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The right stuff: plain vegetables turn festive when filled with flavorful stuffings.

Plain vegetables turn festive when filled with flavorful stuffings.

Pick your vegetables: tomatoes, onions, peppers, fresh mushrooms, or spinach leaves will do. Halve the vegetables, stem the mushrooms, wash the spinach, and you're ready to begin preparing exciting new vegetable stuffings.

Keep stuffings light. Use seafood, cheeses (low- to medium-fat), and whole grains instead of meat.

Real and imitation crabmeat will make excellent stuffing for peppers and mushrooms. Chunks of fresh or frozen crabmeat produce more attractive results than canned.

When heating shrimp in the microwave, take care not to overcook. Cooking time will vary from oven to oven and with the amount of shrimp being prepared.

The following recipes may be made in the microwave or with a conventional stove and oven; once you have mastered them, try creating new stuffings for other favorite vegetables-the possibilities are endless.

Crab-Stuffed Mushrooms

(Makes 24)

1 package (8 oz.) Neufchatel cheese

1 tablespoon salad dressing

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon parsley

1 teaspoon minced onion

1/2 teaspoon horseradish or 2 teaspoons horseradish sauce

1 package (8 oz-) frozen crabmeat

2 tablespoons minced green onions dust green part)

1/2 cup chopped mushroom stems

24 large mushroom caps

Bread crumbs

Microwave cheese at High (100%) in 1-quart mixing bowl 1/2 minute or until softened. Stir in remaining ingredients except mushroom caps. Divide crab mixture among mushroom caps. Arrange mushroom caps around outer rim of 12" round serving platter. Sprinkle with fine bread crumbs. Microwave at High until stuffing and mushrooms are hot (3-4 minutes).

Jalapeno Peppers

Stuffed with Brie

(Makes 6 servings)

6 jalapeno peppers

6 tablespoons Brie cheese

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

Slit peppers lengthwise. Remove centers and seeds. Fill each pepper with Brie. Microwave oil and garlic at High (100%) in small dish until garlic is tender, about 2-3 minutes. Make "X" on top of cheese in each pepper. Fill "X" with garlic mixture. Place peppers on microwave plate. Microwave at High 1-2 minutes or until cheese is softened. Serve with fettuccine or other pasta dishes.

Conventional directions: Cook garlic and oil over low heat 5 minutes. Bake stuffed peppers at 350'F. 8-10 minutes or until cheese is softened.

Bell Peppers Stuffed with

Acadian Corn and Crab

(Makes 4 servings)

2 large green peppers

1 tablespoon margarine

1/3 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/4 cup chopped bell pepper

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup frozen whole-kernel corn

1 can (10 oz.) tomatoes with chilies

8 ounces crab claw meat

1/4 cup chicken broth

1/4 cup green onions

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Cut green peppers in half lengthwise; remove seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves cut-side down in baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap. Microwave at High (100%) until tender, about 5-6 minutes. Combine margarine, onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic in 1-quart casserole. Microwave at High (100%) until tender, about 2 minutes. Add corn, tomatoes, crab, and chicken broth. Microwave at High 4-6 minutes or until flavors are blended. Add onions and parsley. Spoon into center of green-pepper halves. Microwave 1 minute at Low.

Conventional directions: Saute' vegetables about 5-10 minutes in saucepan until tender. For third microwave step, allow to simmer 2030 minutes; add additional 1/2 cup chicken broth as needed.

Garlic Shrimp Stuffed Tomatoes

(Makes 4 servings)

4 medium tomatoes

1 dried red chili, spot and seeded

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound uncooked, shelled, cleaned shrimp

1/2 teaspoon salt, if desired

Remove slice from top of each tomato. With spoon, remove pulp. Microwave chili, garlic, and oil at High (100%) in 1-quart casserole until heated, about 34 minutes. Add 1/2 cup tomato pulp, shrimp, and salt; toss lightly to coat shrimp. Microwave at High 4-5 minutes or until shrimp curl and are opaque. (To avoid toughness, do not overcook shrimp. Cooking time will vary with amount of shrimp and size and make of your microwave oven.) Discard chili. Spoon shrimp mixture into tomatoes. Place tomatoes on serving plate. Cover with plastic wrap. Microwave at High 3-4 minutes or until heated. Serve immediately.

Conventional directions: Heat chili, garlic, and oil over medium heat in small saucepan 5 minutes. Cook shrimp until opaque; stir constantly. Discard chili and serve shrimp mixture in tomatoes.

Cashew Pilaf in Spinach Leaves

(Makes 8 servings)

3 shallots, minced

2 tablespoons margarine

3 cups chicken broth

3/4 cup brown rice

1/2 cup whole-grain wheat berries

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt, if desired

1/3 cup currants

1/2 cup chopped cashews

8 large spinach leaves

8 carrot strips

Microwave shallots and margarine at High (100%) in 2-quart casserole until shallots are tender, about 2-3 minutes. Add chicken broth, rice, wheat berries, cinnamon, and salt. Microwave at High until mixture boils, 6-8 minutes. Microwave at Medium (50%) 20 minutes; then check rice for moisture, add water if necessary, and microwave 20 minutes more. Stir in currants and cashews. Place spoonful of pilaf mixture on center of each spinach leaf. Wrap by folding ends of spinach leaf toward center; tie with carrot strip. Place seam-side down on serving platter; cover with plastic wrap. Microwave at High 2-3 minutes or until heated through.

Conventional directions: Cook shallots and margarine over low heat in 2-quart saucepan until tender. Cook rice mixture on high until mixture boils, then reduce heat to low and allow to simmer 40-50 minutes or until rice is tender. Use blanched spinach leaves to wrap pilaf.
COPYRIGHT 1989 Saturday Evening Post Society
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes recipes
Author:Nyenhuis, Jacquelyn
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Date:Jan 1, 1989
Previous Article:Kauai: next link on the chain.
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