Those Other Stuffed Peppers


So, tonight for dinner I made a new (to me) one.  The wife has made it several times and it’s always a hit with the kids.  I think her original recipe was entitled Santa Fe Stuffed Peppers.  This takes out a bit of the spice and she’s not a huge fan of black beans (which I would have included).  Everything here came from Aldi, except the slices of white American cheese.  We just had that on hand, and no shredded cheese.  It worked well.

Our 3 year old daughter wolfed down about a pepper and a half worth of filling, skipping the outer pepper for some reason.  (She would possibly eat it all, or just the reverse tomorrow.)  She said that we should have it every night for dinner.  I noted that she really likes these, and her mom’s homemade Manwich-like sloppy joes, and that we should start a food truck that specializes in ground meat and call it “Ground Around Town.”  She said we have to paint it pink.  I asked if she wanted to cook or wash dishes.  She chose cooking.

Out of all the stuff you think kids might be picky about, they gobble this up.  (3 yo & 18mo).  I like these better than the more traditional meatball w/ rice stuffed in a green pepper & covered in spaghetti sauce or tomato soup.  For some reason, I can dig the rice & ground meat mixed… but I do not like rice in meatballs.  The red, yellow, & orange peppers are very sweet too.  I like them more than the green ones.  Also, if you mention that you like your peppers stuffed with sausage, you can just close this tab and move on.

These were really easy to make…

All I did was…

Cook the rice & set it aside.  I used the liquid from the can of tomatoes & a beef bullion cube in the water.

Cut the tops off of the peppers, pull out seeds & weird white stuff off of the inside.  (Bethany parboils them first, I didn’t.  I liked them a bit crunchier.)

Brown the ground beef, season to taste.  I added onion powder, garlic powder, & seasoned-salt.  (We have also used ground turkey for this.  It’s delicious.)

Mix the fire-roasted diced tomatoes into the ground meat after draining the fat off.

Mix the rice & beef/tomatoes together.

Put the peppers in a glass baking dish.  Pack the peppers with the tasty rice & beef goodness.  Two didn’t stand up well on their own, so I made little foil stands.

I cooked them in a preheated oven at 375° for 20 minutes, then added the slices of cheese for 5 minutes.

Like I said, Bethany parboils the peppers so they’re a bit softer, so she cooks it at 325° for 20-25 minutes.

Next time, if I make this, I may cook the rice in tomato paste or other tomato flavoring, and add the black beans.  Not sure what the kids would think.  Maybe a little bit of heat would be nice too?  This reminds me of Spanish rice in a pepper.

 

 

Do you make anything similar?  Do you do stuffed peppers a different way?  Do you stuff acorn squash like this?  Do you do different seasonings?  Make ’em meatless?  (Toasted garbanzo beans & black beans might be really good in this!)  Let me know in the comments!

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OCCUPY ARBY’S


Comparing my minor inconveniences to a “massive” political movement?  Yes.  I just did that.  I generally make light of many things.  You’re about to read one of those things.

Arby's :: Jalapeno Bites® with Bronco Berry Sauce®

"*Limited availability at participating locations" roughly translates to "NONE FOR YOU!"

Arby’s has stopped serving Jalapeño Bites (& more importantly the Bronco Berry Sauce) in some areas.  I became informed of this travesty via Twitter

https://twitter.com/#!/AiXeLsyD13/status/178608117976801281

These tweeters’ tweets are locked, so I can’t do a fancy repost, but…

@BlondeYinzer
@AiXeLsyD13 @arbys ring away those b*stards took jalapeño poppers off the menu #thehorror

@BlondeYinzer
@AiXeLsyD13 @arbys I don’t know if it’s a local pgh thing but the one by my house said last week they are gone!!! :o( I’m traumatized!!!

@AllergyBird
@AiXeLsyD13 you write the best letters… @BlondeYinzer @arbys

https://twitter.com/#!/Arbys/status/178613977838923776

https://twitter.com/#!/Arbys/status/178614177575862272

https://twitter.com/#!/AiXeLsyD13/status/179585155038588928

https://twitter.com/#!/Arbys/status/179594492217790466

https://twitter.com/#!/Arbys/status/179594585595580416

https://twitter.com/#!/AiXeLsyD13/status/179617235881558016

No reply to that last one, of course.

There’s even a Facebook page dedicated to the plight: Facebook | Bring Back Arby’s Jalapeno Bites

There’s a slightly less eloquent Facebook page that also might be upset: Facebook | Bronco Berry Sauce

This is ridiculous.  I can be more ridiculous.  So, I decided to submit an email via Arby’s webform:

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

No more Jalapeño Poppers & (perhaps more importantly) BRONCO BERRY SAUCE®?

Please tell me that this is temporary insanity & that they will be back soon.  Please?

I understand that the stores were given a choice between carrying some loaded potato bite shenanigans and the Jalapeño poppers, and local stores in my area (Pittsburgh, PA) opted for the not-so-awesome menu selection.

I understand that we (the consumers) are directed to voice our opinions to the local Arby’s locations.

My questions to you are as follows…

☘ WHY?  Why did they have to choose?  Why not carry both?

☘ WHY (again)?  Why would one choose some potato things over the awesomeness that is BRONCO BERRY SAUCE® (& Jalapeño Poppers)?

☘ HOW?  How do I contact the local Arby’s via email?  Do they each have email addresses?  Is there a regional manager?

☘ WELL?  If I can’t get the BRONCO BERRY SAUCE® locally, can I order some online?  Will you start bottling & selling it in grocery stores now that it’s no longer readily available to the masses?

It most certainly does not put me in a good mood to not have my BRONCO BERRY SAUCE®.  I’m pretty sure I could straight-up just drink the stuff were it a little thinner.  Rude Mood Food is more like it now, my friends.

I may have to organize an OCCUPY ARBY’S at a nearby location.  It may get crazy.  There may be news cameras.  It will be a peaceful protest, so please don’t pepper spray any of us.  You may, however, shower us with packets of BRONCO BERRY SAUCE® and hot fresh Jalapeño Poppers.  We’ll have to chant things like “Don’t be a dingleberry, bring back the Bronco Berry!”, “No Jalapeños dude, that’s Rude Mood Food!”, or “Potato Bites, really bite!” (Well, that one may need work.)

Please, talk some sense into the Arby’s locations in the Pittsburgh area before it comes down to this insanity.

Bronco Berry Backer,
-Eric

This is all I have received so far:

From: “customerservice@arbys.com” <customerservice@arbys.com>
To: me@my.email.address
Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Subject: Arby’s Feedback #473197

Dear Arby’s Guest,

We have received your Guest Feedback message and are directing it to the appropriate department. For follow-up purposes, your feedback tracking number is 473197.

Your feedback helps us improve the overall guest experience at our restaurants. Thank you for taking the time to contact us.

Sincerely,
Arby’s Guest Feedback Team

Ridiculous. It’s still not the most ridiculous thing that’s happened in an Arby’s parking lot around here.  I mean, remember this dude?

Arby's Sign

If they have to tell you that it's delicious, maybe it's not really delicious.

Not that I’m the biggest Arby’s fan in the first place.  I’m more of a fan of actual Roast Beef, not this lunch-meat stuff like Arby’s or the all-gone-except-the-ones-on-the-Turnpike Roy Rogers has.  (Remember Rax?  They had that too.)  Ever been to Lion’s Choice?  I believe they’re centered around St. Louis.  That, my friends, is how roast beef is done.

You might say “just get your jalapeño bites (or poppers) somewhere else, you weirdo”.  To that, I say…

Are we clear?

Are you also angry about this?  Voice your opinions below… perhaps we can get Arby’s to look here & reconsider this grievous error.  If not, maybe we’ll to the Occupy Arby’s thing.  I bet we could get on the news.

Beyond that, the next step may be petitioning McDonald’s, Wendy’s, & Chick-fil-A to carry them…

Do you have any suggestions for protest slogans?  Would you join an Occupy Arby’s movement?  What should be our next course of action?

Dormont Dogs Does Delicious Decidedly Deftly


Dormont Dogs on UrbanspoonI recently realized that I haven’t blogged yet about one of my favorite local places to eat, so I will now.  I have a few reviews & photos on their Urban Spoon page.  I really don’t have enough good things to say about the place.  Reading my old review, it looks like I went there for the first time in 2008.

They’re tucked away on Glenmore Ave., right off of Potomac, with plenty of parking (for Dormont) in a nearby public metered lot & some metered parking on the nearby streets.  It’s a tiny yet incredibly inviting shop.  Everyone who has ever waited on us has smiled & said hello, has been polite, welcoming, and a great host or hostess.  The place is small, but it’s cozy.  Last time we were there, there was three two-person tables inside, and in the warmer months they have two picnic tables outside.

Hot Dog w/ Baked Beans, Cheese, Ketchup, & Mustard.

Hot Dog w/ Baked Beans, Cheese, Ketchup, & Mustard. • I get this one even though it's not on the menu. They'll make anything for you!

Dormont Dogs offers hot dogs served up gourmet style on delicious fresh bakery made buns.  They’re mostly all named after the neighborhood streets, and they’re all unusual yet delicious combinations.  My favorite menu dogs are probably the Reuben Dog (self-explanatory if you’re a Reuben fan) and the Wisconsin Ave. (Swiss, Pepper Jack, Cheddar, & Provolone Cheeses!).  A lot of times I order the one above… starting with a “Plane Jane” (a regular dog) & I ask them to add baked beans, cheese, ketchup, & brown mustard.  Maybe they should name it after my street?  Ha ha.  I generally have a side of nachos and cheese.  I’ve seen signs for Sloppy Joes, and have seen a delicious-looking taco salad served up, but I’ve never gone in & gotten anything other than a hot dog.  I need to just go more often, I guess.  I generally wash it all down with some of their excellent sweet tea.

My wife is a fan of the Texas Ave. (Chili sauce, cheddar cheese, sour cream, Fritos), Mississippi Ave. (Chili, Mustard, Coleslaw) minus the mustard, and Bruschetta (tomatoes marinated in olive oil and basil and creamy pesto Parmesan) dogs.  I need to muscle up the courage to make my way through the rest of the menu.  If you eat ’em all, you get your photo on the wall!

They’re not foot-longs, there’s no natural casings, there not sausages… they’re just hot dogs, done really well.  They’re prepared with tasty ingredients, and they always look like little works of art in a basket.  You can even get a vegetarian dog if you’d like, in any style on the menu.  If you’re near Dormont, and a hot dog fan, you need to check this place out.

Dormont Dogs on UrbanSpoon | Dormont Dogs on Facebook

-•-

Eric’s Decadent Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes


This past Christmas when we had the family over for a holiday dinner, I decided to try & make some scalloped potatoes.  I found a ton of recopies online, and took what I liked from some & what I liked from others and put them all together… leaving out the stuff I didn’t like.  They turned out really well, to the compliments of everyone.  The only problem is that I didn’t write down what I did… so I had no idea when I went to make them again for an Easter  dinner yesterday.  Last time, like everyone in the kitchen, I kept adding stuff until the sauce looked & tasted just right.

Friday night, I pulled out the same printed recipes from last time…. made sure we had most of the stuff here & popped what I needed on to the grocery list.  This time I wrote down what went into it, but I may have the portions off… Where I have “cup” or “Tablespoon”, I may have just dumped some stuff in by eye.

People have asked how I made them, so I’ll try writing it out coherently here.  I’ll add that  my wife, Bethany, washed & cut the potatoes while I made the sauce… which was invaluable… because the sauce needed to be watched, and cut potatoes that sit for any period of time get all brown.  I guess I could have cut them & put them in some cold water to halt the browning if I absolutely had to… but we get along well in the kitchen, and it’s nice to cook together sometimes.  (I offered for her to do the sauce & to put me on potato duty, but she declined in case the cause didn’t turn out well, the blame could go solely on me.)

Eric’s Decadent Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes:

Ingredients:

  • 5 lb. bag of russet potatoes
  • 2 cups shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese (I buy the stuff in bags, this is 1 small bag.)
  • 2 cups shredded Colby & Monterey Jack Cheese (The store brand was 2 bags for $5 I think.)
  • 1 pint (2 cups / 16 fl. oz.) heavy cream
  • 1½ cups buttermilk
  • 1 stick (8 Tbsp.) butter
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 4 Tbsp. flour
  • 4 Tbsp. corn starch
  • Salt/Pepper/Season All to taste
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (I used the stuff minced & put in olive oil, in little jars)
  • 2 Tbsp. sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp. Miracle Whip or mayonnaise… (or 1 Tbsp. Each!)
  • 1 sm. bag bacon bits
  • bread crumbs (or crackers)

Stuff:

  • potato scrubber
  • cutting board
  • knife
  • 9″ x 13″ glass baking dish
  • sauce pan
  • spoon and/or wisk
  • large bowl (if you’re gonna soak the potatoes)
  • measuring cup & spoons
  • aluminum foil
  • hot pads
  • oven
  • stove top

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. Wash & slice the potatoes, store in cold water if you have to so they don’t brown… or have someone do that while you…
  3. Grease a 9 x 13 glass baking dish with the stick of butter.  Melt the rest of the butter on medium heat in a saucepan.
  4. Add the flour & corn starch to the butter to make a roux.
  5. Turn it down to low heat, & slowly stir in the cream, buttermilk, sour cream,  & mayo/Miracle Whip.  Stir like a madman.
  6. Add the bacon bits, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and salt/pepper/spices to taste.  Don’t forget to stir.
  7. Add about half of each kind of shredded cheese to the mix, keep stirring like a madman.
  8. Pull the sauce from the heat, keep stirring… add a little to the bottom of the baking dish.
  9. Later potatoes, sauce, & remaining shredded cheese… saving a nice amount of shredded cheese for the top.
  10. Cover with foil, bake at 350° for an hour.
  11. Pull it out, uncover, top with bread crumbs or crumbled up crackers, add some additional seasoning if so inclined, and pop it back in for another 15 minutes.

Well, there you have it.  Pretty simple, and nothing makes me happier than cheese & potatoes.  I noticed a lot of scalloped potato recipes don’t have cheese, but really… where’s the fun in that?  Some also used a cream of chicken or cream of potato soup… makes it too much like White Trash ‘Taters for me.  You may want to skip the breading, use chips or those crispy canned fried onions.  Everyone has their own thing that they dig.  Yukon Gold potatoes would make this really nice, probably wouldn’t need to cook as long…red potatoes might make it bitey…  A mix may be nice.  As far as the spices, I used coarse ground black pepper, I think some dry mustard, paprika, and some McKormick Season All.