Welcome to My New Home on WordPress!

Welcome everyone! I’m finally here and settling into my new home on the web. I’ll have lunch for you in a minute but first I want to tell you about my journey here.

I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time, migrating my Blogger blog over to WordPress, but I never had the nerve, I heard horror stories in the past, pictures, posts, links being lost, etc. Not being a techie person at all this scared the heck out of me!

Even though Blogger was good to me in the beginning, as time went on many issues came up that weren’t getting fixed, things disappearing, problems with commenting and a ton of spam on a daily basis, and something that really bothered me was that you never really own your blog on Blogger, it’s free, they could delete it at any time.

I loved all the new features I was seeing on WordPress blogs, updated, modern, user friendly, I needed a new look, after 5 years I felt stale and old!

In comes my web designer, Jeni, The Blog Maven, who came highly recommended by Cathy of Wives with Knives, so I emailed her a couple of months ago and from the first time I spoke with her I knew I had the right person. I had a list of questions that she patiently answered one by one no matter how ridiculous some of them were, she even skyped me several times!  Jeni is very detailed and thorough, she considers all of your needs and finds the best way to incorporate them for you. The whole process went so smooth with no major glitches at all, I didn’t even stress once! I would highly recommend her for migration of your Blogger blog, design issues or any technical questions you might have.

I have to learn some new things to get around on the back end of my blog so I will most definitely be out of my comfort zone for a while so please bare with me, but honestly it’s already starting to feel like home here. Take a look around and let me know what you think so far, I’m loving my new visual recipe index!

Now, how about that lunch? I’m serving, Spaghetti Squash Stuffed Peppers!

Welcome to my new blog! (2)

Spaghetti squash, think of it as vegetable spaghetti, I know it’s not the real thing but when you roast it and rake up the strands with a fork it magically becomes a great substitute for the “white” stuff, and it tastes really good too! If you’re trying to lay off the carbs for a while replace this with any spaghetti dish you might be craving. I recently served it with mussels in a red sauce and it was delicious, the strands soaked up all the sauce, it was so good I’ll be making it again real soon.

Welcome to my new blog! (3)

This time I decided to stuff some peppers with it, making an all veggie meal. I roasted crimini mushrooms along with garlic and green onions and pre-roasted the peppers as well.

Welcome to my new blog! (4)

Then into a bowl I tossed the spaghetti squash, mushroom mixture, grated romano cheese, shredded asiago, parsley, basil, ( you could also add chopped fresh spinach or kale) a healthy drizzle of olive oil and a few tablespoons of roasted red pepper spread, courtesy of Trader Joe’s, but marinara sauce would work just as well.

Welcome to my new blog! (5)

Stuff your peppers, put them back in the oven until the cheese melts inside and they are warmed through.

Welcome to my new blog! (6)

Serve along side a green salad and you’ll have the perfect lunch or dinner. Thanks for stopping by my new digs!

Signature

Vegetable and Barley Stuffed Peppers

A New Years resolution is a goal that someone sets out to accomplish in the coming year.
I have many goals for 2011 food related and otherwise which I won’t bore you with right now but one thing I will continue to do is to eat more meatless meals. I have to admit I really enjoy cooking with vegetables the possibilities are endless and besides all that color on my plate just makes me happy!
Mixing vegetables with your favorite grains and pastas result in a very hearty and satisfying meal, such is the case with my vegetable and barley stuffed peppers.

Roasted artichoke hearts and portobello mushrooms are the two key ingredients here tossed into the barley, and then of course all that goodness gets stuffed into an edible sweet roasted red pepper. Yes, you could use rice, but I urge you make this with barley, it’s a welcome change. Oh, and did I mention that barley is a nutritional powerhouse? It’s packed with fiber and it even helps lower cholesterol so it’s a win win situation all around!

I served a nice Italian salad along side my stuffed peppers and the husband and myself were very happy and contented!

Prepare your barley just like you do rice using three times as much water as barley. When it’s finished I like to cool it down on a sheet pan so it doesn’t keep cooking and become mushy, you want to retain that nice chewy texture that barley is know for.

The vegetables I used and tossed into my barley were;

Frozen artichoke hearts drizzled with olive oil and roasted in a 400F oven as well as large diced portobello mushroom pieces, diced zucchini is another option as well.
Chopped red onion
Sliced cherry tomatoes
Feta cheese
Fresh basil and parsley
Lemon zest and juice
Olive oil, salt and pepper
Toss all ingredients in a bowl and season to taste
To prepare the peppers slice the top off, scoop out the seeds, brush inside and out with olive oil and roast in oven or under the broiler just until knife tender but watch so they do not colapse, the pepper will be your vessel for the stuffing.
This can be served room temperature or slightly warmed.
Buon Appetito!
Signature

Keeping Up the Detox

I’m still on my healthy eating quest, eating soups and salads for over a week now. I think I used up every single vegetable in my house except for a bunch of peppers I still had. I finally feel detoxed!

I have my husband detoxing along with me, and fortunately for me he will eat anything I put before him so having a Stuffed Pepper for dinner was just fine with him.

I had some leftover cooked brown rice that I sauteed up with onion and garlic, added a dollop of leftover marinara, parmesan cheese, fresh parsley and basil. I also added and sliced up a spicy chicken sausage link that I had, and then stuffed it all into a red peppers that were cored and precooked on my indoor grill. Place your stuffed peppers in a casserole dish, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with more cheese and bake at 375degrees until peppers are knife tender. Serve with your favorite Italian salad of course!

It’s very cold here today, I feel like I’m in the artic! More snow is due tonight, Gee I hope their wrong!

I had a little kitchen helper today, I propped her right on my counter in her Bumbo chair and she watched me the whole time I was cooking. I think she liked all the colors. We had a nice conversation about how good vegetables are for you!
This is a delicious and hearty Barley Salad that I made for lunch today, very healthy and good for you. . Cook your barley according to directions then let it cool. In the meantime, roast in a 450 degree oven, red, green and yellow peppers along with red onion, chopped eggplant and cook until caramelized and tender. When cooled add to barley along with garbanzo beans, sliced green or kalamata olives, fresh chopped parsley and basil, and a sprinkling of toasted pine nuts.
The Homemade Dressing is made by whisking up 1 cup of olive oil, 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar, the juice of 1/2 of a lemon, a teaspoon of Dijon, 1 minced garlic clove, salt, pepper and dried oregano. I only used a couple of tablespoons, you’ll have plenty leftover for other salads, just place in a jar and refrigerate!
Buon Appetito!
Signature

STUFFED PEPPERS WITH SAUSAGE AND FONTINA

My Hubby called from work the other day and with much excitement he said,”Guess what I got today?”so I’m thinking WOW!, maybe he got a raise or something! Instead he said, ” A gigantic bag of Melrose peppers!! I could see how happy he was so I said, “Great!!” It just so happens, my Hubby did a favor for some nice Italian man who grows tons of them in his backyard, and to say Thanks, he brought him a huge bag.

I previously wrote a post on Melrose Peppers a while back just because my Hubby loves them so much, and as I said before, he would just eat that for dinner with some good Italian bread. I normally just saute them in a pan with olive oil, a little garlic and salt and pepper, then add a little red sauce at the end. So, because there were so many, I did a bunch like that, and the ones that were really big, I decided to stuff them. I happen to have a big hunk of Fontina cheese in the frig, and some Italian sausage in bulk. So all I did was cook up the sausage, cube up the cheese, and stuffed the peppers, I also had some leftover marinara, that I layered in also.

There were pans of peppers everywhere!!! So I made a quick call to my Son,( who’s taking after his Dad in the Melrose Pepper department) to stop by on his way home from work for a care package to take home. And without hesitation he said, “I’ll be there”!! So ,as you can see , although they are a very simple dish they are one of my family’s favorite!!

For those of you who never heard of Melrose Peppers, they look like a Cubanelle, banana shaped, very sweet and tender. I wonder if any of you heard of them, or is it just a Chicago thing? I hope my pictures do them justice!!

Buon Appetito!!
Signature