Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Stuffed Peppers with Herbs and Vegetables

This is the first recipe I've tried from The Cuisine at Home "Cuisine Lite" special edition magazine.  It's kind of refreshing to see them lighten up recipes by using less meat per serving, more veggies overall, and lower fat (or just using less of regular fat) dairy products.  The book as a whole is still very "meat centric", but I like the direction they are headed.  

How can you go wrong using all these vegetables??  

I used more eggplant than it called for because, well, that was the size of my eggplant and I knew if I didn't cook it tonight, it might go bad before I found a use for it.  As a result, we had extra filling, which I used to make burritos for our lunches tomorrow (I added some Yumm Sauce).

I think the peppers could have cooked longer.  The recipes says to bake them for 20 minutes, or until tender, and I forgot to actually check to see if they were tender after that amount of time, I just plated them up without thinking.   

Stuffed Peppers with Herbs and Vegetables
adapted from Cuisine at Home - Cuisine Lite 
Serves 2 as an entree or 4 as a side dish

1 large red bell pepper
1 large yellow or green bell pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups diced, peeled eggplant
1 cup diced onion
1 pound tomatoes, peeled (who does this, seriously?), seeded, and diced (2-3 tomatoes)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons sliced kalamata olives
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons minced fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons minded fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup fresh whole-wheat bread crumbs (just throw a couple of stale slices into a food processor to make these, or stale it by baking it in the oven first)
1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced parsley leaves
2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese

Preheat oven to 400.

Line a baking pan with foil and coat with cooking spray.  Cut the peppers in half lengthwise (through the stem).  Place in pan, sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Set aside. 

Heat 4 teaspoons oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add the onion and eggplant.  Cook, stirring gently but often (you're not using much oil so don't let it burn!), for about 7 minutes or until tender.

Add the tomatoes and garlic to the pan.  Cook until the vegetable mixture has thickened and most of the liquid released by the tomatoes has evaporated, about 5 minutes.  Off heat, stir in the olives, pine nuts, mint, basil, pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.  

Fill each pepper half with about 1/3-to 1/2 cup of the mixture.  Cover the pan with foil and bake for about 20 minutes, or until tender.

While the peppers are baking, toast the bread crumbs in a small skillet with 1/2 teaspoon oil over medium heat.  Stir in the parsley.

Sprinkle peppers with bread crumb mixture and feta cheese (try not to get frustrated when the cheese wants to just roll right off the peppers, you can scoop it up when you plate them).  Serve immediately.  

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