Thursday, October 30, 2014

Jack-o'-lantern Stuffed Peppers

Tomorrow is Halloween!!!!! What are you doing for it? Dressing up?

We have some candy at the ready in hopes some kiddos come by trick or treating. We live next to an amazing neighborhood in Santa Monica that really goes ALL OUT. I've never seen another neighborhood like it before. It makes me think they all must be in the movie or television industry as set decorators because it's so flippin' awesome and haunted.

I don't do much for Halloween anymore, though I wish I did. I love dressing up. When I lived in NYC, Halloween was celebrated by everyone, you could never grow out of it. I just have to share a picture (or two) from my second Halloween there. We made all our costumes and went as the 60's Batman characters...mainly villains (I was Catwoman).

Okay, enough with my trip down memory lane. I wanted to make something for dinner to celebrate Halloween, but also make it healthy. I saw lots of pictures on Pinterest of Jack-O'-Lantern Stuffed Bell Peppers and thought those would be fun to make.

I really love how one of them turned out. I like to layer cheese in between the rice and beans mixture and it made this one look like he was... well, you know... probably not "nice talk" when you're talking about dinner. But this is Halloween Dinner, for goodness sake!

Stay safe and eat lots of candy.

Happy Halloween!

P.S. I love the next picture. The main pepper looks like he has his posse behind him. (I may have had a little too much fun taking these shots)

Yield: 4
Time: under 30 minutes

  • 4 bell peppers
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 can black beans (or 16 oz lean ground turkey or chicken)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 8 oz. salsa (I just poured in about half of a 16 oz jar)
  • 1 cup cooked wild rice (any rice will do)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • sour cream or plain greek yogurt to top it off

  1. Heat oven to 350. Cut the top off four large bell peppers and remove seeds (carve Jack-'O-Lantern faces if you want ;).
  2. Bring water to boil. Add peppers to boiling water and cover for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, set them on a cookie sheet.
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat onions (if you're cooking with meat, brown the meat at this time too). Add minced garlic, chili powder and cumin and stir and cook 1 minute. Stir in salsa and rice.
  4. Divide mixture evenly among the peppers, remember to add a layer of cheese in the middle before adding the second layer of your rice and beans mixture. Top with cheddar cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 7 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
  5. Serve with sour cream or plain greek yogurt.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Apple Pie Dip

Between Sunday football games, Halloween parties, Thanksgiving, and holiday gatherings, I am always searching for quick and easy dips during this time of year.

Made with staple ingredients in only 20 minutes, this apple pie dip fits the bill perfectly.

A perfect balance of salty and sweet with creamy cheese and crunchy pecans, this recipe is a flavorful explosion that is perfect for sharing at your next gathering. While cheddar cheese may seem like a peculiar addition to this dip, don't shy away from it. Just as New Englanders swear by melting a slice of cheddar on top of their apple pie, the shredded cheese blends perfectly in this dip.  Enjoy!

Do you have a favorite go to party dip? Link up below!

Apple Pie Dip

Yield: 16 servings (2 tbls. each)
Time: 20 minutes

  •  8 oz. 1/3 less fat cream cheese - room temperature
  • 2 tbls. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 apple, chopped and divided
  • 1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 tbls. chopped pecans
  • Crackers - for serving
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Blend together cream cheese, brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice.
  3. Mix in 1/2 of the apples and 1/2 of the shredded cheese.
  4. Transfer to a oven-safe baking dish. 
  5. Top with remaining apples, cheese, and pecans.
  6. Bake in the oven for about 10-12 minutes or until heated through.
Recipe from Kraft.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Spiced Nuts

This is my favorite thing to bring as a host/ess gift when it's cold out. It takes ten minutes to make something that everyone goes crazy for.

It always feels to me like once Halloween happens, it's holiday dinner parties and celebrations one after the other. I'm so excited to be a part of Paula's Plate now so I feel encouraged to try new dishes for the holidays. So, get ready!

You might have noticed that some of the cashews and almonds got a little dark. I am guilty of doing other things while cooking and then forgetting the time. I should have taken these guys out a minute or two earlier.  But, at least I got the living room swept and swiffered. ;)

What are your favorite things to make for host/ess gifts?


This deliciousness is brought to you by Williams-Sonoma.

Spiced Nuts

Time: 10 minutes

  • 1lb Mixed Nuts (unsalted) 
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a bowl, mix all ingredients.
  3. Spread nuts in a single layer on baking sheet.
  4. Toast, stirring every two minutes, until you can smell the yummy nuts and they've darkened a bit (not too much like the ones in my pictures ;)
  5. Transfer to paper towels to cool.
  6. Once cooled, eat your heart out!
Recipe from Williams Sonoma Entertaining with the Seasons. A good one to add to your collection.