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Chicken & Barley Stuffed Peppers: Your Kids’ New Favorite Dinner

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I just had to share this recipe with you. Consider it a gift to kick off your summer! I made this recipe a few weeks ago, and it was an instant success. My husband loved it, my kids loved it, and I loved that everyone cleaned their plates. But for some odd reason, I forgot to add it to my weekly menu again, until tonight! We have been grilling like crazy lately, and my kids needed a little variety, so I decided to make these stuffed peppers again. WOW! Another raving success! My husband even ate seconds. I just love a meal where everyone leaves the table well-fed and satisfied!

Now, before you think it may not work for your family, try it. I do not like traditional stuffed peppers. In fact, I don’t really loved cooked peppers, but this recipe is a winner; I promise!

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Ingredients:

  • 4 red, orange, or yellow bell peppers (we love red)
  • 1 lb. of ground chicken
  • 1 cup of diced zucchini
  • 1 cup of barley
  • 2 cans of mild red enchilada sauce
  • 1 tbsp. of ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp. of paprika
  • 1 tbsp. of chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. of garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. of salt
  • 1 tsp. of pepper
  • Drizzle of Sriracha (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Brown chicken in a large skillet
  2. Meanwhile, cut peppers in half and remove stems and seeds.
  3. Place 6 halves onto parchment lined baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes at 450 until tender and charred at the edges. Flip after 10 minutes.
  4. Chop the other 2 halves of peppers and the zucchini into small chunks.
  5. Add the vegetables and barley to the browning meat, mixing well.
  6. Reduce to a simmer and add the enchilada sauce and spices.
  7. Mix well and cover. Simmer for about 20 minutes, until the barley is tender.
  8. Remove the peppers from the oven and transfer to individual plates. Spoon a heaping portion of the filling into each pepper and serve immediately.

Variations: You can top with taco cheese or cilantro. Feel free to change-up or add additional veggies, such as frozen corn, diced tomatoes, or onions.

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My Very Best Pulled Pork

  

When it comes to pulled pork, I’m a full blown snob! I love it so much, that my bucket list includes a trip through the small towns of the south, sampling pulled pork and ribs from the well kept secret spots and smoky hole-in-the-wall kinds of joints, where the craft of bar-b-que is practiced from ancient family recipes.

Now, while I’d love to slow cook my own pork over a sampling of hardwoods, and allow the natural flavors to develop over hours of heat, the reality is that I’m a mom of three busy kids, who works full time. Carpools, laundry, bickering daughters, and work would not wait for me to monitor a roasting hunk of meat and the demands of an open flame in my small, suburban back yard.

So, I do what any other sensible cook would do, I pull out my slow cooker. I know it is not comparable to an open flame, but, oh well!

Here is my recipe. It is an awesome blend of a Carolina style vinegar pulled pork, and its bar-b-que based counterpart. I think of it as the best of both worlds. Smoky and savory, tangy and sweet all collide in this recipe that will leave you craving more!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large (8-10 lb.) pork shoulder/picnic or Boston Butt roast
  • 1 head of garlic peeled
  • 1 med. Yellow onion
  • 1 of each—Red pepper, yellow pepper, & orange pepper
  • ½ to 1 cup of ketchup
  • 4 cups of apple cider vinegar
  • 3-4 tbsp. of  brown sugar
  • Bar-b-Que seasoning
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation:

  1. Sprinkle roast with seasoning.
  2. Chop peppers and onions into large chunks
  3. Place roast, peppers, onions, and garlic into a slow cooker.
  4. Pour in vinegar
  5. Cook 8-10 hours on medium to high until the meat is tender and falls apart easily.
  6. Remove meat and set aside to cool.
  7. Strain juice from the slow cooker into a medium sauce pan on the stove.
  8. Boil liquid until reduced to half
  9. Add ½ cup of ketchup and 3 tbsp of brown sugar and continue to boil until you have a thin sauce. You may need to add small amounts of brown sugar or ketchup to adjust taste.
  10. Use two forks or your stand mixer to shred meat and add it to the sauce.

Serve on a roll of your choice, or open faced on a slab of Texas Toast garlic bread!

Tips:

  • The longer the meat sits in the sauce, the better it tastes
  • This can be frozen in smaller amounts and used as needed.
  • Make it at least one day in advance to allow the meat to soak up the sauce.
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Rockin’ Rose Romano’s [SPONSORED]

1-IMG_2229Recently, the kind people at Rose Romano’s Italian Peppers sent me a few jars of their tasty sauce. Wow, am I a lucky girl. I was amazed by the beautiful presentation of the box I received, and I was intrigued by the recipes suggested in the insert. What I learned is that Rose Romano’s is actually more like a condiment, rather than a pasta sauce. As a coveted family recipe, owner, Dr. Marshall Angotti, created this gluten-free, low calorie, goodness as the perfect complement to your simple homemade dishes. Rose Romano’s Italian Peppers comes in two flavors, red pepper and green pepper, and the recipe possibilities are endless.

My biggest challenge was to figure out how I was going to use the red pepper sauce that I received, because the cookbook and menu created by Dr. Angotti is substantial! I decided on making a simple bow tie pasta tossed with garlic, olive oil, fresh basil, and salt & pepper. Once the pasta was seasoned, I spooned it onto a plate, topped it with the red pepper sauce, and served it with a side of crusty garlic bread. What a great, easy weeknight meal, even my girls loved it! We all went to bed with well nourished, happy bellies.

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The next challenge came with how to serve the green pepper sauce. I immediately thought of my nephew’s upcoming graduation party. I knew that my sister was making 100 pounds of Freakin’ Fabulous Roasted Pork for sandwiches, and a sandwich bar was the perfect stage for Rose Romano’s green pepper sauce. Along with traditional bar-b-que sauce, we offered a bowl of warm Rose Romano’s. The green pepper sauce was a sweet compliment to the savory garlic roasted pork.

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After my initial successes, I am excited to try some of the recipes suggested by Dr. Angotti. His recipes suggest topping almost anything with this unique food accessory, from hamburgers, to grilled chicken, to eggs. The ideas are creative as well as simple and healthy.

If you are looking for a new way to dress up a boring dish, or need a quick and easy gift idea, consider Rose Romano’s Peppers. You can order online or locate them at a store near you by visiting http://www.roseromanos.com.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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Crockpot Jambalaya

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A cold rainy day
Will dampen the mood
To get off the couch
And cook some good food.
No reason to fret,
No reason to whine.
Crockpot Jambalaya
Is a meal that’s divine!

Today was a yucky rainy Sunday. The only thing I had to do was run out to the pharmacy. I didn’t want to shop, I would not clean, I just wanted to veg. Cold and rainy weather is not my friend.
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Days like today, I just want warm…a warm blanket, a warm cozy spot on the couch, and a warm tasty meal. The problem is that once I settle into that warm cozy spot on the couch, under my warm fleecy blanket, with my warm snugly doggie at my feet, I don’t want to get up. Crockpot jambalaya is a prefect recipe for this kind of day.

This recipe is perfect for the lazy cooking days. No lengthy prep, no constant stirring, no elaborate finishing process. Just cut, dump, wait, and then eat. In fact, this dish is so efficient in promoting relaxation, I grant you permission to deviate from the traditional dinner table and eat it in the family room while watching a movie as a family.

Tonight, my kids will settle in on the floor, spread a large blanket beneath them, and enjoy dinner, “picnic style”. It is a fun treat, and I use the format to bribe (or threaten) them into eating it all gone (ex. “If you do not eat all of you dinner, we will not be able to have picnic dinners again!”…I know, they will need therapy…blah, blah, blah.) My husband and I will claim the couch, and a movie will be chosen. Peace, family, warmth, and a great meal are the necessary ingredients to make this a fantastic Sunday.

So, whether you are an experienced cook, who just wants to take a night off, or a novice kitchen mom, who is looking for a low-risk start, this is the recipe for you. Not only will your family love it, but you will feel relaxed and fulfilled by your new cooking from the couch skills. Enjoy!

Crockpot Jambalaya

Ingredients:

1 pound of skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 pound of andouille sausage, sliced
1 pound of peeled, deveined shrimp without tails
6 cups of chicken broth
3 cups so white rice
1 (28 ounce) can of crushed tomatoes
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1 cup of chopped celery (about 3 stalks)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. of fresh oregano
2 Tbsp. of fresh parsley
2 Tbsp. of Cajun seasoning
1 Tbsp. of fresh thyme
1 tsp. of cayenne pepper

Preparation:

Combine all ingredients in your slow cooker. Cook on low for 7-8 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours. Stir occasionally.

Garnish with a slice of warm cornbread.

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Easy Enchiladas

These enchiladas are a regular in my weeknight dinner rotation. I love them because they are easy, picky-kid approved, and my family leaves the table happy with full bellies. I also love this recipe because it allows room for creativity. You can add ingredients such as beans, tomatoes, pepper, beef, or chicken to suit your families likes. You could even go crazy and hide some finely chopped zucchini if you are trying to secretly increase your family’s veggie intake. ( I won’t tell!)

Ingredients

4 boneless chicken breasts (or you can use ground beef)

1 packet of taco seasoning

2 cans of Enchilada sauce

1 8oz bag of shredded cheddar cheese

1 package of medium tortilla shells

Procedure

  • Brown 4 boneless chicken breasts in a skillet and chop them in your food processor– (you can use ground chicken or beef too)
  • Put chicken back into the skillet & add 1 packet of taco seasoning and 1 can of enchilada sauce. Add 1/2 a bag of shredded cheddar cheese and allow it to melt.
  • Coat a casserole dish with 1/2 a can of enchilada sauce
  • Spoon a glob of the meat mixture onto a tortilla shell– you can also add some chopped peppers & tomatoes if you like.
  • Roll up the Enchilada and line them up in the dish seam side down.
  • Once they are all rolled up, pour the remaining sauce over the dish and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
  • Bake in a 350 degree oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

***Serve with saffron rice and steamed broccoli