Saturday, February 2

Red Pepper Boats (Veggie Stuffed Peppers): A Cheesy Delight

So my husband came home from work tonight just as I was pulling these out of the oven. I am blaming this title on him.... in a very good way. He bailed me out when I was exhausted and couldn't figure out what to call these flavorful bundles. Let me explain.....

            Red Pepper Boats

A few days ago a Rachael Ray meal caught my eye, when I saw her make it on her A Week in a Day cooking show. It impressed me that it was a healthy veggie filled make - ahead meal not a heavy casserole. 

But there were some problems with this recipe. It looked good enough but there was no meat in the dish. This isn't a problem in my house if its a side dish, but we have meat or some kind of protein at every meal like clock work. Secondly, there were 2 mystery ingredients - two ingredients that I had never bought, tasted, cooked with, or even ordered. So I got brave. I bought my very first eggplant EVER (mystery ingredient #1)  and a grain I hadn't ever seen before, quinoa, mystery ingredient #2, pronounced (keen wahhh).  They were actually easy to find, easy to buy, and inexpensive. I must admit that I wasn't that excited about serving an non-meat meal.

Then I did the next logical thing, I waited until I knew my hubby had work and then I made it. (drum roll) The dish tasted amazing! It had so much flavor! My son who seems to be trying to eat me out of my kitchen, growing every couple days, I swear, didn't even ask for meat. I LOVE meat, at least most kinds. So believe me when I say I didn't miss the meat. I really didn't miss the meat. 

So to the title. When my hubby came home he offered to show our son a video we had taken on our camera last spring. The video was of our whale watching trip in the Channel Islands off the coast of Southern California. Beautiful spot. As my son was looking at those videos with all the dolphins playing in our boat's wake, I brought the food out to the table. I looked at the stuffed peppers and then looked at the boat... and saw the connection. My hubby had put a boat movie on, and I had made boats to eat. Way to coordinate... I had no idea we could theme our dinners like that!  Pssst... if you ever get the opportunity to go whale watching. Do it. Its a blast! 

 the Red Pepper Boats Recipe:
Makes 6 boats, serves 3 or 4
Cooking time: 20 minutes 

1 large carrot or 5 baby carrots, finely diced
1/4 red onion, finely diced
1 tomato finely diced
1 yellow squash finely diced
1 eggplant, outside taken off and some of the seeds
1 Tbs minced garlic
salt (amounts listed below)
pepper (amounts listed below)
olive oil (amounts listed below)
3 red peppers (look for ones that aren't too curvy) 
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup Chicken broth/stock
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 


1. Preheat the oven to 450. Grab a skillet, a saucepan with a lid, and a flat baking dish.

2. Halve the peppers the long way, remove the seeds. 

3. Drizzle peppers with 1 Tb olive oil, 1/2 tsp coarse kosher salt, and1/4 tsp pepper over them. 
look at those great colors! 

4. Roast the red peppers in a baking dish for approx 15 minutes cut side down you want just a tiny bit of char starting. 

5. While the red peppers are working... chop and drop the rest of the veggies into a saute pan or skillet with 1 Tb olive oil and saute for 15 minutes. 

6. Add 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper to the skillet with the veggies

7. While the veggies are softening over 
med low heat, use the saucepan to cook the grain. 

Put the chicken stock or broth in a small saucepan with the quinoa. Bring it to a boil. Cover it with a lid. Simmer it for approx 12 minutes on low.  Once it is done fluff it with a fork and add it to the veggies in the skillet. 

8. When the red peppers are done. Pull them out and let them start to cool down. Turn them over in the baking dish. So they are ready to be filled. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees.

9. Fill the roasted red boats with all of the veg mixture. 

10. Top each boat with a small handful of cheese. 

11. Put back in the oven until the cheese is melted approx 8-10 minutes until bubbly and delicious. 

12. Eat!

I served mine with dinner rolls. It was delicious although I am looking fwd to trying it again soon with some meat. So glad I got brave and tried two new foods. Try a new food this week! 

From my Az kitchen to yours. 

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