Monday, August 25, 2014

Caprese Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Silly camera is broken so today I bring you these peppers via iPad photo. That's just how we're rolling today.  Remember these peppers from last summer?  Well I had the same problem a few weeks ago....more peppers than I knew what to do with. I still love red peppers, although a couple of my children have fallen out of fondness with them (hopefully only for the time being).  So, it was up to my hubby and me to finish them off.

I don't have a "real" garden this year, but I managed to plant a couple tomato plants and some basil in our flower beds.  Tomatoes and basil are two of my most favorite things to eat in the summer, when produce is at it's finest. I try to eat it as much of it as I can, WHILE I can.  So these peppers, and anything else I can get my hands on, are stuffed with tomato-y basil-y goodness!  You'll love 'em.

*A note on the mozzarella and pesto: I like to use fresh buffalo mozzarella, or just whole milk mozzarella.  It can be pretty soft and hard to shred, so I just break it up with my fingers.  I also love making my own pesto, especially when I have my own basil plant, but sometimes I don't have a need for all of it at once.  If you need to store it longer than a week or two, you can freeze it in smaller containers (4-5 oz), or even in ice cube trays; just pop it out of the tray once it's frozen and put the cubes into a ziploc freezer bag.

Caprese Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups chicken (or veggie) stock
4 sweet peppers (red, yellow or orange)
3/4-1 pint cherry (or grape) tomatoes, halved
2 Tbsp. basil pesto (use this recipe or use store bought)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, plus more for topping
fresh basil leaves, shredded, for garnish (optional)

Add quinoa and chicken stock to a medium-sized sauce pan.  I you have a fine sieve, rinse the quinoa first.  Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook 15-20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. 

Slice peppers in half, lengthwise, and remove seeds. Place, cut side up, in a baking dish and cover with foil.  Bake, unfilled, for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and remove foil.

Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, stir together the cooked quinoa and the pesto.  Add in tomatoes and 1/2 cup of the mozzarella and toss.  Divide mixture evenly between each of the pepper halves and top with about a tablespoon more of the mozzarella.  Cover again with the foil and stick it back in the oven to bake for another 10-15 minutes. I like my peppers more crisp-tender so I tend to bake for less time, but if you like your peppers soft bake longer and check for doneness.  Remove the foil the last 5 minutes or so for the cheese to brown a little bit.  Serve warm.

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