Sunday Night Dinner: Red Peppers

It’s a freezing, rainy Monday morning and as I’m writing this, I’m sitting at home eating a warm homemade bagel with cream cheese and jam.  Perfect start to the week 🙂

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After 2 and a half weeks city-hopping in the US, I’m finally back in France and settling back in in Nice.  I traveled 13,042 miles (roughly) and satisfied my cravings for sushi, Indian food, bagels, Starbucks coffee, Chipotle, sticky buns, French fries, pancakes, Krispy Kremes, and (really good) grilled cheese.  So what better way to get settled in here than to make another Sunday Night Dinner? 🙂

Truth be told, I wasn’t exactly prepared to be making SND this week, but I had a red pepper from the market in my fridge and all the necessary ingredients for stuffed pepper (which I’ve been wanting to try with red instead of green peppers anyways).

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Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 30 min

(Note: I only made 1 large pepper, but the following recipe is for 4 peppers)

Ingredients:
4 peppers (any color—I really liked the red variety in this one)
½ lb sausage
1 large onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 zucchini (mushrooms would also be good), cubed
2 cups cooked rice
1 cup tomato sauce
½ cup shredded cheese (I used Emmental, but parmesan or mozzarella would be really good too)

Instructions:

1. Wash the peppers, slice the tops off, and remove the seeds.

2. Brown the sausage in a skillet. Break up the bits of sausage as best as possible with a spatula, so you have small pieces.

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3. Remove the sausage from the skillet (I also removed most of the grease/oil).  Add the garlic, onions, and zucchini to the skillet and sauté for 3-4 minutes.

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4. Add the sausage and cooked rice and sauté for a few more minutes.

5. Add half of the tomato sauce and half of the cheese.

6. Spoon the sausage and rice mixture into the peppers, filling them completely.

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7. Place the peppers in a lightly greased baking dish.  Spoon the remaining tomato sauce over the peppers and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

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8. Bake in a 425F (220C) oven for 30-40 minutes.


I think this is my favorite stuffed pepper recipe.  Besides being simple and quick, I like the spice of the sausage and the rice to break up the filling a little bit.  Plus, the red pepper was perfect!  I served it with a salad and a glass of wine 🙂

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French word of the day:
glisser (glee-SAY)- to slip
J’ai glissé sur la glace et me suis fait mal.
I slipped on the ice and hurt myself.

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Sunday Night Dinner: Ratatouille

I can’t believe I’ve never made ratatouille before, especially after living with so many vegetarians last year (and this recipe is vegan)!  It’s seriously SO easy and SO delicious.  All you do is chop up a bunch of vegetables, throw them in a pot, and let them do their thing while you blog/do laundry/knit/Facebook.  Also, it’s the perfect meal for this time of year—a nice hot bowl of ratatouille, a crusty baguette, a warm blanket, and a book.  Sounds perfect 🙂

There’s also something comforting about this meal for me, which is weird because I’ve never had ratatouille before.  I have to say though that recently I’ve started to feel things kind of “click” here. Maybe I’ve just been in a good mood lately, but I’m finally feeling like I’m starting to establish myself the teensiest bit in Nice (but I don’t want to jinx it!).  I can get around without using a map, I’ve got friends to go out with, and I’m starting to think about the things I want to do when my parents come in December and Emily comes in March.  And the feeling all started this week with ratatouille, so I can tell this is going to become a comfort meal for me.

There’s not one “secret” ingredient this week, since I got all my vegetables at the market!

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Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
1 small eggplant
2 zucchinis
2 tomatoes
1 large green bell pepper
2-3 tsp herbes de provence (OR 2-3 tsp Italian seasoning OR 1 tsp dried basil + 1/2 tsp dried oregano + 1/2 tsp dried thyme + 1/2 tsp dried rosemary)
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:
1. Quarter and thinly slice the onion; mince the garlic; cube the eggplant and zucchini– try to make the sizes of the cubes as uniform as possible; remove the seeds from the tomatoes and roughly chop; roughly chop the bell pepper.

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2. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot or Dutch oven.

3. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft, about 6-7 minutes.
4. Add the eggplant and stir to coat with olive oil.
5. Add the zucchini and peppers, stir.

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6. Cover and cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep vegetables from sticking.

7. Add the tomatoes, herbs, salt, and pepper.

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8. Cover and cook over low heat for about 20 minutes.  The eggplant should be tender but not too soft.
9. Serve hot.

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This recipe made 2 servings (but I went back for seconds both times!)  Also, make sure you have a nice crusty baguette for afterwards to soak up all the juices.  Bon Appetit!

French word of the day:
comprimé (KO-pree-may)- pill, tablet
Il prend un comprimé contre le mal de tête.
He takes a pill for his headache.