We're all pressed for time now that school has started, right? What's better than a quick, simple and money-saving dinner recipe? Nothing. Except one that's also incredibly healthy and tasty.
I've got you covered, friends.
Here's the breakdown:
Some NUTRITION FACTS:
Peppers: Ever hear of carotenoids? They're basically a mixture of alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene and other plant pigments that are thought to provide health benefits in decreasing the risk of cancer and certain eye diseases.
Barley: Revered as one of the world's healthiest foods, this cereal grain is an excellent source of dietary fiber.
COST: Less than $15 bucks to feed 4-6 if you can believe it. The trick is to use pantry ingredients, like barley, vegetable and/or chicken stock, beans and other herbs/seasonings. If you're not in the habit of stocking up on these things, think about getting started. Once you get a good base of items, it will cut your prep and shopping time almost in half.
Okay, I know some of you are thinking veggies always have the potential to run you more money, but keep in mind, there are several community farms right here in Kingston that offer fresh, chemical-free produce at affordable prices. If you don't already belong to a CSA or have a reliable produce supplier, check them out. Their prices are very fair and the produce is beautiful.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 onion chopped
- 1 carrot chopped
- 1 cup cooked red kidney beans
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro -- to garnish
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded
- 1 cup bread crumbs -- optional
- 2 cups of vegetable stock
- homemade tomato puree*
- We're primarily dairy-free over here but if you'd like to add cheese, a Feta, Goat or other full-fat clean cheese is recommended as a garnish. I'm well aware that sometimes the only way to a child's stomach is by garnishing a dish with cheese, so I feel your pain, believe me.
* Tomato puree can be made by boiling tomatoes, removing skin, sautéing with two cloves of garlic and basil and then blending to desired consistency. Variations of this can include tomato paste and stock. For this recipe a thicker/chunkier consistency is desirable.
Heat olive oil on medium heat and then add onion. Cook until slightly brown and fragrant.
Add garlic, carrot oregano and thyme for another minute until incorporated then add barley, beans and tomato puree.
Add vegetable stock.
Simmer all ingredients until barley is fully cooked. This may take about 20 minutes.
In the meantime, preheat oven to 375°F.
Cut off tops of peppers and remove seeds.
Scoop filling into peppers and place in the center of the oven.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until the peppers are to your liking. Everyone's taste varies here; I tend to undercook them just a bit. I like them firm and full of nutrients.
Optional: Sprinkle the peppers with the bread crumbs and bake for 5 to 10 minutes more, or until the bread crumbs are golden brown.
Take out and sprinkle cheese according to preferences.