Here’s a pair of recipes for those who grilled with Catie’s Bright Cajun Spice Mix this weekend and would like to find ways to enjoy its rich and spicy flavor on rainy days as well.
We made the recipe with ground bison, cooked brown rice and lots of cheddar cheese. It was delicious, with a spicy warmth that was perfect for a chilly, gray day. Better yet, the leftovers warmed up well for a great lunch the next day.
For those with different dietary preferences, Cajun Buzz Bells is a very flexible recipe. For the dairy intolerant, the recipe works well without the cheese and for those wanting a more plant based diet, it’s also good made with tofu.
Speaking of plant based, Catie also sent us her recipe for Cajun Bright Vegies. As we love pan-roasted broccoli, we gave it a try. Yum!
Cajun Buzz Bells
Makes 8 pepper boats, 4-6 servings. (can be scaled up or down to accommodate more or fewer servings).
Total time: approx 45 minutes (longer if cooking fresh grains!)
Prep time: approx 5 minutes or cook time of grain if cooking fresh (8-30 minutes, dependent on grain).
Cook Time: approx.15 minutes.
Bake Time: 15-20 minutes.
4 bell peppers of various colors (delicious with any shade of bell, I did 1 each of green, yellow, orange and red).
1-1.5 lbs ground meat/protein of choice (I did 600g/1.32lbs of ground mixed beef/pork, commonly available for me, tastes good with beef, pork, poultry or tofu)
2 cups cooked grain of choice: rice, quinoa, or couscous all work very well (I used quinoa, leftover grains are perfect for this recipe)
3 sm-md onions (I used red onions. Yellow, white or sweet onions also work really well)
3-5 cloves garlic (depending on how much garlic you like)
1-2 Tb Lemon Juice (or fresh squeezed juice from one lemon, amt dependent on how tangy you like)
1 cup+ shredded cheese of choice (optional for those who like roasted cheese/eat dairy, at least a cup, more for those who like it cheesier, I used an Emmentaler (swiss) cheese, jacks, cheddar and mozzarella all work well)
2 Tb olive oil + more to oil baking dish
Fresh salt and Pepper to grind to taste
1. Preheat oven to about 200C/400F. Prepare pepper's stuffing while oven heats.
2. Dice onions. In wide skillet, saute onions in olive oil on med-low heat. While onions cook (turn glossy, about 5 mins), dice or crush the garlic.
3. Add the garlic to the onions and toast slightly, about 2 minutes
4. Add the spice blend and lemon juice and coat the onions/garlic. Add more olive oil if things are sticking.
5. Immediately add the ground meat, turn up the heat to medium/medium high and start to brown, breaking up the ground meat into small chunks and blending in with coated onions and garlic.
6. As the meat begins to brown, add the cooked grains, mix and cook all together in the pan until the meat and grains begin to brown/toast. (Do not worry about everything being fully cooked or crisp. It will roast and toast further in the oven).
7. In a break between stirs, wash bell peppers, remove stems and seeds, and cut in half lengthwise into boats. Place in an oiled baking dish. (I like to use a deep glass dish, so I can pile extra stuffing around the peppers and be generous with cheese without spillage).
8. When the stuffing is beginning to brown/toast, add a fresh grind of salt and pepper if desired. Remove from heat and scoop into the bell peppers, filling the boats. Secure the bell peppers in the pan by adding extra stuffing around the sides of the peppers.
9. Cover with shredded cheese (if desired) and put into hot oven for 15-20 minutes. Remove when the edges of the pepper are wrinkly and slightly crisped and the cheese is melted and toasted to desired golden-brown. If not using cheese, remove when the peppers are wrinkling and the top/exposed layer of stuffing is a crisp brown, but not burned. If wanting a more grilled effect, switch the oven to a grill setting for the last 5 minutes of cook time (better for cheese-topped option, uncovered stuffing roasts fine without an end grill). Baking time is a great time to make your veggies or prep your salad to go with the meal. I made Cajun Bright Green beans and Broccoli (quick recipe below) with the pictured meal.
10. Remove the peppers from oven, let cool for 5 minutes and serve with veggies and/or salad. Enjoy hot! (but warning, the stuffing inside the peppers will be very hot and retain heat longer than "out of the pepper" stuffing, so be careful not to burn your mouth! My partner always likes to cut up his boat and let the contents cool in pieces before digging in).
Cajun Bright Veggies
Prep Time: a few minutes, up to 5-10. Cook time: 15-20 minutes
Approx 500g/1 lb veggie of choice (fresh or frozen,
(I did green beans and broccoli in two separate pans, zucchini also works well)
1 tsp Bright Cajun Spice Mix (see recipe)
1 tsp lemon juice
Olive oil to cook (approx 1 Tb)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1. Prep veggies into desired eating size: wash, trim and chop fresh veggies or take frozen veggies out to begin to thaw.
2. Heat olive oil in pan on med-low heat and add veggies, coating in oil and begin to cook.
3. After a few minutes of cooking, turn up the heat to medium/medium-high and add spice blend and lemon juice. Evenly coat veggies.
4. Let cook 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until veggies are cooked through and crisping slightly around the edges (if you like pan roasted veggies). Depending on the veggie used, I sometimes like to add a bit of water to the bottom of the pan and cover with a lid for about 10 minutes, creating a bit of a steaming effect. If I partially steam the veggies, I will remove the lid and boil off any excess water and crisp my veggies at the end, for the last 5-10 min of cook time.
5. Remove from pan and serve. Enjoy hot, room temp or cold. (leftovers work great as cold-cooked veggies on top of a dinner salad in a future meal :) )
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