Double duty: Recipes to please meat-eaters and vegetarians, alike
I love to be inspired by ingredients I have in my pantry. I look for recipes that can easily be adapted to what I have on hand. Each of this week’s recipes fit that bill. Both the stuffed poblano peppers and the breakfast casserole can be made for meat-eaters or vegetarians with simple substitutions, without losing any of their essence or satisfaction.
Likewise, these oatmeal cookies earn their “Kitchen Sink” name by allowing you to use whatever you have on hand or are in the mood for. Recently I used the same recipe to make oatmeal raisin cookies for Mom.
Because all three recipes can be made ahead of time, and popped into the oven right before the meal, they are just right for weeknights, perfect for pot luck dinners to feed a crowd, or when a casserole is needed for a homebound friend.
Kitchen Sink Oatmeal Cookies (Dark Chocolate, Cranberry, and Coconut)
These are your basic oatmeal cookies kicked up a notch. I added dark chocolate, dried cranberries and unsweetened coconut shreds because that’s what I had in the pantry. But feel free to add your favorite combination of dried fruits, nuts and chocolate in all its glorious forms.
1 cup canola oil
½ cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups old-fashioned oats
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups dark chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
Mix together the oil and sugars until thoroughly blended, even fluffy. Stir in the flour, oats, baking soda and salt, until thoroughly mixed together.
Gently fold in the chocolate chips, dried cranberries and coconut.
Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes to one hour. Form into balls of your desired size (I’ve made them as small as store-bought cookies and as large as my palm, gently flattened on the baking sheet). Bake at 350 degrees for eight to 10 minutes. Don’t overbake or the cookies will be dry and crumbly.
Cheesy Beef (or Bean) Stuffed Poblano Peppers
4 large poblano peppers
1 pound ground beef (or two 14-ounce cans black beans)
1 ½ cups cooked rice
1 teaspoon each: chili powder, coriander, oregano
1 28-count can whole tomatoes
1 onion, rough dice
1 garlic clove
1 pound shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oven to 420 degrees. Roast the poblano peppers for 15 minutes, remove from the oven and place in a covered bowl to cool. When they have cooled, you can peel any blistered skin from the peppers. Roasting the peppers softens and sweetens them. Make a long cut along one side of each pepper, carefully scraping out the seeds from the inside.
While the peppers are roasting, in a large frying pan fry the ground beef until cooked through. Stir in the spices and cooked rice. Take off the heat and allow to cool. Once cooled, stir in half of the shredded cheese. Carefully stuff each pepper with the beef and rice mixture.
In a food processor, briskly process the tomatoes in their juices, the onion and garlic until almost smooth. Pour into the bottom of a 13×9-inch baking dish. Carefully place each stuffed pepper on the sauce and add a spoonful of the tomato sauce to the top of each pepper.
Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes until heated through. Remove the foil, add the remaining cheese to the top of each pepper and return to oven until melted.
Sausage, Greens and Cheddar Breakfast Casserole
2 cups half-and-half
16 ounces day-old (or oven dried) croissants or bread torn into bite-size pieces
1 16-ounce package baby greens (I used a kale/spinach combo)
1 16-ounce package breakfast sausage (or additional sautéed vegetables such as mushrooms, zucchini or broccoli)
8 ounces sharp cheddar or Gruyere cheese
Salt and pepper
If the croissants or bread are fresh, place in a 200-degree oven for 10-15 minutes until dried but not crumbly. Remove from the oven and tear the bread into bite-size pieces, tossing into the bottom of a lightly buttered/greased 13×9-inch baking dish.
Cook the breakfast sausage in a large frying pan.
When cooked through, add the greens, cover and allow the greens to steam until wilted.
Carefully spoon the sausage/greens mixture over the torn bread in the baking dish.
In a bowl, mix together the eggs, half-and-half and seasonings. Pour over the bread, sausage and greens mixture. Refrigerate for at least three hours or overnight to allow the egg mixture to be absorbed into the bread.
When ready, bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes until cooked through.
Suzanne Anderson writes a weekly food column for the Summit Daily New and lives in Breckenridge.
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