Tag Archives: peppers

Spicy Black Beans

Black beans are by far my favorite bean even though I swear the only beans I ate as a kid were baked beans and the occasional kidney bean in chili.  When I was a vegetarian, I experimented with all kinds of beans and found myself using black beans in place of meat in plenty of recipes.  The great thing about black beans is that they are low in fat and full of fiber so a little bit of them will go a long way in keeping you fuller longer. 

I’ve been on a pretty strict diet for the past month and black beans, which are considered a good carbohydrate, make for a great snack when you are watching your weight.  Even thought I love black beans, I don’t really like the idea of just eating them by the spoonful.  So, I found this recipe for Spicy Black Beans, an easy black bean salad/side dish with simple flavors like jalapeño, red pepper, cilantro and lime.  Don’t let the “spicy” in the title scare you – the jalapeño is mild without giving it too much of a kick.  For another flavor burst or extra heat, consider adding in spices like cumin or cayenne pepper with the black beans.  This dish can be eaten warm, room temperature, or cold and makes for a nice side to any meat entree or as a light meal in itself.

The ingredients:

Heat the canola oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.  Add the red pepper and jalapeño and cook for 4 minutes until softened.

Add in the lime juice, salt and black beans and cook for 3 minutes until the beans are warmed through.

Top with fresh cilantro before serving.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

Curried Chicken Sauté

Either you like curry or you don’t.  I didn’t use to and I admit it was because I didn’t like the smell.  I just assumed I wouldn’t like the spice until I tried it a few years ago.  Now, I crave Indian food and when I’m not sure what to eat, sometimes I’ll just have pasta and vegetables with a red curry sauce.  

This recipe for Curried Chicken Sauté seemed simple enough to make so I was eager to try it.  Chicken breasts are cooked with a simple rub of salt, pepper, and curry powder and then mixed with soft peppers and a creamy curry-coconut milk sauce.  This can either be eaten as a meal itself or over a little bit of rice.  The curry here isn’t overbearing and provides such a pleasant flavor to chicken and vegetables.  If you don’t want to try it, I won’t be offended.  But you never know, if you try it, you just might like it.

The ingredients:

Sprinkle curry powder, salt, and black pepper over chicken (I just put it on one side).

Cook the chicken breasts in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until thoroughly cooked.

Remove chicken from the pan and set aside.  In the same pan, sauté bell peppers and curry powder for 1 minute.

Add coconut milk and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for four minutes until slightly thickened.  Add in juice from half of a lime.

Cut chicken into thin slices and add to the peppers and sauce.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Fresh whole peppers for pre-sliced packaged peppers

Overall Rating:  Like It

Orange Pepper Soup with Cilantro Purée

The last time I was at the produce market, I picked up a big bag of orange peppers for no reason other than to have something colorful and different in my refrigerator.  I cut some up for stir-fry, threw in some with chicken in curry sauce, and chopped some up for salad.  But since produce markets give you more than you need, I was still left with several that I didn’t know what to do with.  That’s when I came across this recipe for Orange Pepper Soup with Cilantro Purée.  The recipe calls for yellow peppers but the orange peppers are just as sweet and worked just as perfectly in this chilled soup.  Although this is loaded with other flavors like garlic, onion, potato, apple, ginger, and fennel, the orange peppers are the star and are beautifully complemented by the other ingredients.  The other highlight to this soup is the addition of curry powder which lays low in the background and provides a subtle warmth.  The cilantro purée adds another layer of fresh flavor that works deliciously with the peppers.  To easily make this soup vegetarian, use vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth.  This soup would be perfect for a warm summer evening but it was still just as a good on a cold December day.

The soup ingredients:

Chop all of the produce (all of it will go into the blender so a coarse chop is fine).

Heat a skillet with butter and sauté the onion and fennel until soft.

Add in the curry powder, ginger, and garlic and sauté 1 minute.

Stir in the white wine and cook until evaporated before adding in the chopped peppers, apple, potato, chicken broth, and salt.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat.  Simmer 20 minutes.

When mixture has slightly cooled, add to a blender and process until smooth.  Chill for 2 hours and stir in lemon juice.

The purée ingredients:

Add all ingredients into a blender and process. 

Add a small amount to the soup with crème fraîche or sour cream before serving.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions: 

  • Orange peppers for yellow peppers

Overall Rating:  Like It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

Roasted Red Pepper and Smoked Gouda Crostini

I came up with this appetizer, Roasted Red Pepper and Smoked Gouda Crostini, while trying to think of a flavorful appetizer I could offer on Thanksgiving. The result is a tasty bite with layers of delicious flavor. Baguette slices are toasted and topped with basil, roasted red pepper, smoked gouda, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. This is an appetizer that can be made quickly if you are having a party or need a bite in a pinch. Come Thanksgiving, I hope I can steal a couple of minutes with the oven to make this because it is so tasty. I used roasted red peppers to save time but if you have fresh peppers on hand, roasting them is super easy (see below). When it comes to cheese, smoked gouda is my favorite hands down but any other smoked cheese will work here as well. This crostini is versatile too – consider tomato and mozzarella or apple and Gruyère here in place of the red pepper and gouda to make for an equally delicious appetizer. I have no doubt these will be a hit with both your vegetarian and meat-eating guests at your next get-together.

Roasted Red Pepper and Smoked Gouda Crostini (makes 12 appetizers):

  • 1/2 French baguette
  • 12 pieces jarred roasted red peppers (about 1 1/2 inch in size)
  • 12 small fresh basil leaves
  • 12 smoked gouda cheese slices cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lemon

Note: To make your own roasted red peppers, cut fresh red peppers in half, remove seeds and ribs, flatten, and broil for 15 minutes on a foil-lined baking sheet. Place blackened peppers in a sealed zip-top plastic bag seal and let stand 15 minutes. Remove from bag, peel, and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces.

The ingredients:

Preheat the broiler. Cut bagette into 1/4 inch slices and put into a baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and place under broiler for a few minutes until golden brown.

Meanwhile, pour balsamic vinegar into a small pan and bring to a boil over medium-heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until liquid reduces by half (about five minutes).

Remove bagette slices from the oven and top each piece with a piece of roasted red pepper and basil.

Cut lemon in half and squeeze the juice over the basil. Top each basil leaf with a slice of gouda cheese.

Place under the broiler until cheese melts (about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes). Move crostini to a plate and, using a spoon, drizzle balsamic glaze over each crostini. Serve warm.

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Me! 🙂

Caribbean Chicken Kebabs with Lime-Cayenne Butter

I’ve been wanting to make these Caribbean Chicken Kebabs for a while now but since I live in a condo and can’t have a charcoal grill on my deck, I decided to pull out my Cuisinart Griddler and do a little indoor grilling.  I’m sure the taste is much better on an outdoor grill but I’ll tell you what, these were still pretty darn good.  The marinade of fresh orange juice, soy, ginger and garlic gives the chicken a little flavor and the grilling brings out the natural flavors of the crisp peppers, sweet pineapple and juicy cherry tomatoes deliciously.  The Lime-Cayenne Butter gives these kebabs the slightest bit of acidity and heat but there is something about smothering fresh vegetables and lean chicken with a stick of butter that just doesn’t seem right to me.  A sprinkle of cayenne and a squeeze of a few limes before grilling still would have provided flavor with much less fat.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Coastal Living Magazine

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