Posts Tagged by recipe

Roasted Bell Peppers Stuffed With Quinoa

Easy Healthy Quinoa Recipe

There will be looks of envy from the meat-eating crowd when you serve this colorful and delicious entree of roasted bell peppers stuffed with quinoa, mushrooms, carrots, spinach, and cashews. For a beautiful presentation, choose a combination of green, red, orange and yellow bell peppers.

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling the pan
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 pound sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 7 bell peppers, 1 cored, seeded and chopped; tops removed and reserved from remaining 6 then cored and seeded
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 pound baby spinach
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and cooked according to package directions
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup roasted cashews
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until transparent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until softened, 4 to 5 minutes more. Add carrots and chopped peppers, cook until just softened, then add parsley and spinach (in batches, if needed). Let spinach wilt then stir in cinnamon, cumin and cooked quinoa and toss gently to combine. Add salt, pepper and cashews and cook 1 to 2 minutes more. Set aside to let filling cool until just warm.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a 9×13-inch baking pan; set aside.

Divide quinoa mixture evenly among remaining 6 bell peppers, gently packing it down and making sure to fully fill each pepper. Top each pepper with its reserved top then arrange them upright in prepared pan. Cover snugly with foil and bake, checking halfway through, until peppers are tender and juicy and filling is hot throughout – about 1 hour.

Transfer to plates and serve.

Nutritional Info: 
Per Serving: Serving size: 1 pepper, 260 calories (90 from fat), 10g total fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 150mg sodium, 36g carbohydrates, (7 g dietary fiber, 6g sugar), 9g protein.
SOURCE:  Whole Foods and Blogs Release

Apple and Pecan Pie Pound Cake


There’s an ongoing battle at our house about pies. I’m from New Orleans, so I argue that Pecan Pie is the best one. The Yankee I’m married to is very contrary and insists that the primo pie is apple. I’m pretty sure we can have the best of both the North and the South, but I haven’t figured out how to do that in pie form. What I can do, though, is combine the yummy bits from each one in a fabulous pound cake!

Apple and Pecan Pie Pound Cake


4 sticks butter, softened
4 c sugar
4 c + 2 T flour
1 t cinnamon
2 c peeled/chopped apples (2-4 apples, depending on size)
8 eggs
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 tsp vanilla extract
1 c pecan pieces
1 c brown sugar
1 jar of caramel sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Blend 2 T. of flour and cinnamon. Toss apples in mixture until coated. Set aside.
  3. Using a stand or hand mixer, cream butter, cream cheese, and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time.
  4. Add flour, one cup at a time, fully incorporating each addition.
  5. Add vanilla flavoring, then fold in apples.
  6. Grease and flour a bundt pan and pour in batter. Pour in batter first, then sprinkle pecans and brown sugar on top (a cup or little more of each). Lightly press into the batter.
  7. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes (put some foil on the top to keep the pecans from burning.)
  8. Remove the foil and increase the temperature to 325 degrees. Bake for an additional 30 minutes.
  9. Test the cake for doneness with a wooden skewer. If it’s not clean, return to the oven in 5 minute increments until it is. (The type of apples you use will affect the cooking time.)
  10. Remove from oven and cool on a rack for about 5 minutes.
  11. Invert onto a serving plate and drizzle with caramel sauce.

Serve warm or cooled. This is delicious as is, but you can dress it up with more caramel sauce, whipped topping, vanilla ice cream or a simple rum sauce. (I just stir one or two tablespoons of rum (or  a teaspoon of rum extract) into a can of condensed milk.)apple-pecan-pie-cake

I think we’ve bridged the North/South divide with this one!


Homemade Dried Onion Soup Mix


I needed a dip to serve Sunday night and my go-to onion soup packet was nowhere in sight. Man, that stuff has become a crutch in my kitchen.  Meatloaf, stews, pot roast, hamburgers, potatoes, chicken, chili, gravy, veggies…oh my gosh! There has to be a healthier, easier, more dependable way to season our food.

I had just finished a Homemade Taco Seasoning and did a quick search on the internet for an onion soup mix I could make at home. I was overwhelmed by the number of options that were presented and set about making a blend of several.  Basically using the ingredients that were common among all of them.

This recipe will work well if you’re trying to lower the salt in your diet (i.e. sodium-free bouillon) and the ingredients are easily adjusted to suit your tastes and dietary needs.


Onion Soup Mix

4 tablespoon dried, minced onion
2 teaspoons parsley flakes
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
2 tablespoons beef bouillon granules (I had cubes and simply crushed them for this)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

(Optional – I found many recipes that also included spices like turmeric, sugar, thyme, dry mustard, etc. and most called for 1 teaspoon.)


Mix all ingredients and store in an airtight container.  I tripled this recipe and stored it in a pint-sized jar.  (You might have noticed my affinity for jars by now…)  You could portion this into snack-sized zip-top bags, or even in your own packets made from aluminum foil – fold it right up inside.

Use about 4 Tablespoons of the Onion Soup Mix in a recipe in place of 1 envelope of onion soup mix.  In many cases, you can use less. Be sure to give dips time to sit (overnight is best) to develop the flavors before serving.


My next batch will be with chicken bouillon cubes – it’s what I have on hand and I bet it will be delicious!

What’s your favorite Onion Soup Mix recipe?


Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookie Bars

PB & J Bars

It’s always a good day when you end it with peanut butter and jelly, no matter the form it takes! I was already in a pretty good mood last night – it was Friday, our daughter came home from college for the weekend, hubby had just mowed the grass, we had some awesome Mexican food for dinner…life was pretty rockin’ right about then.  Later, the snacking instinct was triggered when we sat down to watch a movie. Hmmm…you know that thought process. What’s in the kitchen? What can I make with it? What’s super easy? What’s crazy yummy?  Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookie Bars!

We’ve been making these bars forever. I think the recipe originally came from someone at church, who probably wrote it on the back of a receipt or an envelope (whatever was in her purse at the time!) to give to us. It’s the easiest thing to make and is pretty flexible. We’ve make tons of variations and they’re all delicious!

These cookies only take four ingredients and the combinations are endless. We’ve done this cookie with chocolate chip cookie dough, peanut butter cookie dough and even brownie dough. You can really use whatever dough you find in a roll. If you’re really ambitious and amazing, you can make your own dough, but I’m all about easy on this one! Change up the flavors of jelly or jam, and swap out the kinds of chips you add.

PB & J Cookie Bars

After I turned on the oven and lined my pan, I pressed about 2/3 of the roll of cookie dough into the bottom of my pan.  It always looks like it’s not going to be enough, but somehow works out in the end. (I always think of the loaves and fish when I do this!)

Spread your favorite jam or jelly across the top of dough, but don’t go quite to the edges.  We’ve learned over the years that this seems to keep the jelly from burning. I used some of our homemade strawberry jam, but we’ve used all kinds. If you use jelly, I found that it’s easier to spread if you stir it up a little to break it up before you put it in the pan.

PB & J Cookie Bars

Then, all you have to do is dump the chips, the rest of the cookie dough and the granola in a bowl and mix them together. I use my hands for this and just squish it all together.  Little kids love this part! Sprinkle the mixture evenly in the pan – this time you can go to the edge.

PB & J Cookie Bars

Bake your masterpiece for about a half hour, then comes the hardest part…let them cool! Leave them in the pan until they cool, then use the foil to help you lift the whole thing out of the pan.   Cut them into squares – I usually do four across and four down to make 16 bars, but for bigger appetites you could do 9 squares.

PB & J Cookie Bars

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookie Bars

Makes 16 bars.


1 roll of refrigerated sugar cookie dough

3/4 cup of your favorite jam or jelly

3/4 cup peanut butter chips

3/4 cup granola (no dried fruit)

(optional) 1/2 cup chopped peanuts – if you’re a chunky peanut butter fan!


1. Line a 9×9 baking pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. Preheat over to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Use about 2/3 of the roll of cookie dough to press in the bottom of the pan.

3. Spread the jelly/jam over the cookie dough almost to the edge.

4. In a separate bowl, crumble together the granola, peanut butter chips, nuts ( if you’re adding them) and remaining cookie dough, and sprinkle it evenly across the top of the jelly (this can go to the edges.)

5. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cookie dough is golden brown.

6. Place the pan on a rack until cool, then lift the bars out of the pan using the foil.

7. Cut into bars and serve.

8. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.


We made a s’mores variety of this a few times using snickerdoodle cookie dough, marshmallow creme instead of jelly, chocolate chips and crumbled graham crackers. So amazing!

How do you like your PB&J?

Fresh Peach Cobbler

Peach Cobbler with Cream

With peaches at their peak, this is the best time of year to whip up a Fresh Peach Cobbler!  This recipe originated at the Louisiana Peach Festival in Ruston, Louisiana and was the Grand Champion back in the 1970’s. It’s been a favorite of my family for decades and I’m confident you’ll love it, too.  

Fresh Peach Cobbler


8-9 peaches or 6 generous cups, peeled and sliced

1/2 cup of water

1-1/4 cups sugar

2 tablespoons flour

pinch of salt

1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted

Directions for filling:

  1. Cook peaches and water over medium heat until tender.
  2. Mix flour, salt and sugar. Add to peaches.
  3. Continue to cook and stir until mixture has thickened slightly – about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat to cool slightly while making the pastry.

Peach Cobbler filling



1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup shortening

4 tablespoons cold milk

  1. Blend flour salt and shortening using a pastry cutter or a fork until it reaches a course meal texture. Add milk and knead just until blended and the dough holds together. Chill for 30 minutes.
  2. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to approximately 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick. Cut into long 1/2 inch wide strips.

Cobbler Crust cutting strips

3.   Pour half of the filling mixture into a greased 9×13 baking dish. Lay just under half of the pastry strips across the top of the filling. (These strips can be cut and placed more evenly if you’re making this cobbler to take somewhere. This random arrangement is for family at home!)

Peach Cobbler bottom layer

4.  Top with remaining half of filling. Use the rest of the strips to form a lattice-type layer or simply arrange them as desired

Peach Cobbler layer

  Peach Cobbler top layer

5.  Before baking, if desired, brush the pastry with an egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 t. water) and/or sprinkle of granulated sugar.
6.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes until crust is golden and filling is bubbling.
7.  Serve warm with heavy cream,  ice cream, whipped topping or whipped cream.


Peach Cobbler


Homemade Taco Seasoning – Easy and Flavorful!

Homemade Taco Seasoning

I was up early this morning feeling pretty ambitious.  I had challenged myself to try a few homemade mixes after really studying the ingredient lists of some of our favorites. If you’ve never noticed some of the crazy stuff in these mixes, you really owe it to yourself and your family to at least be sure you can pronounce everything in the food you’re eating. 😉

DH and I had picked up some fresh ground chicken at one of our local farmer’s markets that was destined for tacos this evening, so Taco Seasoning is first up this morning.  (By the way, if you’re lucky enough to live in the Atlanta area and haven’t visited the DeKalb Farmers Market, you’re truly missing out on one of the BEST markets in the southeast.  Go. Run! Bring a sweater, though…it’s chilly in there.)

Coffee in hand and inspired by my friend Kyndra at Peace, Love and Low Carb – she has a beautiful cookbook you should check out – I start pulling out spices from my cabinet.

Homemade Taco Seasoning 2


1 T Chili Powder
1 T Ancho Chili Powder
2 T Cumin
1 t Onion Powder
1 T Dried Onion Flakes
2 1/2 t Garlic Powder
2 t  Celery Salt
1/4 t Cayenne Pepper
½ t Black Pepper
1/2 t  Salt

Then, it’s really just as simple as mixing all this up.  You can adjust the heat by increasing (or decreasing) the cayenne pepper, or adding some red chili flakes.  This particular blend reflects a little less heat, two kinds of chili powder and a bit more garlic. You can use whatever mix of chili powder you like, too.  Evidently I’m trying to be Bobby Flay, and had Ancho Chile Powder on hand.  (Again – thank you, DeKalb Farmer’s Market for having the most amazing array of fresh, inexpensive spices.)

Homemade Taco Seasoning

I also doubled this recipe.  It lends itself quite well to multiples. My doubled recipe nearly filled a half-pint sized jar.

Homemade Taco Seasoning

To use the Taco Seasoning, after I browned the ground chicken (if you use ground meat, be sure to drain it, too) I started with 1 Tablespoon of the mixture per pound of meat. I also added 1/4 cup of water per pound and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes, uncovered.  You can adjust the amount of seasoning to suit your family’s taste.

It was really flavorful and simple.  DH gave it a thumbs up.  Nothing in this stuff is hydrogenated, made with silicon or includes ethoxyquin.

6:45 a.m….Stay tuned for Onion Soup Mix, I’m on a roll!

Have you made any homemade mixes?  Is there anything you’ve been wanting to try?



Hey Gordon Ramsay, I’m a Master Chef! #PeachDishMeal

PeachDish 1

OK, I admit I watch way too many cooking shows. Inside my head, I secretly want to be a Food Network star. Not really the kind that dons an outfit to match the kitchen, not the kind with the perfect make-up, and not the kind with every kitchen appliance/gadget from Cook’s Warehouse. I am the kind that has to constantly step around a little dog, use whatever knife/spoon/(insert your own McGyver-esque tool here) is handy, and wash my own pots and pans.  I’m also the kind that wants to serve my family something beyond pork chops and macaroni – not that there’s anything wrong with that. But I know there’s more out there.  I’ve seen it.  On the Food Network.

I enjoy trying new things, new techniques, new places – it’s what my blog is all about. As soon as I learned that there was a subscription box that would help me cook my own yummy meals – and it’s based in my own backyard of Atlanta – I knew it was the next thing on my list to add to the “nest.” Enter PeachDish.  Just the name conjures up delicious memories of a Southern summer.   PeachDish encourages folks to “value cooking as an experience instead of an obligation” by cooking delicious meals that are “southern-infused and internationally inspired.” OK, I’m intrigued. This is not a “meal delivery service” of pre-packaged, frozen, or shelf-stable meals. All of the ingredients for two restaurant-quality, multi-course meals, along with recipes, are delivered to your door.  Then…you cook them yourself! It’s exciting to get in the kitchen and have fun cooking, without all the hassle of planning and grocery shopping.

First things first. Each sturdy package arrives lined with reflective insulation and contains several ice packs.  Next, you’ll notice the components of each meal are contained in their own beautiful organza bag. It really is like a gift! The box you’ll receive is pretty impressive, and opening it is a lot like digging through your stocking at Christmas.  I understand that PeachDish has recently redesigned its logo and upgraded packaging. All I can say is “bravo!”


Upon further inspection, inside each bag is everything needed to create your meal – except the meat, which is packaged separately.  Little bags of  spices, nuts, fresh herbs, bread, pre-measured grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, flour, cocoa powder, even butter. It is lovely!  The meats are in their own insulated bags with another ice pack and sealed tightly to ensure that they remain cold and to prevent leaking.  Everything in the box is very cold and again, very fresh.  I know I keep saying that, but it’s just that important.

Ingredients out of the box

Meal Number One

The first meal in my box this week was “Spice-Rubbed Flat Iron Steak & Roasted Cauliflower with a Warm Farro Salad.”  Each recipe comes with a well-designed recipe card that shows pictures of the final product, a description, a list of ingredients, and step-by-step instructions. Each ingredient is measured out for you. Occasionally you’ll have to peel and chop, but nothing is difficult. This particular recipe started with a spice rub for the flat iron steak.  These steaks, by the way, were sourced from Halperns’ – an Atlanta-based, award-winning meat purveyor.  The instructions lead me through cleaning, cutting up and roasting the cauliflower with lemon and garlic.  At the same time I prepared the farro salad with dried cranberries and cashews.  Finally, clear instructions enabled me to perfectly cook the steaks. For dessert, large beautiful green apples and a sweet ruby red grapefruit.

Ingredients Flat Iron Steak

We began with the steak – beautifully seared and almost startlingly tender. I’m not usually a meat sear-er, but it truly made a difference and I appreciate the guidance from the PeachDish chefs.  Next, I’m not sure what’s in the steak rub, but I’m going to need the recipe or a big jar full of it and no one gets hurt!  (hint, hint, PeachDish) Delicious!

flat iron steak

Before we even sat down to eat, I knew that getting the cauliflower past my hubby would be a challenge.  He’d been giving it dirty looks and sideways glances the whole time I was preparing it.  Moment of truth…he tastes…he looks at me…he smiles…he declares it good and polishes it off.  This ain’t ya mama’s boiled cauliflower!


The farro salad was very good, too. I’m a big fan of most ancient grains and the addition of the cranberries and cashews elevated it to a “it’s-so-good-I’d-never-know-it’s-healthy” level.  I did toast the cashews a bit before adding them to the salad.

We finished the meal with sliced, perfectly-ripened apples and grapefruit supremes.  Portions were generous and the meal was yummy and filling.  I really felt like a chef!

Meal Number Two

The Challenge:  Hand over all my fabulous ingredients for “Chicken & Wild Rice Soup with Cheesy Ciabatta Bread, and Chocolate Mug Cake” to my hubby to prepare – who self-admittedly has a cooking aptitude deficit. Are the instructions provided by PeachDish clear enough for a novice?

chicken and wild rice soup

Cooking techniques, thankfully, are all pretty simple. In this case, they get about as difficult as dicing veggies and boiling things. Most recipes also seem to take only one or two pots and pans, which is a nice touch.  Uh oh…spoke too soon.  “Step 1: Peel and dice shallot and garlic.”  Husband: “What is shallot?”  (As an FYI – many of the ingredients that come in their own bags are labeled, however the shallot was not one of those.)  I suggested that he have a look at the ingredients in front of him and, by process of elimination, figure it out!  He did and he moved on.  Quite easily.  Without any more questions.  Without complaints.  The house smelled so good and it was all I could do to stay out of the kitchen to peek and taste.

chicken and wild rice soup 1

Finally, dinnertime! We loved Chicken and Wild Rice soup and we were quite impressed.  Lots of flavor, beautiful colors, and the addition of the lime and cilantro at the end really elevated it.  (PeachDish, by the way, includes Springer Mountain Farms Chicken for this one.  I love that not only do they not use steroids/hormones (a USDA and FDA requirement, anyway) but also raise their chicken antibiotic-free, without feeding them animal by-products, and are American Humane Society Certified.)  The Cheesy Ciabatta Bread was fast and easy – basically cut the bread in half, put a slice of pepperjack cheese on top and toast it.  So simple, I’d never think of it on my own.  Again, large portions – we had another bowlful of soup for the next day.

chicken and wild rice soup 2

Dessert – Chocolate Mug Cake.  My husband was actually excited about baking this one, and did so with exaggerated flourishes and lots of happy-yummy sounds.

mug cake


After melting the butter, he mixed pre-measured ingredients, poured the batter into mugs and popped them in the microwave.  All told, took about 5 minutes. But wait, there’s more.  He topped the mug cakes with a bit of whipped cream (not included) and served it with a lovely little Mandarin orange (included) that he even peeled!  So.incredibly.good.  No leftovers here… I enjoyed this entire meal made by my husband, all by himself.  I’m proud, but I believe PeachDish wins this challenge.

mug cake 1

Try This One! Easy and Quick.

From the PeachDish website: 

In a small bowl, mix 1/4 c flour, 1/4 c cocoa powder, and 1/4 c sugar. In a separate dish, melt 4 pats butter
(45 sec in microwave should be plenty). Add melted butter and 1 / 3 c water to dry ingredients, mix
well. Stir in about 1/8 c chocolate chips.

Lightly grease two mugs with cooking spray or wipe with butter wrappers. Pour half of batter into each
mug. Microwave each mug, separately, for 1 min on high. Check doneness, add 10 sec increments until done. 

Final Thoughts

I was overwhelmed by the thought and care that went into the packaging for this box. The little things make all the difference. It seems that PeachDish makes every effort to ensure that their treasure box of cuisine arrives in excellent condition with fresh, beautifully packaged ingredients. Although I live in the Atlanta area and received my package the day after it shipped, I am confident that this box would travel well across the country and arrive in the same super-chilled amazing shape on the second day, as well.

This would be a great service for anybody who wants to learn how to cook, or people who are otherwise just too busy to go shopping but still want to eat home-cooked meals – new parents, college students, anyone really. I think making two meals a week at home is doable for most people, even those who love to eat at restaurants.

I love that they give you the recipes and make it available on their website.  Even those from past weeks. If you really love something and want to buy the ingredients yourself and make it again, you totally can! Another great thing is that you only need to supply three things – olive oil, salt and pepper – and limited kitchen equipment.  Nothing fancy. For these recipes, I needed a very basic set of pots and pans, a knife, a vegetable peeler, some aluminum foil, a baking sheet, a wooden spoon, a whisk, and a set of tongs. Again, most people should be able to round those up without a problem.

PeachDish publishes the menus for each shipping week on their website about a week ahead.  You can elect to receive a box every week, but you can also cancel any week you don’t want, based on the menu or your schedule that week or whatever. You choose how many people you want to feed, two or a family. Portions are generous so a family box will feed 4-6 – depending on ages and appetites.  Boxes are priced at $50 for two full meals that feed two people, or $90 for a family box, with free shipping. This seemed expensive to me at first, but you know what? It’s a lot cheaper than going to most restaurants for two meals.  You’re definitely paying a little extra for convenience here –basically somebody will plan the meals, make a grocery list, and go to the store and buy everything. With PeachDish, items are super fresh, and locally sourced. That’s something I’m willing to pay for. Meal kits arrive on Tuesday in the Atlanta area and Wednesday nationally, right to your front door! Now all you have to do is open them and start cooking.


If you want to cook more at home, learn to cook and make some great new meals, you should give PeachDish a try.  You can go here to subscribe  and – until January 19th – you can receive 50% off your first box using the code “coupon13” when you check out. EXPIRED  (The ordering process takes you through Amazon to pay, so don’t be startled.)  After January 19th, you may use code “ZIWTMFMJ” to receive $10 off your box.  PeachDish is also very customer-friendly and easy to connect with on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.   #PeachDishMeal

Lastly, I declare myself a Master Chef and I think I’ll go embroider my name on an apron (that matches my kitchen, of course.)  Somebody call Gordon Ramsay…



 Disclosure : PeachDish sent me a meal box for free to use in this review. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review. All reviews represent the opinion of Nest Full of New and are based on personal use and results.