Italian Sausage and Leek Stuffed Eggplant and Peppers

21 08 2014

This week’s CSA grab bag was a good one, loaded with all sorts of wonderful fruits and veggies! So it was no surprise that tonight I whipped up this delicious, Italian stuffed eggplant and pepper dinner using almost all Fresh Fork Market goodies! A great tip for easily making stuffed eggplant and peppers is to grill the veggies first. You can quickly soften the veggies (just as you would in the oven) while getting a good char and smokey flavor at the same time!

Italian Sausage and Leek Stuffed Eggplant

The following makes 2 stuffed eggplants and 4 stuffed peppers (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced horizontally in half
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced horizontally in half and stem and seeds removed
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 large candy onion, chopped (or whatever onion you like or have)
  • 1 lb bulk Italian sausage (mild or hot)
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 3 medium-large garlic cloves, minced
  • Reduced-fat, low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 leek, white part sliced thinly into rounds
  • 1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan, plus more for topping

Sprinkle some salt on the inside of the sliced eggplant and allow to sit untouched for at least 30-45 minutes. The eggplant will start to give some of its water, which will also eliminate some of its bitterness. Blot dry using a paper towel.

Preheat grill to medium-low.

Preheat oven to 350.

Drizzle eggplant and halved peppers with a little olive oil and rub all over. Grill covered over medium-low heat for a few minutes on each side. You just want to get a decent char all over and to soften the veggies so that you can easily scoop out the center of the eggplant. Remove the veggies from the grill and set aside until cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet and saute chopped onions a few minutes until beginning to soften. Add sausage and break up with the back of a wooden spoon. Saute until meat browns, stirring occasionally and continuing to break up into small pieces with the wooden spoon. Add red pepper flakes if you’d like, along with the minced garlic. Saute until fragrant, a few minutes. Deglaze the pan with a little chicken stock (good turn of the pan) and scrape up all the brown bits that may have formed on the bottom of the pan.

The eggplant should be cool enough to handle at this point. Scoop out the center of each half and transfer to a cutting board. Just be sure to leave the outer shell of the eggplant in tact so that you can stuff it. Chop the eggplant you removed and add it to the sausage. Add the leeks as well. Season lightly with salt and saute for just a minute or two until the leeks start to wilt. Add a little more chicken stock (another good turn of the pan) and turn off the heat. Allow the mixture to cool, then mix in the cheeses.

Lay the eggplant and pepper halves in a casserole dish. Stuff the sausage and leek mixture into the halves – just divide the mixture among the halves, piling up high if you have too. Top with more parmesan, then transfer to the oven to bake.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until everything is hot and cheese has melted. Top with more parmesan and  serve with a side salad.

Fiesta Chicken Stuffed Bell Peppers and Black Beans

29 04 2014

This Mexican dinner with a kick is like a party for your taste buds! Loaded with flavor and comes together relatively fast, that’s my kinda dinner! It’s also low in carbs, making it a healthy meal option. This could easily be made with any meat you have on hand like pork, beef or turkey. And you can stuff the filling into baby peppers as well, making this not only a versatile dish, but a great appetizer to take to your Cinco de Mayo fiestas!

Fiesta Chicken Stuffed Bell Peppers and Black Beans

Fiesta Chicken Stuffed Bell Peppers and Black Beans

The following serves 3-4 (compliments of Food Network Magazine and This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 3 bell peppers, any combo of red, orange and yellow, sliced in half and seeded
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 and a 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 poblano chile pepper, seeded and diced (use a large or small pepper here, the larger the pepper the more heat you’ll add to the dish)
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ancho chile powder
  • 1 tsp chipotle chile powder
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lb ground chicken breast (you could also use ground turkey, pork or beef if you wanted)
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 1 large can (28 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (4 oz) diced green chilles
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Preheat grill to medium. Add halved peppers and grill for a few minutes on both sides, just until they begin to char and soften. Remove from the grill.

Heat a couple of Tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 diced onion, poblano, 3 minced garlic cloves, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp oregano, ancho and chipotle chile powders and 1 tsp salt. Cook, stirring, until the onion and poblano are tender, about 8 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425.

Increase the heat to medium-high and add the chicken. Cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink and beginning to brown, about 5-6 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Once cool, make sure the meat is crumbled and mix in the cheese.

Place grilled peppers on a baking sheet and stuff with the chicken mixture, using your hands and a spoon to press and mound the meat mixture evenly among pepper halves. Bake until the peppers are hot and the cheese melts, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the black beans. In a medium skillet, heat a little olive oil over medium high heat and add half a diced onion and 2 minced garlic cloves. Cook for a few minutes until the onion begins to soften, stirring occasionally. Add 1 tsp of both ground cumin and dried oregano, season with salt and pepper to taste. Next add the black beans and the diced green chilles. Cook for 5 or so minutes over medium heat, turning occasionally. Next add the juice of 1 lime and turn the heat back to low. Taste and adjust seasoning, such as salt, as needed. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Serve peppers over black beans and garnish with cilantro.

Ratatouille Stuffed Peppers With Parsley-Ricotta Sauce

4 02 2013

This dinner is loaded with great veggies thanks to the ratatouille stuffing, which I was inspired to make based on the veggies I had on hand! Enjoy with a salad and a glass of white wine 🙂

Ratatouille Stuffed Peppers With Parsley-Ricotta Sauce

Ratatouille Stuffed Peppers With Parsley-Ricotta Sauce

The following serves 2 (compliments of This Girl):

  • 2 large red bell peppers, cut in half and seeded
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • Couple cloves of garlic, minced
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 yellow squash, chopped
  • 1 small to medium eggplant, chopped
  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta
  • Good handful fresh parsley leaves
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut the red bell peppers in half lengthwise and removed seeds and ribs. Line a baking sheet with foil and place pepper halves cut-side up. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until the peppers char a little, about 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile make the ratatouille: heat a little olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and cook for a minute or two until they start to soften. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, cook until fragrant, another minute or so. Next add zucchini, squash and eggplant to the skillet and mix well. You could also add some chopped tomatoes here if you’d like, I just didn’t have any on hand. Cook and continue to stir occasionally until veggies are soft. Season with salt about half way through. Once the veggies are softened, remove from heat.

Remove peppers from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Once cool enough to handle, fill the peppers with the ratatouille mixture. Top with parmesan cheese. Bake in the oven for a few more minutes to heat through and melt the cheese.

To make the sauce: Combine ricotta, lemon juice, parsley, salt, pepper and a little olive oil in a food processor or blender. Process / blend until smooth and to your desired consistency (adding more oil will help thin it out).

To serve: spread some of the sauce on the bottom of a plate, top with two stuffed pepper halves – serve with a salad to round out the meal.

Greek Stuffed Peppers Over Herbed Couscous

29 06 2012

Typically stuffed peppers are loaded with rice and meat, but this version is packed with freshly grilled veggies, lending to a lighter meal. Use any color of bell pepper that tickles your fancy, here I’ve used a combo of red, orange and yellow. I recommend a glass of crisp, dry Chardonnay to accompany this flavorful meal!

Greek Stuffed Peppers Over Herbed Couscous

The following serves 2 with leftovers (compliments of Cuisine at Home):

  • 1 large red potato, sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 2 bell peppers (or 3 smaller bell peppers), halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 1 eggplant, halved lengthwise
  • 1/2 zucchini, cut lengthwise
  • 1/2 red onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 jarred pepperoncini, stemmed
  • 2 Tbsp jarred pepperoncini juice
  • 1 Tbsp plain Greek-style yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup pitted and quartered kalamata olives
  • 1 cup baby spinach or diced cucumber
  • Box of instant couscous
  • Lemon zest of half a lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the grill for indirect grilling, heating one side to high heat and the other side to low heat. Brush grill grate with oil.

For the dressing, puree pepperoncini, pepperoncini juice, 2 Tbsp olive oil, yogurt, 1 Tbsp mint, 1 tsp dried oregano, garlic and pepper flakes in a mini food processor until smooth; season with black pepper and set aside.

For the peppers, toss potato slices, bell peppers, eggplant, zucchini, and onion with 1 Tbsp olive oil; season with salt and pepper.

Grill potatoes, covered, over low heat until tender, about 4 minutes per side. Grill peppers, covered, cut side down only, over low heat, until tender about 5 minutes. Grill eggplant, zucchini and onion, covered, over high heat, until tender, 3 minutes per side. Once cool enough to handle, chop all veggies, except peppers, into bite-size pieces.

Combine chopped veggies with feta cheese, olives, spinach or cucumber and dressing, then stuff into peppers.

Meanwhile,saute couscous in 1 tsp olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat until light brown, about 2 minutes. Add water and prepare couscous according to package directions. Toss couscous with 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 Tbsp chopped mint and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve stuffed peppers over couscous.