Stuffed Green Peppers

January 25, 2010

I know what you're thinking...

Emilie! I can't freeze green Peppers!
It' goes against everything you believe in!
The water content is too high!!!

Of course, you're right! This recipe freezes just the filling and you add it to your fresh green peppers before cooking. Stuffed Peppers are a great meal for a cold winter day at home, but are fancy enough to serve to company.

Makes 6

6 green bell peppers
1 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon dried leaf oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried leaf basil
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef or chuck
1 1/2 cups cooked long-grain rice
shredded mild Cheddar cheese, about 1/2 to 3/4 cup, optional

- Cut tops off peppers; remove seeds and membranes. Chop edible part of tops and set aside. Rinse peppers under cold water. Place peppers in a large pot; cover with salted water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain peppers and set aside.

- Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat until hot. Sauté chopped green pepper (from tops), chopped onion, and chopped celery for about 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, crushed garlic, oregano, basil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Simmer for about 10 minutes.

- In a large mixing bowl, combine egg with remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Gently stir to blend; add ground beef, cooked rice, and 1 cup of the tomato mixture. Mix well. Stuff peppers with meat mixture and place in a 3-quart baking dish. Pour remaining tomato mixture over the stuffed peppers.

- Bake at 350° for 55 to 65 minutes. If desired, top stuffed peppers with a little shredded Cheddar cheese just before peppers are done; bake until cheese is melted.


Freezing Fresh Fruit

January 11, 2010

Freezing fresh fruit is easy and perfect for keeping farm fresh produce in your rotation all year long.
Here are a few things to remember...

- Always wash, stem, pit, peel or slice fruits before freezing them; in other words, prepare them so they are ready to eat.

- Some fruits require pretreatment to prevent darkening. Ascorbic acid (the most effective), citric acid, or lemon juice may be used for treating these fruits. Steaming for a few minutes before packing is enough to prevent firm fruits, such as apples, from darkening.

- For small, whole fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and cherries. Simply spread the fruit in a single layer on a shallow tray and freeze; then remove and quickly package in labeled freezer bags or containers. Remove as much air as possible from containers and allow no head space. Seal and return promptly to freezer.

But Emilie, why are you talking to us about freezing fresh berries in January where most fruit is out of season?

Good question. And the answer is....Cranberries.

Cranberries are fantastically resilient. You can purchase fresh cranberries in bags in your grocer's produce department. Put the bag straight into the freezer for these tart red berries all year long. But buy them NOW because many grocers only carry fresh cranberries in the holiday months.

So this week head to your local grocery store, grab some and freeze them for use in apricot cranberry tarts in the Spring, cranberry scones in the Summer and warm cranberry orange sweet bread in the Autumn.


Triple Chocolate Muffins

January 4, 2010

It's been a while since I featured a breakfast recipe. We all hear a million times over that breakfast should not ever be skipped. And maybe the fact that this is a chocolate muffin negates the health benefits of not skipping breakfast, but I choose to overlook that fact.

Yield: 12 muffins

5 ounces Semisweet Chocolate
2 Baking Chocolate Squares
1/3 cup Butter
3/4 cup Sour Cream
2/3 cup Brown Sugar - packed
1/4 cup Light Corn Syrup
1 Egg
2 teaspoons Vanilla
1 1/2 cups Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Chocolate Chips - semi-sweet or milk

To Prepare
- Mix semisweet chocolate, baking chocolate, and butter together, then melt carefully in microwave or over simmering water in double boiler. Allow to cool to lukewarm.
- Mix sour cream, sugar, corn syrup, egg and vanilla. Blend with melted chocolates. Blend flour, soda and salt, then add to the chocolate mixture and blend very well. Add the chocolate chips.
- Pour batter into 12 paper-lined or greased muffin tins.
- Bake in preheated 400 degree F oven for about 20 minutes. Remove from muffin tins and allow to cool on wire racks.

To Freeze
Cool completely, then freeze in individual baggies, removing as much air as possible from each baggie before sealing.

To Serve
Reheat in microwave for 15-20 seconds or until just slightly warm.

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About This Blog

A new recipe will be posted each Monday and, of course, you can always search the archives by category.

The Goal of this blog is not just to give you my recipes, but to teach you which ingredients freeze well, which don't, methods and tips to help you freeze your own recipes...because who knows better what your family likes than you?

Do you only cook organic? Great! Are you a vegetarian? No problem! Make what works for you and save time, money and (let's be honest...stress) while doing it.

The Freeze Happy philosophy has made my life better and I'm pretty sure it can improve yours too.

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