Chorizo, Black Bean + Corn Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Chorizo, Black Bean + Corn Stuffed Poblano Peppers

“Disaster” is not the right word for how poorly my chile rellenos con queso turned out, but it didn’t go well. I harvested six Big Jim peppers from the garden and stuffed them with corn, onions and cheese. They got battered and tossed into a pan to deep fry. Sounds good so far, right?

The problem is with what comes next — with how I never learn my lesson. With frying, you can’t skimp by using just one inch of oil in a skillet. You have to go all out. You have to commit to a full pot of blazing hot oil which you’ll likely have to toss afterwards. Otherwise, whatever you were frying will touch the bottom of the pan and stick (Yes, even to that ceramic-enamel “non stick” pan you have… Trust me, I would know).

The results is typically a pile of whatever you were frying (i.e., peppers) and several hunks of fried batter stuck to the bottom of the pan. I usually try to scrape that batter up. By this time it has turned brown, crispy and greasy. And that will be that: a pile of peppers, and a pile of fried batter bits. It’s delicious, so I suppose it’s not a complete failure. It just isn’t what it’s supposed to be.

Chorizo, Black Bean + Corn Stuffed Poblano Peppers
Chorizo, Black Bean + Corn Stuffed Poblano Peppers

This recipe for stuffed poblanos avoids that conundrum all together. The peppers aren’t even battered, which might initially seem like a disappointment until it’s Thursday at 5:30pm and you’re the one cooking dinner. One less dish, no sputtering pot of oil, and hey — maybe your arteries will thank you, too. 😉

Stuffed with chorizo, corn, and black beans, these peppers feel like harvest. Whether you make your own enchilada sauce or not, the dish comes out of the oven looking vibrant and artisan, even after you pile on the grated pepper jack. That’s what I call success!

Chorizo, Black Bean + Corn Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Chorizo, Black Bean + Corn Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Published September 27, 2018 by
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Serves: 8   |    Active Time: 60 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 8 poblano peppers
  • 1/2 pound ground chorizo
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup corn kernels (frozen and thawed or fresh)
  • 1 16-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups red enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese

  • Directions:

    1. Before you begin: Whenever you are cooking with peppers or chilies, remember that their oils will stay on your fingers. Avoid touching your face (an especially your eyes!) until you are done cooking and have thoroughly washed your hands with soap and water. (Some choose to wear gloves while working with chilies. I find poblanos are not so hot that I need this — but do whatever is best for you.)
    2. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
    3. Brown the meat: heat a skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring to brown all sides and breaking into small crumbles with a spatula. Add the garlic while the meat is cooking.
    4. Once the meat is browned, add the corn and black beans to the pan. Stir so everything is evenly distributed. Turn off heat.
    5. Prepare peppers: cut a vertical slice down each pepper, from the stem to the tip. Near the top of each pepper, cut a 2-3 inch horizontal slice, creating a T-shape. If you would like, use a paring knife to remove the seeds and white pith from the pepper now. This will help tone down the spice of the pepper. We leave them in.
    6. Prepare your baking dish: spread the enchilada sauce in an even layer on the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish.
    7. Stuff the peppers: gently stuff the chorizo mixture into each pepper, and then place the peppers in the baking dish. Be careful, the mixture may still be hot! If so, let it cool down so you can handle it with out burning yourself.
    8. Bake for 35 minutes, and then top with shredded cheese. Bake for 5 minutes more and then remove from oven and serve hot.

    Layered Summer Ratatouille

    Summery Ratatouille

    Continuing with the theme of recipes that use up all of your summer produce: Ratatouille! 

    Admittedly my garden has been very slow to produce this year probably due to the hailstorm in mid-June, but I’m guessing most of you don’t have that problem, so you’ll be able to make use of this recipe soon!

    Is there a more beautiful way to display summer produce than a ratatouille? An array of color, layers of vegetables. And it's really quite simple to make, easier than pie! Easier than it looks — that’s for sure. 

    So what is ratatouille? There are two different versions: one where all the vegetables are stewed together, and this one, where delicate rounds of tomatoes, zucchini, summer squash, and eggplant are arranged over an herby tomato sauce. That’s it! From there you can customize: add protein to the sauce, top with fresh cheese or herbs, you name it.

    Summery Ratatouille
    Summery Ratatouille

    I served this version over Ina Garten's Parmesan polenta and OMG... I don’t think I’ve ever had such delicious polenta. I wouldn’t call it healthy or anything of that nature. But it is soooo good! And goes perfectly well with this ratatouille, rounding out the meal.

    Can you believe it’s August already? Where has the time gone?! 

    Summery Ratatouille

    Layered Summer Ratatouille

    Published August 2, 2018 by
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    Serves: 4   |    Active Time: 70 minutes



    Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces tomato paste
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 summer squash
  • 1 skinny eggplant
  • 3 roma tomatoes
  • 1 bell pepper, any color
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil, or 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • For serving: minced fresh basil, shredded parmesan.
  • Optional: if you would like to add protein to this recipe, 1 cup of cooked hot Italian sausage crumbles.

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
    2. In the bottom of a 9x9inch baking dish, spread the tomato paste in an even layer. Sprinkle with onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, and basil. If you are using the sausage, spread crumbles over tomato paste layer at this time.
    3. Slice the zucchini, summer squash, tomatoes, and bell pepper into thin rounds. Arrange the rounds in overlapping rows over the tomato paste layer. Brush with oil, and then season with salt & pepper.
    4. Bake for 50 minutes, until veggies are softened through an golden on the edges. Top with minced fresh bail and shredded parmesan. Serve hot.

    No-Noodle Lasagna

    No-Noodle Lasagna

    The first lasagna recipe I published on this blog called for twenty ingredients. TWENTY! That is not a typo. (I'm embarrassed to even link to that recipe, oh how much I've learned since 2015!)

    Lasagna is one of those things that just has a lot of components, but I was on a mission with this one: Simplify. Because some weeks, even just having twenty ingredients on your shopping list is stressful. Right??

    This version has less than half that number of ingredients. That said, it still needs to bake for 50 minutes, so if you are trying to serve this on a weeknight, doing all the prep ahead of time will help you out.

    No-Noodle Lasagna
    No-Noodle Lasagna

    This one is about the essentials:

    • A good marinara sauce. I used store bought, but you can also use this 20-minute recipe. I'm all for homemade but some times you have to cut yourself a break! 
    • Ricotta cheese. Any excuse to use ricotta cheese is welcome, if you ask me. But it's also the creamy layer in lasagna, and arguably the best part. 
    • Mozzarella! You might be thinking, two different kinds of cheese? Yes! (And a third, if you keep reading). Mozzarella adds the gooey, stringy cheese texture to the top of the casserole. And that third cheese? Parmesan, which I mostly added for good measure, and also it's flavor.
    • Meat. In this case, Italian Sausage. I love the flavor of hot Italian sausage, but you could easily use ground beef if you prefer. Many chefs choose to mix the two, in fact, but again simple was the name of the game here.
    • Noodles -- but in this case, actually eggplant sliced thin and used in place of noodles. Eggplant goes so well with lasagna flavors. Bring on the veggies!

    What is not essential to lasagna is the spinach layer, but I added it in because if I'm going to be cooking a lasagna, I may as well cover all of my bases instead of also making a side salad. 

    No-Noodle Lasagna
    No-Noodle Lasagna

    No-Noodle Lasagna

    Published July 12, 2018 by
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    Serves: 8   |    Active Time: 90 minutes



    Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cups marinara sauce (choose one that has basil or garlic, or make your own )
  • 1-2 eggplants (1 large or 2 medium)
  • 16 ounces ricotta
  • 16 ounces hot Italian sausage, ground
  • 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan, plus more for serving
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Optional: minced parsley for garnish

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 450°F, and slice eggplants in thin, long strips — about 1/4-inch thick. Spread slices out in a single layer on a sheet pan, and brush with olive oil. Place in oven and roast for 20 minutes, until eggplant begins to soften.
    2. Meanwhile, brown sausage in a skillet over medium heat. Once cooked, set aside.
    3. Place thawed spinach in a strainer, and squeeze out as much extra water as possible.
    4. Make the lasagna: spread 1/2 cup sauce in the bottom of a 9x16-inch baking dish. Arrange half of the eggplant strips as “noodles” in a single layer. Spread ricotta cheese over eggplant, and then top with sausage crumbles. Next, spread the spinach in a layer. Spread 1/2 cup sauce over top, and then layer the remaining eggplant in a second layer. Top with another 1/2 cup of sauce, and then top with shredded mozzarella and 1/2 cup parmesan.
    5. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F, and bake lasagna covered for 25 minutes, and then uncovered for 25 minutes.
    6. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, and then top with minced parsley. Slice and serve. Top with parmesan if desired.