Thursday, August 21, 2014

Sausage Stuffed Banana Peppers

I have never been a fan of spicy peppers, so I have been nervous when banana peppers show up in our CSA basket.  Generally, I make banana pepper mustard, but it isn't always the occasion for a bowl of dipping mustard and I haven't gotten into canning (yet?).  So, earlier this summer I started to look for alternative recipes using banana peppers. One morning, I decided that I couldn't wait any longer to use the peppers I had and I didn't feel like going to the store, so I used some ideas from other recipes but ultimately made my own recipe for stuffed banana peppers using what I had on hand.  They turned out fabulous.  My husband LOVED them.  And I did too - and that is saying a lot for someone who doesn't like spicy.  They actually weren't very spicy at all due to the boiling.  (Disclaimer:  My kids didn't try this one, because my husband and I ate them before they got the chance, so I can't report on how they liked them.)

  • 5 or so banana peppers
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/4 cup of chive and onion cream cheese spread
  • 1/3 cup of shredded cheese (cheddar, monterey jack, Mexican blend, or whatever you prefer)
  • 1/2 lb sweet Italian sausage
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray baking dish with non-stick spray and set aside.  
  2. Begin boiling water.  Slice the peppers lengthwise and clean out seeds.  Dice onion.
  3. Boil the peppers for about 5-6 minutes.  Meanwhile, brown sausage with onion.
  4. Once sausage is browned, mix in the cream cheese.
  5. Remove the peppers from the water with tongs and place in the prepared baking dish.  Stuff the peppers with the sausage mixture.  Top with shredded cheese.  Bake for 5-6 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Difficulty: easy
Time: about 20 minutes
Source:  this one is my own!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

For the past eight years, I have been trying to eat better. First, it was about the baby; I made Emma baby food from organic produce.  Then, it was about the community; I joined a CSA to be a part of local agriculture. Next, it was about health; I read Eat to Live while John read The End of Overeating and tried to reconfigure our food purchases.  These changes were the summer. Crazed schedules, illnesses, and work hit in September and I'd fall back into my old habits...a few of the changes we made stuck. Probably not enough to make a difference.  Now, I am trying again.  This recipe came from Schall Fitness where I am participating in my first ever challenge group-eating healthy, daily exercise, building strength, and preventing injury.

My family devoured this recipe.  I LOVE leftovers, so I use the entire bag of chicken.  Our leftovers go great on a whole wheat tortilla, crackers, or more lettuce.  This will be a great one to pack in my lunch with a tortilla.  The kids had theirs minus the hot sauce.


  • 2 1/2 to 3 pounds of skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • Chicken broth (I use Better Than Bullion from Costco to make my chicken broth)
  • Onion, diced
  • Garlic, minced 
  • Hot sauce
  • Optional 1/4 cup cream cheese, cubes
Wrap toppings
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Feta cheese
  • Grape tomatoes, halved
  • Carrots, shredded
  • Black beans (trying to pump up the protein)
  1. Place chicken breasts in crock pot, add garlic and onion.  Cover with chicken broth. Cook on high for 4 hours.
  2. Remove chicken from slow cooker; shred with two forks.  Reserve 1/2 cup of chicken broth.
  3. Put chicken back in crock; add hot sauce, broth, and cubed cream cheese (if using). Mix.  Cover and heat on low for 30 minutes.
  4. Scoop onto lettuce and garnish as desired.
NOTE: My kids aren't fans of hot stuff; I keep about 1/3 of my shredded chicken plain for the kids.  They will eat it on lettuce, cracker, or tortillas. 

These were the Day 2 leftovers-so I changed up the toppings a little.

Difficulty: Easy
Time: Prep-15 minutes; slow cooking-4 hours and 30 mintues

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Overnight Oatmeal

Recipes for overnight oats have been popping up in my magazine and internet world for quite a while now, but it wasn't until I saw this recipe posted on Sea Love's website that I decided it was time to give it a go.  My kids and I experimented with four different kinds of milk - regular skim milk, unsweetened almond milk, vanilla almond milk, and a coconut-almond milk blend - over the course of a couple of weeks.  We also tried two different kinds of oats - quick oats and old fashioned oats.  The conclusions from our super-scientific taste tests?  Well, we decided that even though the texture is slightly different, it didn't matter which oats we used.  My kids liked the vanilla almond milk the best, but I suspect that had I added a touch of brown sugar as a topping to the regular skim milk version, they would have liked that one equally well.  (Maybe that should be our next experiment.)  The kids loved measuring the ingredients and pouring them into the jars.  And the shaking, of course.  We loved fruit toppings such as blueberries, strawberries, and bananas.  Bottom line - this is a great breakfast that we all love and that is waiting for us to personalize in the morning.  For sure, the kids will be taking overnight oats to school this year (just not in the cool glass jars).

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (quick oats work, too)
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 cup milk (see notes above)
  • toppings (the sky is the limit - fruit, cacao nibs, coconut, nuts...)

  1. Mix all ingredients in a 1 pint mason jar; secure lid and shake for about 30 seconds.
  2. Refrigerate overnight.  Top as desired in the morning.

Difficulty: super easy
Time: less than 5 minutes, plus overnight refrigeration