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One Ingredient, Five Recipes: Bell Peppers

One Ingredient, Five Recipes: Bell Peppers

When I’m grocery shopping, I try to diligently stick to my premade list. But sometimes deals pop up at the store that I just can’t pass up. Often, sales require that you purchase a specific item in bulk, but it can be tricky to justify purchasing the item—especially if it’s fresh and expires in a short amount of time—when you’re not quite sure you won’t just waste the whole thing. Then that “money saved” turns into money in the garbage.

            In a new series of posts here at GeniCan (“One Ingredient, Five Recipes”), we offer up five different, tasty recipes that you can prepare throughout the week to make the most out of that one ingredient you purchased in bulk at the store.

Here we’ll explore bell peppers. The great thing about these peppers is that they’re extremely versatile, yummy, and can be enjoyed when cooked in a number of different ways. You’ll see bell peppers featured heavily in stores at this time of year, as their peak season is from July through November, so take advantage of sales of this produce to create these five tasty dishes.

Broccoli and Bell Pepper Stir Fry

Serves 4

            1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons, as needed

            1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced

            1 large head of broccoli, chopped

            2 red bell peppers, membranes and seeds removed, chopped

            1 large zucchini, chopped

            1 large yellow onion, chopped

            Stir-fry sauce

            2 cups jasmine rice, cooked according to manufacturer’s instructions

  1. Heat your largest skillet (or a wok, if you have it) over medium high heat. Add olive oil, and cook the chicken until cooked through (about 5-7 minutes). Transfer to a medium-size bowl.
  2. Cook broccoli, peppers, zucchini, and onion about 5 minutes, or until vegetables are crisp and tender, adding olive oil as needed.
  3. Return chicken back to skillet. Add stir-fry sauce. Reduce heat to medium, and cook about 3-5 minutes more, allowing for the sauce to thicken.
  4. Serve over warm jasmine rice.

Stuffed Peppers with Ground Beef and Rice

Serves 6

            6 Bell Peppers (choice of colors is yours)

            1 tablespoon butter

            1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

            1/2 cup chopped onion

            1/2 cup chopped celery

            1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes

            1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce

            1 clove garlic, crushed

            1 teaspoon dried leaf oregano

            2 teaspoons salt, divided

            1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided

            1 egg, lightly beaten

            1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

            1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef

            1 1/2 cups cooked long-grain rice

            1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, optional

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Meanwhile, remove the tops of the bell peppers, remove seeds, and cut away the membranes. Save the edible parts of the tops, giving them a light chop, and set aside. Please the peppers in a large pot and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil and butter until the oil is hot and butter is foamy. Sauté the chopped bell pepper tops, chopped onion, and chopped celery, about 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Add the undrained canned diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, crushed garlic, oregano, basil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Simmer, and cook for about 10 minutes.
  4. In a mixing bowl, combine the egg with the remaining salt and pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Stir to blend. Mix in ground beef, cooked rice, and 1 cup of the tomato sauce mixture.
  5. Stuff the peppers with the ground beef mixture and place them in a 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Pour the remaining tomato mixture over the stuffed peppers.
  6. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the meat mixture is thoroughly cooked (at least 160°F for ground beef).
  7. Sprinkle cheese on top of peppers for the last five minutes of cooking.

Steak Fajitas

Serves 4

            5 teaspoons packaged fajita seasoning, divided

            1/2 teaspoon oregano leaves

            1/4 cup vegetable oil

            1/4 cup red wine vinegar

            1 1/2 pounds sirloin steak, cut into thin strips

            1 medium onion, cut into thin strips

            1 bell pepper (color choice is yours), cut into thin strips, membranes discarded

            8 (10-inch) flour tortillas

            Toppings (optional): salsa, guacamole, shredded cheese, sour cream

  1. Combine 4 teaspoons seasoning with oregano, oil, and vinegar in a bowl. Add in beef and turn to coat. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Place marinated meat strips in heated skillet. Sauté over medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Sprinkle remaining 1 teaspoon of seasoning over meat strips. Add in onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5-6 minutes, or until meat is done and vegetables are tender.
  3. Add portions of the mixture to center of warm tortillas and add on toppings, if desired. Fold up tortilla and enjoy.

Grilled Pepper Pizzas

Serves 4

            2 bell peppers (color choice is yours), cut lengthwise

            1 medium red onion, cut into 1/2-inch rounds

            2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing

            1 log (6 ounces) fresh goat cheese, room temperature

            3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan

            1 teaspoon lemon zest, plus 1 teaspoon juice

            1 pound store-bought pizza dough, divided into 4 pieces

            1 cup arugula

            Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

            Red pepper flakes

  1. Heat the grill to medium-high heat. Toss peppers and onion with 1 tablespoon oil. Grill, flipping once, around 7-10 minutes. Combine goat cheese, Parmesan, lemon zest, and 2 teaspoons oil.
  2. Brush a baking sheet with oil. Stretch one piece of dough into an 8-inch oval on the sheet. Brush the top with oil and season with salt. Brush the grill grates with oil. Grill pizza, top-side down, until bubbles form (1-2 minutes). Flip; dollop with a quarter of cheese mixture, peppers, and onion. Gril, moving occasionally with tongs, until cheese melts and bottom is crisp, 1-2 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough.
  3. Toss arugula with lemon juice and remaining 1 teaspoon oil. Season with salt and pepper. Top pizzas with arugula and sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Serve. 

Roasted Pepper Salad

Serves 4

            4 bell peppers (choice is yours, but red works great)

            1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

            1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained

            1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives

            1/2 teaspoon red-wine vinegar

            1 teaspoon lemon zest

            Coarse salt and ground pepper, to taste

            Fresh basil leaves, for serving

  1. Heat broiler. Place bell peppers on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil, turning occasionally, until charred on all sides and tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let steam, about 20 minutes. Rub with paper towels to remove skin. Remove membranes and seeds, and cut each pepper lengthwise into 4 pieces.
  2. Arrange peppers on a serving platter. Drizzle with oil, and top with capers, olives, vinegar, and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with basil.

Photo by Mike Mozart/Flickr

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