April 26, 2012

couscous-stuffed peppers.

Before I get into anything I just want to say that I love my friends. 
Like really.
I don't have a ton of best friends, but the few that I have are truly amazing women. 
I wouldn't be able to do anything without their support and encouragement. 
I am so thankful to have them in my life 
and so grateful for when they catch me when I fall.
(literally, FC)
You're the best.

And so I need to get this blog back into the swing of things. Today I am sharing an actual food recipe. Yes, I can cook and I don't just eat sweets all day long :)

The first time I ever made couscous I couldn't believe how fast and easy it was. Mind blowing, I tell you. I love this recipe because I think of it as the healthier version of the stuffed peppers loaded with breadcrumbs that I love so much. And it includes so many of my favorites- cranberries, feta, chickpeas, and of course spinach! (seriously)

And though I am more of a sauce-on-the-side type of girl, the pesto sauce pulls the whole dish together. 

Couscous-Stuffed Peppers with Pesto Sauce adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Start with 4 bell peppers, whatever colors you prefer.
Slice off the tops and remove all the seeds.
If you need to, cut a very thin slice off the bottoms to make them stand up straight.

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup couscous
1 cup chickpeas
1 cup baby spinach, packed
1/2 cup feta
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt & pepper

Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan.
Turn off the heat and stir in the couscous. Cover the pan.
Wait about 6 minutes.
The couscous should be tender and all broth absorbed.

Mix couscous with all the remaining ingredients in a large bowl.
Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Stuff the peppers with the filling and drizzle the tops with olive oil.
Bake the peppers standing in an 8x8 inch pan filled with 3/4 inch of hot water.
Bake 55- 60 minutes.
The filling should be golden brown and the peppers should look cooked through.
If the tops are browning too quickly then cover with foil.
( I did this after 30 minutes)

2 tbs pesto
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbs water
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt, add extra if needed
1/4 tsp pepper, add extra if needed

Mix all ingredients together, done.
{You could make your own pesto base of course but I already had some pre-made in the fridge and I love convenience. You can also use fresh garlic...use what you have!}

Serve and enjoy!

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