Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Healthy Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

A long time ago, back in Atlanta, I made a boy I liked Stuffed Peppers. I had no idea when he and I started dating that I'd end up falling for him completely, and that in a few short months we would be living together. I had absolutely no clue that three years later, we would be deeply into the best relationship of my life. 

Please excuse the sappy. I'll stop now. 

Back when I was vegetarian, stuffed peppers was a huge go to for me. I used to stuff them with mushroom risotto. For the last six months, I've been watching what I eat and following a rigorous exercise plan. I'm not going to lie, it's been really really frickin hard. Writing a food blog and loving food as much as I do has made the whole thing so much more challenging. 

Last fall, I could barely run a quarter of a mile. I wouldn't be able to put a treadmill over 5.5mph. Going up a flight of stairs made my heart pound. 

Since then, I've cut my portion sizes, eaten healthier, and I exercise in some form or fashion several times a week. It started with walking to the grocery store that was half a mile away, then the one that was 1.3 miles, then the one that was 1.8, then the pet store that was 2.3. Soon I was running instead of walking. 

I've lost 20lb. I can now run comfortably at a 7.2, and I can run a 5k without stopping. I'm fitting into clothes I haven't worn since college, and I think there might be a few abs under my shirt. I'm happier and I have so much more energy than I used to. 

All this is huge for me. I just wanted to share. Oh, and instead of stuffing my peppers with mushroom risotto, I put Quinoa in them now. You should try that too. It's yummy.

Healthy Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

1/2 Cup Uncooked Quinoa
1 Cup Vegetable Stock
1/2 Cup Carrots
1/2 Cup Peas
2 Tablespoons Marsala Wine
2 Green Bell Peppers

In a small saucepan, cook the quinoa in the vegetable stock for 15-20 minutes until it is just cooked. Peel and dice the carrots and cut the tops off the bell peppers, slicing about half an inch down so the top comes off cleanly. Pull out all the seeds. 

Preheat the oven to 375F. In a bowl, mix together the quinoa, carrots, peas (it's fine if they are still frozen) and two tablespoons of marsala wine if you have it. You can also use a standard red, or omit it entirely, but it's best with the marsala. Stuff the green peppers with the filling, replace the top of the pepper, and wrap the whole thing in aluminium foil. 

Yes, I spelled that with the extra I. I'm English and proud.

Set the peppers on a baking pan and bake in the oven for about 35 minutes. The peppers will have cooked and all the flavors will have muddled together in a delightful manner. 

If you want to make this a touch less healthy, top it with creamy mushroom gravy (click here for the recipe).

Makes two servings.

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