Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I Might Make Really Good Stuffed Peppers - It's A Recipe-Ish People

If you are new here, I write a recipe-ish every Wednesday.  It's not always brillant or particularly informative, in fact it might be a tad confusing, but you could probably piece some sort of meal together from it if you had to, like in an emergency. 

Well, an emergency that allowed you to sort through a lot of extra random thoughts and sidenotes about me.  I can't think of that type of emergency, but surely it exists.

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about making a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich to the new Mom and I think all the new Moms really appreciated it.  I didn't hear from any of them, but I'm confident it was just because they were all too busy feeding their babies, trying to sleep, and grasping at stolen moments to do basic things like showering. 

Since this is my blog though and I can basically pretend anything here, I'm going to say that their appreciation and grattitude was deep and heartfelt.  I'm basically their go-to woman for all Mommy guidance. (See how I can just write things, I don't even need fact to back it up.  I'm basically US Weekly or Intouch!) 

I also was recently voted Best Mom on Earth.  I'm humbled and honored by the recognition.  It''s about damn time. 

Anyway, I really enjoy making people happy, so I'm going to go ahead and write another recipe to new Moms.  You're welcome ladies. 

Dear New Mom,

First, congratulations on getting into the kitchen and trying to cook.  It's a huge feat to prepare a meal while you have little kids so way to go! 

I'm not sure if anyone's told you yet, but it's really important that you cook home made meals for your kids.  If you don't a whole bunch of bad stuff will happen to them including, but in no way limited to; obesity, depression, anorexia, bulemia, headaches, high blood pressure, post traumatic stress disorder, dyslexia, diaherrea, and restless leg is a real medical condition! 

Seriously, you are only a good Mom if you cook.

Are you going to take that? This is a lesson ladies.

That is exactly the type of crap some one at some point might try to tell you and you are going to have to tell them they are looney tunes and throw a fork in their foot....which you probably won't have if you aren't cooking like you should. 

See how I came at you again?  Steel yourself!

I recently gave my children cheerios and fruit snacks for dinner, followed by a popsicle.  (DO NOT TELL MY MOM!) I am an awesome mother and actually scored all sorts of joy points with the kids for their high class meal.  I don't wish to do this nightly, but every so often makes it fun and quite simply, perfectly fine.

This is actually a picture from breakfast a few days ago, but I thought it would illustrate casual eating around here.

First rule of becoming a Mom, only have a small, kind circle of trust that you allow to advise you on your role as a parent.  This circle could possibly only include you and your pediatrician (please find one you love and trust,) and maybe your husband or partner if he's one of those guys with a particularly spectacular maternal instinct or extremely gentle heart, otherwise you can exclude him too.  You probably are doing a great job, listen to yourself and throw forks at everyone else.* 

(*Disclaimer:  I do not condone any type of actual fork throwing violence spurred by this post. I assume no responsibility for it and place all blame on the actual fork thrower themselves, society at large and the dynamic duo of Eninem and Rihanna, for obvious reasons.)

Moving on, let's make some food!

First, make sure your kid(s) are engaged elsewhere.  Feel free to put on a movie, start a show or shove them out the backyard while you work.  You are not responsbile for them 24 hours a day, you can make dinner. 

OK, by law and maternal nature you are responsible 24 hours a day for their well being, but not their entertainment, let Mickey Mouse take a turn.  Brace yourself again, this could be used against you at some point in Mommy judging.

Last night I made stuffed bell peppers for myself and my husband.  I love this meal.  It's my favorite combination for food that I have to prepare myself so I'm sharing it with you.

It's quick, the ingredients are pretty simple, it's filling, it's reasonably healthy, and it really doesn't require a side dish which means less clean up AND less work preparing the meal.  Hooray!

Here is what you are going to need:

2-3 bell peppers
1 pound ground beef
1/2 diced onion
1/3 cup rice
1/2 cup water
1 can diced tomatoes, any variety
1 tablespoon worcheshire sauce
1/2 cup frozen corn kernals

Shredded chedder cheese (or whatever kind you like - you're the Mom, you're in charge!)

First, take a big pot and boil some water to boil the bell peppers.

Then take 2 or 3 bell peppers and cut the tops off of them, then rip out the insides to make a big cavern to stuff.  Most recipes call for green peppers, but I personally like yellow or red or orange just as much. 

I enjoy diversity so I can hang with any color.  Basically, if you are rascist then just get the green ones, otherwise just pick whatever looks good at the moment and enjoy it.

Oh, and preheat your oven if it takes 20 minutes or so to heat up like mine does.  Turn to 350.

Once the big pot of water boils, throw in the bell peppers for three minutes.  Remove them from the water with tongs and let them dry on a plate.  Or on a cutting board.  Or on paper towels.  You get it, right?  If not, now is a good time to heat the toaster oven for chicken nuggets.

Put a skillet on medium high heat, because it's the only way to cook, and pour a little olive oil in the pan.  Don't pour too much or you will ruin everything.  Just kidding, just pour a little bit, like the size of a quarter or a small lego man or the diameter of one of those balls from the amazing ball popper know what I mean. 

Dump the meat (hopefully you've chosen organic so your family doesn't turn into a giant mess of walking hormone surged toxic cancer balls - please put food toxins on your holy-shit-I'm-so-scared-of-that- since-becoming-a-parent list) and diced onion into the skillet. 

Do not break up the meat!  By this point you have taken out kitchen accessories, chopped an onion, cut up the peppers, started water boiling, and started the meat...surely something has gone wrong with your kid by now.  You should check.

My most common calamidies: fights over who had the car bean bag first, Stella has eaten a crayon/lego/screw/small ball of lint, need to tie some form of costume on to someone, baby has tipped over a chair and injured herself, or a desperate, paniced need for me to see what has been built or colored or ruined. 

I was recently called to the bathroom to see both my boys trying to pee into the same toilet.  These are good times around here.  Messy times, but fantastic.

This interruption will allow just enough time for the meat to get a little too cooked on one side before you have a chance to break up the meat and stir for proper browning.  Let's just say it adds to the flavor of the family meal.  So break up the meat and try to get all of it browned, but do not overcook any other part of the meat or the entire meal will taste chewy and slightly burnt, instead of just random bites tasting chewy and slightly burnt.  You must get your family used to "Mommy" cooking.  Nothing is exact.

Once all the meat is brown, add the water, rice, can of tomatoes, frozen corn, and salt and pepper.  Stir it up and then wait for it to boil.  Once it starts boiling, cover it and turn the heat down so it simmers for 15-20 minutes.

To kill the time while you wait for all that, here are some random things I'm thinking about:

  • Would I actually get into our storm shelter if there were a tornado here?  Should I be stocking it or conducting drills?  These tornados have me a bit scared.
  • Should I be withholding watermelon from my daughter?  She seems obsessed and I'm really afraid of her poop tomorrow.  Won't a massive consumption of watermelon rip things up?  What if we're in the tornado shelter when she has explosive poop?  Add diapers and wipes to supply list.

  • I received a mystery vegetable in my CSA box of produce today, how am I going to figure out what it is.  Maybe I should post a photo? 
What is this?
  • How old do you think all my kids have to be for me to be able to go to the bathroom alone, 99% of the time?
Back to the meal. If the rice is tender and most of the water is gone, go ahead and take the skillet off the heat.  Put the bell peppers...wait, you still have the bell peppers, right? 

Sometimes my kids try to "help" and things just disappear or get smooshed in the process.  As a newly cooking Mom you are particularly suseptible to this type of thing.  You have to be a little angry while making dinner or your kids feel too free to come around and participate.  This is never good. 

Stay a little angry, and they learn to keep their distance.  It's really a good system for everyone. I use it for other times too, genius.  They get really good at entertaining themselves.

Put the bell peppers in a baking dish and fill them with the meat mixture.  Put any remaining mixture around them.  Really savor the moment of arranging this meat, it's probably the first thing you're doing all day that has nothing to do directly with your kids, because let's be  honest, your kids aren't eating this.  Mine actually laughed at me and told me, "this looks HORRIBLE."

See why it's so important to cook for these young delights?  All your hard work is recognized and respected.  Do NOT take it personally, but feel free to cry to make them feel really guilty.  They might even start eating it and we all know that tying guilt and other negative emotions to eating is a really successful way to establish healthy habits for the future. 

Remember, they won't have Oprah to help them though so you're going to have to tread lightly on their need for therapy.  They won't just be able to lean on her 4:00 show every afternoon, they are going to probably have to pay a therapist or watch Ellen.

If they don't eat though, do not panic. Also, try to resist making them a peanut butter sandwhich or pouring a bowl of cheerios.   I know everyone says that it won't ever get them used to eating "real" food, but I think it basically just makes more work for you.  Do not ever try to make more work for you! 

If you cater to the ridiculous and whiny, you're going to get ridiculous and whiny every time. 

I am basically a parenting guru.  Please email me all your questions about how to solve any problems with your kids and I can help.  I'll type a few words about your kid that I've never met and everything will be fine.

Let's finish this! Sprinkle the entire dish with cheese and put in the oven for about 15 minutes. 

I recommend serving with some wine.  Actually, I suggest that you pour your first glass of wine when you preheat the oven for any dish.  It's a simple reminder that's more socially acceptable for me to have an alcoholic beverage right now. 

Don't drink more than one glass of wine while cooking unless your kids are already in bed because it can make you really cranky during the bath and bedtime drama if you do.  Not that this has ever happened to me.  I heard about this lady that did that once and she apparently didn't like it and neither did her kids.

Enjoy!  Which means, maybe eat without the kids every so often so you can actually sit down and taste the burnt, chewy sections of meat.  You deserve it.


mama_pez said...

"If you cater to the ridiculous and whiny, you're going to get ridiculous and whiny every time." <--TRUTH

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

Go on Leslie, make me laugh some more so the milk pours out my nose like a four-year old. I don’t need this keyboard anyway.

I love you.

Alyssa said...

I still remember the time we attempted to make stuffed peppers back in the day and put the ground beef in the peppers without browning it first. Don't think those turned out so well!
And I believe that is a pattypan squash. Its definitely some kind of squash, I had one in our CSA last year and it was delicious.

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

Well, now I have a recipe to try with the peppers I am trying to grow. ;) Now I really hope they will grow!! Thanks for sharing. :)