Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Quinoa and sausage stuffed peppers

This must be your lucky week or something because you are getting another recipe!  However, I probably make up for any points I earned by having truly horrific-ly bad photos in this post.  My apologies!  Today, I could not wait to get home from work and just cook a new recipe.  I had bought some quinoa a week or so ago and bought some things at the grocery store to make a quinoa stuffed pepper.  For some reason that just seemed appealing to me.  I wasn't entirely positive what I was going to do with it, but I knew the flavors I wanted so I just threw this together and am so happy with how it came out.  It was delicious and I'm excited to play around with quinoa some more!!

Quinoa and Sausage Stuffed Peppers
Serves 5 (Weight Watchers PP: 6 per serving)

- 1 small onion
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 small tub thing of baby bella mushrooms
- 1/2 lb ground Hot Italian Sausage (not in casings)
- 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1/4 cup fat free mozzarella cheese (optional)
- 1 1/2 cup fat free chicken broth
- 3 red bell peppers
- Salt and pepper
- Thyme (optional)

Step 1: Finely chop the small onion and then spray a medium sized soup pot with nonstick spray and add the onions.  Cook over medium heat until the onions are translucent.  If the onions begin to stick to the pot, add a little bit of the chicken broth.  One of the 1/2 cups of broth is just for adding to the onion, garlic and mushroom while you cook that.  Feel free to use as needed!

Step 2: While onion is cooking finely chop the garlic and then add to the pot.  Stir onions and garlic to be sure they are cooking evenly.

Step 3: Loosely chop the sliced mushrooms into small pieces, add to the pot with garlic and onions and a little chicken broth if needed to keep the food from sticking to the bottom of the pot.  Add some salt and better and cook down.  The mushrooms will release some liquid as they cook down and are salted.  Cook until most liquid has evaporated.

Step 4: Add the italian sausage to the pot with mushrooms, garlic and onion.  Chop up the sausage into small pieces, cook until all is brown and fully incorporate together with the vegetables.  Turn heat to low and set aside.  So, at this point, I tried the mixture and I felt like it needed some other flavor -- some sort of fresh green herb I felt.  I had on hand, fresh thyme, so I threw some in to the mixture.  You totally don't need to do this or a bit of parsley or oregano would be good too.  However, even though I used thyme because it was what I had, I actually really liked how the earthiness of it added to the mixture.

Step 5: In a separate small pot, combine 1/2 cup of uncooked quinoa with 1 cup of chicken broth.  Bring to a boil then cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes until quinoa has absorbed the broth and then you can fluff it up and combine it with the sausage & veggie mixture. Side note: this was the first time in my life I cooked quinoa and I was put off a little bit because it smelled kind of funny.  But just move past that and keep going :)

Step 6: Cut 3 red bell peppers in half and remove seeds and veins.  Put 5 of the halves in a small microwave safe dish with a 3/4 a cup of water in the bottom.  Cover in saran wrap and microwave for 6 minutes.  Eat the other half of the bell pepper.

Step 7: When the bell peppers are out of the microwave, make sure they are dried off from the water, and lay on a baking sheet.  Divide the filling into the 5 pepper halves, making sure to use it all and stuff it all in there!!

Step 8 (optional):  Top each of the peppers with a sprinkle of fat free Parmesan cheese

Step 9: Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes

Step 10: Enjoy!!!

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