recipe:: stuffed pablano peppers

We found this recipe recently on Pinterest, and we’d been waiting to try it on a Sunday night since it seemed a little more involved than a one-pot dish that we might make on a work night. Craig got the giant peppers at our international farmer’s market in Smyrna, and I highly recommend shopping somewhere like that for produce… so much cheaper than a regular grocery store! I’d also recommend wearing rubber gloves when handling the peppers to reduce the risk of getting anything in your eyes. It’s happened to Craig before, and I’m surprised he didn’t end up having to wear an eye patch.

The dish was actually less complicated than we anticipated, and it was delicious. Just the right amount of spice, and the goat cheese really added a nice balance to the mixture. The recipe we used was vegetarian, but we chose to add in ground beef. With the beef added in, we had TONS of filling leftover. So next time, we’ll have to buy more peppers and invite some dinner guests over!

Quinoa-Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Chipotle Sauce

Adapted from the blog Once Upon a Cutting Board

Serves 4 (if each person eats one pepper, but we had 2 apiece)
4 large poblano peppers
2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/3 cup dry quinoa
1/3 cup vegetable or chicken stock (optional)
1 tablespoon chopped chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1 garlic clove
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped, plus more for garnish
1 lb ground beef (optional)
1 small yellow onion
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 roma tomatoes, diced
4 ounces goat cheese

Preheat oven to 475°F.  Rub poblano peppers with two teaspoons of vegetable oil and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Roast in the preheated oven until soft and slightly blackened in spots, about 15-20 minutes, flipping once.  Let cool.

Meanwhile, bring 1/3 cup water and 1/3 cup vegetable stock to a boil in a medium saucepan (you use part vegetable or chicken stock for quinoa to infuse extra flavor, but it’s not necessary if you don’t have any open stock, you can use 2/3 cup water instead).  Add quinoa, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low to simmer.  Cook until tender, about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes, then remove lid and fluff with a fork.
While peppers and quinoa are cooking, prepare the chipotle sauce in a blender.  Combine chipotle chile, garlic, 3/4 cup water, and a dash each of salt and pepper in the blender and blend until smooth.  Add 1/2 cup cilantro and pulse a few times to combine.  Set aside.
In a large saucepan or deep skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat.  Add ground beef and saute until brown. Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add corn, black beans, tomato, and cooked quinoa and stir until heated through, about 2 minutes.  Add 2 ounces goat cheese and stir until it’s melted and completely mixed in.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Make a small slit down the length of one side of each pepper, being careful not to cut through to the other side.  Carefully remove seeds, leaving stem end intact.  Spoon quinoa mixture into each pepper to fill them.

Pour chipotle sauce into a 9×13-inch baking dish.  Transfer stuffed peppers to the dish, and dot with remaining 2 ounces goat cheese.  Bake until cheese is golden, 15 to 20 minutes.  Cool in pan 10 minutes and serve warm, sprinkled with additional chopped cilantro if desired.


recipe:: chili for an extra chilly day

Craig and our friend Hunter found this chili recipe years ago and have since perfected it to be meat-filled and oh-so-delicious, so I thought it would be perfect to share on this extra cold day!


White or Yellow Onion (1)

Bacon (12 oz.)

Lean Ground Beef (approx 1.25 lbs)

Italian Sausage (1 lb)

Diced Tomatoes (32 oz.)

Pinto Beans (16 oz.)

Great White Beans (16 oz.)

Kidney Beans (16 oz.)

Beer (2)

Chili Powder (6 tbsp)

Garlic (6-12 cloves)

Cumin (2 tbsp)

Black Pepper (1 tbsp)


Dice and cook bacon in large skillet.  Remove and place in a large pot or crockpot.  Leave grease.

Dice onion and cook with ground beef, sausage, and garlic in the bacon grease. Add 1 beer about half-way through cooking.

Remove to large pot or crockpot.

Add diced tomatoes, beans, spices, and 1 beer to crockpot.

Cook on low for several hours.

Voila! All done. Best chili ever.

Here’s the finished product! I love this bowl…. we had them as kids and ate our cereal out of them many mornings before school. And although the idea of chili for breakfast seems a little gross, I still think it’s cute. We made cornbread in a cast iron skillet for this meal, but my favorite side is a nice, hot grilled cheese… oh, and Fritos on top! mmm!

recipe:: tasty fall treat

Every year at work, we have a Halloween potluck lunch. I usually try to come up with something seasonal and festive, like monster cupcakes or a pumpkin/gingerbread/cool whip trifle. So I stuck with the dessert theme again this year (seems to be common when I’m bringing food for a group gathering) and made pumpkin bread and salted caramel rice krispie treats. I’m not a bread baker, so it wasn’t made from scratch — I have Trader Joe’s to thank for that mix. But you can’t beat it — they have the best seasonal bread/cake mixes! I love their gingerbread mix, too — makes amazing cupcakes.

Anyway, on to the tasty fall treat — Salted Caramel Rice Krispie Treats!! I happened upon this recipe on Pinterest late Monday night and after reading the lovely blogger’s post about making them, I decided I needed them in my life. Who doesn’t love rice krispie treats? And with salt and caramel mixed in? Match made in Heaven. So thank you to A Cozy Kitchen for the recipe idea!


1/2 cup of sugar

2 tablespoons of water

2 tablespoons of butter

1/4 cup of heavy cream

1/8 teaspoon of salt

3 tablespoons of butter

1 package (or 10 oz.) of marshmallows

6 cups of Rice Krispies

Combine the sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a medium saucepan. Don’t even think about using Splenda – it disappears as soon as you add water! I learned that the hard way. Do not stir. Cook over medium-high heat to a dark caramel, swirling as it begins to brown to distribute the sugar.  This will take several minutes — be patient. While the sugar and water are combining, microwave the cream until just warm.

ps — isn’t the little owl so cute? He’s a timer my mom gave me for Christmas last year. He’s a great kitchen helper.

Take the sugar mixture off the heat and add the room temperature butter.  Whisk the butter in, making sure it’s totally combined. Add your warmed cream and whisk vigorously, then add the salt. Set aside.

In large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat and add the caramel. Stir until thoroughly combined.

Add Rice Krispies cereal. Stir until well coated with a buttered spatula.

Using wax paper, evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 inch pan coated with cooking spray. Let cool. Cut into 2-inch squares. And of course, test one out, because you need to make sure they’re not poisonous before serving them to anyone. 😉 Happy Halloween!

quick recipe:: mini meatloaves

I’ve always been a big fan of my mom’s meatloaf recipe. We were making it for dinner last night and decided to try something different, as it takes at least an hour to cook the traditional way. We’ve tried mini loaf tins before, but this is more fun — we used a cast iron drop biscuit pan that we typically make corn bread discs with. I followed the regular recipe, but it allowed the loaves to cook in under half the time, and we already had pre-cut portions — perfect for meatloaf sandwiches as leftovers!

1 lb ground beef
1/2 tube Jimmy Dean pork sausage with sage
1 egg (or 1/4 cup of egg beaters)
1/2 cup bread crumbs (plain)
1 tsp each – thyme, basil, oregano
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 – 8oz can  tomato sauce (reserve 1/2 can for topping)
cast iron drop biscuit pan (makes 7)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Once oven has heated, place cast iron pan in oven for 10 minutes.
3. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
4. Remove pan from oven, grease, and spoon mix into each section of pan.  (If any mix is left, make a mini loaf and cook on small cookie sheet.)
5. Top with remaining 1/2 can of tomato sauce.
6. Bake for 25 minutes or until no longer pink in the center.

quick recipe:: rolo stuffed cookies

Quick Recipe::
Snickerdoodle Rolo Cookies

I found this little gem on Pinterest via Rachel Schultz — thanks for the quick recipe! Actually, Craig found it… but he didn’t want to save it because he doesn’t pin “girly stuff” like cookie recipes. When I went to our nearby Kroger to get the ingredients, they didn’t have snickerdoodle dough, so I improvised.

1 package of break-and-bake cookies (snickerdoodle is preferable, but sugar cookie* will work as well)
1 bag of individually wrapped Rolo candies
*If using sugar cookie dough, you’ll also need a few tablespoons of sugar and cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. If using regular sugar cookie dough, you’ll need to mix the cinnamon and sugar together in a bowl — it’ll be used to roll the dough balls in before baking.

Flatten 1 tablespoon dough and wrap around Rolo candy. Roll into ball and set on cookie sheet.

Bake for 14 minutes.

And that’s it! Easiest recipe ever for something a little more fun than a regular old cookie.

PS — they’re best when warm so the caramel inside is melty!