Callie’s Cabin: Summertime stuff(-ed peppers) for dog day afternoons | TahoeDailyTribune.com

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Callie’s Cabin: Summertime stuff(-ed peppers) for dog day afternoons

Summer is on its way and lighter eating is part of seasonal change.

I went back a decade ago when I used to go to Safeway and gaze at frozen packaged stuffed peppers, an American dish, filled with ground beef, white rice and tomato sauce. It took me back to when I was a kid and enjoyed my mom's porcupine meatballs (the stuffed bell peppers were for the grown-ups).

Nowadays, going meatless and eating more vegetables is gaining momentum for me — and perhaps you, too.

Years ago, my mode of exercise on the South Shore would be to walk to foodie hot spots. I'd treat myself to cold lemonade and hot French fries. One afternoon while I sipped the beverage, I waited for a to-go order of fries. The server didn't give me a strange look. She took my light order despite the fact people were eating meals.

I happily left with my box of taters which I nibbled on during my trek with a get lean mission. Now, I eat first and my dog walks me after.

Porcupine-Style Stuffed Bell Peppers

1½ cups brown or yellow rice, cooked (try wild rice but a warning: it is high in sodium)

2 bell peppers, red or yellow

2 tablespoons European style butter or olive oil

2 tablespoons yellow or red onion, chopped

1 teaspoon garlic, chopped

3-4 tablespoons green bell pepper, chopped

¼ cup Roma tomatoes, chopped

Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste

4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

In a pan, cook rice according to instructions. Meanwhile, in a skillet, melt butter or oil and sauté onion, garlic and peppers. Add into cooked rice. Set aside. In a microwave dish with a half inch of water put two sliced, seeded peppers. Microwave about one minute. Remove and stuff rice mixture. Top with tomatoes. (You can use large tomatoes instead of peppers if you prefer.)

Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese. Makes two.

Serve with a fresh baguette slices dipped in olive oil. A cupful of green and purple grapes is a nice, sweet dessert to add.

These stuffed peppers can be savored for lunch or dinner. For me, I ate one hot out of the oven for a light dinner, and the other one the next day as cold leftovers for lunch. These days, I prefer eating grains and vegetables during the warmer weather. Pairing it with black tea, fresh lemons and less than more sugar is an acquired taste but a healthier choice.

Home-style stuffed peppers and chilled brew will provide you with refreshment. It's worth the effort to put it together in the comfort of your home and you'll enjoy the energy boost to go do it.

Motto: Traditional foods provide nostalgia but fresh foods give you new memories to put in your recipe box.

Cal Orey, M.A. Is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, and Tea) published by Kensington. (The collection has been featured by the Good Cook Book Club.) Her website is http://www.calorey.com.