October 2, 2012 by Lindsey
Every day is meatless at my house, so all Mondays are Meatless Mondays for me. But not all Mondays at my house taste this good.
I’ll only cook if three criteria are met: it’s fast, it’s easy, and it’s not just for me…or it’s not for me at all.
Today, I had my chance. I cooked dinner for my parents using a recipe I created around my latest favorite flavor booster.
Ever since I got back from Fitbloggin, I’ve been throwing a tasty swag bag item on almost anything I make: roasted veggies, scrambled eggs, salads, chicken (for other family members), savory oatmeal. I’ve even made my own 2 ingredient veggie dip with it.
I’m absolutely terrible at coming up with the proper measurements for spices in recipes, so I am all too happy to have McCormick do the proportions for me. It makes anything I cook smell like it took 5 hours longer than it actually did. It makes my food smell like that of a professional chef- and I am ANYTHING but.
Despite my amateur cooking skills and hatred of washing dishes, I actually like eating at home more than eating out. Seasoning and heavy-handed oil use are my two biggest enemies in a restaurant. Almost every restaurant I’ve ever been to uses way, WAY too much salt. I don’t add any salt to my food at home and if I have to buy a packaged or processed item, I buy any and every low-salt variant I can find.
My mom never put salt on the table when we were growing up and she never added it to dishes, even when the recipe called for it. My tastebuds just aren’t trained for saltiness. And I’m grateful for that.
That’s another one of the big reasons why I’m so pleased with the Perfect Pinch range. There’s lots of flavor, but it’s salt-free!
I use more than a “Perfect Pinch” of Fiesta Citrus on a daily basis, and I used more than a “Perfect Pinch” in the entree I cooked for my parents: Black Bean Quinoa Stuffed Peppers. You can guess from my distaste of salt and excess fat calories that I made sure to make this recipe salt-and-oil-free! Of course, you can adjust the recipe for your preferences on those two counts.
Black Bean Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
Serves 2 (with enough extra stuffing leftover for another serving)
Prep time: about 20 minutes, depending on how nimble in the kitchen you are
Combined cooking time: about 85 minutes
2/3 c dry quinoa
1 & 3/4 c water
1c cooked, unsalted black beans
2 medium whole red bell peppers (or be really daring and use green, orange, yellow, or purple!)
1 1/2 TSP or to taste McCormick Perfect Pinch Fiesta Citrus
1 1/2 TSP or to taste McCormick Perfect Pinch Southwest Sweet ‘n Smoky
3/4 TSP or to taste McCormick Chili Powder
1/2 TSP or to taste McCormick Crushed Red Pepper
1/2 c shredded monterey jack / cheddar cheese blend (or similar)
1/2 of a medium yellow squash
1/2 of a medium zucchini
2 cherry tomatoes
A few TBSP crushed tortilla chips (I used unsalted)
A few TBSP salsa
A few extra TBSP cheese for topping
In a small pot, bring quinoa and water to a boil. Stir occasionally and cook on medium heat 14-18 minutes until water is absorbed.
In a medium mixing bowl, add about half of the McCormick spices and seasonings to the black beans. Mix.
Chop zucchini, yellow squash, jalapeno, and tomatoes. Heat in microwave for 2 minutes or less, depending on the strength of your microwave.
Remove quinoa from heat and pour into seasoned black beans. Add the rest of the McCormick spices and seasonings and stir until combined. Fold in microwave-steamed vegetables.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Chop tops off red peppers and discard seeds and ribs. You can save the tops for cute presentation, or just save them for snacking.
Prop up peppers in a small oven safe dish. I used a mini dutch oven style pan. An 8×8 cake pan or loaf pan might work, too.
Put a light layer of crushed chips in the bottom of each pepper. Top with a little bit of shredded cheese.
Pack a few generous spoonfuls of bean-quinoa-veggie mix into each pepper. I say pack because you have to literally ‘stuff’ them or your guests (or you) won’t get much to eat. Alternate layers of bean-quinoa-veggie-mix with shredded cheese until the peppers are full.
Top with cheese and salsa, to taste.
Bake, uncovered, in oven at 350 for 1 hour.
When baking time is up, remove from oven, top with remaining crushed tortilla chips….and enjoy!