My local grocery store is only quarter mile down the road. I like to shop the clearance racks before planning my meals for the day or the week depending on what I find. I last blogged about the Vegetable Stew, Stuffed Mushrooms and Chili. Yesterday I found Sweet Green and Red Peppers for .99 cents. I purchased two packages providing me with four peppers. I sliced one package of the sweet peppers yesterday for dipping into my Tahini. I still have some slices left for the week.
Todays purchased included a whole chicken for $ 2.50, two pounds of Riblets for $2.00 (both in the freezer for another day,) two bags of Goose Valley Rice and Bean Fusion for 1.00 each and two pound “Fresh” Strawberries $1.99/package. My total purchase for these items was $7.49; include the sweet peppers from yesterday a grand total of $9.49.
Now the major decision; what will I make with these items. I washed and slice the strawberries in half. Packaged them into one cup serving containers for my husband lunches. I looked into the refrigerator to see what I had for leftovers. I found, one cooked chicken sausage, one third cup chopped onions and a half loaf of stale bread.
My first thought was stuffed peppers using the two remaining peppers, one package of the rice and bean fusion and the leftover onions for my half. I added the chopped chicken sausage to the other half.
Add three cups of water the rice and bean mixture, three ginger Chai tea bags and a dash of ginger honey vinegar (or spices to taste) to a saucepot, bring to boil. Remove tea bags. Cover and turn heat down to simmer for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the tops off the peppers, set aside, remove pulp, and discard. Cut large peppers in half place each half in a ramekin. Cut the good part of the pepper from the tops and dice.
Add the diced sweet peppers and diced onions to 1 teaspoon of butter and one swirl around the fry pan with olive oil.
Sauté until al dente. Remove from heat. Dice cooked chicken sausage set aside.
Drain rice and bean mixture; let set for 5 minute. Fluff mixture.
Add vegetables to rice and bean mixture. Fill two halves of the peppers with mixture.
Add chopped chicken sausage to the other half of the rice and beans. Fill the remaining two peppers. Set any leftovers aside, for now.
Place the pepper filled ramekins into the pan you used to sauté the vegetables. I added a half cup of frozen squash I had on hand to roast with the stuffed peppers. Cover. Place in the preheated oven for 25 – 30 minutes. If serving immediately cook until fork tender. If going to be re-heated cook until the fork meets resistance. This will prevent over cooked stuffed peppers. Squash should be fork tender, as well.
Now to use the stale bread and remaining rice and bean mixture.
I had six slices of stale bread; two of which were the end pieces. Remove crust of four slices of bread, as shown in photograph. Set crust aside. Flatten each slice of bread. Place once teaspoonful of rice mixture in center of bread. Fold bread in half. Place them in the non-stick portion controlled brownie pan. If you don’t have a portioned control brownie pan use a cookie sheet.
Take the two end pieces and reserved crust; cube them into quarter to half inches pieces depending on what type of container you are cooking them in.
In a separate mixing bowl combine two cups milk, (I use almond milk,) and four slightly beaten eggs. Add one teaspoon vanilla, fourth cup good old grade a maple syrup, and pumpkin pie spice (your spice of choice here). I like the pumpkin pie spice because it has mace, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in the mix. Mix the ingredients until well blended. Set aside.
Add the cubed pieces of bread to the portioned control brownie pan. It can over fill a bit because with the milk mixture is added the bread absorbs it and shrinks down. Carefully pour the milk mixture into each section, until the bread stops absorbing it. I sprinkle Craisins on top (you can use raisins.) If you have leftover milk mixture pour it into vegetable sprayed ramekins. Sprinkle a little pumpkin pie spice on the top pf the bread pudding and custard mixture. Place the brownie pan and ramekins onto a cookie sheet that has a little water covering the bottom.
Today’s meals for $1.99, leftovers and pantry staples provides four servings of stuffed peppers; four servings stuffed sandwiches, eight servings bread puddings and three serving of custards. Squash for another meal or as side dish with Stuffed peppers.
Rice and bean stuffed sandwiches with Tahini and sliced Sweet Green Peppers
Bread pudding with Craisins yogurt purée and sliced strawberries.
Stuffed Sweet pepper with side of roasted squash.
The original recipes were my mother’s Shirley Beatrice Stearns, tweaked by me, June Stearns Butka. My tweaks are in parenthesis. I also use the portioned controlled pan for cooking. I reduce the time by about ten minutes and add more cooking time if needed.
I hope a future descendant or two of mine find these recipes. Make them and adjust them to their taste with my best wishes and love.
Butka, June Lee Stearns, Reeds Ferry Historic District, Merrimack, New Hampshire. 11 Mar 2014