Portabella Burgers and Stuffed Bell Peppers

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Cut and cored the peppers and mixed up the pepper ingredients.

The other night we had my adopted daughter over for supper. She said she would est anything we ate so this is what we came up with. I was a little nervous having never made either one of the following recipes.

This is the same stuffed bell pepper recipe that I shared previously in my valentine date post.

I did kinda make my own tweaks.
I added a whole package of cream cheese (oops!! 8 oz instead of 3 oz) but it turned out tasty. I added two cups of Italian blend shredded cheese instead of 1/2 cup cheddar. I really wanted fresh onions, but had to settle for onion powder.

My favorite tweak turned out to be adding protein rich quinoa instead of brown rice. I cooked up two cups dry, so I’m sure it was more than two cooked cups. However, I also made more than 6 pepper halves. I do wish I had had more spinach as I like that sort of thing. I used bell peppers from my dad’s garden so they are a but smaller than from he grocery store.
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After I got the peppers into the oven, I marinated three large portabella mushroom caps in a whole bottle of Italian dressing. I allowed them to marinate about 15-20 minutes-the peppers take plenty long, you have time.

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The peppers cooked for about 45 minutes. The cheese was melty, the ingredients hot and the peppers tender.
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After a 20 minutes in the Italian dressing, I threw the caps into a skillet one at a time on medium heat. Just enough to get warm all through and a little browned. Each one took about five or seven minutes.
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The “burgers” had feta cheese, tomato, onion and spinach between buns.
The peppers could be cut up or eaten by hand depending on preference. It was a fantastic supper and so filling that we didn’t even consider making dessert.

Big thanks to Beth, for the portabella burger recipe.

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Banana Pepper Poppers {Recipe Revealed!!}

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This was our pan full of peppers before baking. I don’t know how many servings this might be in a regular household but this was about four and since we ate it as a main course we cleaned it up.

Ingredients
• Couple dozen sweet banana peppers
• Block of cheese (at least half pound)
• Package of bacon
• knife, cutting board, and baking sheet

Mathod
• Slice open peppers long ways and scrap/cut out seeds
• Slice cheese and put into pepper pockets. Arrange cheese evenly if possible
• Wrap bacon around each pepper. We cut one bacon strip in half for the small peppers.
Bake in oven 350° for 30 minutes or until peppers are tender, bacon is cooked and cheese is melted.
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The final product looked like this.
You can see that I barely remembered to take a picture of them.

My specifics:
I used turkey bacon because that is what I usually keep in my fridge.

I also used some of Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese. I used the onion and chive cheese, which crumbled and mashed nicely into the peppers.
I also just found out that Kenny uses vegtanle based rennet to make his cheese! So all y’all veggie people are good to go.

The sweet banana peppers I got from dad’s garden and boy oh boy are they delicious!

I am not paid nuttin’ to mention product names. I love their cheese and I felt decadent using something other than Walmart cheese. Heh.

Vegetarian Recipe Resources

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My friend, Jess, has recently become a vegetarian and confessed she didn’t have a lot of ideas or good recipes to make yummy veggie dinners. Enter Kat, the friend who has no life and loves surfing the Internet

Here are a few of my favorite, conveniently vegetarian meals:

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna (tons of cheese)—I believe in this vegetable. You could even just bake it and make it a salad.

Stuffed Bell Peppers (you can litterally stuff them with anything)

Scrambled Smash–This is a family tradition. Heat your skillet, clean out your fridge of all your veggies (meat optional). If you’re adding pepper, onions, mushrooms or spinach, I recommend to saute it all before adding eggs. Beat eggs equal to your other ingredients (eggs will hold it all together), add spices and a dash of milk if you’re feeling frisky. This is NOT an omelet.
It is a great way to have a one skillet breakfast and clear out your fridge of all the scraps of veggies.

Now we’re moving on to the list links. If you are a vegetarian reading my blog, please share your favorite recipe or website. Knowledge is full belly.

The first website I was reluctant to add because many of the photos look so fancy and perfect. Then I saw the picture of the beet humus. The Simply Recipes Vegetarian Section.

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I’m not brave enough to try it. Beautiful, no? I do like humus and it doesn’t take very long to make.

The blog 101 Cookbooks has an amazing selection and organization. This a blogger who truly wants to be a resource, like an online, searchable cookbook with tips. Quesadillas are super easy to throw into the oven. Cheesy melty goodness:

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VegWeb has a huge amount of recipes from fancy to duh-simple. This is also a good resource for Vegan recipes. Not all their recipes have pictures but the community can add their own. The feature that tickled me most was the Surprise me! Button by the search bar. It surprised me with this delicious looking dinner:

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Vegetarian Times some sweet recipes. Some of their categories include: 1 ingredient/5 ways, 30 minutes, vegan, one pot meals and more. Kale and garlic soup is Sooo perfect for this time of year:

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Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG) has a journal you can pay for, but it is not necessary to access recipes. They even have old journals in .PDF form on the website if you want some veggie reading.

Savvy Vegetarian has recipes and an advice section with tips on how to keep a balanced diet (protein etc). Also they have some nice categories, such as quinoa, tofu and beans/lentils.

All Recipes is my fvaorite site because it is super searchable and has user reviews that really help! I read a recipe then skim the reviews for those tips you wish your cookbook would tell you beforehand. The vegetarian lentil soup is very similar to mine, except for that whole sausage thing:

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I hope this helps you find out what you’re eating for supper. Gosh, I’m starving. Now I have too many options! What should I eat!?

Stay-In Valentine’s Day Plans for Playful Couples

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I designed this stay-in date night for my sister-in-law and have decided the plans are too good to keep to myself.
This is a Valentine’s Day date designed for the broke-college students, kids at heart, vegetarians and those wishing to break the stiff candle-lit dinner traditions.
If this is you, read on.

Keep in mind these are plans for adults and they often do adult things together. If you are offended by couples with healthy/happy relationships both physical and emotional then this is your warning to get outta Dodge.

Set the TableMake a blanket fort

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I know it may have been years since you last made one. Just get started and your inner child will fill in the blanks. If you’re timid to try, here is a link to help get you started: School of How To.

Fill your fort with blankets and pillows to lounge on. Then put a string of Xmas lights or a small night light inside instead of a candle–a touch light or battery flameless battery operated candle.
Eat dinner then push the dishes out of the fort and get to snuggling.

Make Dinner

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All Recipes has a fantastic recipe for Black Bean Stuffed Bell Peppers. This is a vegetarian recipe but you can easily modify it. Fry up some bacon til crispy. Cool and crumble it into your mix. Also, this is a special dinner so if you have fresh onions then dice and saute half an onion (at least).

Cook dinner together. If you don’t think cooking as a couple is romantic then try this: Turn off the phones, turn on music you both love, lock the doors, draw the blinds and get naked. If you’re a little weird about cooking in the buff, then keep on your underwear and apron.

Dessert for Chocolate Lovers

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Fun desserts are messy. I’m working the mathematical correlation now. I recommend fondue or a s’mores lab.
Contrary to popular belief you DO NOT need a fancy fondue pot nor double boiler to make fondue. Just be careful to melt slowly and stir often. Crock pots come in handy if you have one.

This is the same Groovy Fondue recipe I used for my birthday party. It was a HUGE hit. Pro-tip: You can make truffles out of the chilled leftovers. You’ll thank me later.

The tasty alternate dessert is to create a s’mores experimentation lab. Grab plates, ingredients and get ready to create a franken-S’more. A Lot On Your Plate blog has Ten S’mores Recipes that should inspire you to get creative. Marshmallows in the microwave are just hysterical anyway.

Games/Activities

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The first two activities are more passive, but as you will soon find that they are awesome to add to the list.

The Couples Q&A. There are literally tons of these questionnaires on the interwebz and a quick Google search will turn up plenty of results. This list is just to get you started. Keep in mind–Some lists are designed for deep emotional probing that is probably inappropriate on a fun night.

The second activity is for dreamers. Kit and I love making lists like these. Here is an example of a Couple’s Bucket List to get your creative juices flowing. Grab a notebook and dream big!

Minute to Win it Games.These are fun and can be adapted for two instead of a group party. Most of the materials are super cheap–to save even more money, do these games the day after V-Day and buy the sale candies.

The games from that blog that I chose are: Heart-a-stack, Marshmallow Toss, Love Spot (use paper cut outs instead of expensive craft pom poms), and Heart Pick Up. I have seen the Face Cookie on every M2W party blog and am exhausted with its overuse.

How to Get Your Spouse to Play Along
If your partner isn’t the playful sort then I don’t have much hope for you. However, if you’re gamer sweetheart is just a little shy then this is a great date.

Kit doesn’t do well with surprises so I typically spill ALL my surprises. Some guys or gals are like that. They need to be mentally prepared for fun so they can be excited instead of reluctant. Give them really obvious hints. Tell your partner that you will be playing some mini-games similar to Mario Party and that you’ll be making supper together. If you want to keep it a guessing game, tell them some of the ingredients to dinner or dessert.

If you use any of my date night ideas please let me know how your night went!
(You don’t have to share the gritty details).

Day 146: Red Pepper

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Recently went to the grocery store with Kit and found these individually wrapped red bell peppers.

This should not bug me as much as it does. It just seems completely silly. Peppers, unless they are quite old, don’t get ugly from sitting in produce boxes.

Kit speculated perhaps it was to make shoppers feel more safe about salmonella contaminates. Just makes me think they bagged it with some bacteria and set it to growing.

Have you seen other individually wrapped up produce?
We picked up this product long enough to snap a photo and kept on moving.