Beef

Gyro-Stuffed Bell Peppers

by Shawnda on November 19, 2013

in Beef,Goat cheese,Greek,HEB Primo Picks,Lighter & Healthier,Quinoa

Gyro-Stuffed Bell Peppers with Quino & Feta

When Jason and I met, I was living in this tiny, dirt cheap apartment with my fluffy white kitty, Shasta. Shasta & I had accidentally stumbled across the greatest deal in the entire city. We had million dollar houses, the city’s nicest park, running trails, a golf course, and gorgeous green space at our front door. At our back door? Legit crack houses. But not for long.

The area was seeing major regentrification. Just 2-3 years before, if you’d asked anyone “Hey, I’m on Washington – what should I do over here?” They would have screamed “GET DOWN AND CALL 911!” But even at that point, it was only half-sketch. Plus, the million-dollar-homeowners across the street paid for fancy private security to roam the neighborhood. We had security-by-proximation. (And to be fair, crack-house-by-proximation.)

New fences went up weekly, flanked by construction signs and “Coming Soon!” banners. But none of those new places would ever top Bibas.

Gyro-Stuffed Bell Peppers with Quino & Feta

Bibas was a 24-hour Greek diner on Memorial that promised two things: the world’s fluffiest pita bread and fabulously accented late-night conversations from owners who seemed to never take a break, much less a day or night off. Throw in a plate of dolmades and you had one of the best ways to unwind after a play-hard downtown Saturday night.

Then I met a guy who didn’t eat Greek food, Bibas closed down, and I moved to the suburbs.

But 8 years later, that guy didn’t protest when I dragged him down to the Greek Festival. Mostly because after 8 years of all the life changes that come with being an adult, he knew that our Friday nights could very likely otherwise involve a super unsexy trip to the home improvement store for a plunger.

Related: That age where they outgrow flushing things down the toilet? Not here yet.

Gyro-Stuffed Bell Peppers with Quino & Feta

To the Greek festival we went, sampling dolmades and baklava and souvlaki and tiropita. The light in a person’s eyes when he realizes that a “scary” word like souvlaki means manly grilled red meat on a stick? Beats any look of joy and magical wonder on Christmas morning :)

True story.

Gyro-Stuffed Bell Peppers with Quino & Feta

This month’s HEB Primo Picks showed up with a couple of pantry staples that I regularly buy:
Central Market’s Quick Cooking Quinoa
HEB Basting Oil (a garlic & herbed oil that’s great for dipping pita bread and cooking and sauteeing and drizzling over just about everything)

Along with the black olives, I whipped up some Greek-style stuffed bell peppers to serve along some pita and tzatziki sauce.

The first time I ever made stuffed peppers, I got the expected nose-wrinkling “Why’d you ruin perfectly good food by shoving it in a bell pepper that hasn’t been sliced and grilled and served next to fajitas?” look while poking at the pepper to confirm that it was, in fact, not going to leap off the place and whack him on the head.

But the first time I made a Gyro-inspired stuffed bell pepper on “Greek night,” I got the expected mouth-full mumble, “Th2diy so3048x Greek dhdslkashd” head-nodding approval.

The rambly lesson here? Stuff it in a pepper, call it Greek food. Everyone is happy.

Gyro-Stuffed Bell Peppers with Quinoa & Feta

Greek-style bell peppers stuffed with quinoa, ground beef, feta, and black olives.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Central Market Quick-Cooking Quinoa
  • 2 cups chicken stock (or water)
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp oil, divided
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 chopped HEB Black Olives
  • 15 oz can fire-roasted tomatoes, drained
  • 2 tsp greek seasoning*
  • 4 oz crumbled feta, divided
  • Small handful of cilantro and/or parsley, chopped and divided
  • 6 large bell peppers
  • HEB Basting Oil, for drizzling
  • Tzatziki sauce, for serving (purchased or homemade)
  • *This was a purchased mix of dried herbs: oregano, parsley, basil, marjoram, garlic, and onion. A mixture pretty decently wingable at home.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 and lightly grease a casserole dish.
  2. Take a thin sliver off the rounded edges off the bell pepper "feet" so the peppers stand on their own.
  3. With the tip of your knife, poke 1-2 small holes in the bell pepper bottom - just deep enough to create an opening for any excess liquid to drain. Soggy stuffed peppers are no fun.
  4. Heat 2 cups of water or chicken stock and cook quinoa according to package directions. Set aside.
  5. Heat large saute pan over medium-high heat and brown the ground beef.
  6. Transfer the cooked meat to a colander to drain.
  7. Add the cooking oil and heat, then cook the onions 3-5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and stir, cooking another minute more.
  8. Return the ground beef to the pan along with the cooked quinoa, olives, tomatoes, Greek seasoning, 3 oz of the crumbled feta, and most of the parsley/cilantro (reserving a couple of pinches for garnish).
  9. Mix well and taste for seasoning.
  10. Spoon the filling into the peppers, lightly drizzle with basting oil if using, and transfer the dish to the oven to bake ~15 minutes.
  11. Top with remaining feta and garnish with chopped herbs before serving.
  12. Reheat foil-covered leftovers in a small baking dish until heated through.

Notes

Yields: 6 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 45 minutes

This recipe was developed in conjunction with H-E-B and I was provided ingredients as well as compensated for my time. Messy fingers, stretchy-waisted pants, and baby-Elmo-clogged-toilets are all mine. You can find H-E-B on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. And if you’re as lucky as we are, 3 locations within a 5 mile radius.

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Pineapple-Marinated Beef Fajitas

This is what I look forward to most, living in southeast Texas. Not fajitas, but this time of year. (Although, let’s be honest – has any culture produced a more amazing, fascinating cuisine that even gets close to TexMex?)

It’s open-windows during the day, almost-cool-enough-to-consider-a-light-cardigan over a tank top at night.
These next few weeks? They’re why we put up with 6 months of soul-sucking heat and oppressive humidity.

We don’t get acres of beautiful trees ablaze with oranges and reds and golds. Actually, it would be a lot easier to sum up “fall in Texas” with a single red leaf on a small-tree-sized weed behind the back fence.

IMG_5132

That’s it, y’all :)

And you can easily identify those Texans who have been counting down the days for a break from the convection oven weather – they’re the ones who went full-on boots, jeans, scarves, and puffy jackets at preschool drop-off last week at 68 degrees. And returned for preschool pick-up in shorts & flip flops.

Those Texans, minus the puffy jackets, they look a lot… EXACTLY… like me :)

We’re the ones crowding the patios for dinner under the lights with a pitcher of margaritas and platters of sizzling fajitas at the table right next to the overkill patio heater. The ones with the pool heater on because the water is already to cold to swim without it.

It’s all the best parts of spring, only there’s football being played somewhere nearby, 5 nights a week. And beautiful weather calls for beautiful food.

Pineapple Marinated Beef Fajitas

These fajitas are the perfect example of how we’ve had a hard time this “fall” getting into heavier, comfort foods. We’re still hanging on a little bit longer before free-falling off the cliff into the creamy casserole canyon. But I have to admit – it’s not that far off. King Ranch Chicken, here we come!

Pineapple-Marinated Beef Fajitas

Juicy flank steak tenderized with a fresh pineapple marinade.

Ingredients

  • For the marinade:
  • 1/2-inch thick slice of fresh pineapple, core removed*
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Generous pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 lb flank steak (or your favorite cut for fajitas)
  • For serving
  • Diced pineapple
  • 6-8 tortillas
  • Cilantro
  • Sliced fresh jalapeno
  • Diced red onion
  • Cilantro
  • Plain yogurt or sour cream
  • * If you're using canned pineapple, go with 2 slices and the juice from the can.

Instructions

  1. Place the flank steak in a large zipper bag.
  2. Place the marinade ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
  3. Pour over the flank steak, seal the bag, and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes only - do not marinate it longer than 30 minutes. Pineapple is an ultra-tenderizer and it will turn your meat into mush if left in contact too long.
  4. While the steak is marinating, chop the rest of the toppings and prepare any sides.
  5. Heat your grill or grill pan to high.
  6. Cook the flank steak ~4 minutes on each side for medium (~5-6 for medium well).
  7. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing against the grain, holding your knife at an angle when cutting.
  8. Serve in warmed tortillas, topped with red onion, pineapple, jalapeno, cilantro, and a dollop of yogurt/sour cream.

Notes

Yields: 6-8 fajitas

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 1 hour

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Burgers with Spicy Bourbon-Peach Chutney

I keep seeing all these “Peace out, summer!” references everywhere and I can’t help but be a little bit jealous.

And by a little bit, I mean I’m totally drowning my sorrows in a Jealousy Sundae sprinkled with a super immature (and inappropriate) hand gesture and topped with some nondairy whipped depression.

Because it will not only feel like summer today and tomorrow, but it will still feel like summer long, long after the rest of you guys bust out the scarves, boots, and sweaters. LONG after.

Burgers with Spicy Bourbon-Peach Chutney

I always hate Texas come September. When everyone else is talking about pumpkin and sweatshirts, I’m staring at a $300+ electric bill, cursing anything and everything.

But making a spicy chutney with peaches that are still readily available and completely awesome in September is one of those things I don’t mind. Also, wrapping up Christmas shopping in capris and flip flops and sleeping with the windows open is pretty fantastic.

So in the end, I whine about the heat just to whine. Because honestly, we know I wouldn’t trade Texas for anything. (Or, at least most things.)

Burgers with Spicy Bourbon-Peach Chutney

Spicy Bourbon and Peach Chutney

This sweet, savory, and spicy peach chutney goes great on burgers and grilled fish.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb peaches (~4)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1-2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 habanero pepper, finely diced (seeds and stems removed)
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp bourbon (if omitting, replace with water)
  • 2 tsp brown mustard (I use Creole mustard)
  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • Salt

Instructions

  1. Peel peaches with a vegetable peeler or with this method.
  2. Remove pits and cut the peaches into ~1/2-inch cubes.
  3. Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook onions until softened.
  4. Add garlic and cook for another minute.
  5. Add peaches, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, and remaining ingredients to the sauce pan. Cover and simmer for ~10 minutes and then cook uncovered until the liquid has reduced to a nice syrupy glaze and you can easily smash the peaches with a spoon.
  6. Taste for sweetness and add additional brown sugar, if desired.
  7. Let cool and store in the fridge for a week.
  8. Serve generous scoops on burgers, grilled fish, or brie.

Notes

Yields: ~2 cups

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 40 minutes

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