Southwest Stuffed Peppers

This past weekend Jesse and I took another trip to Hong Kong. We had a lot of fun, but it wasn’t all play time – we went to Hong Kong so that Jesse could officially get his Z Visa, basically a resident visa! It’s weird when things feel like they are such a long time coming, then once they happen it feels like it was all so fast! Who would have thought we would be living in China? Crazy.

We had these Stuffed Peppers early last week before our trip, and I was hoping to get this post up while we were in Hong Kong, but I completely forgot to take my lap top with me! Better late than never, though, because we really loved this dinner. Stuffed Peppers are bright, colorful, filling, and delicious.


Southwest Turkey Meatballs

I can remember a point in my life when I would say, “Corn is not an ingredient!” It was actually a subject I felt pretty passionate about. To me corn was a side dish that went along with mashed potatoes, not a part of soup or salsa. What in the world was I thinking? I can’t tell you why I thought that or what changed, what I do know is that now I love it! Especially when paired black beans and cilantro. Yum!

That combination of corn, black beans, and cilantro was one of the reasons I loved this meal so much. But really, it’s one of those meals that is an all around winner. It’s healthy, it’s filling, it’s quick, and it’s easy. I knew the moment I saw the post on Rachel’s blog (Good Thymes and Good Food, fun blog name, huh?!) it would be a hit in my house and it was.

Southwest Turkey Meatballs

1 cup corn (frozen or fresh cut off the cob)
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained & rinsed well
1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut into halves or quarters
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
juice & zest of 1 lime
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/4 lbs ground turkey
1 large egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup panko crumbs
1/2 tsp onion powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil
½ c. chicken broth

In a medium bowl, combine the corn, beans, tomatoes, garlic, lime (juice and zest), cumin, and cilantro. Lightly season with salt and pepper, set aside.

In another bowl, using clean hands, combine the ingredients for the meatballs (turkey, egg, panko, onion powder, salt and pepper). Shape into 16 meatballs, about the size of a golf ball.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook until they are evenly browned on all sides, about 5 minutes with frequent turning. It’s OK if the meatballs aren’t fully cooked through, they will continue to cook, you’re mostly looking for browning.

Add the chicken broth to the pan and bring to a simmer, scraping up any brown bits. Add the tomato mixture and continue to cook for 5 minutes, or until heated through and meatballs are fully cooked.

Serve over rice (brown rice keeps it healthy!) with extra cilantro and cheese for garnish.

Adapted from Good Thymes and Good Food, originally from Clean Eating Magazine

Southwest Marinade

Would you consider San Diego to be Southwest? We are just about as far south and west as you can get. I actually think I must have been destined to live here because I have always been drawn to “southwestern” things, especially food. If I’m at a cook out and there is a choice between a regular pasta salad and a southwestern one, you can pretty much guarantee that I’ll go with the latter. So when my aunt sent me an email with a recipe titled Southwest Marinated Pork Tenderloin I immediately knew that I would be making it, soon.

I’m ashamed to say that I don’t always use a grocery list when I do my shopping. Even when I do meal plans I mostly shop from memory. Not surprisingly I almost always make at least one extra trip to the store during the week to pick up an ingredient that I forgot to buy. It’s something I’m trying to work on. This time, I carefully wrote out my list and even checked the weekly ads for sales. And you know what, I still forgot something! I some how forgot the main ingredient, the pork tenderloin. Not wanting to give up on making this I decided to use chicken since I always have that. It turned out great!

I still plan to make this marinade with pork, but the chicken was not at all disappointing. I served the sliced grilled chicken over cheesy grits and the combination was near perfect. The chicken had a little heat and a nice smoky flavor that was complimented by the creamy cheesy grits. I can’t wait to make this again!

Southwest Marinade
(Adapted from an email sent by my Aunt Ari, unsure of the original source)

1 1/2 pounds chicken breast or pork tenderloin
1/2 can (3.5 oz) chipotles in adobo sauce
2 cloves garlic
1/3 Cup orange juice
1/4 Cup Extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/3 cup chicken broth

In a measuring cup or small bowl, measure out the orange juice and olive oil then stir in the salt and pepper and set aside. In the bowl of a food processor, puree together the chipotles and 2 cloves of garlic for 15 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary. With the food processor running, gently stream in the juice/oil mixture.

Place the chicken (or pork) in a *shallow dish and pour the marinade over top. Cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours. Flipping the chicken over occasionally to evenly coat both sides. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes prior to grilling.

Grill directly over **medium heat for 4-5 minutes per side (6-7 for pork) or until the juices run clear. If using pork, the inside will still be slightly pink. Remove from grill, cover with foil and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

While the meat is resting pour the remaining marinade and chicken broth into a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a rolling boil for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer until reduced by half. Spoon the sauce over the sliced meat and serve.

*You can also use a gallon ziploc bag
**Unfortunately we do not have a real grill right now, so I used my cast iron grill pan. I set the burner to medium-high heat and I used a large lid (from one of my pots) to set over the chicken to help cook it evenly and a little faster.

Southwest BBQ Chicken Pizza….

** This post was imported as a part of my top 30 from my old blog – What’s Cooking in the Orange Kitchen**

A few weeks ago I decided to challenge myself to two things: 1. To make pizza on the grill and 2. To try and clone my favorite from Dewey’s Pizza (this might be an Ohio thing, anyone know of any in another state?). Well this pizza knocked both things out of the park. I have made this twice now and I actually have decided that I prefer this pizza to the restaurant version because the crust is crispier and I can make it more cheesy. I am pretty proud of myself for coming up with this one, it really is awesome and you should probably make it ASAP!

Grilling the pizza was surprisingly much easier than I had anticipated. I had visions of a perfectly good crust falling through the rack or it going up in flames. Thankfully, it did neither of this things. The most difficult part was flipping the pizza and the first time that was a little rough. This time I used 2 spatulas and let it cook a tiny bit longer on the one side so it would be more sturdy. I also put the dough right on the grill for the first side and then on an airbake pizza pan for the second side. That worked out great because I didn’t have to worry about moving the pizza from the grill to the house. Most recipes for grilled pizza call for smaller pizzas (like personal size pizzas) but I wanted a full size so that’s what I did and it worked out fine. But you could definitely make two personal size pizzas from this recipe and grill it that way.

Southwest BBQ Chicken Pizza
Sunny Side Up Original

1 ball of pizza dough (Today I used this recipe)
1 chicken breast, sliced
3/4 cup black bean and corn salsa (recipe below)
1/4 cup roasted red peppers, cut into chunks (I only put the peppers on my half of the pizza if you want to put them on the whole thing then use a 1/2 cup)
1/2-1 cup BBQ sauce
2 cups cheddar cheese
1 tbsp garlic butter (melted butter and minced garlic)

Preheat the grill making sure that it is really hot before putting the dough on it. While the grill is preheating roll the ball of dough into a 12 inch circle and place on an airbake pizza pan. (Take all of the ingredients outside with you because you assemble the pizza right there at the grill.) Grill one side of the dough for 3-5 minutes, watch your heat and adjust for any flare ups. Carefully flip the dough over (and back onto the airbake pan if you did the first half directly on the grill) and get ready to assemble.

To assemble the pizza – spread the garlic butter over the dough, then pour on a little BBQ sauce, next add half of the black bean corn salsa, then the chicken and red peppers, then the a little more BBQ, then 1/2 of cheese and the rest of the black bean corn salsa and finally the rest of the cheese.

After assembling the pizza turn the heat down a little and shut the grill lid. Let cook for about 5 minutes. Check to see if the dough is golden brown (carefully not to burn your fingers, use a spatula!) and if the cheese is melted. If it looks like it needs more time continue to grill checking every minute or so.

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 can black beans, drained
1/2 cup sweet yellow corn
salt and pepper to taste
cilantro to taste
squeeze of lime juice

You could easily just chop all of these ingredients up and throw them in a bowl cold, but I like to heat mine for this pizza and I like to saute the onions to take out some of the bite. So this is how I do that:

In a pan saute the onion for just a few minutes to take out the bite. Then add the black beans and corn and heat through. Finish with salt and pepper, cilantro and lime juice.