Cooking a family size recipe might sound like a good idea, after all you’ll avoid having to cook for the rest of the week. But eating the same thing over and over, sampling its transformation from “freshly out of the oven” to “it’s been sitting in the fridge for 4 days” can get a bit demoralizing.
My idea for this blog is to offer solutions that counters this problem. If a recipe yields more than 2 portions, it will usually be followed by a post on how to reuse its leftovers. Reinventing these into new recipes is a great way to get rid of the food you’re tired of eating, preventing wastage, while optimizing your cooking -the new recipe will indeed be halfway done. However, being creative in the kitchen can be a challenge. I remember back in University, when working on interior design projects, our teachers tested our creativity by encouraging us to find at least 5 different options working around the space constraints. It was a lot harder than it seemed to move past the obvious solutions and we had to push ourselves out of our comfort zone to come up with innovative ideas.
Applying the same exercise to the meatball and tomato sauce leftovers should help us create new recipes based on it. Some obvious variations are the famous meatball sandwich and replacing the pasta with creamy polenta, but let’s push it a bit further. I find that breaking the recipe down to its main ingredients helps seeing it in a new light. For example here we mainly have meat, tomatoes and a Mediterranean/Italian seasoning. The first thing that pops in my mind is pizza. Using the sauce as the base and slicing the meatball for topping with some extra vegetables would make a lovely meal. And what’s more Mediterranean than sun-kissed red peppers, hence the stuffed red peppers recipe shown here. Have you got any suggestions for the fifth option? I would be very interested in hearing what you’ve come up with.
This recipe is so quick to make you won’t even feel like you are cooking, yet this might not be the ideal just-came-back-from-the-gym recipe. You’ll just have to arm yourself with some patience during the cooking process and waiting 45 minutes can feel like torture when you are hungry. But if you’ve managed to leave work on time or you’re planning an early night in, take 20 minutes to stuff those peppers and pop them in the oven. The sweetest perfume will fill your home while you wait, whetting your appetite and promising you a great meal.
- 1/2 cup uncooked or 1 1/2 cup cooked Rice
- 1/2 Meatball tomato sauce recipe
- 2 Red peppers
- 1/2 tsp Herbes de Provence
- 1 tbsp Parsley (optional)
- 1 tbsp Olive oil
- Turn the oven on to 180C/375F.
- If using uncooked rice, bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook the rice as instructed on the package.
- In the meantime, take the meatballs out of the tomato sauce and chop them into small cubes (less than 1 cm cubes).
- Cut the peppers’ top off, about 2cm below the stem, and keep to one side as we’ll be using them to protect the filling once in the oven. Scoop out the seeds and white membranes and if the pepper is a bit wonky, cut a bit of the bottom to create a flat surface for it to sit on straight. Be careful not to make holes.
- In a bowl, mix the cooked rice, chopped meatballs, tomato sauce, herbes de Provence and parsley and add a good pinch of salt and pepper.
- Stuff the red peppers with the preparation, pushing it down to remove any air bubbles and put their little hats back on.
- Place in baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and bake in the oven for 45 minutes.
- Adding fresh herb to a dish really makes it taste, well fresher. The parsley is optional here but I highly recommend adding it if you have some. Fresh basil would work equally as well.