I’ve always been intrigued by recipes for stuffed peppers, though I’ve never made them. So, last weekend I decided enough was enough — and planned to make stuffed green peppers.
Last Sunday, Michael and I ended up spending a leisurely afternoon with friends at an antique show at the HarMar Mall in Roseville. While there, Michael went to Cub Foods for me to buy a couple green peppers to stuff. He came back with 3 red peppers instead — they were on sale for $1 each! So naturally, we then returned to the store together and bought even more of them, and my plans were changed to stuffed red peppers.
Well, it turns out that my first attempt at stuffed peppers was quite the successful attempt, despite my approach of using as many leftovers as I could find in the fridge. By using leftover rice in the recipe, total prep + cooking time is an easy 45 minutes. The filling in this recipe makes enough to fill 3 peppers, halved lengthwise, though I only stuffed 2 peppers and saved the rest of the filling to use later.
Last Thursday, Jane and I visited the Noodles & Company at the Mall of America for a bite to eat. Noodles & Company is a quick and casual dining experience with over 20 locations in the Twin Cities, and many more across the country. They serve soups, salads, some sandwiches and many noodle dishes inspired by Asian, Mediterranean, and traditional American recipes. My personal favorite dish from Noodles & Company is the Indonesian peanut sauté — a dish consisting of rice noodles in a peanut sauce with stir-fried broccoli, carrots, bean sprouts, cilantro, and lime. This time I elected for the $7.75 “make it a trio” option, adding meatballs and a coconut-hinted Thai curry soup. Jane also decided to “make it a trio” with her Chinese chop salad and go with the grilled chicken breast and the tomato basil bisque soup. The Chinese chop salad Jane decided on is billed as having sesame-soy tossed mixed greens, bean sprouts, cabbage, red pepper, cucumbers, carrots, and fried wontons.
My mom found this recipe in one of her Taste of Home cooking magazines several years ago, and it’s been one of my favorites ever since. It combines a cornbread-like polenta with a simple tomato-sausage sauce, which is topped with cheese and baked to perfection.
As my mom could tell you, I often request this dish when I’m visiting my parents’ house. Last week, I decided to try my own hand at making this delicious polenta. And, believe me, it was DELICIOUS. Don’t be intimidated by the long ingredient list — it does take around an hour to make, but it’s still an easy weeknight recipe.
Last Thursday, Jane and I went to one of our favorite restaurants in the Stadium Village neighborhood of Minneapolis near the U of M — Bona. Bona is a Vietnamese restaurant that serves phở (pronounced similar to “fun” without the ‘n’) and other delicious Vietnamese dishes as well as several Chinese-inspired dishes that you’d typically find at a Chinese restaurant in the United States or Canada. Pho is a hot soup consisting of rice noodles, green onion, and meat in a savory beef broth, and makes for an excellent meal on a cold Minnesota winter day (i.e. anytime between November and April), which is one reason we love Bona so much.
Oh, boy. This is one FANTASTIC meal. It is, and we’re not even kidding. When I first moved to the Twin Cities, I began shopping at my local Cub and Rainbow for groceries. Every time I passed through the aisle with spaghetti sauces, I somehow managed to notice a jar from Classico labeled “Vodka Sauce”. I began to wonder what such a sauce would taste like, so I went home and threw a shot of vodka into some marinara sauce. It was horrifying. After that point, I began to wonder who in their right mind would even like such a crazy sauce.
Then, one day, I was brave and thought, “Well, you know, I must have just screwed that one up, and I bet Classico could do a better job.” At this point, I searched online for what vodka sauce really was to discover that it was a tomato sauce mixed with cream and vodka. I forgot to add the cream (and probably other things too) when I foolishly tried to create such an amazing sauce. So I ran to the store and picked up a jar of the wonderful bliss called vodka sauce.
The recipe described here is amazing, yet also very simple. It was discovered as a result of thinking “what if we were to mix…” etc. We created a recipe for a sauce that can be served with meatballs and rice. In fact, it’s not a necessity to use meatballs, as this recipe goes quite well with stir-fried pork meat on rice or even pierogies.
This is an item from last November, when it was much warmer and more pleasant in the Twin Cities than it is now. Jane and I came across a fall-inspired lasagna over at Pithy and Cleaver, which we laughed at and ridiculed to nearly no end due to the strange sounding recipe and “odd” ingredients. Well, we eventually stopped laughing and decided to try our hand at the recipe, and we were shocked at the result.
This pumpkin lasagna was amazing. It was very delicious with salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese sprinkled on top, accompanied by a sprig of thyme and a sage leaf on the side. A nice glass of wine increased the intensity of the flavors, leading to something akin of a perfect meal.
As is the case with any lasagna, the flavors of this one became more intense and improved as it aged a day or two. It made for several great meals of leftovers without any sort of regret or angst. Overall, it was an excellent dish, which we highly recommend and will probably make sometime again in the future.