I saw an episode of "Everyday Italian" (on the Food Network) yesterday which featured an artichoke recipe. It looked quite yummy and since I've never cooked artichokes, I decided I'd try doing so today.
I used a recipe I found on the Food Network's Web site (very rich, featuring Gorgonzola cheese) ... and let me tell you, the artichokes turned out fabulous. I wish I would have experimented with artichokes a long time ago.
Also on the menu for dinner were some stuffed bell peppers, an American classic if I do say so myself. I've actually never made them, but Mike used to have them a lot growing up. We invited Mike's mom (Reba) over for dinner since Big Mike is out of town and thought she'd enjoy the stuffed bell peppers.
We used a recipe I found that I found on a food blog, Simply Recipes. The bell peppers were so tasty. And we had enough leftover filling that we made a meatloaf (that will be our Sunday dinner). We also thawed out way too much ground beef, so we also made Mike's famous spaghetti sauce, which we'll use later in the week for a pasta dinner. Talk about some serious cooking, we did a ton. And it was quite a fun, bonding experience. I'd like to do it more often!
Here's the recipe for the bell peppers:
Dad's Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipe
A classic American dish that one can't easily find in restaurants (unless it is a cafeteria) is stuffed bell peppers. It's essentially meatloaf stuffed into red or green bell peppers and baked in the oven. My mom and dad have their own different versions, both delicious. Here is my dad's:
4 green or red bell peppers
5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 lb of lean ground beef
1 1/2 cup of cooked rice or 3/4 cup of raw instant rice
1 cup chopped tomatoes, fresh or canned
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp of dried oregano
Fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 tsp of Worcestershire Sauce
Dash of Tabasco sauce
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, cut top off peppers 1 inch from the stem end, and remove seeds. Add several generous pinches of salt to boiling water, then add peppers and boil, using a spoon to keep peppers completely submerged, until brilliant green (or red if red peppers) and their flesh slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Drain, set aside to cool.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat 4 tbsp of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, and cook, stirring often, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat, add meat, rice, tomatoes, and oregano, and season generously with salt and pepper. Mix well.
3 Drizzle remaining 1 tbsp. Oil inside peppers, arrange cut side up in a baking dish, then stuff peppers with filling. Combine ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, and 1/4 cup of water in a small bowl, then spoon over filling. Add 1/4 cup of water to the baking dish. Place in oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, until the internal temperature of the stuffed pepper is 150-160°F.