Friday, October 28, 2011

Chicken-Stuffed Bell Peppers

I felt like making stuffed bell peppers. I read some ideas from different recipes online. I tried to work with what I had in the fridge.

Bell peppers can be stuffed with pretty much anything, so, as always, take these ingredients and run with them!

it's hard to make these pretty, but they taste good -- I promise!


Stuffed Bell Peppers

Ingredients

red bell peppers
chicken
chicken broth or chicken bullion cubes for chicken broth
onion
garlic
olive oil
celery
cayenne pepper
fennel seeds (erva doce in Portuguese)
bread crumbs
tomato
cheese



Instructions

1. Shred the cheese. Chop everything else up. The food processor is your friend in this recipe. You can mix the onion, garlic, celery, and chicken together at this point (chop them up together if you want).

2. Fry the onion, garlic, chicken, and celery together in some olive oil (or regular oil!). Add in the cayenne pepper, the fennel seeds, and some salt and pepper as they're all cooking.
3. Boil some water in a pot and put the bell peppers in the water just to boil them for a few minutes. This will save you on baking time.

4. Use some of that boiled water to make your chicken broth, if you're making it using chicken bullion cubes. You don't need much chicken broth -- maybe 1/2 a cup for 2 whole bell peppers.

5. Mix the bread crumbs and a bit of the chicken broth into the chicken mixture when the chicken is almost fully cooked.

6. Put the bell peppers in a baking dish. I cut them down the middle and filled each side, almost like a taco; some people cut the tops off and stuff the inside, like a pumpkin.


7. Top/fill the bell peppers with the chicken mixture. Top them with just a little more chicken broth.

no, you're not crazy. They're different sizes. I used some of the bell pepper halves for another recipe.


8. Put the tomatoes and cheese on top of the chicken mixture.



9. Bake for 20-30 minutes at about 230C, just to warm it all up together and to make the bell pepper a little crispy.

Enjoy!
What do you stuff bell peppers with?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hot and Sour Soup

This soup recipe is adapted from the Martha Stewart Cookbook I raved about a few weeks ago. I promised a friend I'd type it up for her, so I figured I'd share it with you guys, too.
this picture is from this cook, who also adapted this recipe to her liking


Anyway, Alexandre and I made this Japanese-style soup, and he loved it for its fresh mushrooms. I'm not a fan of mushrooms, and the egg mixture was strange for me, but I can see the appeal. And it's vegetarian, if you don't count the egg.

It's a little on the expensive side here in Brazil (tofu and fresh mushrooms, hello?), but this soup is easily freezable so you can get quite a few meals out of it. And, like almost all of the recipes I post, it's pretty easily modifiable. We added in a lot more vegetables, for example.

Hot and Sour Soup

Original Ingredients:

3-4 cups of chicken broth
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
a pinch of red pepper flakes (a.k.a. pimenta calabresa, but this can be any pepper/spice that you like)
One package of fresh shiitake mushrooms with the stems cut off (I found them in the produce section of the supermarket)
1 package of either kind of tofu (I bought mine at the farmer's market! holla!)
3-4 tablespoons of rice vinegar
2 tablespoons of cornstarch
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
green onions, chopped up nice and small

We also added:
broccoli
onions
carrot
celery
peas (we put the whole pod in. it came out nice)

Instructions: 

1. If you're in Brazil, you'll probably need to make your chicken broth first.

2. Now's also a good time to start drying out your tofu.

3. In a large pot, combine the chicken broth, soy sauce, pepper flakes, and 2 cups of water. Boil. (I started with 3 cups of the chicken broth and added the rest later. You may prefer your soup thicker or more watery, so this number is flexible.)

4. Slice the mushrooms into small strips. Add the mushrooms, carrots, and onions. Lower the heat, then simmer for about 10 minutes.

5. Now's a good time to add in the rest of your vegetables (broccoli, celery, and peas, whatever else you want).

6. In a small bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons of the vinegar and the cornstarch. Add the mixture to the pot. Simmer and stir until the soup thickens (for about 1 minute).

7. Add in the egg using a slotted spoon. Mix mix mix. Simmer simmer simmer.

8. Add in the ginger. Then chop up your tofu and then add it to the soup, too. Cook for another minute or so.

9. Remove the soup from the heat. Taste the soup to see if you want the rest of the vinegar or not.

10. Sprinkle the green onions on top and enjoy!

The next time we make it, I'll take my own picture, OK? :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Kale Wraps

So I saw this video on a blog and really liked the idea of using kale leaves to make wraps.


anybody else noticing how Southern Californians are developing Canadian-style Os?

In the video, Margaret from eatnaked.com uses the term "collard greens," which, according to Wikipedia, is technically a category of these big leafy plants, and kale is a member of this category.

Since we're in Brazil, I had to buy the strain of kale available here, which is not the one in the video with the purple stripe down the middle. Alexandre complained that it was a little bitter for a recipe like this, but I'm really inexperienced with buying these kinds of leaves, so I welcome your suggestions on what we could use instead.

Anyway, I took the steaming and cutting techniques used in the video, and built up the filling using a combination of recipes from the internet. Here's what mine ended up like:


The ingredients are easily modifiable, but the tip I took away from the various recipes online was to have some kind of topping and then some kind of filling. So the ingredients I used are below. Feel free to just use my recipe as a template; be creative!

Kale Wraps

Ingredients for the filling
chicken breasts
chickpeas
avocado (preferably American-style Haas avocado and not Brazilian-style Geada abacate; you can read more here, Ray )

Ingredients for the topping:
tomato
onion
garlic
celery
green pepper

Instructions:

1. Chop up all the veggies for the topping into small pieces. Don't mix them together just yet. At this point, you can also chop up the avocado and wash your chickpeas (or cook them from scratch, if you have time to do that).

2. If you're using chicken, sprinkle your favorite spices onto a chicken breast or two, and fry them (or use your George Foreman Grill, if you've got one and want to avoid all the oil!). Once the chicken is cooked, chop it up into small pieces.

3. Cut and steam the kale leaves according to the video above. To steam mine, I put my metal strainer into a pot of boiling water and put the lid on it! Voilá! Homemade steamer. :)

4. In a nice pan, heat the onion and some salt in a generous amount of oil (olive oil worked well). Then add in the garlic, the celery and the green pepper and heat them up. You can cook the tomato a bit too, if you want; I mixed it in fresh at the end.

5. Mix the ingredients for the filling together and put them into the kale leaves, à lá the video.

6. Set the wraps in a baking dish and top them with the topping mixture (if you had extra chickpeas left over, like I did, you can add those, too).  Bake everything for just a few minutes 5-10 just to warm it all up together.

They're surprisingly filling!


What would you add? Any other ideas for fillings or toppings?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Jennifer's Perfect Brazilian Rice

 So newcomer Jennifer is very excited to share the Brazilian rice recipe that she has learned and perfected. She describes it as "simple but delicious!". There are a few different takes on the "best" way to make Brazilian rice, but this is the one I tend to follow, too (except I'm way too lazy to use a mortar and pestle). Lots of people have strong opinions on their version of Brazilian rice, so if you're one of those people, share your opinions and preferences in the comments!

Easy Brazilian Rice

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp oil
.5 Tbsp garlic/salt mixture
1 cup long grain white rice
2 cups water
Instructions:
In a mortar and pestle, grind 4 medium garlic cloves with a few pinches of salt (just so the garlic does not jump out) until it is a creamy paste. Add about 1/4 cup of salt and store in a sealed container for later. You will only use about 1/2 a tablespoon of the mixture for this recipe.

Heat oil in a rounded pan over medium-low heat. Add the half tablespoon of salt-garlic mixture and briefly sauteé. Don't let the heat get too high or the salt and garlic will burn.

Add 1 cup of rice and sauteé for about 2 minutes, stirring often. 

Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Stir thoroughly, put on a well-fitting lid, and remove the pan from the heat.

In about 30 minutes, fluff with a fork, and enjoy your perfect pot of rice!

Jean's Healthy Chicken (or otherwise) Nuggets

Friendly reader Jean sent in a great recipe for healthy homemade chicken nuggets -- you can also substitute the chicken with salmon or beef, and they're easily freezable and a hit with the kiddies. 

Here's what Jean has to say: 

I freeze these nuggets in big batches, and they last for months, so the hard work is worth it. I always have a batch or two in the freezer for an instant, healthful meal for my little one (and for me, too!)
 

Healthy Homemade Chicken Nuggets

INGREDIENTS:


--700g of salmon, chicken, or beef 
--3 eggs
--1.5 cups of farinha de rosca (fine breadcrumbs), separated into 1 cup and 0.5 cup
--1 cup flour
--1 carrot, finely chopped
--1 bunch of couve (kale), finely chopped
--1 onion, chopped
--2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
--3 tbs of oil
--1 bunch of cheiro verde (cilantro and green onion) chopped
--salt and pepper to taste



**You can add in other vegetables as well...we've also used beets, zucchini, cauliflower, 

broccoli, etc.



PROCESS:

--Cut the salmon, chicken or beef into small pieces and beat it with 1 egg in a processor.

--Mix the finely chopped carrot and finely chopped kale together.

--In a pan, place oil and saute the chopped onion, chopped garlic, and finely chopped cheiro verde.

--Mix all ingredients, including 1 cup farinha de rosca, into the meat/egg mixture and roll into tight balls.

--Roll the tight balls in flour and then roll the balls again into the remaining mixture of 0.5 cup farinha de rosca and remaining 2 eggs.

--Bake 15 minutes on one side, turn, and bake another 15 minutes.