kitchen is completed and the boxes are unpacked.
Suggestions from folks who have been through this recently:
- Grilling tools
- Carving knife, bread knife, paring knife
- Cutting board
- Two or three platters
- Coffee, tea, sweeteners, a few coffee mugs, and teacups
- Paper plates and napkins
- A set of silverware and a dish-and-glass place setting for everyone in the household
- Liquid detergent, scrub brush, dishwashing tub, dish towels
- Salt, pepper, favorite spices
- Foil, plastic wrap, a storage container or two
- A few serving spoons
- Can opener, bottle opener, wine opener
- Pet food and bowls
- Placemats and a tablecloth
- Large tray for carrying food from wherever it is prepared to wherever it will be served
A Word About Paper and Plastic
A lot of people go strictly paper and plastic for dishes and silverware, and if that’s what you need to do to get by, there’s no judgment here. But it’s bad for the environment, it’s expensive, and it gets old. You will need only one plate, bowl, mug, glass, fork, spoon, knife, and placemat for each family member because, without a kitchen, cleanup will be immediate.
And no extras are required; please know that no one else wants to be a dinner guest at a house undergoing a kitchen renovation. It’s like the Seinfeld episode in which Kramer revealed that he had prepared all the food in the shower.
Keep Paring Down
While packing up the kitchen, keep a donation bin nearby. As you touch each item, ask yourself if it is worth packing, storing, unpacking and then finding space for in the beautiful new kitchen. When was the last time you used it? Does it, spark joy? Where are you going to put it in the new kitchen? Can you imagine yourself using it in the new kitchen? The answers to these questions will let you know if you should wrap it up and pack it or pass it along to someone who needs it.
In the film Under the Tuscan Sun, Frances Mayes’ advice for surviving a renovation is to “pick one room and make it yours.” This concept is key to reno survival.
Designate one room as your sanity-saving space and be very clear with the contractor that it is off-limits for cutting through and for storing tools, supplies and the things that have come out of the kitchen.
The best options are rooms that are not bedrooms and not directly adjacent to or above the kitchen. Workers will want to spread into the closest spaces when they need to stash the new cabinets or boxes of tile, so if the room is kitchen-adjacent, be vigilant because it will be a slippery slope. One day, it’s one box of tile being stored there; the next day, it’s four major appliances.
Whether you’ll be eating takeout, using the grill or becoming an expert with the slow cooker, eating off TV trays from the sofa or picnicking on the living room floor will get old pretty fast. Some use their screened-in porches or patios during nice weather; others set up a card table or a drop-leaf table with a pretty tablecloth. Wherever it is, be vigilant about cleaning up crumbs after meals.
Camping and living without a kitchen have a lot of things in common, including cooking under the stars. If you’ve ever wanted to improve upon your grilling skills, this is your big opportunity.
Research recipes and techniques, follow inspirational grillers on social media and try cooking things you’ve never tried on the grill before. Keep the tools you’ll need out of the packed boxes, and the accompanying condiments in your makeshift kitchen.
Tell me: Have you made it to the other side of a kitchen remodel? What helped you get through it? Which kitchen items were must-haves? Please share your best tips with us in the Comments.
Some great ideas from Houzz using vines, vertical gardens, trellises, screens, espaliers and more to transform your exterior walls
Start by establishing your desired pattern with wires fastened with nails or eye hooks to the desired wall or fence. Then, plant a vine-like trailing ivy or confederate jasmine to grow along the lines of the trellising, cutting or rewrapping any shoots that stick out from the structure.
Tip: Including some trailing plants — like ivy, pothos, philodendron or grass-like carex can help conceal the vertical growing structure.
If you’re planning to train the espalier yourself, plant the tree against a wall and add trellising to support the espalier structure. Then, choose the primary lateral branches (often in matched pairs for a symmetrical form) and gently pull them down into straight, horizontal lines, fastening them to the trellising. Remove other lateral branches and cut the top part of the trunk where it meets the top of the trellis to encourage lateral growth.
Keep in mind that smaller pots placed in full sun against a heat-reflecting wall will dry out quickly. To counteract these effects, set up a drip irrigation system, be diligent about hand watering or choose heat-loving, drought-tolerant succulents or cactuses.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Wrap the beets individually in aluminum foil and place them on a sheet pan. Roast them for 50 minutes to 1 hour, depending on their size, until a small sharp knife inserted in the middle indicates that they are tender. Unwrap each beet and set aside for 10 minutes, until cool enough to handle. Peel the beets with a small, sharp knife over a piece of parchment paper to prevent staining your cutting board.
Meanwhile, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, mustard, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and set aside. While the beets are still warm, cut each one in half and then each half into 4 to 6 wedges and place them in a large mixing bowl. As you’re cutting the beets, toss them with half of the vinaigrette (warm beets absorb more vinaigrette), 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Taste for seasonings.
Place the arugula in a separate bowl and toss it with enough vinaigrette to moisten. Put the arugula on a serving platter and then arrange the beets, almonds, and goat cheese on top. Drizzle with additional vinaigrette, if desired, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve warm or at room temperature.
I did the beets the day before and they were perfect. It is an easy make-ahead dish for dinner. Usually, I have beets in my garden, but they were not happy this year, so bought mine at a local Farmer’s Market.
Cauliflower Soup and Caprese Salad for dinner the other night was perfect, although I think either one would have been enough for dinner with a little delicious bread.
Creamy Cauliflower Soup (Vegan)
serves 6 as a starter, 4 as a main
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped garlic (about 2 cloves), plus more to taste
2 cups (200g) chopped leeks (white parts only, from 2 or 3 leeks)
1 head cauliflower, chopped
7 cups (1.65l) vegetable broth
1/4 cup (35g) raw unsalted cashews or 1/4 cup (35g) blanched slivered raw almonds, soaked
3 tablespoons chopped chives or a grating of nutmeg (optional; choose one, not both), to garnish
In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat and saute the garlic, leeks, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt for about 3 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Add the cauliflower and saute for another minute. Add the vegetable broth, increase the heat to high, and bring just to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the cauliflower is completely tender. Stir the mix periodically and mash the cauliflower with a wooden spoon.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the soup to cool slightly; stir in the nuts. Pour the soup into your blender in batches and puree on high for 1 to 2 minutes, until smooth and creamy. (Remember to remove the plastic cap in the blender top and cover the opening with a kitchen towel so steam can escape while you blend.) Return the soup to the saucepan and warm it over low heat. Stir in salt to taste. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with either chopped chives or grated nutmeg.
This is a simple salad that I often make for dinner or for friends. I do make my own pesto and this one was pesto from my garden. Grab a handful of Basil (a few stems are ok), some toasted pine nuts, good EVOO, a few heads of garlic, Reggiano Parmesano to taste and throw it all in your blender. Add a little salt and/or pepper to taste. Just sample till it tastes great to you. Couldn’t be simpler. I had to laugh a few years ago on a Rick Steve’s trip to Italy that people thought the demo on how to make Pesto was impressive. I thought it was runny and not particularly tasteful.
Now, you’ve mastered making your own pesto, put it in layers with the Heirloom tomato (sliced 1/4″) with Burrato mozzarella (the good kind with the runny middle – YUM) and drizzle a little Balsamic Reduction over the top. Not only is it pretty, but it tastes delicious!
Pair it with a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio and you have the perfect summer dinner with hardly any cooking.
As a working designer, I sometimes forget that it is important to share projects I am currently working on. This a remodel of a kitchen that is about to start construction. We completely re-designed the area with a sitting area to enjoy the view, lots more storage, and more light. Can’t wait to see the work begin.
The front entry will be enhanced with a Store Front door and side windows, to let in additional light and make more of a statement entry.
The kitchen is completely re-designed to make the space open and user-friendly.
There will be lots of storage and a raised bar area at the entry to the house.
The window wall will give you lots of storage with a view.
The inside aisle will be a cooks dream with a gas cooktop and two ovens. I will keep you posted as the work begins.
Happy to help you with all your interior design needs.
Here’s a great article from Real Simple Magazine. Enjoy!