In preparation for our trip to Jamaica, my crazy sexy husband decided that he wanted to do something to get back in shape. Over the last few years, his work day has changed and his once very active work day was replaced with a few more hours behind a desk and heavy vendor lunches rather than working in the field and eating a quick meal on the go. While I find him wildly attractive no matter what, I think it’s safe to say that there is always a time in our life that we remember being thinner than we currently are. It is also safe to say that we wished that we would have appreciated it when we were. Well, with that being said, Drew decided that he needed to turn to drastic measures to achieve that old school weight. I’m not sure if it was a middle-of-the-night impulse or early Sunday morning motivation, but he decided that P90x was the way to go.
When the box arrived, he was all hands on deck ready to go with Tony Horton. 5-4-3-2……he became fully committed to the exercise regime. I am sure that you have figured out that I am the cook in the house, so when we sat down to read the new breakdown (torture schedule) that came complete with a nutrition plan, I knew that I had to get REAL familiar with the ridonculous measures of protein overload and be a team player. In looking over the weekly menus, I noticed quinoa was on there no less than 4 times a week. I have seen quinoa used so many times in recipes, but have never cooked with it nor tried it for that matter. I was more than surprised to find that I really liked it!!! The flavor and texture is really good especially when you replace the water with chicken broth and it is surprisingly filling. Contrary to popular belief, quinoa is not a grain, but rather the seed of a leafy green vegetable that serves as an excellent protein source and easily replaces the carb-laden pastas we all love so much!
I must be honest in saying that a box of quinoa isn’t cheap; however, it has truly become my go-to “filler food” for our meals and when cooking for a small family it actually goes a long way. It is perfect to use as a side dish, but can easily be transformed into a main dish by adding meat or sauteed vegetables.
My husband stuck out the insanely intense P90x workout plan for FAR longer than I ever could have (I prefer a solid ride on the Spin bike) But even without the drone of awkward grunts and over-encouraged motivation from Tony on the dvd player and the many, many hours spent in the kitchen making complicated meals with 10,000 ingredients, I am excited to have found a GREAT alternative to pasta and a fun new ingredient to experiment with all summer long.
Italian Quinoa Stuffed Bell Pepper
- 1 cup traditional quinoa (I used Ancient Harvest Traditional Quinoa)
- 2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
- 1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh basil, oregano & thyme
- 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 cup crumbled turkey sausage (I used Jimmy Dean Turkey Sausage Crumbles)
- 1/4 cup crumbled reduced fat feta cheese
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 4 medium-sized green bell peppers
- 1 tbsp pine nuts
- 4 tbsp low-moisture part skim mozarella cheese
- Sprinkle of parmesan cheese per bell pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook 1 cup quinoa in a medium sauce pan according to directions, but replace water with chicken broth. Meanwhile, cut off tops of bell peppers; remove seeds and membranes. Cook in boiling water 5 minutes; drain upside down on paper towels.
Once quinoa is fully cooked, in a large bowl, combine quinoa, fresh herbs, tomatoes, garlic, feta, salt & pepper.
Stuff each pepper with quinoa mixture. Place in lightly greased baking dish. Top with mozarella and parmesan cheese. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until bell peppers are tender and cheese is melted.