Grilled Stuffed Mini Peppers

The weather is getting better! The snow piles from the nor’easter are nearly gone and we’ve had a few evenings where it’s not frigid by dinner time – so we’re starting to fire up the grill.

Cave Tools recently sent me a pepper grill rack to try out (you can see my review here) and we finally busted it out to make these delicious little peppers. I think most people automatically think jalapenos stuffed with cheese and bacon for something like this, but I wanted to make something that felt light and fresh – and that was more toddler-friendly.

These were perfect! I can’t wait to make them again once we have lots of fresh herbs in the garden.

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Grilled Stuffed Mini Peppers
(a Kate’s Recipe Box original)
Makes 12

12 rainbow mini peppers
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 Tbsp. fresh chopped dill
1 Tbsp. fresh chopped basil
1 Tbsp. fresh chopped green onions
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. lemon zest

Clean and core the peppers.

In a bowl, mix together the cream cheese, dill, basil, green onions, garlic, and lemon zest until well combined. Stuff peppers with cream cheese mixture.

Using a rack, grill over medium heat until the peppers are softened and the cream cheese puffs slightly. Serve immediately.

Review: Cave Tools Jalapeno Grill Rack & Pepper Corer

Disclosure: I received these products free in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

We’re just getting into grilling season here, so when Cave Tools asked if I wanted to review their Jalapeno Grill Rack & Pepper Corer I jumped at the chance. We love making dinner on the grill now that the evenings are warmer (and it’s light out!) and I love products that make grilled dishes easy – this is one of them.

Because we have a toddler who insists on trying everything we’re eating, I decided to try the rack out by making stuffed mini peppers (check back for the recipe tomorrow!).

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The set comes with a corer tool to make prep easy. I sliced off the top of the peppers and then used the tool to clean them out and was impressed with how quickly and effectively it worked. My husband even commented on how fast it was!

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I stuck the peppers in the rack as I filled them. The one thing you do have to be mindful of is that you pick peppers that won’t fall through the holes – or tweak as you go. I added two smaller peppers together in some spots. A little foil would have worked, too.

The rack itself is super sturdy – the legs snap into place so it won’t collapse unless you want it to. This made it easy to transport the rack from the kitchen to the grill.

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I loved that the rack kept the peppers away from heat enough that they could cook without burning (brown spots = poison to a toddler) and we didn’t have to deal with any cheese spillage as the mixture got melty. Cleanup was also a breeze – the rack goes right in the dish washer.

I really loved this rack and can’t wait to try out some of the other things they suggest (like chicken legs!) this summer.

If you want your own jalapeno grill rack, they can be purchased from the Cave Tools website – use code ROASTPEPPER15 to take 15% off. They can also be purchased via Amazon. Cave Tools also has a lot of other fun grilling accessories, I recommend checking them out while you’re browsing!

Spanakopita Quesadillas

You know what’s tricky about Lenten Fridays with a toddler? Lunch.

He is, in general, really good about eating whatever we’re eating for dinner. I’m one of those mean moms with an “eat it or go hungry” policy. But, lunch is another story. I usually let him pick his own lunch and that means we have a healthy rotation of dinosaur chicken nuggets and cold cuts. So far, Lenten Friday lunches have meant PB&J. For both of us.

I wasn’t sure how this would go over, but I was actually pleasantly surprised. Jake ate half of his quesadilla before declaring he didn’t like it and requesting something else. Half of a spinach-filled, whole wheat wrap? I’ll take it.

And, I loved these so I was happy to steal the rest of his. Serve with tzatziki or sour cream for dipping. We added some olives on the side for a light lunch. If this was dinner, I would have opted for a Greek salad or hummus and veggies to round out the meal!

SpanikopitaQuesadilla

Spanakopita Quesadillas
(from Cooktoria)
Serves 4

1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup diced white onion
1 clove garlic
7 cups baby spinach, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 egg
1/4 cup feta crumbles
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
4 flour tortillas

In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and add the olive oil. Add in the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add in the garlic and spinach and cook for another 3-4 minutes, until spinach is cooked down a bit. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer mixture to a bowl and pop it in the fridge.

In a bowl, mix together the egg, feta, Parmesan, and dill until thoroughly combined.

When the spinach mixture is cool enough to handle, squeeze out any remaining liquid and add the spinach to the cheese mixture. Combine well.

Divide the mixture evenly between 4 tortillas. Fold each in half and fry over low heat for 6-8 minutes, flipping halfway.

 

 

 

Cauliflower Nachos

A lot of my Lenten Friday dinners are recreated junk food or takeout fakeout. There’s a reason for that. By the time Friday rolls around, that’s really all I want. And I’m assuming I’m not alone in that since pizza is such a popular Lenten dinner.

So, here’s another option if you’re thinking of ordering pizza tonight.

No, you won’t be fooled into thinking the cauliflower is tortilla chips – but this is delicious in it’s own right. And you’ll feel more virtuous downing a whole plate!

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Cauliflower Nachos
(from Delish)
Serves 2

1 large head cauliflower, chopped
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 cup shredded Colby-Jack cheese
Your favorite nacho toppings – we used salsa, black beans, black olives, pickled jalapenos, and sour cream

Preheat oven to 425°F.

In a large bowl, toss cauliflower with olive oil. Sprinkle spices evenly over the cauliflower and toss to coat. Spread out on a baking sheet and roast for 35-40 minutes, until golden and crispy.

Top with cheese and any other toppings you want warm and bake for 5 minutes more, until the cheese is melted.

Add remaining toppings and serve.

Slow Cooker Vegetable Lasagna Soup

The weather is giving me whiplash. We keep going from unseasonably warm to snowstorm and back. Yesterday, we were at the park in light sweatshirts. Today, it’s snowing.

Luckily, that means it’s soup weather – and I just happen to have a great meatless soup to share as part of the Lenten dinner series!

This soup is pretty much veggie lasagna in a bowl. I’ve tried a bunch of lasagna-type soups and they never quite hit the spot because they lack the cheesy goodness that is lasagna. This version features an ingenious dollop of cheese on top. I love it!

VeggieLasagnaSoup

Slow Cooker Vegetable Lasagna Soup
(from Foodie Crush)
Serves 10

1 yellow onion, diced
2 zucchinis, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
6 cups vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. dried basil
1/8  tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
12 oz. lasagna noodles

 

For the ricotta cheese topping

1 8 oz. container ricotta cheese
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/4  cup basil leaves, chopped
Generous pinch of salt

Add the onion, zucchini, garlic, tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, vegetable broth, bay leaves, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, kosher salt and black pepper to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-7 hours.

While the soup cooks, mix all ingredients for the cheese topping together in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

When the soup is done, prepare the lasagna noodles according to the package directions, chop them up, and add to the soup.

Serve the soup topped with a dollop of cheese topping.

Pinto Bean Burritos

Welcome to the 2017 Lenten dinner series! Every Friday during Lent I’ll be posting a meatless meal idea. This series was born out of my desire to do something other than order pizza on Lenten Fridays, and it’s resulted in some of our favorite meals.

I picked a really quick and easy meal for our first Friday because, if you’re anything like me, this totally snuck up on you and you’re scrambling. These are perfect for nights like that – they take about 5 minutes to prep and only 15 minutes to bake. I threw some chips and salsa with this and it was a great, no-fuss meal.

PintoBeanBurritos

Pinto Bean Burritos
(slightly adapted from Aggie’s Kitchen)
Makes 4-6

I can of pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 sweet onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
Whole wheat tortillas
Shredded cheddar
Salsa

In a bowl, combine the pinto beans, onion, bell pepper, vinegar, salt and pepper – gently mash until the ingredients start to come together.

Divide the filling between tortillas and top with cheese and salsa. Roll up, and wrap in a piece of foil sprayed with nonstick spray.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, until heated through.

12 More Meatless Meal Ideas for Lent

Today is Ash Wednesday – the start of Lent – which means I’m kicking off my annual Meatless Meals for Lenten Fridays series. As usual, you’ll find a great meatless meal here every Friday until Easter!

To kick things off, I’m sharing a dozen ideas below. You can also check out my previous roundups – 16 Meatless Dinner Ideas for Lent, 16 More Meatless Dinner Ideas for Lent and 9 More Meatless Meal Ideas for Lent.

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Mashed Potato Waffles

Honey Lime Sweet Potato & Black Bean Tacos

Guinness Pizza Dough

Jerk Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers

Buffalo Chickpea Burgers

Kung Pao Chickpeas

5 Minute Pad Thai Fakeout

Chili Cornbread Waffles

Chickpea Puttanesca

Hatch Chili Mac ‘n Cheese

Caramelized Onion Tart

General Tso’s Cauliflower

(If You Give a Moose) Blueberry Muffins #FoodBloggerLove

Today we’re celebrating #FoodBloggerLove, which is sort of like blind dating, food blog style. I was assigned a random blogger to get acquainted with and I’m so excited to introduce you to the lovely Chef Sarah Elizabeth today. I think you guys will love her. I know I do!

Sarah is a new mom and – get this – her Henry was born the same day as my Julie! Fun, right? What really hooked me, though, is her monthly blog series – Family Dinner Book Club.

Each month, there’s a featured kids’ book. Sarah posts a meal to go with the book, and then two other bloggers she work with post a craft and discussion questions. As a voracious reader raising two little book worms, I think this is pretty much the best idea ever.

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With her family dinner book club in mind, I gathered up Jake for our own mini book day. We picked If You Give a Moose a Muffin and made – of course – muffins.

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Jake is at a fun age where he’s really into books. He loves discussing the pictures and is starting to make connections between the things he reads in books and the rest of the world. Of course, he was totally smitten by the idea of making muffins like the book.

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I stuck with a simple, one-bowl blueberry muffin – because toddler attention spans can only handle so much! And, to be fair, ours were a tad over-mixed, thanks to my excited assistant – but we all still thought they were delicious!

I’m so excited to follow along with the Family Dinner Book Club and the other cooking adventures Sarah (and Henry!) will have. Aside from her blog, you can also find Chef Sarah Elizabeth on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Want to check out the rest of the #FoodBloggerLove posts? Click the frog below!

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One-Bowl Blueberry Muffins
(from A Sparkle of Genius)
Makes 12

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar + 1 Tbsp.
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3-1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup frozen blueberries

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees an line a muffin pan with cupcake papers or spray with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. In a 1 cup measuring cup, add the oil, egg and then fill to the 1 cup line with milk. Add vanilla and whisk until well combined.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir gently until just combined. Fold in blueberries.

Divide batter evenly between muffin wells. Sprinkle tops with a little sugar. Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden brown.

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake

Date for Valentine’s Day? I have the perfect one. This cheesecake.

But seriously, if you’re looking for a dessert for the holiday, this is a great option. It’s decadent and special, but easy enough that anyone could pull it off. Want to make it even easier? Swap out the ganache topping for the fruit topping of your choice – I think cherries would be especially marvelous!

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Triple Chocolate Cheesecake
(from OMG Chocolate Desserts)
Serves 16

Crust:
24 Oreos, finely crushed
1/4 cup butter, melted

Cheesecake:
2 lbs. cream cheese at room temperature
1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
4 eggs at room temperature
10 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Ganache topping:
3/4 cup heavy cream
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. sugar

Additional chocolate bar to make curls.

Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a 9″ springform pan.

Combine the finely crushed Oreos and melted butter and press mixture into the bottom of the springform pan. Bake for 8 minutes then cool on a wire rack while you prepare the filling.

Melt 10 oz. of bittersweet chocolate and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth. Mix in the cocoa powder until well combined. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, until combined. Add the melted chocolate and mix until combined.

Pour the filling over the top of the cooled crust and smooth out.  Bake for 60-70 minutes, until the center is set and the top looks dry. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, run a thin knife around the pan to loosen the sides of the cheesecake, then refrigerate, uncovered until completely cooled – at least 8 hours.

Once completely cooled, stir together the cream, 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate and sugar together in a medium saucepan. When it is completely melted and smooth, remove to cool. Pour over cheesecake. Top with chocolate curls.

Slow Cooker Cocktail Meatballs

There’s nothing new about cocktail meatballs. I’m sure you’ve had them a million times. But I wanted to share this recipe today because it’s a great, easy option for your Super Bowl party.

This version uses the slow cooker – it’s a mix-it-up-and-forget-it dish that’s always a crowd pleaser.  Use a slow cooker liner for even easier clean up!

CocktailMeatballs

Slow Cooker Cocktail Meatballs
(from Cincy Shopper)
Serves 10-12 as an appetizer

12 oz. chili sauce
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1 1/2 cups grape jelly
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. Tabasco sauce
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
3 lbs. frozen meatballs

Add all ingredients, except meatballs, to the slow cooker and whisk to combine. Stir in meatballs. Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.