I was at the grocery store the other day and saw an assorted package of fresh mini sweet peppers and was inspired to make something with them… wasn’t sure at that moment what I wanted to do with them but stuffing them came to mind. The next day a friend of mine called, well actually texted and invited us to join her family and some friends over for a last minute get together and to bring an appetizer. Perfect, I wanted to do something with these peppers so I decided to make a low-calorie turkey stuffing for my mini sweet peppers. They were a hit and even my husband that doesn’t really care for peppers went back several times to grab one.
Mini Stuffed Sweet Peppers
1 pound mini sweet bell peppers (assorted colors)
8 oz. lean ground turkey
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 small yellow onion, shredded (using a cheese grater works great)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
8 oz. fat-free cream cheese at room temperature
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the peppers in half lengthwise and using a small teaspoon scoop out the seeds and pith (Helpful hint: Even though my kids are older I still have a couple of baby spoons that work perfect for this task). Arrange peppers on a baking tray and roast for 5 minutes then remove from the oven to stuff.
In a large sauté pan over medium heat cook the turkey for 5 minutes then add the Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, onion and garlic. Cook until the turkey is fully cooked then add the cream cheese and Parmesan cheeses and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Stuff each pepper then bake for 20-25 minutes.
These can be made up to a day ahead and stored covered in the refrigerator until ready to bake.
Easter Tablescapes – Every year I have so much fun creating a special tablescape for our family Easter Brunch. Only 6 more days until 2013 Easter — I’ve been thinking about what I would like to do for this year and have lots of ideas and projects in mind and now it’s time to gather my supplies and pull it all together.
Below is my 2012 Easter Tablescape and Easter Brunch Menu.
Easter Brunch Menu
Italian Easter Grain Pie
Mixed Greens with Citrus Vinaigrette
Fresh Strawberries and Blueberries
Pineapple Pound Cake
Easter Cupcakes and Cookies
Mimosa and Juice Bar
Easter flower container filled with jelly beans, assorted Easter candies, Easter cookies and Easter cake pops!
Easter flower container filled with jelly beans and Easter cookies.
Easter Table 2011
My children, nieces and nephew had fun decorating eggs and then we had our traditional Easter egg hunt. Afterwords, I placed the colored eggs in baskets filled with straw as my center pieces! So cute and the kids loved looking at them all day.
My new FAVORITE pasta, it’s thin and delicious and pairs wonderfully with this beef & mushroom ragu.
Filet of Beef & Mushroom Ragu with Tagliardi Pasta
1 pound filet of beef, trimmed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced (1 cup)
¼ cup diced carrots
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1-2 slices of pancetta, chopped (optional)
½ cup red wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
28 ounces crushed tomatoes
2 cups beef broth
5 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Fresh parsley, chopped
Shaved Parmesan cheese
9 ounces dried Tagliardi Pasta
Cut the trimmed beef into medium chunks and season with salt and pepper.
In a Dutch oven or large saucepan heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the beef and set aside.
In the same pan heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook for 4-5 minutes then add the garlic, thyme and pancetta cook 1-2 minutes. Next, add the red wine to deglaze the pan, stirring until almost evaporated. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until slightly darkened, about 1 minute more.
Return the beef to the saucepan and add the beef broth and tomatoes. Simmer over low heat covered, stirring occasionally, until the beef is tender, 45-60 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cook the pasta according to the package directions and drain.
Add the mushrooms to the saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 8-10 minutes. Check for seasoning then toss the pasta with the ragu and the Parmesan cheese.
Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and shaved Parmesan cheese.
1.5 lbs. filet of beef
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium shallot
1 garlic clove
6 ounces mixed mushrooms (crimini, shiitake, oyster or baby bella)
6 slices (3 oz.) prosciutto
1 sheet Puffed pastry, thawed
2 egg yolks, beaten
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large sauté pan heat the oil. Season the beef with salt and pepper and sear all sides quickly. Remove from the pan and set aside.
In a food processor, puree the shallot, garlic and mushrooms. Heat a non-stick dry skillet and cook the mushroom mixture for a few minutes to remove any moisture. Remove from the pan and let cool.
Line a flat surface with plastic wrap (about 12×16), lay the prosciutto out flat slightly overlapping, spread the mushroom mixture on top of the prosciutto.
Lightly brush the seared beef with mustard then lie on top of the mushroom mixture and roll tight and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry.
Remove the plastic wrap from the beef and place in the center of the puffed pastry. Brush all outer sides with some of the egg yolks and wrap the beef tucking under at the ends. Place on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 5 minutes. Remove, then brush the top and sides with the remaining egg yolks, score top with a sharp knife and season the top with kosher salt (1/2 tsp.). Bake for 40 minutes, remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
Roasted Butternut Squash
1 large butternut squash (1 1/2-2 pounds)
1 ounce hazelnuts3 tablespoons unsalted butter1 yellow onion, chopped4 fresh sage leaves, shredded3 cups chicken stocksalt and pepper to tastepinch of nutmegHeavy cream
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Using a tip of a knife make a few pricks on the squash to prevent it exploding while roasting in the oven. Place on a large baking sheet and cook for 1 hour until the squash is soft. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly then cut in half lengthwise and remove and discard the seeds and fibers. Scoop out the pulp into a bowl and set aside.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Spread the hazelnuts onto a baking sheet and toast until fragrant and the skins have loosened, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and place the hazelnuts into a kitchen towel and rub to remove the skins. Chop and set aside.
In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Add the onions and half of the sage and cook for 8-10 minutes. Add the stock and the squash pulp, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for a few minutes to combine the flavors. Remove from the heat.
Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender or food processor. Return to a clean saucepan and reheat over medium-low heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the nutmeg. Garnish with the chopped hazelnuts and the remaining sage and drizzle a little heavy cream on top.
Last weekend I made bunch for my daughter, Heather and her seven bridemaids that were spending the day together to shop for their bridemaids dresses. It was a special day and brunch was a great way to begin a fun-filled Saturday.
I made Mini Sausage & Mushroom Cups, Cheese & Turkey Bacon Quiche, Mini Pancake Stacks, Fruit Skewers, Key Kime Cupcakes all served with Mimosas.
For the Mimosas, I found clip art of a Bridemaid’s dress with a color close to what they were looking for and printed on card stock. Then I cut them out, added their names and used glue dots to place on each flute. The one in the middle with the pretty Bride’s dress (where I found at A.C. Moore) as you could guess, was for my daughter.
Mini Sausage & Mushroom Cups
Cheese & Turkey Bacon Quiche
Mini Pancake Stacks
Key Lime Cupcakes