Stuffed peppers

This recipe is one that I tried to re-create from a wonderful meal we had dining al fresco at Gillette Stadium, where they have a wonderful plaza of restaurants and shops. We decided to try Tavolino’s Pizzeria and it was great.  I had the Chicken Caesar Salad Gluten Free Pizza and I would highly recommend it. My husband ordered the stuffed pepper appetizer and they were amazing.  I just had to figure out how to cook them. To be clear, I currently have a stuffed pepper recipe that I love, but since I went gluten free it is on the “NO” list. But these stuffed peppers are gluten free and amazing. They are an updated version of the stuffed peppers that mom would make when I was a kid.  You remember those….minute rice and tomato soup!  These are much better and pretty easy to make.

“A home cooked meal is a labor of love”

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Stuffed Peppers

A traditional stuffed pepper recipe with rice and beef. They were warm and filling and wonderful.
Course dinner
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 7 Bell Peppers Any color you like
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb Ground Beef 80/20 (You could use ground turkey or chicken also)
  • 1 lb. Hot or Sweet Italian Sausage I used sweet and then spiced up the sauce
  • 1 Small, white onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 28 oz. cans Ground Peeled Tomatoes I used Pastene No Salt Version (unsolicited)
  • 1 15 oz. can Diced Tomatoes
  • 3 tsp Dried Basil I tend to use more
  • 2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes Can use less if you not into spicy
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • Salt & Pepper To taste
  • 2 tbsp. Fresh Basil chopped
  • 2 tbsp. Fresh Parsley chopped
  • 2 cups Cooked white rice
  • 1 1/2 cups Shredded Mozzarella

Instructions
 

  • Add Olive oil to hot frying pan.  Brown sausage and ground beef.  Drain off liquid. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and translucent. Add the wine and scrape the bits off the bottom of the pan.  Cook down a bit and then add the tomatoes, dried spices and sugar.  Let simmer for at least 30 minutes.   Add the fresh basil and parsley and now it is ready.
  • Preheat over to 350 degrees.
  • While the sauce is cooking cut the tops of the peppers and clean them out.  Put the cooked rice into the a mixing bowl and add a few cups of the sauce as well as the ground beef mixture.  Don’t make it too wet or you will have “soupy” peppers.
    Stuff the peppers with the rice/meat mixture and add them to a baking pan. Try to have them fit snuggly into the pan, so they do not tip over.
  • These take longer to cook than you might think.  I would cook them for at least 40 minutes.
  • After the 40 minutes, take them out add a generous amount of mozzarella to the top of each pepper and put them back into the oven for at least another 20 minutes.
  • Everything inside has been cooked but you want the peppers to soften and this takes a while.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley and serve with the extra sauce and a glass of wine! Be prepared one of these is a hearty meal. Enjoy!

Allergens: Dairy

Simple Suppers – Chicken Tortellini Soup

This soup is a staple in our house and now that my college student daughter has her own apartment, it is time she had some simple dinners for college students that are easy and cheap. We need to get her going, so she and her friends can join the Sunday Chefs Club and not starve in college. Soups and Stews are always a great go to when you are looking for a simple and hearty meal. This meal is both impressive and simple.

Nothing brings people together like good food…. Unknown

  • Two 32 oz. cartons of low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 bag of baby spinach
  • 8 -16 oz package of tortellini (depending on how many you are feeding)
  • diced chicken (Optional)
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top (Optional)

Boil water and cook the tortellini separately. Cook it a little al dente. If it says 7 minutes cook it for 5, so it doesn’t get mushy when you add it to the soup.

In another big pot add the chicken broth, chicken (if you don’t have leftover chicken for the soup, you can leave it out or add a raw boneless chicken breast and poach it in the broth until its done, then remove it, shred it and then add it back) and spices. Bring to a boil, simmer for 10 minutes and then add the spinach. It will seem like too much but it wilts down to nothing. Simmer for a few more minutes. Put the tortellini in a bowl and spoon the soup over the tortellini. Top with a little Parmesan cheese and serve with some crusty bread.

Allergens: Gluten

Trattoria Il Lucano – Rome Restaurant and Food Allergy Review

As we were walking back from the Pantheon one night on our recent life-changing trip to Rome, the kids were starving and I didn’t have any idea where we could eat. Before our trip I studied and searched for restaurants that would accommodate our family and their food allergies (Peanuts, tree nuts, carrots, cucumbers, soy, gluten, legumes, eggplant and zucchini). Italy is known for being very food allergy friendly but information on specific restaurants is hard to find, so I tried to find blog information and there was a few, but it was outdated and limited. So I looked for restaurants that were recommended by friends or had good reviews and reached out to them. Then I made a master list of the places that I wanted to visit and nearby restaurants that were food allergy friendly. (We made the food allergy cards and they were great but only used them once). It was good old fashioned leg work that got the job done. I will share my hard work with you all to save you some time.

I did a lot of prep work, but on this day I had run out of ideas. It was raining and we took a risk and stopped in at Trattoria Il Lucano and asked if they could accommodate us. We lucked out and it was a fabulous meal.

Our waiter was named Mimo and he was so much fun. He suggested that my husband try the steak which they cook at the table. We got the caprese salad, cacio e pepe, pizza and lots of house wine! Always get the house wine. We sat outside under the awning and had a fabulous meal despite the uncertainty at the beginning. My husband is still dreaming of the steak!

The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook. – Julia Child

Miscellanea Pub – Food Allergies in Rome

I did a lot of research on restaurants before going to Rome, especially ones that catered to food allergies. I have to say it was difficult. The general consensus was that Rome was very allergy friendly and we did find this to be true. But information on specific restaurants was tough to find. I knew the places that we wanted to visit (i.e. Colosseum, Vatican, Pantheon, etc.) So I wanted to discover restaurant choices near our destinations, so I wouldn’t be wandering with a “Hangry” family trying to find a place to eat. We were not looking for fancy…. inexpensive, great food, great atmosphere and food allergy friendly.

One restaurant that kept popping up near The Pantheon was the Miscellanea Pub. They call themselves the “International Students Pub”, so we knew it would be inexpensive and casual. After a beautiful visit to the Pantheon at night, I told my family I had a restaurant for them.  It is a bit hidden, but the CityMaps2Go App was so helpful, because we didn’t have service most of the time.

Franco was our waiter and he was fabulous. He was very friendly and told us the food allergies were not a problem, they would make it work (I made the food allergy cards, but honestly never had to use them..the one place we tried, seemed confused by them. But I am still glad that I had them, just in case).

We got the Caprese salad, Bruschetta, Pette di pollo al limone (lemon chicken) Penna all’ arrabbietta (penne with spicy tomato sauce), Spaghetti alla carbonara (pasta carbonara) and Margherita pizza and a lot of wine (house wine). Always get the house wine in Italy! The food was amazing.

Please note: Miscellanea Pub is cash only!

I forgot this and we had no cash. Franco was so wonderful and felt so bad he walked my husband to the nearest ATM and then brought us free desserts and “sexy wine”. The “sexy wine” is something you have to discover for yourself. When he brought it and I gleefully cried “Is this the sexy wine?” he was thrilled I knew what it was. (I do my research.. haha). It was wonderful!

As we were leaving, Mickey (the owner) was sitting outside and thanked us for coming. We are from Boston and he is great friends with the former mayor of Boston and former Vatican ambassador, Ray Flynn. We had a wonderful conversation about Rome and Boston. Miscellanea Pub is a must see on your next trip to Rome!

 

 

Good food is very often, even most often, simple food – Anthony Bourdain

La Canonica – Food Allergies in Rome

We recently had the opportunity to visit Rome and what an experience it was. My eldest has been studying in Europe for the last five months and we agreed to meet her in Rome. We were all so excited to see her and experience this magnificent city. When we arrived, we headed out to explore and get something to eat. We were right across the Ponte Sisto bridge from the charming neighborhood of Trastevere. Numerous people told us that Trastevere was a win for dining and character and they were so correct. It remains my favorite neighborhood in all of Rome.

We wandered, enjoying the sites and trying to pick which restaurant to go to. They all looked so wonderful, but we have a lot of food allergies to deal with in our family, so we were a bit apprehensive. Then it started to rain…it started to pour! So we just ran into the closest one we could find and we were very happy with our decision. The restaurant was La Canonica. It was the perfect first restaurant for us. It was cute, cozy with a fabulous waiter and chef who both warmly welcomed us and made us feel like family.

The waiter handled the food allergies like it was nothing…not a big deal.  (nuts, tree nuts, legumes, soy, eggplant, zucchini, gluten and carrots, cucumbers). This was the beginning of a wonderful meal and my daughter got to eat anything she wanted. They made it work and we were thrilled. That first glass of wine after a long day of traveling was wonderful. (Italy Tip: always order the house wine… cheap and wonderful) We had the pizza, carbonara, raviolis and a seafood over risotto thing my husband got that looked amazing! I would highly recommend this restaurant on its own but for someone with a food allergy they were fabulous!

The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you are hungry again…. George Miller

This is so true, but we managed to do it. Thank god for the 22,000 steps on the Fitbit we were tracking.

 

 

Roscioli Salumeria Con Cucina – Rome Restaurant and Food Allergy Review

When I let my sister know that I was going to Rome all she kept saying was you need to go to Roscioli Salumeria Con Cucina located in the heart of Rome!  She and her husband said it was the best meal they have ever had and they tell everyone to go there. When we discovered it was only a three minute walk from our hotel we were thrilled. It did not disappoint!  I would highly recommend a reservation and to dine in the wine cellar. The reservation is very easily made on their website. When you travel to Rome with food allergies there is a lot of research to be done and I had a hard time finding information on specific restaurants. But if you do your research it can be done. We have a daughter with a lot of food allergies and there was a comment section on the reservation form where we inquired about what she could eat.

Our first night in Rome we ventured out for a beautiful walk through Rome to the restaurant. We were greeted by our waiter Ricardo and brought to the wine cellar. He was aware of the food allergies and let her know that she would have a fabulous meal. She is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, carrots, cucumbers, legumes, zucchini and eggplant but they had it under control. Honestly, I do believe he was very relieved that we were not uptight about it and she didn’t care what she had, she was just happy to be there. We were told to order the cacio e pepe and we would be amazed. We were! The wine was wonderful and the caprese salad, bread, gnocchi, ravioli, the limoncello, tortellini in brodo (homemade tortellini in broth) was so simple and to die for. The menu had a food allergy labeling system that made it all so easy. If you are gluten free, I found the restaurants bent over backwards to accommodate you. Roscioli is comfortable, relaxed and not very expensive, the perfect restaurant for our first night in Rome. They even brought us a little dessert with cookies you could dip in chocolate to welcome us to Rome. Roscioli is a must see.. I do believe it was the best meal I have ever had in my life.

I’d much rather drink wine and eat pasta than be a size zero – Sophia Loren

Bucket List Adventures

Bucket List Adventure – Rome, Italy

Recently I had the privilege of visiting Rome, Italy with my family. My daughter is studying abroad and we could not miss the opportunity to take this Bucket List Adventure. We scrimped and saved and it was so worth it . After a long 14-month battle with breast cancer last year, I have vowed to experience life more and this was a great first start. We stayed in the beautiful Hotel Ponte Sisto. It was in the perfect location to walk everywhere. Right across the bridge from the wonderful neighborhood of Trastevere with all its fantastic restaurants. We spent five days eating, sightseeing, strolling and relaxing. It was wonderful. This trip was a life-changing event for me. Rome is so spiritual and the beauty if overwhelming. To take this vacation with my whole family after the battle we have all gone through, truly makes you appreciate life. 

I spent a lot of time researching restaurants for allergy issues due to our family and their multiple allergies. I found this to be challenging so I will write reviews on every restaurant that we went to and how they handled allergies. Heads up: Italy was wonderful and we found a way to eat everything.  I managed to make it home without gaining any weight… Most likely due to the 24,000 steps/day my Fitbit recorded.

Living La Dolce Vita

 

 

 

 

Cooking Trick – Soaking Fish or Shrimp in Milk

My mother Patsy (she hates that name) taught me this trick and it has helped so much over the years. We have all experienced how when you get the fish home from the market sometimes it smells a little fishy. I always smell the fish before I buy it , but occasionally when I get home it still smells. I am not talking, time to throw it out fishy, just a little.

Well if you put it in a bowl and add cold milk, cover it and let it sit in the fridge for about a half hour the smell goes away. Then just rinse it off, pat it dry and cook as you normally wood. I have used this trick on haddock, cod, swordfish and shrimp. I have never tried it with salmon or anything else.

I don’t know why it works, but it does!

Chicken Cacciatore

I was feeling nostalgic today and missing my late father. This dish always reminds me of him. Everyone should know how to make a good Cacciatore!

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food – Hippocrates

  • 4 Chicken Breasts (Bone In – chicken thighs or even boneless breast could be used to)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • One red bell Pepper, chopped
  • One small onion, chopped
  • One shallot, chopped
  • 8 oz. white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes (No salt added)
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1/2 cup good white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • Parmesan rind – about a tablespoon equivalent (whole)
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp. dried basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb. pasta (pasta of your choice depending on allergies – gluten free works great here)

Heat a deep, heavy pot over medium heat until very hot. Add olive oil and chicken breasts. Brown for about 4 minutes or until the chicken releases from the bottom of the pan. If it is still stuck, give it a few more minutes. Just leave it, do not mess with it. Flip the chicken and repeat on the other side.

Remove the chicken from the pot and put aside. Now add the onions, shallots, and peppers to the pot. Saute’ until onions are translucent. Now add the mushrooms and garlic and cook a few minutes more.

Add the wine, broth, tomatoes, salt, pepper, Parmesan rind and red pepper flakes.

Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Add the chicken back to the pot, cover and simmer for at least an hour. Some will say quicker, but I think the extra time makes all the difference. Add more wine or chicken broth if needed.

Serve over pasta (regular or gluten free) with some crusty bread.

Allergens: Dairy

Fish Tacos – Taco Tuesday

So… Tacos? I could eat them every day. Hubby…not so much. Kiddo and I wanted Tacos today, but we need to win over the big guy. What to do? I know….. Fish Tacos.

I have never made them before, but there is a first for everything. Time to do some research. I looked at some great recipes and decided to wing it. First thing to do … head to the fish monger. Headed down to Fresh Catch to check out the selection. Captain’s Cut Cod it is.

It’s a ‘I want to fake my own death, move to Mexico & live off Tacos & Tequila’ kinda day! – Unknown

  • 1 lb. Captain’s Cut Cod
  • Two radishes sliced paper thin
  • Thinly sliced green cabbage
  • Pinch of chili powder
  • Pinch of cumin
  • Sour Cream Lime sauce
  • 8 corn tortillas

SOUR CREAM LIME SAUCE

  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 4 tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice, more if needed
  • zest of lime

I loved this so much, I could eat it straight.

Prepare the sauce and let it sit for 15 minutes or so in the fridge to stay cold.

Meanwhile, on med/high heat, warm up the tortillas in a cast iron skillet. A few minutes on each side and then layer between dish towels to stay warm.

Cut the fish into 1 inch pieces.

Now, warm up another cast iron skillet on med/high heat. Sprinkle a pinch of chili powder and cumin on each piece and add to hot skillet. Heat 2-3 minutes on each side. I found that a small spatula was the best way to flip the fish to prevent it from falling apart. Put the skillet in the oven at 350 to finish cooking.

Now it is time to eat. One corn tortilla, some fish, radishes, cabbage and the lime sauce!

They came out fantastic! My husband now loves Taco Tuesdays!

 

Allergy Information: Seafood, Dairy, Gluten Free, Nut Free