THE STUFF THAT BELL PEPPERS ARE MADE OF…

My family is definitely meat lovers. Now that is not to say that they don’t get their vegetables and fruit. On occasions I have been known to serve a no meat dinner. We never call it vegetarian, just “no meat.” When I do the meaty dinners you can bet that I slip in those vegetables. My meatloaf is always loaded with vegetables. Another great meal to serve that get those all-important vitamins and grains hidden in all that meat is STUFFED BELL PEPPERS.

The stuff you need:

  • 1 Sauté Pan 12”-18”
  • 1 4-6 qtr. Pot of water heated to a boil
  • 1 large bowl of ice water
  • 1 – 9X 12 baking pan (casserole)
  • Aluminum foil

The Filing:

  • 2 tbsp. Trader Joes Garlic Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Trader Joe’s Mire Poix (yup – this stuff is great)
  • 1 to 1-1/2lb of ground beef or ground turkey
  • 2 tsp dried herbs
  • Diced bell pepper pieces form the pepper tops
  • 1 cup of leftover rice, lentils, Joe’s Multigrain blend with vegetables or whatever you have
  • 1 cup spaghetti sauce or even ketchup will work. ½ cup for the filling and ½ cup for the topping)
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (more if you like)
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce or Braggs Aminos
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I really like Lawry’s Season Salt)
  • Approximately 2 ½ cup of shredded cheese (your choice)

Pour oil into pan at medium- high heat. Allow to heat and add the Mire poix, dried herbs and diced peppers and sauté until veggies are still slightly firm. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Now add your ground meat and cook until no longer pink. Next add your rice, lentils, or whatever you have. Stir together and add spaghetti sauce, Worcestershire, soy sauce or Braggs. Adjust seasonings. Remove from heat. Now add half of your cheese and mix together.

The Peppers

6 medium sized bell peppers combination of red, yellow and orange. I don’t particularly care for the green ones.

Cut tops off of the peppers and remove seeds and fibrous membrane. Rinse. Take the pepper tops and pull off the stems and cut into small dice and reserve. We are going to add them to our filling.

With tongs, submerge 2 peppers in the prepared pot of hot water at a time. Leave for about 2 minutes. Remove and turn upside down to drain and submerge again in your bowl of iced water. Remove from water, drain and place on the baking pan and continue the same method with the remaining peppers. Lightly salt the interior of the peppers.

Fill with prepared stuffing. Top with spaghetti sauce, ketchup or even BBQ sauce.

Place in oven preheated to 375 degrees. Cover with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes Remove foil, top with your favorite cheese and pop back into the oven for an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Remove, let rest for 5 minutes and serve.

Stuffed Bell Pepper w/ Salad
Stuffed Bell Pepper w/ Salad

FOODISTORY

If you have been following my blog you will have noticed I use a lot of the Trader Joe’s Mirepoix, the mixture or melody of vegetables incorporated into a dish, like my stuffed Bell Peppers. It’s a great way to hide those essential vegetables loaded with all those more important vitamins and get them into your persnickety kids.

These combined diced vegetables are a cooking technique that is probably older than time itself. I can imagine a Homo sapiens or Cro-magnum Man crouching down over his stone cutting board using his sabretooth tusk knife cutting up the food he found lying around to put into his Simple Gourmet dish. The term mirepoix dates back to a 18th century Frenchman by the cuisine chef by the name of Charles-Pierre-Gaston Francois de Levis, duc de Levis-Mirepoix (1699-1757). He as a field marshal and ambassador and a member of the noble family of Levis, lords of Mirepoix (kind of getting where the name came from?) in Languedoc. According to Pierre Larousse (Oxford Companion to Food) the duke of Mirepoix as “an incompetent and mediocre individual who owed his vast fortune to the affections of Louis XV”. His only claim to fame is, you guessed it, gave his name to a sauce made of all kinds of meat and a variety of seasonings.

The term is not encountered regularly in French culinary texts until the 19th century, so it is difficult to know what a dish à la mirepoix was like in 18th-century France. Beauvilliers for instance, in 1814, gives a short recipe for a Sauce à la Mirepoix which is a buttery, wine-laced stock garnished with an aromatic mixture of carrots, onions, and a bouquet garni. Careme in the 1830s, gives a similar recipe, calling it simply Mire-poix; and, by the mid-19th century, Gouffe refers to a mirepoix as “a term in use for such a long time that I do not hesitate to use it here”. His mirepoix is listed among essences and, indeed, is a meaty concoction, which, like all other essences, was used to enrich many a classic sauce. By the end of the 19th century, the mirepoix had taken on its modern meaning and Joseph Favre in his Dictionnaire universel de cuisine (c. 1895, reprinted 1978) uses the term to describe a mixture of ham, carrots, onions, and herbs used as an aromatic condiment when making sauces or braising meat.

According to the 1938 Larousse Gastronomique, a mirepoix may be prepared “au gras” (with meat) or “au maigre” (“lean”).[7] Mirepoix au maigre is sometimes called a brunoise. A mirepoix au gras contains diced ham or pork belly as an additional ingredient. Similar combinations, both in and out of the French culinary repertoire, may include leeks, parsnips, garlic, tomatoes, shallots, mushrooms, bell peppers, chilies, and ginger, according to the requirements of the regional cuisine or the instructions of the particular chef or recipe.

I find it interesting, because of my past blog on Jambalaya that in Cajun and Creole cuisine, a mirepoix is called “holy trinity” and is a combination of onions, celery and bell peppers.

Traditionally, the weight ratio for mirepoix is 2:1:1 of onions, celery, and carrots;[1] the ratio for bones to mirepoix for stock is 10:1. When making a white stock, or fond blanc, parsnips are used instead of carrots to maintain the pale color.

Once again I thank Wikipedia.

Coming soon, our StayCruise adventure.

As always……

Live Well – Eat Well

GREAT FOOD DEBATE – MAYONNAISE VS. MIRCLE WHIP

As you may know, we have a pretty dynamic household and opinions can be furry and feisty based on each person’s likes are dislikes or, dare I say, pickiness.  My husband will eat most anything that I put in front of him but there is one food item that he is most adamant about and I think it’s because of where he was raised.  It’s that god awful stuff called Miracle Whip.  He puts it on everything.  Gross!!  It is too sweet for me.  I prefer Mayonnaise.  What gets me is that he calls Miracle Whip, “mayonnaise.”  There’s got to be a copyright infringement in there somewhere.  Anyway this is a great debate in our house hold and I mean it’s the house hold against him.  I guess it’s best to let him tell this story so for this Blog I turn it over to him to present his argument and let us know what you think.  Are Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip.

Chef Shay

Live well and Eat Well.

Hi All, it’s me Chef Shay’s husband! I hope you will give me a fair hearing!

This is to me is an amazing hot bed of frenzied argument because people have their druthers for either one and they are passionate about it.  You either love mayonnaise or hate it.  You either love Miracle Whip or hate it.  I have met very few people who like or use both interchangeably.  I’ve discovered that your like or dislike of either one is based on where you grew up.  It appears that if you come from the ole’ South (the Red States) you were raised on Miracle Whip.  Everywhere else – Mayonnaise. Now I was raised in a small ranching community called Camp Wood deep in the Hill County of Texas, (pop. 868) Miracle Whip was our Mayonnaise.  As a matter of fact it was not until I moved to San Antonio (5th Grade) that I discovered that they were two different things.  Growing up, I always called Miracle Whip, Mayonnaise.  Back in Camp Wood (pop.868) our main meal was lunch (called Dinner) and for Dinner (called Supper) we would have something light like sandwiches and / or soup. My Grandmother would give me a bologna sandwich made with Miracle Whip and a bowl of pinto beans.  She then would give me $0.25 and I would head off to the movies.  It cost me $0.10 for the price of the ticket and that would leave me 15 cents for a coke and a piece of candy.  Those were the grand old days.  Well, I’ve digressed, so back to the subject at hand…  I didn’t know that there was “Mayonnaise.”  Like I said, I though Miracle Whip was Mayonnaise and called it as such.  Our family, and all those I knew used Miracle Whip – Yes, even in Potato Salad!  The first time I tried real mayonnaise, thinking that it was “my mayonnaise” (Miracle Whip) I nearly threw up.  To me, by itself, it taste terrible.  It was not sweet.  And there it is! You either like sweet or you don’t.  I like sweet – I was raised on sweet.  I am usually chastised for my love of Miracle Whip – being called the Hick!

So what is Mayonnaise?  DSCN0453

Mayonnaise is an emulsion – a mixture of two liquids that can’t be combined (like oil and water).  How are emulsions used:

  • by pharmacists, as a vehicle for medication
  • in photography, to coat plates, film and paper
  • in explosives, paints, coatings, make-up and detergents

Mayonnaise is made by combining lemon juice or vinegar with egg yolks and oil.  Eggs contain the emulsifier, lecithin.  Whip the liquid and egg yolks together.  To combine the lemon juice, vinegar, egg yolk with the oil. Slowly add the oil, drop by drop, while whisking rapidly.  The whisking allows the two liquids to combine.  As the sauce begins to thicken the oil can be added more rapidly.  After the oil has been mixed in you can add your seasonings.  You have your homemade mayonnaise.

Since homemade mayonnaise is uncooked, be sure to use the freshest eggs and make sure you know the source to make sure that they are salmonella free.  I once went to a wedding reception in which mayonnaise was served and my salmonella lasted longer than the marriage.  No Joke!

FOODISTORY

Mayonnaise was invented in 1756 by the French chef of the Duc de Richelieu.  After the Duc beat the British at Port Mahon his chef created a victory feast that was to include a sauce made of cream and eggs.  He suddenly realized, out there on the battle field, that he didn’t have any cream.  So not to suffer the fate of the victory less he substituted olive oil for the cream and created a new sauce and lo and behold he called it “Mahonnaise” in honor to the Duc’s victory.

DSCN0452   I’m a Miracle Whip lover!  So, arguably, I’ve saved the best for last.

Premiering at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933, Miracle Whip helped to make fruits, vegetables and salads better tasting, more appealing and less expensive.  Basically, Miracle Whip is a mayonnaise mixed with salad dressings, thus creating the sweet taste.  This combination of ingredients (20 spices in all) was made possible by the inventor, Charles Chapman.  He invented a machine that would combine and ensure the pre-measured ingredients by continuously making sure that they were properly blended and whipped.   The machine was formally call “Miracle Whip” …and the rest is history.

So what else is Miracle Whip Good for:

  • Condition you hair.  Apply one-half cup Miracle Whip to dry hair once a week as a conditioner.  Leave on for thirty minutes.  Then rinse a few times before shampooing.
  • Remove a ring struck on a finger.  Smear on some Miracle Whip and slide it off.
  • Give yourself a facial and tighten pores.  Miracle Whip helps moisten dry skin when applied as a face mask.  Wait twenty minutes, then wash it off with warm water followed by cold water.
  • Remove white rings and spots from wood furniture.  Wipe on Miracle Whip, let stand for an hour, wipe off and polish the furniture.
  • Remove tar.  Spread a teaspoon of Miracle whip on tar, rub and wipe off.
  • Soothe sunburn and windburn pain.  Use Miracle Whip as a skin cream.
  • Remove dead skin.  Rub a dab of Miracle Whip into your skin and let it dry for a few minutes. While the skin is moist massage with your fingertips.  Dead skin will rub off your feet, knees, elbows or face.
  • Remove chewing gum from hair.  Rub a dollop of Miracle Whip into the chewing gum.

So all you Mayonnaise aficionados give Miracle Whip a try.  Life is sweet and Miracle Whip just makes it sweeter.

Let us know which you prefer!

 

SUPER BOWL EATS – Simple and Plentiful

We thought we would be doing a blog build-up through the past week on preparing for our Super Bowl party. Through the course of the week plans changed and members of our regular crew were not able to make it. Our party shifted from our age group to my oldest daughters group. Being 28 years old and having a boyfriend we hosted their friends. Usually we prepare ribs, tri-tip (those of you in Texas and the east coast may not know that cut of meat, strictly California cut). So we had a change of menu from the higher cuts of meat (at my daughters request) to hot dogs and hamburgers, from daiquiris, tequila, and Fireball to beer. The millennials just don’t appreciate the finer things in life.

However, we had an excellent bill of faire. Remember that what one may term as simple and basic it does not mean it is boring. It’s all in your presentation.

The Defensive Line Up
The Defensive Line Up
The Offensive Line-Up
The Offensive Line-Up

Here is a list of what we prepared:

  • Tortilla chips with an assortment of dips.
  • Hamburgers and Bacon
The Back Field
The Back Field
  • Hot dogs

    MVP
    MVP
  • Grilled Onions
  • Bratwurst (our favorites come from CostCo)
  • Sauerkraut
  • Sauté red and yellow peppers
  • Lettuce, white onion, and two types of cheese (Sharp cheddar, Havarti and Smoked Gouda). Remember cheeses should be served in threes.

    The Playing Field
    The Playing Field
  • An assortment of condiments to please any crowd.

 

 

 

 

While we watch the Denver Bronco scoring the big win of the 50th Super Bowl, we are scoring on the eats.

Coach Well. Play Well. Eat Well

 

CHICKEN POT PIE – WHOLESOME – FEEL GOOD

With all the healthy people in the house now we have a lot of chicken. Sometimes there are leftovers, so what’s the best thing to do with left over chicken you ask? CHICKEN POT PIE!!! This is a wholesome, feel good meal with all sort of good vegetables, savory filling and, of course, chicken. This is always a great family meal, but what makes a good chicken pot pie? It’s not the chicken, let’s face it, chicken is chicken and the same can be said for the vegetables so that leaves only two other THINGS. The first is the savory mixture and it must be “saucy” enough, but the most important ingredient and what makes the chicken pot pie, THE CHICKEN POT PIE is the CRUST. It’s all about the crust! It must be flaky, the right thickness and have a touch of sweetness. If the crust ain’t right then it just ain’t Chicken Pot Pie. I’ve seen people, my family included, eat all the pie “innards” and save the crust for last. Now I will be the first to admit that I don’t make my own crust, I can but I’m usually in a hurry – hungry kids, husband, I’m sure you know what I mean. If some want to know the recipe let me know and I will post it but I like to save time and when there is a product out there that meets the grade – I will use it! Trader Joe’s has the best pie crust there it and you guessed it, with my handy-dandy discount you bet I use it!

Plated Pie

Ingredients

  • 8” X 8” Baking Pan
  • Package of Pre-made Pie Crust (of course I use Trader Joes’ – employee discount and all)
  • 3 cups of Roasted Chicken Meat (White and dark. If you are using leftovers and this is a good recipe for leftover chicken, using 2 cups is okay)
  • 2 cups of Trader Joe’s Organic Foursome or your favorite mixed vegetables
  • 2 tbsp. of Light Olive Oil
  • 1 container of Trader Joe’s Mire Poix
  • 4 tbsp. of Butter
  • 4 tbsp. Flour
  • 2 cups of Milk
  • 1 cup of Chicken Stock
  • 14.66 oz. packet of Knorr Chicken Concentrated Stock.

This is awesome stuff! But use what you got. Go to that Awesome Pantry that you have. OH! You Don’t! Well check out my last blog on what it takes to have a great pantry.

  • 1` tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • ¼ tsp. or to taste Hot Pepper Sauce
  • 1 Egg whisked with 1 tsp. of water

Defrost Pie Crust according to instructions.

Heat a large Sauté pan with 2 tbsp. of oil to medium high heat. Add mire poix and sauté for approximately 4 minutes. Remove vegetables from pan and set aside.

Reduce heat to medium and add the 4 tbsp. of Butter to the pan. Heat until melted then add the flour whisking them together until they form a paste. Heat for approximately 2-3 minutes or until the flour does not taste raw and the mixture bubbles slightly.

Now add the Milk and Stock, whisking continually to avoid lumps. Add ½ of the container of Knorr chicken and incorporate (add more if you like according to taste).

Add additional seasonings and continue to cook whisking gently until sauce is thickened to a light gravy texture.

Add Chicken, Frozen vegetables and mire poix to the sauce and simmer another 3-4 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, get a bowl and add the 1tsp. water, break the egg into the bowl and whisk together.

Roll out the pie crust as directed. Now pour Chicken filling into the pan. Cover with the crust, trimming the edges. Brush Crust using a pastry brush with the egg mixture. Cut 4-6 one inch slice in the pie crust to release steam.

Butter Brush

Place in a 375 degree oven (or temperature indicated in the pie dough package) for approximately 30 minutes or until the Crust is golden brown.cooked Pie

Remove from the oven and allow to set for 20 minutes.

Add a nice green salad and you have an AWESOME meal!!

Enjoy – Serves 4 – Generously!

FOODISTORY

Pie is where the dough meets the meat going all the way back to the Greek and Romans. I would imagine that there was a cook way back in ancient Roman looking at all the leftover meat from one of those Roman orgies and wonder what could be done with it all. We all know that the Italian are big on bread, so you got the dough on one table and the meat on another table and some clumsy help bumped into the tables, knocked them over, meat on top of dough, dough on top of meat well enough said. Fruit parties were always popular with the Greeks and Roman so it was a natural progression from sweet to savory. The Greeks placed cooked meat in open pastry shells called “artocreas.” The Romans were credited with putting the top crust on.

The pot pies got their names form England. The English formed a pie in what was called a coffin which was done by molding the pastry along the bottom of a pie pan or a pot. Thus the Pot Pie and with the chicken added we get the famous Chicken Pot Pie.

The Chicken Pot Pie was the first frozen pit pie made available in the US. It was developed by Swanson Company in 1951. My personal opinion is one of best chicken pot pie is made by Marie Callender’s.

Some Pot pies don’t make the grade.  would you dine on one of these:

  • Tongue pie
  • Ox tongue apples and sugar
  • Ox foot pie
  • Sea Pie made with pigeons, veal and pork

I think Marie probably passed on these!

Enjoy Life and Eat Well!  Pass up the Sea Pie though!