You did it. You survived another week. The weekend is so close you can almost smell it and it smells of stuffed peppers. The aroma of simmering meat, tomatoes, onion, garlic and basil wafting from your kitchen and filling your house…
I know you are wondering what to make for dinner because it is the question we all wonder. I remember as a child not understanding what the big deal about making dinner was and why mom hated trying to figure out what we were going to eat that night. Being the main food preparer in my house I suddenly understand how she felt. My mom and I have always been close, we have never really been the type to fight. However, it is amazing how many times in the past year or so I have come to understand her better. There were many things that I just didn’t get as a kid and teenager. Why did it matter if I left my backpack, purse, jacket and shoes all over the floor or stairs everyday? And were dishes in the sink really so bad? I have lost count of how many times I have thought to myself, “Okay Mom, I get it now.” So Mom, I am sorry for all those moments when I didn’t understand you… and for what I did to make me not understand you. I am beginning to see things through your eyes and I am sure when I have kids my depth of understanding will grow exponentially:-)
I digress… something I am good at. We were discussing the difficulty of deciding what to make for dinner. Well now you have one of your dinners this weekend planned — Diane Sanfillipo’s amazing paleo stuffed peppers. Happy day! Most stuffed peppers are filled with rice and very carb loaded. Carbohydrates aren’t bad; in fact in the right proportions and quality they are essential to our diet. They are our main fuel suppliers, providing needed energy and nutrients, but I have found that I don’t get full off of carbs very easily and end up eating more than I should. I get full much faster when I am eating protein-based meals. A paleo stuffed pepper naturally doesn’t use rice or any grain and the ground meat is the most predominant ingredient. These peppers pack quite a bit of protein. They are simple, but filling and satisfying.
For vegetarians and vegans I can’t think of an appropriate paleo alternative. You could substitute the meat for beans, but then it will no longer be a paleo recipe:-( It would actually be quite difficult to have a paleo and vegetarian/vegan lifestyle. Because all carbs except fruits and vegetables have been removed from the diet, there is a high priority placed on protein. I read that half of paleo meals should be protein. This could get a little monotonous when your only protein is nuts or seeds (and eggs for vegetarians). Recipes like the broccoli cauliflower chowder yesterday are a great vegetarian/vegan friendly paleo meal:-) Though… I actually just had a great idea for a vegetarian stuffed pepper. I will have to try it out sometime and see if it is any good. If it is I promise you will hear about it:-)
Stuffed Bell Peppers (Paleo)
2 bell peppers
½ onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ C diced tomatoes
1 lb ground meat
6-10 basil leaves, chopped
- Set the oven to 375 F. Half the bell peppers and clean out the insides, place them face down in a pan and bake for 10-15 minutes.
- Sauté onion in a little bit of water or broth until the onions become soft. Season with salt and pepper. Add garlic and tomatoes and simmer for a few minutes. Add the ground meat, I prefer lean turkey, but you may use whatever meat you would like.
- Continue cooking on medium heat for several minutes or until meat is thoroughly cooked. Add the chopped basil and season with salt, pepper and onion salt to taste.
- Fill the peppers with the meat and the tomato mixture. You can eat them as they are or you may bake them in the oven for a few more minutes to allow the flavors to soak into the peppers.
We have reached the end of our paleo week. What did you think? I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have and that it has expanded your spectrum of recipes. While the rest of September is not strictly dedicated to paleo recipes, as this week has been, I will try to sprinkle some in throughout the rest of the month:-) Have a fabulous weekend and I will see you on Monday!