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  • Mary Kay

Cheesy Kale Stuffed Peppers - It's Low-Cal!


Don't turn your back on this recipe just because of the KALE!

Mom and my Grams always said to eat our vegetables. when we were kids Well, here's a way to get those vegetables, including super food vitamin rich Kale, into your tummy. Don't turn your back on this recipe. All of the veggies, including the kale, will disappear into oblivion when you pulse them with the rest of the stuffing ingredients in your food processor. You will NOT taste the kale. The kids will not taste the kale. But, you WILL get the rich vitamins. If I don't have kale in my fridge, I pop in some broccoli for the vitamins.


I love the yellow, red and orange peppers, so that's how I fix my recipe. Some people like the green peppers better. You could even use this stuffing with jalapeno peppers.


With the food processor I combine my favorite cheeses, not just one cheese, with bread crumbs from whatever day-old out bread I have on hand, kale (yes, kale), onions, garlic and whatever else I have in the fridge that I think might taste good in it. I pulse these items a few times and refrigerator it until I'm ready to bake my peppers. When I'm ready, I mix some cooked chopped chicken with the bread and cheese mixture before stuffing the peppers.


Get creative!

Be ready to get creative with this dish. I don't think I've ever gone to the grocery store to buy anything for this one. I use what I have in the vegetable crisper, meat drawer, bread drawer and spice cabinet. Sometimes I use chicken, sometimes I use chorizo or even spicy Italian sausage. My favorite is chorizo because it's nice and spicy and then I don't need to add much for herbs and spices. Regarding sauces, I don't use any in this recipe since the liquid in the vegetables keep it pretty moist.


First off, keep your cheeses to a minimum if you want this to continue as a low-cal recipe.


As for cheeses, I like to include Marieke's Gouda cheeses. When I get to her farm store in Thorp, Wisconsin, I stock up on a number of different cheese flavors. It's like stocking up on wine. I love the different aromas and flavors. I never know when I'll be in the mood for Nettle Gouda, Italian Herb Gouda, or even 2 year old Gouda from her treasure trove of locally made cheeses. I know they are available in many of the grocery stores in our region, but it's much more enjoyable to drive the 45 miles one way to her on-farm store to smell the cheeses, marvel at all the large rounds of cheese in their viewing room, and to sit a spell with my sister to enjoy a handmade sandwich and ice cream. It's a wonderful experience, especially in the fall when I can enjoy the artistic coloring of the landscape along the country roads.


I don't even boil or char the peppers ahead of time. I've created this recipe to be easy so I leave them raw and stuff them after I've washed and stripped the seeds and membranes out of them. If you have long peppers, just cut them in half to make it easier to get the membranes out. If you use the plump roundish peppers, they work great, too. Just make sure the peppers are big enough to get your fingers in them to get the stuffing inside. The very small peppers don't work very well to stuff unless you cut them once lengthwise so you can get inside to clean and stuff them.


Servings:

2-3 servings depending on what you add as a side dish, Rice pilaf or garlic toast points make nice sides.


Prepare your baking pan:

All I do to prepare the pan is to sprinkle some extra virgin olive oil in the bottom. I use my trusty 10" x 5" ceramic casserole dish since it always so easy to clean. It's as old as the hills, as Gram used to say, but is perfect for this dish.


Cheesy Stuffed Peppers Ingredients:

3 Peppers, long, large orange, yellow, red

1 C Cheeses, assorted, diced (Cut t)his to 1/2 C for Low-Cal

3 slices Bread, prefer day old, flavored

2 Kale leaves

1 Garlic clove

1/2 Onion, medium

1 T Extra virgin olive oil

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

1 C Chicken, already cooked, diced

Extra Virgin Olive Oil, to sprinkle on top

1/2 C Mozzarella, shredded for topping

Cry Baby Craig's Cheesy Pow Pow for the "heat"


Pulse the stuffing out of it:

- Before pulsing the items, choose a day old crusty bread with good flavor. Seeds and herbs add to the great flavors in this dish. Break up the bread and add to the food processor.

- Rough chop the vegetables (not the peppers) and cheeses and add to the processor.


- Pulse the vegetables, cheeses, garlic, onion and bread all together until somewhat rough. (You won't even taste the Kale after it's all baked!) Set aside. You can even prepare and refrigerate the stuffing a couple of hours ahead of time.

- Clean the peppers, taking out the seeds and membranes. There's no need to precook them. I like them charred, too, so that's an option for this recipe.

- Stuff the filling and diced chicken alternatively into the peppers and arrange in the baking pan. Or, mix the chicken into the stuffing, then stuff the peppers.

- Place the stuffed peppers in the baking pan.

- Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over the peppers.

- Sprinkle any left over stuffing over the peppers.

- Spread the shredded cheese on top.

- Bake at 350F degrees for 30 minutes.

- Take out of oven and test for doneness by sticking a sharp knife in one of the peppers.

- I usually bake for another 10 - 15 minutes to get the cheese just a little brown on top.

- Want some "heat?" Sprinkle the top with Cry Baby Craig's Cheesy Pow Pow. It's a nice exclamation point on this cheesy dish.

- Serve it up with a nice rice pilaf and garlic toast and a dark beer.


Like I said, I make a lot of variations of this recipe. Once I made the stuffing without cheese in it, and added more vegetables like Roma tomatoes with the juices taken out. Roma tomatoes are meatier than others, with less liquid in the middle. In fact, Roma tomatoes would be a good alternative to the peppers for stuffing. I have even served it over angel hair pasta with an little bit of red tomato sauce. In that case, an Italian sausage goes very nicely with it.


Get the kids involved.

Let the kids make suggestions as to what to add but don't tell them about the kale. Get them involved by choosing the vegetables that they would most like to "get lost" in the stuffing. They won't even taste them! Let them even add one or two of your own unfavorite vegetables. Help them understand the importance of vegetables and how to make them part of their daily meals. Have fun with it! It's all part of "Baking your own Memories!"












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