Friday, August 7, 2009

Slow Cooker Success

I recently checked out a book called Quick-fix Vegetarian from the library and decided to make one of its slow cooker (crockpot) recipes for dinner tonight. The slow cooker is one of my kitchen fav's., especially during busy times. It's great for throwing together a meal that's ready for you at the end of the day (and usually greets you at the door with pleasing aromas) and often times you can make enough to keep for the rest of the week (especially with stews, chilies, etc.). Tonight's meal was sweet and sour stuffed bell peppers, which was a crowd pleaser among my family. I was on the fence, myself. Sometimes I find I can't really taste my own food - does that happen to other people or is it just me?

The prep. work was surprisingly fast and easy. First cook a cup of couscous (I used whole wheat) in broth or water with one 15oz can of garbonzo beans and 3 chopped scallions. Then in a medium bowl, mix a 24oz can of chopped tomatoes with 2T brown sugar (the recipe called for 3), 1T apple cider vinegar (recipe called for 2), 1/4tsp cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper to taste. I also added chopped fresh mushrooms because we have some that need to be used. Then take 5 bell peppers (the recipe was for 4 but we had a potential guest and there was plenty of the couscous mix left over), cut off the tops, hollow the membranes and seeds, stuff with the cous cous, replace the tops, and place upright in the cooker. Then just drizzle the tomato mixture over and around the peppers and leave on low for 4-5 hours.

Total calories per pepper (with tomato-mushroom sauce) around 300calories. Not bad at all (and quite filling)!