I wonder if more people cook at home these days. With a plethora of cooking blogs, books, and TV channel and programs that we have, do you think they attract more people to cooking? Convert cooking non-believers into aficionados? Raise an interest in trying different recipes, maybe?
I won’t lie, cooking takes a lot of time and energy. We all know that it starts WAY before the actual cooking itself, right? Planning a meal, coming up with an idea for a menu, (in my case, it just means asking myself, “What should I cook tonight?”) is the hard part for me. Once I figure it out though, things just seem to happen— almost like moving on an automated-pilot mode. So in my situation, inspiration matters. Hence the collection of cook books, the email subscription to cooking blogs, the food talks with friends and family, and the occasional tune in to cooking programs on TV. I am thankful for the existence of this recipe universe that I have.
Speaking of recipe idea, I came across a good one the other day: Stuffed Bell Pepper by Giada De Laurentiis. In this recipe, she stuffed the peppers with eggplants, olives, capers, and tofu. Tofu! Ha! An idea appeared. I happened to have made stir-fry tofu with broccoli and green peas the previous day. Got some baked chicken cutlets too. (At this point, the tofu and vegetables have absorbed all of the flavors: garlic, soy sauce, fish sauce, and sesame oil). So I decided to combine the two leftovers, pulse slightly in a food processor, add a little bit of a good salsa sauce, stuff it into roasted bell peppers, and add some breadcrumbs on top. Yum! Such a nice way to use up all of my leftovers.
Here’s how I did my Chicken, Tofu, and Vegetables Stuffed Bell Pepper:
For the Stir-Fry Tofu and Vegetables:
- 1 extra firm tofu (pressed to drain and then cut into squares with ½ inch thickness). I found out later that the tofu bound the stuffing together nicely. It’s pretty great!
- 2 cups of broccoli (cut into bite size)
- 1 cup of green peas
- 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
- ¼ cup of soy sauce
- ½ cup of water
- 1 tablespoon of fish sauce (optional)
- 1 tablespoon of sweet soy sauce (optional)
- 4 garlic (chopped)
- 4 Thai peppers (chopped)
I cooked the garlic and peppers in sesame oil for two minutes. Then I added soy sauce, fish sauce, peas, broccoli, water, salt, and pepper. Covered the pan with a lid for three to five minutes. Once the sauce started to simmer, I arranged my tofu slices in the pan to make sure that they could absorb the sauce on the bottom of the pan. Covered the pan again and let it cook for another five minutes.
For the chicken cutlet: see Mark Bittman’s recipe here. (I used chicken breast, olive oil, a little bit of dijon mustard, breadcrumbs, and baked for 15 minutes.)
Stuffing the Bell Peppers:
- 3 red bell peppers (halved and cored)
- Drizzled with olive oil
- Roasted for 30 minutes in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit
- Combined chicken cutlets and tofu with vegetables, pulsed very slightly in a food processor, added a good salsa sauce (optional, I wanted to add a little bit of spicy tomato and pepper taste in the stuffing), scooped into the bell peppers, sprinkled breadcrumbs, and broil for 2 minutes. (Might want to move the oven rack down, further from the broiler before starting. My topping was a bit burnt there, oops…Still very good though!).
Hope you like it and thanks for stopping by!