August 4, 2011

My First Post: Easy Stuffed Bell Peppers

Hi Everyone (or more likely, Jess)!

I finally got around to cooking up something I felt I could share as a first blog post and not be entirely embarrassed. After all, how could I not feel intimidated – there are so many amazing food blogs out there!

A little bit of background on me (ya know, because I haven’t gotten around to making the dreaded “about me” page)… one day. I promise? Anyway, I’m in a twenty-something Jersey girl living and working in NYC. Sounds so glamorous and it kind of is. I love being in the big city. One thing I don’t love? The fact that my meager salary (don’t get me wrong…I LOVE my job! I kid you not, it’s my dream job) barely stretches to cover my food, drink, entertainment, shopping habits, oh yeah and the important things like my rent, electricity and savings account.

The truth is I’m pretty good at sticking to a budget. My mom calls it frugal. Yet I still manage to cook for myself most week nights. I’ve just learned to make myself some delicious (if I do say so myself) meals on lil budget. Believe it or not, I regularly spend about $36 per week on groceries – even in NYC!

So, if you’ll bear with me while I figure out the world of food blogging, I’d like to share my meals with whoever is willing to read along (again…Jess? Are you there?).

The first recipe I want to share is one that my grandmother makes for us. When I asked her for the recipe, she gave me a list of ingredients but said there is no real science to the amounts. So I improvised and only hoped mine would turn out just as delicious as hers. If the speed at which I ate my pepper last night is any indication, I think I did the dish justice.

*Please excuse the iPhone-quality pics… I lost the charger to my SLR and have yet to replace it. Next week – I promise.*

Stuffed Bell Peppers
(A family recipe)

Serves 4 (or a family of 1 for lunch and dinner, two days in a row – guilty?)

4 large bell peppers (any color will do)

3 cups rice

2 tbsp butter

½ lb ground turkey breast

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp chopped garlic

1 cup diced onion

8 ounces canned tomato sauce

shredded cheese to taste
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, rinse peppers in cold water and remove the tops and seeds. Use a spoon to remove excess membrane and seeds (be careful not to puncture the bottom or sides of the pepper!).

Cut the tops of the bell peppers

Place peppers in boiling water for approximately 3 minutes. Skin should be slightly softened. Drain and set aside to cool.

Boil peppers for approximately 3 minutes

At this point, if you aren’t using instant rice, it’s a good time to cook up that rice. I used a special blend from TJ’s of rice, orzo and pilaf but any rice will do. Melt butter in a saucepan and brown rice under low heat (you can skip this step, but why wouldn’t you want buttery, delicious rice??). Follow cooking instructions on your package of rice once the rice has slightly browned.

Brown and cook the rice

While the rice cooks, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and brown ground turkey in olive oil and chopped garlic. Add tomato sauce and finish cooking. Stir in rice.

Add tomato sauce and stir in rice

Fill peppers evenly and top with shredded cheese (I used a light Mexican blend), if desired. Place on a baking sheet and cook in the oven for 10 minutes.

Fill peppers evenly and top with shredded cheese

And just because I am a hot sauce freak garnish (or dump the whole bottle on) with hot sauce and enjoy!

Pricing:
Bell peppers: $0.69 each
Rice: $2.98
Turkey breast: $3.30
Onion: $0.89
Tomato sauce: $0.99
Shredded cheese: $0.87
———————————–
Total: $9.72 ($2.43 per serving)

*A note on how I calculated the pricing: I omitted olive oil, butter and chopped garlic because, in my opinion, those are things you should always have in your refrigerator and they go a long way if you are using small quantities (ie not making cookies that require two sticks of butter). I also did math (yes, I can write but I can also do elementary math – sometimes) to calculate the cost of the items that I did not fully use, because I will use them for other recipes before they go bad – I promise. If anyone hates this method, let me know. I’ll see what I can do.*

What do you think?