Tag Archives: vegetarian

Spinach Almond Stuffed Mushrooms

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After work yesterday I had a fun trip to town to do some shopping at the Salvage Store. This is a great place that sells dented, overstock and almost expired products. I know some people have issues with shopping for food at these kind of stores, but I have no hangups at all. It is a great place for food shopping for cheap! All you have to do is take the time to look at the dates on packages. Being that I spend extra time looking at sodium content anyways, I don’t find it cumbersome at all to check dates if it means I get good deals.

One of the things I love about our local Salvage store is that they have a produce section. Every Wednesday they get in various vegetables, bags of salad, fruit, and yogurts. It is always different items, so it is hit and miss as to if they will have things I want or need.  This week was a great week! They had tons of packages of spinach for 99 cents each, 3lb bags of apples 2 for $3, and 5 lb boxes of mushrooms for $3! I also scored crumpets that I like to toast for breakfast, that have only 90 calories and 100mg sodium. Great alternative to english muffins. The freezer section was also a wealth of Steamables, microwave veggies and rices., I am fully stocked with white rice, peas, corn, and brussel sprouts that will be easy to toss in the microwave at work or on the inevitable nights i work late.

Since I now had 5lbs of mushrooms to contend with, it quickly became a day of cooking mushroom dishes! I did a wonderful pot of mushroom vegetable soup. I used low sodium vegetable stock, all spice and coconut milk to make a great broth with a lovely asian flavor, added snap peas, baby carrots, and large chunks of mushrooms. Simmered for 2 hours and added a whole bag of kelp noodles. This whole pot of soup only used about one pound of the mushrooms, so I moved on to a fun new stuffed mushroom!

Spinach, Bell Pepper, Almond Stuffed Mushroom.

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I started with 1 tbsp unsalted butter, 1 cup chopped vidalia onion, 3 tbsp chopped garlic. Saute the onions and garlic in a skillet until nicely browned.

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Remove tops and seeds from approx 10 mini sweet bell peppers and chop or put in a food chopper to get a fine chop texture.Add to the skillet of garlic and onion and continue to saute. While this is cooking wash and remove the stems of mushrooms. My mushrooms are father large so I used 24 of them. If you have smaller button mushrooms you can prep as many as you want to and adjust the mixture accordingly.

I placed the mushroom stems and 1 1/2 cups of raw unsalted almond slivers in the food processor and make a fine ground. Place in a bowl and put to the side.

Add 3 cups fresh spinach in the skillet with the onion and pepper mix and cover to let the spinach heat and begin to wilt. You can also stir it all together to speed the wilting process. When the first 3 cups have wilted and there is room in the skillet add another 3 cups of spinach and repeat the wilting process.

While the spinach is cooking, mix 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1/8 cup salt free herb seasoning mix, 1 1/5 cups matzo crumbs (i use matzo farfel because it is sodium free, you can use bread crumbs or panko if you like). Grind in the food processor to a fine crumb mixture and put in the bowl with the ground mushroom and almonds.

Add the hot spinach and pepper mix to the bowl and mix all the ingredients together to make a nice stuffing texture..

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Use a spoon ans generously stuff your clean mushroom caps and place in a casserole dish, I made a large batch so I filled 2 lasagna trays. Sprinkle the tops of the mushrooms with Parmesan cheese.

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Cover the dish with foil and place in a 300 degree oven. If cooking large mushrooms like mine, they will take about 1 1/2 hours. If you stuffed smaller mushrooms they will only take about 45 minutes. Just keep and eye on them and cook until the caps are cooked all the way through. When they are almost finished cooking, remove the foil and let brown in the oven for the last 15 minutes.

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I was very happy with the outcome of this dish. The large mushrooms I did consist of about 75 calories each and only 45mg of sodium! You can eat a whole plate full and feel no guilt!

I paired 3 of them with freshly roasted brussel sprouts and broccoli for dinner!

Hope you enjoy this mushroom as much as I do! I love a good stuffed mushroom. I have so many variations on stuffed mushrooms, I could do a cookbook just on mushroom stuffing!

Enjoy all the flavor, with none of the salt! Your taste buds and heart will thank you!!

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Saturday Afternoon Veggie Roast

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Saturday Afternoon Veggie Roast

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On a lovely Saturday afternoon, with the breeze blowing through the open windows and the sound of cows in the back ground, it is a great time to toss and roast a variety of fresh veggies to snack on!

I have found this to be the easiest salt free healthy snack to give me the sensory crunch that is can snack on all day without guilt. I do a whole tray full and then put in a Tupperware container and just leave on the counter to snack on all day as I do stuff around the house.

What can be easier than this:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Cut fresh veggies to medium chunks. You can use anything you like. Today I did baby carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts!

Toss the veggies in 1tbsp of oil, I prefer coconut oil but you can use any oil you like! I have used peanut oil also for a fun taste.

Once the veggies are coated lightly in oil, I like to sprinkle with salt free seasoning. Today I used Mrs. Dash Caribbean blend. There are so many good salt free blends that it is almost limitless possibilities of flavor.

Spread the coated seasoned veggies on a cookie sheet in a single layer.

Place in oven and roast until desired doneness. I like a little crisp on mine, so I leave them in for about 30-40 min, until the smaller pieces start to blacken on the edges.

Take them out and let cool until you can eat them. I like them just by themselves, but you can use any dip also if you like! Walden farms make a couple good calorie free, carb free, gluten free dips, but they do contain sodium so best to use just a little bit of them if your diet is very sodium restrictive like mine.

HAPPY SATURDAY AND ENJOY!!

One of my favorite snacks

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How to Cook and Eat an Artichoke

Posted by Elise on Apr 16, 2007

How to Cook and Eat an Artichoke

I can imagine, that if you didn’t grow up eating artichokes and if you were encountering them for the first time, they might seem a little intimidating. How one cooks and eats an artichoke is not obvious from its appearance. If you’ve always wondered how to cook and eat the darn things, here are the steps:

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How to Cook and Eat an Artichoke

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 35 minutes

METHOD

How to Cook an Artichoke

1. If the artichokes have little thorns on the end of the leaves, take a kitchen scissors and cut of the thorned tips of all of the leaves. This step is mostly for aesthetics as the thorns soften with cooking and pose no threat to the person eating the artichoke.

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2. Slice about 3/4 inch to an inch off the tip of the artichoke.

3. Pull off any smaller leaves towards the base and on the stem.

4. Cut excess stem, leaving up to an inch on the artichoke. The stems tend to be more bitter than the rest of the artichoke, but some people like to eat them. Alternatively you can cut off the stems and peel the outside layers which is more fibrous and bitter and cook the stems along with the artichokes.

5. Rinse the artichokes in running cold water.

artichoke-3.jpg6. In a large pot, put a couple inches of water, a clove of garlic, a slice of lemon, and a bay leaf (this adds wonderful flavor to the artichokes). Insert a steaming basket. Add the artichokes. Cover. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 25 to 45 minutes or until the outer leaves can easily be pulled off. Note: artichokes can also be cooked in a pressure cooker (about 15-20 minutes cooking time). Cooking time depends on how large the artichoke is, the larger, the longer it takes to cook.

How to Eat an Artichoke

Artichokes may be eaten cold or hot, but I think they are much better hot. They are served with a dip, either melted butter or mayonaise. My favorite dip is mayo with a little bit of balsamic vinegar mixed in.

1. Pull off outer petals, one at a time.

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2. Dip white fleshy end in melted butter or sauce. Tightly grip the other end of the petal. Place in mouth, dip side down, and pull through teeth to remove soft, pulpy, delicious portion of the petal. Discard remaining petal.

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Continue until all of the petals are removed.

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3. With a knife or spoon, scrape out and discard the inedible fuzzy part (called the “choke”) covering the artichoke heart. The remaining bottom of the artichoke is the heart. Cut into pieces and dip into sauce to eat.

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Fruit Lables

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Talking Fruit

How to de-code the information on those little stickers
By Marion Owen, Fearless Weeder for PlanTea, Inc. and
Co-author of Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul

While unpacking groceries, you pull out the bag of apples and decide to eat one then and there. You take it over to the sink, wash it off and — with some effort — peel off the little sticker. Pausing to look more closely at the sticker you wonder, “What do those numbers mean?”

As much as we may dislike them, the stickers or labels attached to fruit do more than speed up the scanning process at the checkout stand. The PLU code, or price lookup number printed on the sticker, tells you how the fruit was grown.

As reported by Maria Gallagher, in the June 26, 2002 issue of the Philadelphia Inquirer, by reading the PLU code, you can tell if the fruit was genetically modified, organically grown or produced withchemical fertilizers, fungicides, or herbicides.

Here’s how it works:

For conventionally grown fruit, (grown with chemicals inputs), the PLU code on the sticker consists of four numbers. Organically grown fruit has a five-numeral PLU prefaced by the number 9. Genetically engineered (GM) fruit has a five-numeral PLU prefaced by the number 8. For example,

A conventionally grown banana would be:
4011

An organic banana would be:
94011

A genetically engineered (GE or GMO) banana would be:
84011

The numeric system was developed by the Produce Electronic Identification Board, an affiliate of the Produce Marketing Association, a Newark, Delaware-based trade group for the produce industry. As of October 2001, the board had assigned more than 1,200 PLUs for individual produce items.

Incidentally, the adhesive used to attach the stickers is considered food-grade, but the stickers themselves aren’t edible.

Do you REALLY know what’s in your dinner?

Today, 7 out of every 10 items on grocery stores shelves contain ingredients that have been genetically modified. In other words, scientists are using new technology to transfer the genes of one species to another, and these altered foods are in the market stream. And yet many scientists have concerns about the safety — to people, wildlife and the environment — of this process. That’s why consumers in Asia and Europe are demanding that their food be free of genetically modified ingredients.

To learn more about food safety, GM (genetically modified) foods and what’s wrong with them, and what you can do bring about changes:

Vegetarian Mushroom Burger

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I had fun today, got experimental and made burger patties out of mushrooms. I read somewhere that you can use mushrooms in place of ground beef, so i decided to have a go at burgers! They came out delicious, I may prefer them to the ground beef burgers. Next we will have to try them on the barbecue grill and see how they hold up.

I was only cooking for myself tonight, so this is just the ingredients for one burger. Increase according to the servings desired.

Ingredients:

1 cup Mushroom

1/4 cup Panko

1 tsp horseradish mustard

1 tbsp onion flakes

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp Fortner’s #75 blend

1 egg white

 

Use a knife and hand chop or use a food processor to finely chop the mushroom. In a bowl add panko, seasonings, mustard and egg white and mix thoroughly until fully combined. Form into a patty.

Heat a skillet on medium heat and spray with butter cooking spray.  Cook patty until browned and crispy one each side.

At this point you might want to melt cheese on the patty or grill onions to top the burger. You can also eat the burger patty with lettuce or cabbage wrap instead of a bun.

BBQ Vegetable Chicken Kebabs

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We had a few days of humid and rainy weather so the BBQ has been out of commission most the week. However who can pass up a good Chicken Kebab?

It is such a simple meal to put together. As I have stated on many occasion I love the natural flavors of vegetables. This certainly hasn’t always been the case, but it is amazing how the pallet can change. Once a junk food, fast food and greasy food addict, I now find myself fully satisfied by natural healthy food. I love the absence of the groggy feeling that always came from the overindulgence of high fat processed items. I have grown to love the lack of hangovers and withdrawals from my life.

This morning I woke up and got homework completed, cooked breakfast, and did some research regarding the Jehovah Witness view of creation and the age of the earth. My husband and I had a conversation about this topic yesterday, and I needed to go searching for the proper information to help sway his opinion. It seems that he was under the misinformation that Jehovah Witnesses do not believe in the scientific evidence that the earth dates back as much as 4 billion years. So I had to find out for my self, and to my joy, in the publication Was Life Created it is stated that geologists have shown that the earth is 4 billion years old and astronomers have formulated that the universe may be as much as 15 billion years old and that this does not contradict Genesis because it is an indeterminate amount of time that the creative days took. Fundamentalist Christians believe that the creation days were literal 24 hour days, however there is no foundation for this. Moses referred to all 6 creative days as one day, and even when Jehovah called the time of light day and the time of dark night, this indicates that the term day is relative to different periods of lengths of time.

It seems that I have managed to poke a small hole in my husbands theory that he already knows all the answers that they are going to give him, and that they don’t agree with his view.  I must have been visibly overjoyed and full of energy because my husband asked if I had gotten into his coffee and was high on caffeine. This was not the case, I was just full of joy and a spiritual contentment. I hope that over time I can begin to inch through some of the things he is so convinced that he has to fight against. At least this is one we can mark off the list.

However back to my Kebabs, I used a combination of mushroom, onion, sweet mini bell peppers, and boneless skinless chicken tender pieces. The chicken tenders were marinated in greek yogurt, garlic powder and dill. Cut all the veggies and chicken into about 1 inch cubes and skewer alternating items leaving space for even cooking.

 

 

Grill the skewers on a hot BBQ until the vegetables have a lovely char and the chicken tender cubes are cooked all the way through.

 

 

 

NO Salt Pickle…highs and lows

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Thanks to my lovely subscriber Basil Rene for reminding me that I haven’t reviewed the No Salt Pickle from Healthy Heart Market

As I previously posted, I found a No Sodium Dill Pickle available to order online. As I am an avid Pickle eater and have missed my pickles, almost more than anything else on this journey, I of course jumped all over this and ordered a jar. I was conservative and only ordered one jar, since they were $7.00 per jar, just to try them first.

I ordered a whole bunch of stuff, sauces, salad dressing, spice blends, and the pickles…..the shipping was reasonable and the order came in just a few days. Very speedy service! 

 

But we are here to talk about the pickles!!

THE HIGHS

I really love these pickles, they are crisp, and fresh with a great taste of dill and garlic and spices. If you are expecting a “classic” dill pickle taste, Don’t! They have a little sweetness, but not much when they hit your tongue. This is due to the sugar brine. Then this is followed with a little spicy kick that wakes up you tastes buds with a welcoming “hello”!

I have used these diced in a pasta salad, and sliced on sandwiches and just plain as a snack! They have filled the pickle void in my life! I thought I was doomed to a pickle-less existence. 

THE LOWS

I loved the single jar of pickles so much, that I went to order a couple more so I had backup jars. When I got to the website, I was crushed to find that they are now noted as “discontinued. no longer available”. In my dismay, I sent an e-mail to see if, by some great chance, they had any in stock still. I have not received an answer yet. So in all my joy for finding a lovely dill pickle for my lifestyle, I now am again left with a void. Needless to say the last 4 pickles in this one lonely jar will be used sparingly!! 

Today I did receive the newsletter from Healthy Heart Market  and they now have a new no salt added Bread and Butter Pickle slices. This is no dill pickle, but I am not totally against the bread and butter style, so I think they will have to be given a fair try. 

I have not yet found another alternative to the sadly discontinued No Salt Dill Pickle, but believe me I am looking high and low. If there is somewhere to get some, or a reasonable way to produce them at home, I will find it and definitely let you all know!

Adventure Trying to Eat Out

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Had a busy day, out and about yesterday. Got lots of laundry done, Mrs. Geneva showed me where the Habitat for Humanity thrift store was, as well as the library. While we were in Covington we stopped at Piccadilly for lunch. The thought was that since this was a place that had a cafeteria style, you pick and choose the pieces of the meal you want, it should good choices of food for me to eat there.  Think again. Upon arriving the food smelled great, and the variety was wonderful. I went straight to the vegetable section to see what they had to offer, a lovely colorful array for choices, red potatoes, broccoli, corn, carrots, Lima beans, green beans.

I immediately notices that all the vegetable choices were all rather juicy looking pans. Now of course this could be from sauces, or just water and natural condensation from a steaming process, so I had to ask how they were prepared. Turns out most of the vegetables were cooked in a bacon base, and the others were cooked in a butter base. None of them were just steamed without any sauces or butters. So I explained to the woman that I am on a very low salt diet and need just plain vegetables with out any seasoning or sauces. She proceeded to shake her head and just plainly say “Well you best just go down to the salad then”. No offer to see if they could possibly steam me some thing, not a shred of interest in accommodating my needs, just a direction away from her section. 

So I proceeded down to the salads at the end. Now mind you, this is not a salad bar, this is a bin of lettuce and a bin of tomato and they put up a line of  little side dish bowls with a touch of lettuce 2 slices of tomato and then sprinkle with shredded cheese and bacon bits. Well again I can not just grab and go with cheese and bacon. So I ask this lady if it would be ok to get a little plate with 2 servings of just the lettuce and tomato, no cheese or bacon. She was nice and did this for me without hassle. I also noticed some little fresh fruit bowls, made sure they weren’t canned fruit in a syrup, and added them to my tray. They had no low sodium options for dressing, and you would have thought I was speaking Japanese when I asked if they just had plain vinegar, so i grabbed a couple lemon wedges from by the tea and called it a meal.  I grabbed a root beer at the end of the line, since it was the only non-caffeinated choice other than water. This little lunch cost me $7.50.

Lucky for me, I had a container Planters Nut-rition mixed nuts and some Trader Joe’s Plantain Chips in the car. So I topped my lettuce with a handful of those and my squeezed lemon and it made a tasty salad in the end. 

Now I don’t want this to discourage anyone into thinking that you can’t eat out and enjoy a meal with friends. You can! I had food that was needed to fuel my body for the rest of the afternoon, we had great conversation, we even ran into another member of our kingdom hall and had a nice talk with him as well. All in all it was a nice lunch. 

The lesson in all of this experience is the importance of asking questions, and not being afraid to find out how things are prepared.  I like to think of it in the same way as someone who has allergies, you would not take a chance that something was prepared with an ingredient that could send you into an allergic shock would you? In addition, just as someone with allergies would carry an Epipen, or a diabetic may have to take their Insulin with them when they go out, I like to make sure I have no salt snacks in my purse or car. This way I am never stuck without options of things to eat. To me it is no different, this is a part of my medical process, my food is a key ingredient in my recovery and is as valuable as any of my prescriptions. 

 

 

Not Your Average Pickle?

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The one thing I have missed the most…PICKLES! My favorite snack is the crunch of a dill pickle. I would eat them by themselves, on a burger, wrapped in a slice of cheese, even drink the brine out of the jar! No wonder I have a heart problem, I was pickling myself .

Many times a week I would make a sandwich that just consisted of mayo, sharp cheddar cheese and dill pickle on white bread. When it comes to pickles I would attack them like a toddler left alone with Halloween candy.

Well in a few days the void may be over! I have found a source of NO SALT PICKLES!! It is $7.00 for a 32oz jar, so i ordered one jar to see how they are. Believe me if they are good I will be ordering a lot more 🙂 Rather than the normal 300-400mg sodium per oz, these have 0mg sodium and only 12 calories per oz!

Stay tuned for the verdict on the flavor and pickle craving satisfaction…the waiting for delivery is the hardest part!

Next in Pickles >>
Price: $7.00
Item Number: 55309
Sodium per Serving: 0mg
Quantity:
It’s What You’ve Been Waiting For! 
    
A Sodium Free Gourmet Dill Pickle!
  
Buy it exclusively here at Healthy Heart Market!
 
It Is A Delicious Crunchy No Salt Dill Pickle With A Touch Of Garlic and Red Pepper.
  • It Is Salt Free!
  • Zero Sodium Per Serving! Compare this to an average of 250-300 mg sodium for a single serving salted pickle!
  • No salt substitutes or potassium derivatives have been used in making our pickle.
  • It is Fresh & Hand Packed in California.
  • All Natural flavors have been used, with a unique special blend of spices to compensate for not using salt.
  • No Artificial Flavors or Colors have been used!  And No artificial preservatives.
  • Two year shelf life when unopened and stored under a cool and dry environment.
  • Sold in a large 32 ounce glass jar.
  • Our special No Salt Dill Pickle recipe was developed by Delicious Concepts.  Email questions/comments to: flayvrs1@aol.com

A Special Note from Healthy Heart Market regarding our unique No Salt Pickles: “Our No Salt Dill Pickles are a new taste experience and should not be compared to a salt brined pickle. They are pleasingly different. So, prepare yourself for a great new taste. Be health conscious and enjoy them!”

Nutritional Facts:
Serving size: 1 ounce (about 1/2 pickle)
Servings per container: about 20
Calories: 12
Total Fat: 0g
Sodium: 0mg
Total Carbohydrate: 2g
     Dietary Fiber: 0g
Sugars: 1g
Protein: 0g
Ingredients:  Fresh cucumbers, water, distilled vinegar, sugar, natural calcium chloride (maintains crunchiness), garlic, spices, chili peppers, mustard seeds, natural flavors, polysorbate 80, extractives of turmeric (natural color).
Imported Herbs & Spices. No artificial flavors or colors. No benzoates, sorbates, potassium chloride or artificial preservatives.

Sweet Potato Stuffed Bell Peppers

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Since I didn’t have to continue to worry about my cardioversion, and I didn’t have to fast, I decided to cook instead. In the past I found my self dealing with adversity or disappointment with unhealthy comfort food and a lot of whiskey. This time I took the conscious effort  to keep on my life path and avoid all the harmful crutches.

I have learned well from past experiences, that in my life there is never just one drink to relax, or just one comfort treat. It may be one this time but then the door is open and the next time it is 2. Or the next time it is easier to talk myself into “needing” a drink to relax. The next time the bothersome event is a little less important. Next thing you know “the dog is barking too much and annoying me, I need a drink” or I have been good all week a drive-thru burger won’t kill me turns into “Friday is treat day”, then becomes “weekends don’t count” . 

This is not a diet, this is not a punishment, this is a LIFE. On any given day I enjoy the food I eat, I do not go hungry, I do not deal with hangovers. This is not something I need a break from, or a treat for dealing with it. This time this is a mindset and a lifestyle. The demons that would like to sway my actions to the negative can fight with me all they want, this is one battle I am happy to fight and even happier to win.

Yesterdays little battle was won, and the prize….this supper yummy stuffed dinner….

INGREDIENTS

3 Bell Peppers

1 Carrot

1 Stalk of Celery

½ White Onion

6 Cloves of Garlic

1 Med Sweet Potato

1 Med Summer Squash

1 Tbsp Cumin

1 Tbsp Paprika

1 Tbsp Onion Powder

1 Tbsp Raspberry Red Wine Vinegar

1 Tsp Creamy Horseradish

1 Tsp Ground Red Pepper

1 Tsp Worcestershire Sauce (low sodium)

2 Slices Aged Swiss Cheese

Pre-heat oven to 375ºF

Wash and trim all vegetables thoroughly, peel the sweet potato and carrot. Cut the tops off the Bell pepper and clean and wash out all the seeds and veins. Save tops of peppers to use in baking. Put Peppers aside for later.

Bell peppers waiting to be stuffed

Finely chop the onion ans saute it in a skillet on med heat until translucent and slightly caramelized. While the onion is cooking, either by hand or in a food processor, chop all vegetables (excluding Bell peppers) to a very fine chop. Add prepared vegetables to the skillet with the onions. Add dry seasonings and the red wine vinegar, horseradish, and Worcestershire sauce and saute on medium until carrot and sweet potato start to get tender, stir frequently so not to burn the bottom of the skillet.

Spoon vegetable mixture into the cleaned bell peppers and place the tops on them to create a lid steaming effect for filling. Place on baking sheet and bake in oven for about 1 hour. Remove from oven and remove tops and place ¾ slice of Swiss cheese on the top of stuffed pepper. Place back in oven for about 20 min, until cheese is bubbly and browning. Remove from oven and let cool for 3-5 min and serve.

Fresh out of the oven

Inside the peppers

With just the use of herbs and spices and letting the natural flavor of the vegetables come through, you get a great amount of flavor and very little calories or sodium.

As in recipe on stuffed pepper is Approx: 136 Cal / 4g Fat / 120mg Sodium/ 22 Carbs/ 6 Fiber/ 13 Sugar / 6 Prot

This dish can be switched up with a variety of fillings, such as rice, ground beef, beans, or even added cheeses or cream cheese to give it a creamy texture. One variation I also enjoy is to use portabello mushroom chopped and sauteed. It adds a great mushroom flavor and the texture resembles ground beef. When making changes to the filling just be aware for the added calories, fat and sodium.

Happy High Flavor Healthy Heart Eating