Monday, April 30, 2012

Turkey Stuffed Peppers

My mom used to make stuffed peppers when I was a kid. To be honest I don't remember what she put in them but I remember liking them. Recently, I came across a few stuffed pepper recipes and thought I would keep them on hand for a quick and healthy weeknight dinner. After further review, I wasn't completely sold on the recipes so I came up with the below recipe to incorporate things I already had at home. Brady and I loved how these turned out. They were light and healthy but full of flavor.

 Turkey Stuffed Peppers

Prep/Cook Time: 35 minutes

4 large red, yellow, or green bell peppers, top cut off and seeded
1 pound ground turkey
2 tsp oil, divided
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 cup sweet onion, chopped
1/2 zucchini, chopped
1/2 can black beans, drained and rinse
1 cup salsa
1/4 cup shredded cheese of your choice

Preheat the oven to 375. Place the peppers sliced side down in a baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake for 20 minutes and then remove from the oven.

Meanwhile, saute the ground turkey in a skillet coated with 1 tsp oil. Add the cumin, oregano, and chili powder and a little salt and pepper. Cook until the meat is browned and no longer pink, about 7 minutes. Remove meat from the skillet and set aside.

In the same skillet, heat the other teaspoon of oil and saute the onion and zucchini for about 4-5 minutes.Add the onion and zucchini mixture to the turkey. Stir in the black beans and the salsa.

Once the peppers have been removed from the oven, stuff each pepper with the turkey mixture and sit them upright. Top each pepper with a little shredded cheese and bake for another 12-15 minutes.

** Depending on the size of the peppers, you will probably have extra turkey mixture. I used the leftovers for an easy taco dinner a couple days later.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Adult Spring Break Part III- San Diego

At the wedding on Coronado
After a few days in San Francisco and then LA, Brady and I enjoyed a quick 2 hour drive down to San Diego. After the 8 (or 9) hours of driving down the coast I think anything would have felt short in comparison! We spent one evening in the Gaslamp District in San Diego and then headed over the bridge to Coronado where we attended the wedding of two of our Chicago friends. A few highlights...

Blue Water Seafood Market and Grill: Brady and I went for their famous fish tacos after seeing a segment on the Food Network. They offer about 10 different varieties of fresh fish and the fish is then grilled and served as either tacos, a sandwich or on a salad. The people that worked here honestly couldn't have been nicer and the tacos were terrific.

Filippi's: Brady and I went to Filippi's with friends who were also in town for the wedding. It's in San Diego's Little Italy area which I had no idea existed. This was such a cute neighborhood, full of restaurants and bars. We settled on Filippi's after reading rave yelp reviews and weren't disappointed. This is a family owned pizza joint serving up great pizza, pasta, and cheap wine. When we left there was a massive line down the street so were definitely on to a good thing and got there at the perfect time!

Burger Lounge: This was another great find. Super simple menu, a few burgers and salads, but Brady and both loved our food. Brady went with the turkey burger and I had a veggie salad. I recreated the veggie salad last week and ate it for about 4 nights straight.

Hotel del Coronado: We stayed across the street at the Glorietta Bay Inn which was cute and a fraction of the price but if you are on the island, touring the Hotel del Coronado is a must. This place was absolutely beautiful. Brady and I walked around the grounds, along the beach and I fell in love with the coolest garden. Maybe someday :)

View of the Hotel del Corando from the beach.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Adult Spring Break Part II- Los Angeles

After enjoying the weekend in San Francisco, Brady and I picked up our rental car and headed down the Pacific Coast Hwy 1. It was an absolutely breath-taking drive, a little scary at times and definitely not the quickest route to Los Angeles, but it was well worth it. Along the way we checked out Monterrey, Pebble Beach, and then stopped in Carmel to check out the town and to walk along the beach. Carmel was darling, very quaint and full of charm. About 8 (Brady says 9) hours and one stop at In-and-Out Burger later and we arrived in LA.

We stayed at the Beverly Hills Hilton which is such a cool hotel. It's recently been renovated but still maintains it's old-Hollywood feel. While in LA, we checked out the Santa Monica area which was full of cute shops and restaurants, went to a live taping of Jimmy Kimmel where we sat front row and talked with Jimmy Kimmel, drove down Rodeo Drive, and tried our best to spot a celebrity (no luck).

Before we left LA, Brady and I ate at Ink, Michael Voltaggio's (a former Top Chef winner) amazing new restaurant. Our meal was hands down one of the best I've had. I loved the creativity and thought that went into each of the dishes and it was fun to see Voltaggio working in the kitchen. Ink is a small plate restaurant so it's great for people who like to try new things. We had 6 small plates and a dessert which was the perfect amount for two people. We went with the following dishes:

carrots, coconut ice, cardamom soil, carrot juice curry
crab, charred avocado, whipped fish sauce, mushroom chicharron - One of my favorites
beef tartare, hearts of palm, sea bean chimichurri, horseradish, rye - My least favorite but I tried it :) 
brussels sprouts, pig ears, lardo, apple - Another favorite, can't go wrong with brussels sprouts & pig!
halibut, asparagus green tea, egg yolk gnocchi - This was the perfect spring dish.
lamb shoulder, lamb’s quarters, tongue, vadouvan, yogurt
apple, caramel, burnt wood ice cream - LOVE IT!!! 

Brady and I also tracked down the Kogi BBQ Food Truck via Twitter and enjoyed some awesome Korean bbq tacos. I am not positive where we heard about Kogi BBQ, perhaps Bourdain??? Not sure, but whoever it was I owe them a big thank you. These tacos were so good that I dug right in and then realized that I should take a picture, oops!

Kogi BBQ Truck

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Adult Spring Break Park I- San Francisco

The sign of a great vacation is not wanting to leave, already looking forward to the next time you go back, (and still being in a relationship!). Brady and I just returned from a 10 day vacation in California and we had the best time. It was just what we both needed to recharge the batteries. We visited multiple cities throughout California, drove down the beautiful Pacific Coast Hwy 1 most of the way, met up with all of our Chicago friends for a fun wedding, and ate and drank very well! I have a lot of restaurant reviews so I decided to break this post into a few.

Brady and I flew into San Francisco. We stayed at the Hilton Financial District which I thought was in a great location. It's right in the heart of Chinatown which is a lot of fun and must see in San Francisco. Just a few blocks away you'll find the Italian area and Union Square which is great for shopping. As for restaurant recommendations, I have a few...

Ferry Building Marketplace- I loved this place!  The Ferry Building is located along the water and is full of cute food related boutiques (olive oils, cookware, etc), bakeries, cafes, and flower shops. This is the perfect place to grab lunch to-go and head out to the pier and enjoy the view. I highly recommend the Cow Girl Creamery shop, it was still Lent so I had a sandwich with fresh goat cheese, sauteed mushrooms, and fig jam. I will be recreating this sandwich soon, it was so simple yet absolutely delicious.

Caffe DeLucchi- Terrific Italian food in the Italian neighborhood. The food was authentic, fresh and very reasonably priced.

Tonga Room- Brady and I saw this place on Anthony Bourdain's show The Layover and knew that it was a must see. We went for happy hour and had a great time. The restaurant has a Polynesian theme and looks like something that belongs in Disney World, not inside the San Francisco Fairmont Hotel. The decor is kind of cheesy but there is something about drinking a tropical drink with an umbrella in it that just screams vacation!

Mission Chinese Food- I have read about Mission Chinese Food in numerous food magazines and was so excited for the opportunity to give it a try. I will spare the long story about how this place got started but it's a really cool concept. Basically, a couple started serving Chinese food out of an already established Chinese restaurant's kitchen. The food is Americanized Chinese food or "Chinese-nouveau" as they call it, and honestly the best Chinese food I've had. This is an absolute must for anyone visiting San Francisco in my opinion.