The Recipe Redux is a group of like-minded food bloggers whose mission is to inspire the food lover in every healthy eater and inspire the healthy eater in every food lover. Each month members post recipes to their blogs following a theme set by the group moderators. Click the Recipe Redux link at the bottom of this page to see links to all the posts for this month’s challenge.
The New Year is a natural time for diet resolutions, but it’s also a good time to rein in your spending. So, while you’re planning healthy-eating menus for 2017, take a fresh look at your grocery expenditures over the past year and, if you’re not already super thrifty, you’ll most likely see some ways to save money. The recipes created for this month’s Recipe Redux challenge (Budget-Friendly Eats) can help. Each Reduxer was tasked with developing a recipe for a nourishing meal that costs less than $3 per serving. Turkey Cheddar Quinoa Stuffed Peppers easily rose to the challenge. These delicious peppers are stuffed with wholesome, nutrient dense ingredients. They’re 215 calories each and cost a mere $1.61 per serving to make! (Note: cost per serving will vary depending on where ingredients are purchased. I live 30 miles north of Boston, Massachusetts and all ingredients were purchased at Market Basket – a regional grocery chain.)
One of the things I love about Turkey Cheddar Quinoa Stuffed Peppers is the ease with which they come together. There’s no need to sauté any of the vegetables ahead of time and no special mixing instructions. You simply parboil the peppers, combine the stuffing ingredients, fill the peppers, and bake. This recipe feeds a crowd – 10 servings – and if you use a colorful variety of bell peppers, it makes a gorgeous presentation.
Despite being very inexpensive to make, Turkey Cheddar Quinoa Stuffed Peppers contain a variety of nutritious ingredients. In one fell swoop you get meat, cheese, a variety of vegetables, and some whole grains. You need only pair this dish with a simple side salad and some bread for a complete, delicious, and satisfying meal. These peppers are great as is, but for an extra burst of flavor serve them with Roasted Garlic Ketchup or Basil Cahew Pesto.
While I was careful to accurately calculate the cost to make Turkey Cheddar Quinoa Stuffed Peppers, and was pretty sure they’d clock in at under $3/per serving, I was still curious to know how my data compared to food costs in general, so I did a little research. The USDA periodically publishes average food costs, at home, at four levels, based on what they consider a nutritious diet. I was able to track down the most recent report available (November 2016) and the numbers were interesting. For example, the average weekly food cost for a “Thrifty” family of four (2 adults ages 19-50 and two children ages 6-8 and 9-11) was $146.90. This equates to $1.74 per meal assuming 3 meals per day for each family member. (Yay! Turkey Cheddar Quinoa Stuffed Peppers comes in well under!) At the other end of the spectrum is what the USDA calls the “Liberal plan”. This family spends $293.90 per week on food, or double what the thrifty family spends! That’s a pretty wide gap. (If you’re interested in viewing the complete USDA report, here is the link.) I’ve always thought I was pretty conservative with my grocery expenditures but now I’m not so sure. When I get a chance, I plan to look at what I spent on groceries in 2016 and then compare it to this USDA data. More budget-friendly eats could be in my future and hopefully they will all be as delicious at Turkey Cheddar Quinoa Stuffed Peppers!
- 5 bell peppers, of varying colors, cut in half lengthwise, ribs and seeds removed
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1½ cups (10 ounces) of cooked quinoa
- 1⅓ cups (5 ounces) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 cup (4½ ounces) frozen peas
- 1 cup (4½ ounces) frozen corn kernels
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1¼ cups (3 ounces) finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes
- 2 eggs
- 4 cloves of minced garlic or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 Tablespoon herbs de Provence or other savory seasoning
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Preheat oven to 375° F. Bring a large stock pot of water to a boil. Add 1 Tablespoon of salt and the pepper halves. Cook for 3 minutes then remove and place cut side down on a clean dish towel.
- Combine the stuffing ingredients. Using clean paper towels, pat the pepper halves dry on the inside and out and then divide the stuffing evenly between the peppers.
- Place in a casserole dish and bake on the bottom rack of the oven for 30 minutes.
- Serve with your favorite pesto, marinara or homemade ketchup.
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