Bacon, Bean, & Brussels Bowl

One of my yearly intentions is to use up the special and fun ingredients I have hoarded over the years. Much like gift cards, I enjoy the idea of using fancy things even more than actually doing so. Unfortunately, this results in a somewhat ridiculous amount of my cupboard space being filled with anything I consider rare, expensive, or difficult to replace. In an effort to not wait for a special occasion but instead to make every day a special occasion, I’m off on a journey of using what we have.

Brussels, Bacon, & Bean Bowl {{Baking Bytes}}

As such, when I rediscovered this delightful lemon dill mustard I started to put it on, well, everything. You may remember it from the meatloaf grilled cheese from two weeks ago. Wraps, sandwiches, scrambled eggs, burgers, bowls…you name it, I’ve done it. It’s a wonderful spring and summer condiment since it carries all the lightness of lemon with the heartiness of a mustard. I am nearing the end of the jar and after I make it through my remaining hoarded condiments, I will definitely be treating myself to another.

Brussels, Bacon, & Bean Bowl {{Baking Bytes}}

This bowl was born of needing to use up items in the fridge without making a trip to the store. In the current climate, not making unessential excursions outside the house is even more important, and it’s definitely cut back on our trips to the grocery store. Since it’s only about a 10-minute walk, I’m not usually opposed to heading over on a baking whim, but these days I am doing my best to avoid it.

Brussels, Bacon, & Bean Bowl {{Baking Bytes}}

As such, the Brussels sprouts, canned kidney beans and copious amounts of bacon ends called to me. Mixed with a scoop of rice and a handful of spinach, the lemon dill mustard compliments everything while making it a cohesive dish. It’s extremely filling and hearty and easily tailored to your macro preferences, but hits a number of lovely flavors with minimal effort. Crispy Brussels, salty bacon, creamy rice and beans, and a pop of color from the spinach are all pulled together with a light coating of mustard (or any sauce you like) and a generous crumble of goat cheese. For vegetarian/vegan options, sub the bacon in favor of a few extra beans, and ditch the cheese or use your favor non-dairy version.

Brussels, Bacon, & Bean Bowl {{Baking Bytes}}

If you’re making a single serving you can easily do it in a cast iron skillet, but for the full recipe I preferred to use the oven, which is the method outlined below. (Mostly for less bacon grease to clean up afterward.) This dish is and excellent way to use up leftover rice and beans from tacos, and it’s delicious both warm and cold if your weather also tends to flip-flop back and forth. Keeps well in the fridge for a few days (mine was all gone by then) and makes an excellent entree or side for whichever spot on the table you’re looking to fill.

Bacon, Bean, & Brussels Bowl

Serves 2 (entree) – 4 (side)

Ingredients

1 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut into halves or fourths
1/4 tsp salt
2-4 oz bacon

2/3 cup (about half a can) kidney beans
1 cup cooked rice
2-4 Tbsp (lemon dill) mustard or other sauce
2 oz spinach
2 oz goat cheese (or Parmesan)
fresh pepper and dill, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Line 1/3 of the sheet with foil, with the ends turns up to form a mini tray. Arrange bacon on the foil.
  3. Drizzle olive oil on the remainder of the baking sheet and add sprouts and salt. Use your hands and toss until well coated. Spread evenly on the tray, cut side down, if possible.
  4. Roast for 18-20 minutes, or until bacon is to desired crispiness. Remove foil with bacon and continue to roast the sprouts for another 5-10 minutes or until crispy. Place the bacon on a paper towel to drain, then chop into bite-sized pieces.
  5. Meanwhile, in a large bowl add the beans, rice, and 2 tablespoons mustard. Use a rubber scraper to gently toss until well coated.
  6. When the Brussels are done, add them and the bacon to the bowl and stir gently until evenly coated. Taste and add additional mustard, if desired.
  7. Stir in spinach, then top with goat cheese, pepper, and dill. Serve immediately for a warming entree, or cover and refrigerate until ready to eat. Great as leftovers either chilled or reheated in the microwave.

Notes

Words

Stuffed Peppers

[First things first…I am so sorry for the ridiculous semi-accidental hiatus. September was M’s last month in town before he headed back to Antarctica (yes, you read that right) for three months, so I let the blog fall by the wayside. My apologies. But there’s good news! I’m going to post something every Monday in October to make up for it.]

In other news, Montana refuses to legitimately enter autumn and insists on holding onto summer as long as possible. It is in the high 60s as I write this, which personally I think is just ridiculous for October. Maybe it’s just me but I am definitely ready for cooler temperatures. Mainly because I want to run in like 40 degrees rather than almost 70 and then come home to a steaming bowl of soup, but until I get that weather machine working I’ll just be staring forlornly at the weather forecast. Shorts and tank top weather will be over soon enough (I hope) just in time for everyone to complain it’s too cold. In preparation for that glorious time of year, here is a fabulous and easy dinner recipe that’s great for a chilly fall day and conveniently includes almost all of the food groups.

Stuffed Peppers {{Baking Bytes}}

As a kid I was not big on the bell peppers thing. I still don’t really care for them raw, but I love them cooked in things. Stir fry, tacos, pizza, soup, stew, etc are all improved by the addition of a bell pepper or three. Bonus: veggies are healthy. I saw a picture of stuffed peppers on Pinterest a few months ago and thought to myself “that looks like something I could maybe handle” and then promptly never made it because it was 85 degrees outside and I didn’t want to turn on the oven.

Stuffed Peppers {{Baking Bytes}}

Fortunately it has cooled down a bit since then and my hypothesis was correct: they are delicious. Wild rice, Italian sausage, cheese, and a smattering of other flavors come together in a delightfully simple recipe. Although it’s not super quick, particularly if (like me) you’re not practiced at cutting things, it’s incredibly easy and hard to mess up. You could cut down on the time by preparing them the night before and popping them in the oven when you get home from work. They may need a bit longer in the oven to warm through so make sure you check that the center isn’t cold.

I did not add a lot of spices to mine because I was using hot Italian sausage and that was enough for me, but the addition of some red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, curry powder, or whatever you’re feeling that day would work beautifully. Conveniently you can taste the filling before you finish them up in the oven, so it’s easy to play around with the flavors before you stuff the peppers. Try adding zucchini or spinach for an extra veggie boost.

Stuffed Peppers {{Baking Bytes}}

Bake these up, serve with homemade applesauce and a glass of milk and you’ve got all the food groups covered in a healthy and delicious meal.

Note: They reheat pretty well in the microwave but I find it works better if you cut them in half beforehand.

Stuffed Peppers

Inspired by Kalyn’s Kitchen
Makes 4 peppers

Ingredients

1 cup (uncooked) wild rice
4 large green bell peppers

12 oz Italian sausage (or ground meat of choice)
olive oil (for sauteing)

1 bell pepper (any color, I used orange)
1 small-medium onion
1-2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 cup grated mozzarella

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease an 8″x8″ glass baking dish (or any glass baking dish that your peppers will all fit into.)
  2. Cook rice according to directions and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, cut the tops off the peppers, hollow out the inside, and slice a bit off the bottom so they sit flat (if necessary).
  4. Dice the tops of the peppers (minus the stem of course), onion, garlic, and remaining pepper into small pieces.
  5. Saute meat and a little olive oil in a large pan over medium heat for a few minutes.
  6. When meat is about halfway done, add the diced veggies and continue sauteing until meat is cooked through and veggies are heated.
  7. In a large bowl, combine rice, cooked sausage mixture, and Parmesan cheese, stirring to combine thoroughly. (I found it easiest to use my hands.)
  8. Add spices to taste and stir to combine.
  9. Firmly stuff mixture into the hollowed-out peppers, filling them full and using a spoon to aid in packing it tightly. (You may have a little extra filling, I saved it and used it like a taco filling.)
  10. Bake about 30 minutes, then sprinkle (or pile) mozzarella onto the tops of the peppers and bake an additional 15-20 minutes, until cheese is melted and beginning to brown.
  11. Serve hot and refrigerate leftovers for up to one week.