Taco Stuffed Peppers

Who loves tacos? Who loves stuffed peppers? Did you ever think to combine the two into a super easy and delicious meal? Somehow, this did not occur to me until recently. But I finally did it, because the green peppers and the aloha peppers at Meijer were just too perfect to chop up.

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Ingredients:

  • 4-6 green peppers or other variety
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1-2 jalapenos, chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • Splash of water (or heavy cream, see note in recipe)
  • 1 cup cheddar, shredded
  • slices of pepperjack for topping

Brown the ground beef in a large saucepan, adding onions and jalapenos when almost cooked through. While meat is cooking, slice open the peppers, deseed if necessary, and get them into an oven safe pan. Once meat is cooked through, drain any excess fat. Stir in taco seasoning, adjusting for your taste. Add a splash of water and mix well, bringing to a simmer. (Also, for those doing keto and needing a bit more for your fat macros, I did not use water, I stirred in a splash of heavy cream instead.)

One the meat mixture is mixed well, add about half the shredded cheddar and let melt. This might get a little sticky but it’s key!! The cheese is always important!! After the cheddar is incorporated, spoon the mixture into the peppers. Top with the rest of the cheddar and a slice each of pepperjack.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, then broil for 2 minutes to get a good crust on that cheese.

One more note: I used 6 peppers and probably only needed 4, hence the number in the ingredients list. The peppers didn’t end up being fully stuffed, but there was still enough in each! If you do want 6 peppers fully stuffed, I would do another 1/2 pound of ground beef.

 

 

These peppers made me SO happy. We often go out for “Taco Tuesday” but because of the whole keto thing, I figured it was best to shake it up and stay in. Plus I had FILLED the fridge with good foods over the weekend, and these peppers were just too perfect. I served them with a cucumber and watermelon salad that was tossed with ground chipotle and pink salt. Also I had sauteed some mushrooms but ate them all before the peppers were done baking because I was too hungry!

The craziest thing is that I didn’t even miss the taco shells. The peppers retained a good crunch!

Happy cooking!

Moroccan-style Chicken Stew (Instant Pot) and where I go from here

Greetings!

It’s been a long time, and I definitely do not have a good excuse. My absence has been due in part to starting the ketogenic way of eating. It was time to take charge of my health and listen to my body in a way I never really had. But, that left me in an odd position. This blog is entitled With a Side of RICE. Can’t have that on keto, eh? (I sorely miss it, by the way.) So while I have been cooking some extremely yummy foods, I didn’t think it right to share them here.

I’ve moved beyond that thinking now, after a few conversations with close family and friends. This isn’t going to be my way of eating forever. I’ll have rice again and pasta, and all those other yummy carby foods. Meanwhile, you’ll see a lot more high fat and greens-centric recipes here. Avocado, bacon, eggs, and spinach will be very present!! (Maybe I should change the name to With a Side of Bacon? Haha.)

That said, please stick around, and feel free to adapt the recipes to suit your own dietary needs if you are not low carb/keto. And share your changes in the comments because I’m always curious about how people cook!!

Now, today I do have a recipe for you that isn’t keto-friendly, but is very healthy and I made it in hopes to clean out some of the pantry items that I’ve had for way too long. It’s also lower in carb than a lot of other foods out there, and quite frankly it was delicious. It felt like an indulgence!

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Moroccan-style Chicken Stew (Instant Pot recipe)

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, frozen
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tbsp Harissa paste (I like a LOT)
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 4 cups spinach
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thinly

Add chicken, broth, garlic, Harissa paste, and a dash of salt to the IP, set at 30 minutes on Poultry setting. Let naturally release pressure for 10 minutes. You may still have to manually release some pressure after this.

Drain chicken, reserving half a cup of broth. Add the coconut milk and other ingredients to the IP and mix well. Set at 10 minutes on the Stew setting. Let naturally release if desired, but the manual release method can used here also. Use caution, as always!

Works well on its own, but I served it with tricolor quinoa. Some flatbread would also be delicious. And grilled peaches to remember the fact that it is summer and I just made a stew hahaha. (None of these are low carb, but hey.)

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I was so happy with this recipe, considering it was kind of a dump-the-pantry idea. I’m also currently obsessing over Harissa paste. And if you don’t have an Instant Pot and want to make this recipe, just bake the chicken first, shred it, and then go from there on the stove.

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Happy Cooking!!

Cold weather cooking and some upcoming plans

It’s been weeks since I have posted here, so hello again. Welcome back to my little corner of the food blogging world. My cooking has been kind of sad lately, what with the seasonal changes. Certain times of year are more difficult than others, wouldn’t you agree? I am, however, looking forward to the holiday season and whipping up some traditional and not-so-traditional foods while the snow falls outside. (And that snow will probably start falling soon…we got some last weekend already, though it didn’t actually stick to the ground.)

While I love the freshness of summer cooking, and the whole cooking and eating outdoors aspect of the warmer months, I’m just as excited about the cold weather cooking. Soups, breads, oven roasted vegetables, and casseroles, oh my! Maybe not casseroles so much…but my cast iron skillet will be getting tons of use over the next six months.

One of my plans for this winter is to attempt to cook some classic recipes, be they American or otherwise. I have this real problem where I cannot strictly stick to a recipe as written, so this will actually be a true challenge for me! If you have any suggestions on something I ought to try, do please pass it on.

Another big food area in my life is cheese. Hello, I’m in Wisconsin and married to a milk hauler who also worked in a cheese factory when he was in high school…not to mention we currently live next door to a cheese factory. There are a lot of them. And they make a lot of different cheeses. So, I’ve decided to do a feature on the occasional Friday where I showcase a cheese along with food pairings and/or a recipe.

So, here’s a loose idea of what you’ll see coming up on the blog over the next few months (at least):

Fromage Fridays: This will be my series of cheese-centric posts. How very…cheesy. I think I’m so funny.

Classic Cooking: These will be some of my regular Wednesday posts, probably once a month or so, where I cook something that has been deemed “classic” for whatever reason.

Ingredient Showcase: I really enjoy trying weird ingredients from around the world, so there will almost definitely be some posts centered around stuff like this. (For example, I recently got some dried squid from Japan and I’m slightly stumped on how I want to use it, but I’ll figure it out!)

My regular weekly blog posts will still show up, and not always with a theme. For now, though, I apologize for my absence and I’ll be back next week!

Popsicles!

I apologize in advance for this being a short and sweet post, but with a short workweek, I definitely almost forgot it was already Wednesday! So here is something I actually meant to post a few weeks ago! 🙂

When it’s summer and ridiculously hot outside, one of the best treats is a popsicle. Am I right or am I right? Of course, in true me fashion, I always forget to pick up a box or two when I’m shopping. I finally decided to grab some BPA free popsicle molds on Amazon and make my own. Little did I realize this is legit one of the easiest things to make ever.

Anyone who knows me IRL knows I’m just not that big into super sweet and sugary things. I do like a sweet treat sometimes, but when it’s super sugary, it’s nasty. So my first choice for popsicles had zero added sweetener. I might have added honey if I thought about it, but maybe next time.

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Easiest Popsicles Ever (12 pops)

Ingredients:

6 peaches, sliced, with the skin left on

1 can full fat coconut milk

Blend all ingredients well, pour into molds, and freeze for at least 8 hours or overnight.

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See? Easiest thing ever. I’m thinking something with banana might be next. Or chocolate and cinnamon. Mmm. The sky’s the limit here because if you can blend and freeze it, it *might* make a good popsicle.

The molds I bought can be found here. Not an affiliate link, not yet. 😉

 

A tornado hit us yesterday

Even the best-laid plans go awry. This time it wasn’t my forgetfulness or anything…it was a freight train coming through town. Or rather, a tornado. That’s not supposed to happen here. Well, I mean, I know it does, but I had literally been talking with my sister a couple days ago about how tornadoes don’t happen and then one did around 4:30 pm yesterday. It all happened so fast. Our house is fine, there’s just trees down all over the darn place. Apparently we were the worst hit too. And we’ve been without power for like 18 hours now so I’m at the library (on my day off, haha) writing this.

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I had been planning on cooking trout and white beans for dinner last night, but that definitely did not happen. We ate cucumbers and drank whiskey in the dark, haha. And percolated coffee for my husband over our little gas grill at 1 am when he had to get ready for work. I do love percolated coffee though. Hopefully I can make that trout tonight!

I do, however, have something food related to share with you. I recently got this simmer sauce from India in a foodie box called Try the World, and it said on the packet it could be used for any meat, seafood, or vegetables. It seemed like a good way to use up bits of things, so I picked salmon, a shallot, green beans, and a few cherry tomatoes. It was pretty delicious served over basmati rice, and I’m definitely gonna have to find it in store or online somewhere!

 

Chicken & Chorizo Stew (for the Instant Pot)

Today felt like autumn and it made me happy. We were able to open the windows for the first time in at least a month and a half. Granted, I have a weird cold/sinus infection, so I spent the day inside reading comic books, but it was still nice to feel the cooler air. It’s strange that August is nearly over, already, though. I’m not sure why, but this year feels like it’s going by incredibly fast.

Last night was the first time I had really cooked in a week or so; being sick makes it difficult to want to do things, let alone work with food. (Coughing and sneezing in the kitchen? Nope. Haha.) But I figured it was time to finally make some chicken soup, since that usually is a bit of a cure-all, at least taste-wise and psychologically. Of course, I forgot to pull the chicken out of the freezer before work; this is a regular occurence. When I got home, I also saw the package of Johnsonville Chorizo Sausage and decided that using both meats was what I really wanted for dinner. And, since I have an Instant Pot, I didn’t even have to thaw anything! Just threw the chicken breasts and the sausages into the pot, poured in a cup or so of water, and cooked on manual pressure for 40 minutes. The beautiful red-orange of the broth in my photos is due to this, and I must say, that was an unexpected lovely side effect. After the meat was done, I sauteed an onion and a few red potatoes in some olive oil and black pepper for a few minutes, then added the meats back in (now chopped and shredded), poured in two more cups of water, and set the IP to cook on the Meat/Stew setting for 15 minutes. After that was done, I stirred in a whole bag of spinach. It.was.perfection.

I’m certain this can be made without an Instant Pot or pressure cooker, but I’m not quite sure you’ll achieve the same wonderful broth. Also, feel free to add salt to taste, but it definitely wasn’t necessary with the mix of flavors!

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Chicken & Chorizo Stew (For the Instant Pot)

Ingredients:

1-2 pounds chicken breast

1 package Johnsonville Chorizo (5 links)

1 onion, halved and sliced

3-4 small potatoes, roughly chopped

Olive oil

Pepper

2-4 cups water

1 package baby spinach (Fresh Express has a 5oz bag; this is what I used)

 

If your chicken and sausages are still frozen, pop them in the Instant Pot with 1 cup water and set at manual high pressure for 40 minutes. (If they are not frozen, 15-20 ought to do it, depending on the thickness of the meats.) Once the timer goes off, release the pressure according to the IP instructions. Once pressure is released, transfer chicken, sausages, and broth into a separate bowl.

Press the Saute setting on the IP, pouring in a tablespoon of olive oil. Add in onions, potatoes, and a few sprinkles of pepper, and stir often, for 3 minutes. Shred the chicken, chop the sausage links into small pieces, and pour everything back into the IP, including the broth. Add 2-3 cups water, depending on how soupy you want it to be, stir everything quite well, then further cook for 15 minutes on the Meat/Stew setting.

Once the pressure has released again, stir in the spinach until well combined. Serve immediately.

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This is one of those foods that I will likely make again just to experiment with. It was incredible just like this, but I’m already thinking how it could become more of a tortilla or taco soup, or how a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt would be amazing on top, etc, etc. I have so many ideas. Plus I’m just so proud of that broth. I really did not anticipate the color leeching out of the chorizo the way it did, and it permeated the entire dish.

Dang, now I’m really wishing there had been leftovers.

Cherry Sorbet

Really dull post title, but it gets to the point. Tonight I’m sharing with you a recipe for fresh cherry sorbet. Hooray for bonus posts! On Friday evenings, when everyone else is probably out doing extrovert things… I mean. Anyway.

I had intended to have two sorbet choices for you, but today did not exactly go as planned and I haven’t had the opportunity to even get the peaches cut! I might work on that after I’m done writing this. Hmm. But the cherry sorbet was soooooo good. SO GOOD. Like, I didn’t realize how something that’s basically fruit and water could be so good. Also, I used some of my allotted kitchen time to make risotto on the stove for the first time and that was well worth it, just saying.

So. Cherry sorbet. The most obnoxious part about the process was cutting up all the cherries… I don’t have one of those cherry pitting gadgets, but I might have to pick one up because it took me nearly half an hour to pit and chop two pounds of fruit. If you don’t have a gadget, I recommend turning on a favorite album or podcast because you’re gonna be slightly bored. A few other notes on the recipe…I substituted half the water with Ningxia Red, a superfood antioxidant drink from Young Living, and I used Swerve as my sweetener. But I will give it as is for you to play with how you wish.

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Cherry Sorbet

Ingredients:

2 pounds fresh cherries

1 cup filtered water

2/3 cup sweetener of choice

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

 

Stem the cherries and remove the pits; you can also chop into smaller pieces if you wish. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, mix all ingredients and cook for 10-15 minutes until cherries are soft. Remove saucepan from heat and allow mixture to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly. I kept the pan in the fridge for about 4 hours. Puree the mixture and pour it through a fine mesh strainer into an ice cream maker. Churn according to your ice cream maker’s instructions (for example mine said to churn for about 15 minutes), then freeze, also according to instructions.

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It really was delicious. I ended up having a serving for breakfast the day after I made it. Why not?

Hope your weekend has started off right and I’m off to make some peach sorbet…or maybe popsicles because I just got a set of BPA-free molds! Who knows. The possibilities are endless.

Of course, there is a 1000% chance that I will end up renting Infinity War on Amazon and crying into a glass of wine. Because I don’t want to wait till my Blu-ray arrives to rip out my heart again. But I digress.

Happy Friday and happy cooking!