Quinoa and Italian turkey sausage stuffed peppers

Most of the time, stuffed peppers are made with a mixture of white rice and ground Italian sausage made with pork. Although this filling is cooked inside of a vegetable, it is not the healthiest meal. These stuffed peppers were made super healthy by using quinoa instead of rice and turkey sausage instead of the pork. Not only did I cut out a significant amount of calories (each pepper is only 210 calories!!), but the flavor is almost better in my opinion! They are hearty and meaty and best of all – cheesy!!! Yum!

These don’t taste like health food at all and I am so sure that you will love them! They are a great “make ahead” meal too! Once they are assembled (and before you place them in the oven), they can be easily wrapped up and refrigerated or frozen until you want to bake them up. The green bell peppers that I used were HUGE, so they are definitely enough to feel like you have eaten a meal.

Ingredients
Makes 5 stuffed peppers

3 mild Italian sausage links, meat taken out of the casing
1 cup quinoa
5 green bell peppers, tops removed and insides pulled out
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
3 Tbl basil, chopped
1/2 jar prepared tomato sauce (I used Newman’s Own tomato basil)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese
Salt/pepper
Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large pot, bring 2 cups of water and quinoa up to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Let cook for 20 minutes or until all the liquid has evaporated and quinoa is cooked through.

In a large saute pan, heat some olive oil. Add to the pan onion, garlic, and red bell pepper. Cook for ten minutes to allow veggies to soften. Add in turkey sausage. Stir around to break up the pieces of sausage into small, bite sized pieces. Cook for another 8 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce, parmesan cheese, and basil. Remove from heat and set aside.

To assemble:

Place peppers cut side up in a large baking dish. Spoon quinoa mixture evenly into each pepper. Top with cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and broil peppers until cheese is browned.

Serve immediately.

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Florida quinoa

First and foremost, I want to apologize for being MIA for the last few weeks. As most of you may already know, I graduated college two weeks ago and relocated back to Naples from Charlotte. It has been a crazy few weeks. But I have really missed all of you 🙂

Because my sister and I have lived in North Carolina for the last few years, we wanted to make sure to hit up all of our favorite restaurants before we moved away. This included an array of food that was fried and/or laden with butter and cream. It was all so good. But so bad. I need to detox.

Quinoa is so healthy, so any time I get the opportunity to make it, I do. I recently had a salad that was very similar to this recipe in Whole Foods and decided to put my own spin on it once I got home. It has so many really healthy ingredients in it – but is so flavorful. You would never guess there is no added fat in it!

Ingredients

2 cups quinoa
4 cups water

Cook quinoa according to directions on the box. Once cooked, allow to cool completely.

1 mango, diced
1 cup shelled edamame
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 orange, peeled and cut into segments
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
Zest from one lemon
Juice from one lemon
Juice from one orange
Juice from one lime

Combine all ingredients into a bowl. Add in the cooled quinoa and stir to combine. Allow to sit in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to allow all the flavors to be absorbed into the quinoa before eating.

Enjoy!!

Southwestern quinoa with roasted shrimp

This weekend I went to Winston-Salem, NC to visit my sister, Jen. We are super close, so every time I go see her we always have so much fun! She also loves to cook so it is always a great excuse to try out some new recipes whenever I am over there because I know she will help out. My first night there we went out for dinner and drinks and then for some frozen custard. If you have never had frozen custard, do yourself a favor and go get some! Its awesome! Its basically ice cream – just a lot richer (and probably more fattening). But it is delicious. And I ate way too much of it.

So after a night of drinks and custard, we decided that we should make some kind of effort to eat slightly healthier the next night – hence the quinoa. Quinoa is so easy to make and with the addition of some other flavorful ingredients, it really makes it a great meal.

Ingredients
Recipe collaborator: Jennifer Reppucci

1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and devained
1 Tbl blackening seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
olive oil
2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 1/2 cups quinoa
1 cup corn (frozen or fresh)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed well
1 avocado, diced
2 roma tomatoes, diced
1 small onion, diced and caramelized
Salt/pepper, to taste

Pre heat oven to 400 degrees.

In a plastic re-sealable bag add in your shrimp. Season with salt, pepper, and blackening seasoning and olive oil. Seal the bag and shake the shrimp around the bag to coat it with the seasoning. Empty the shrimp onto a sheet tray and discard the plastic baggy. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes or until the shrimp is cooked through. Set aside.

In a large stock pot over medium heat, add quinoa and toast until slightly browned. Add in stock and bring to a boil. Once at a rolling boil, reduce the heat to simmer and cook, covered for about 15 minutes, or until quinoa is tender. Remove from the heat and add in your corn, black beans, avocado, tomatoes, and onion. Pour cilantro vinaigrette over and serve with shrimp over top.

Cilantro Vinaigrette

1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped finely
1 lime, juiced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt/pepper, to taste

In a bowl, combine all ingredients and whisk to combine. Pour over quinoa and toss to combine.

Enjoy!!!