Stuffed Peppers

16 May

I have to admit I am really liking this whole paleo lifestyle change, most of all I am liking how I am feeling on it, day 8 and still feeling good! The one thing I did notice is that to be successful on this paleo plan while balancing a busy lifestyle requires one to always plan ahead!
Unfortunately for us paleos we can not simply waltz home from a busy day and simply declare we are going to make a quick pasta dish or heat up some oatmeal for dinner, and we certainly can’t pull out our cell phone on the way home to order take out, no, we must cook a balanced and healthy paleo meal.
But honestly who has time to cook every night, I know I definitely don’t, in fact three days a week I am in class during the normal dinner hours and I certainly don’t plan on walking in the door at 9:00 p.m. after enduring 5 hours of school  to cook dinner! So whats one to do?
Plan a head..duh! I usually cook several portions of things on the weekend during my free time and simply freeze meals, so that I can easily defrost a meal and take it with me to school for lunch and dinner.
I decided to get early up this bright and warm Saturday morning to get a head start, I headed down to Haymarket, pretty much a veggie and fruit lovers paradise! Not only does Haymarket offer a selection of fresh produce but it’s dirt cheap too, and who doesn’t love a good deal? I walked through the crowded tents filled with bargain shoppers, as I held my cash ready in my hand and my reusable bag open…clearly I meant business !
I bought 10 peaches for $2.00, 2 cucumbers for $1.00 1 bag of carrots for $1.00, 2 lbs of grapes for $1.50, 8 banana for $1.50 2 1/2lbs of  plum tomatoes for $2.00. …Yeah talk about a good deal!
I was on my way out feeling accomplished and in a slight amount of pain as I carried my semi heavy produce in the bags which were now rubbing into my shoulders, suddenly I saw beautiful and big yellow peppers, 5 for $2.00, not sure what I would do with alll these pepper I decided to buy them anyways, that’s the thing about Haymarket you become so overwhelmed with all the delicious looking produce and all the cheap prices and suddenly you end up with filled with items you otherwise wouldn’t buy!
So after returning home and unpacking all my produce I suddenly thought up the idea to make stuffed peppers, paleo style, although I didn’t have ground beef on hand ( the traditional ingredients used) I did have ground turkey!
This came out great and the best part is I now have 5 days worth of meals..I would definitely say today was pretty successful!
5 large stuffed peppers

Ingredient for stuffed peppers

 2 Tbsp of Olive oil

1 package of ground turkey

1/2 cup of onions

2 cloves of garlic

1/2 cup of chopped carrots

8 oz of fresh spinach

1/2 tsp of oregano

1/2 tsp of parsley

1/2 tsp of dried basil

a pinch of red pepper flakes

4 cups of tomato sauce (see below for homemade tomato sauce recipe)

5 peppers (any color will do, I used sweet yellow peppers) with their tops, seeds and membranes removed
Ingredients for Homemade Tomato Sauce

6 plum tomatoes

3 cups of boiling water

3 cup of ice cold water

1 tbsp of olive oil
1/2 cup of finely chopped vidilia onion

3 cloves of minced garlic

1/2 tsp of dried basil

1/2 tsp of dried oregano

1/2 tsp of dried parsley

1 bay leaf

Method

1) Begin by placing tomatoes in a pot filled with hot boiling water, let sit for approximately 1- 1 1/2 minutes, then immediately drain and submerge tomatoes into a bowl filled with ice cold water, this will help you to easily remove the skin of the tomatoes
2) Peel and dice tomatoes and set aside (note this can be a bit messy so keep paper towel near by), in a saute pan heat oven olive oil and add garlic and onions over medium heat, add in seasonings and saute until mixture is potent, then add in diced tomatoes
3) Using a fork squeeze down tomatoes every few minutes, let simmer for approximately 20 minutes, if you prefer a smoother texture feel free to puree mixture in a food processor, once done set aside tomato sauce and discard the bay leaf.
Method for Stuffed Peppers

1) Begin by preheating oven to 350, using a large saute pan heat olive oil over medium heat, add in garlic, onions, and seasonings and saute until mixture becomes potent

2) Next add in carrots and saute until the carrots become slightly softened, next add in ground turkey, make sure turkey browns and continue to the mixture until you are sure turkey is thoroughly cooked

3) Next add in spinach and let wilt over the heat, add in 3 cups of tomato sauce and mix into the turkey mixture
4) Using a spoon tightly pack each pepper with the turkey filling to the top, next spoon over 2 tbsp of tomato sauce over stuffed pepper, place pepper in a pie dish filled about 1/4 of the way with water, continue to do this for all your peppers, place in the oven and let bake for 45 – 60 minutes or until pepper become softened and the top mixture is slightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving!

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