Tag Archives: mozzarella

Stuffed Peppers – Pizza Style

2 Mar

I teach junior high. When I tell people that, I’m always entertained by their response. Most of the time they recoil in horror (and if I’m totally honest, some days I do, too). But my kids are amazing and in general we don’t give kids enough credit.

The longer I teach the more I think childhood doesn’t change that much. Granted, my perspective isn’t that long-lived, but I still see my kids struggle with the same crises I did at 13, 14, 15. Negotiating relationships, playing with different personalities, trying to balance school and sports, parents’ expectations. I love teaching because I literally get to watch the struggle play out and the kids handle it with such incredible grace. Awkward, stumbling , pimply grace, but grace.

Cooking is a little like that – at least it has been for me. I try new recipes, stumble a bit, try again. In life, too, honestly. There’s definitely a little adolescence in all of us. So, a grown up take on pizza for that teen in all of us – Pizza Style Stuffed Peppers!

Start by cutting and seeding the peppers. This is the first stuffed peppers recipe I’ve seen where you lay the stuffing on top of the peppers instead of inside. I think it makes it a bit easier to eat. Parboil the peppers for a few minutes.


Cook the quinoa, have a beer, cut some more peppers (especially if you’re serving 12!).

Quinoa and Peppers

Mix the quinoa together with mozzarella, pasta sauce, mushrooms, basil, and spinach or zucchini.

Stuffing Mix

Carefully spoon the stuffing mixture onto the pepper halves and top with parmesan cheese. Bake for about 45 minutes and then enjoy!


I decided to pair the stuffed peppers with an Amber. The Mission Brewery Amber was on sale and went pretty well!

Mission Amber Ale

Pizza Quinoa Stuffed Peppers – Original recipe at rachelcooks.com (Her version included pepperoni but I went veggie so left it out.)

Everything You’ll Need

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 8 ounces pearl mozzarella, drained
  • 3/4 cup pizza sauce
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped (I’ve also substituted zucchini)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 5 peppers, sliced in half and seeded


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bring a large pot of water to boil.
  2. Place the pepper halves into the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes; allow to cool so they can be handled.
  3. In a large bowl mix together all of the other ingredients except for the parmesan cheese.
  4. Fill the pepper halves with the quinoa mixture and place in a large baking dish. Sprinkle peppers with parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake 40-45 minutes until the cheese is melty and peppers are heated through.

September Beer Dinner

15 Nov

September Beer Dinner was fabulous. I’m just saying.


It was my first dinner in my new place and I was nervous because it’s a little squashy. Usually there’s just enough room at dinner for me, my sister and brother-in-law, and their oversized dog. Although, the dog takes up the equivalent of three people…so having eight people over for three-courses was a bit nerve racking.


Since it was the tail end of summer I decided we’d taste Fruit Beers. Which is kind of funny because I don’t totally love fruit beers. My favorite of the tasting was the Lost Coast Raspberry Brown.


There were a few off-theme beers there, too, which I loved even more. The Blue Moon Pine in the Neck was awesomely hoppy and the Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale – wow.  I’ve had beers aged in bourbon barrels and they’re always just a little too syrupy for me but this one was amazing!


I packed the fridge in preparation of great food, too!


We started with Caprese Polenta Stacks paired with Paulaner Hefe-Weizen.


The second course was a lemon and veggie pasta bake. I think I tried this at least four times before deciding on the final recipe but it was worth the recon. This I paired with the Exquisite Kolsch by Ruhstaller.


Finally, we finished with a white chocolate raspberry cheesecake and Lindemans Framboise.


Such a great first meal in the new place!

Caprese Polenta Stacks

15 Nov

Life has been busy. I don’t think I realized when I started this blog (almost a year ago, gasp!) just how bored I was with my life and work. I mean, I knew I wasn’t 100% satisfied sitting in an office for more than half of my days but I was looking for an outlet. Now that I’ve been back to teaching full time for three months I realize how totally exhausting it is, but also how completely engaging. Thus, my painfully, painfully behind posts.

Now that it’s November a post about an amazingly fresh, summery caprese salad is a bit out of date but it was so yummy that I wanted to share. Plus I’m getting just enough distance from the 100 degree days that I’m missing summer a bit. I was inspired by Melissa at madeinmelskitchen.com.

Start by slicing up a polenta log. Sprinkle each slice with garlic powder, salt, and pepper and then cook in olive oil for 3-4 minutes. Next, flip and cook 2-3 minutes on the other side. For some extra deliciousness you next sprinkle grated parmesan cheese on one side, flip, cook for a bit, then flip and melt the cheese on the other side. With this alone I would be satisfied!


I let the polenta cool then stacked them with alternating slices of farmers market tomatoes and mozzarella.


Top with basil and a balsamic vinegar reduction (thanks Trader Joe’s!) and serve. Super easy and you look like an amazing and talented cook!