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Food Bite: Kinda-Mexican Stew!

Okay, I’m completely at a loss as to what to call this recipe. It has hints of paella, hints of risotto, some elements of Mexican, and a sense of a stew. It’s really just another step in my experiment of “How many meals can I make with the stuff in my cupboard!”

It’s actually based on another recipe I made a while ago, only I used basmati rice that time (Doesn’t really clarify what the dish IS) but as I don’t have basmati but have lots of risotto rice, I decided to use that instead! It worked well, I really like the dish, but it’s meat and spice and tomatoes and Quinoa and rice…what’s not to really like?!

I always cook for one, but being aware a lot of people don’t, I try to alter the recipes to serve 4. Take this with a pinch of salt though as I’m not sure how ‘normal’ my one-person serving size is!

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Ingredients

1 Large Onion (red or white, depending on preference!) Diced.
2 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped
4 Turkey breasts Sliced/400g Diced Turkey Meat (Chicken works equally well!)
2 Tins Chopped Tomatoes
3 Peppers (red, yellow, orange…)
160g Quinoa
120g Rice (Any rice really, but this recipe uses Risotto and cooking instructions are tailored accordingly)
100g Sliced Jalapenos (Less or more depending on spice preference!)
Paprika (One again, Hot if you like it spicy, or smoked gives a lovely aroma and depth!)

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To Cook

  • Sweat onion in a pot until softened. Add garlic on low heat and cook for a couple of minutes.
  • Add Quinoa to pot and add 480ml cold water to pan. Bring to boil.
  • In a separate pan, brown off the turkey pieces until semi cooked.
  • Add Risotto rice to pot and mix. Add a little boiling water if the pot is running dry.
  • Add turkey to the pot.
  • Add chopped tomatoes, peppers and jalapenos to the pot and mix. Season and spice.
  • Contuinue to add about 100ml water every time the rice and Quinoa absorbs it all. Keep it fairly liquid but not swimming in water.
  • Simmer away for 20-30 minutes, adding water as you go.
  • When rice and Quinoa are tender and cooked, and liquid is absorbed take off heat and serve!

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Alright, I will admit I’m not very good at giving recipes, as I’m very much a ‘play it by ear’ kind of cook! I sort of just throw things in and mix stuff up and I never really cook from recipes, I just use my instincts and play around.

Anyway, this makes a lovely spicy, warming stew-come-risotto type dish. I really enjoy it and I hope that anyone who dares to try it out does too! Once again, it’s super healthy, using clean, fresh ingredients and I have it with lots of fresh veggies! I never cook with oil – when sweating or ‘frying’ I use water to ‘lubricate’ and it has never failed me!

By my rough calculations, this should be about 440cals per serving, depending on brands and amounts etc…but there we go, very clean, very fresh, packed with nutrients and anit-oxidants and super low in fat!

Play around with basic ingredients and see what you can do! Once you understand the basics of any ingredient, cooking technique, style or flavour group, you can go any direction you want! This recipe has hints of Mexican, elements of Italian and then a whole bunch of other sources that come into play, but if you know what you like, and you have a basic understanding of cooking, you can do whatever you want!

Enjoy a nice, hearty and warming dish, packed with nutrients and lovely warming spices this Autumn!

Food Bite: Quinoa, Tuna and Tomato Stuffed Peppers

I cooked dinner for my flatmate and one of my girlfriends tonight. I adore cooking, but I never bother to cook anything extravagent or even that interesting when I’m just cooking for one. When I visit my parents, I always get to cook lavish dishes and I occasionally ‘cater’ dinner parties or lunch parties for my Grandma, but for the most part, I don’t get to cook that much. And it saddens me!

But we decided to have Emma round for dinner and I had a recipe already in mind that I wanted to play with; Roasted red peppers stuffed with a tomato, quinoa, tuna and mozarella filling. Never tried it before, but I thought I’d give it a shot!

IngredientsMy recipe to serve 4:

4 large red peppers
375g Chestnut mushrooms
2 tins tuna flakes (or 250g approx)
375g broccoli cut into small florets
120g Quinoa
1 tin chopped tomatoes (400-600g according to preference!)
125g Mozzarella
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 large Jalapeno Peppers, sliced (If you like spicy!)
Salt and pepper

  • Cut each of the peppers in half and cut out seeds and white flesh. Place each pepper (in two halves) on a large sheet of tinfoil, allowing enough foil to be able to fold over and completely cover the peppers.
  • Add the garlic and tomatoes to a pan and cook gently for 2 mintes. Add the quinoa and 350ml wate to the pan. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.Ready to go!
  • Add the mushrooms, broccoli, jalapenos and tuna to the pan and simmer for another 10 minutes until quinoa is tender and water is absorbed.
  • Stir in salt and pepper to taste and remove from heat.
  • Use a spoon to fill the pepper halves with the stuffing mixture, compact into the peppers tightly and pile as high as you wish!
  • Place any remaining filling around the peppers in the tin foil ‘cases’ and add a little extra water to stop it sticking to the foil.
  • Cover the peppers with foil and place in a preheated (200c) oven for 45 minutes to an hour.
  • Slice the mozzarella. remove peppers from over, remove foil covering and lay slices of mozzarella on top of the peppers.
  • Return to oven for 15-25 minutes.
  • Serve with a fresh rocket and tomato salad!

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Really enjoyed the finished result; it was an experiment and it really worked! So that’s a turn out for the books…

The other great thing about this recipe is that its super healthy! A portion of two halves (like the pic)  works out at under 400 calories!

Quinoa is also a great superfood: packed with protein so it’s great for vegetarians and you can really mix and match with the ingredients: chicken instead of tuna, or just add different varieties of muchrooms or veg to the stuffing!

Great versatile meal and so quick and easy to make; the most time spent was when it was in the oven, leaving me free to be a sociable host!!!

I think that the culture of cooking fresh, homemade food and sitting down with friends to really enjoy a meal has been lost somewhat. There’s no better way to spend an evening, in my opinion, than preparing a delicious meal, having a few close friends around and enjoying good food, a bottle of wine and some great conversation. And of course, no meal is complete without pudding…!

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