Hummus and Veggie Sandwiches

With all of the dining out while on the road at the end of the year, followed by copious amounts of food for Thanksgiving and Christmas, I was looking forward to a couple of lighter meals. Taking a break from organizing my tools in the utility room, I stopped and pulled together this quick hummus and veggie sandwich lunch.

Photo 2012-12-29 09.53.13 AMI made the sandwich by spreading about two tablespoons of Publix classic hummus on one side of a Nature’s Own Healthy Multi-Grain Sandwich Round and laying a slice of Sargento 2% Milk Provolone cheese on the other side. I never use fat-free cheese for anything; it doesn’t melt well, it is rubbery, and it doesn’t taste a good as regular or 2% milk cheeses. I placed thinly sliced cucumber on the side with the cheese and sliced sweet peppers on the side with the hummus. I stacked carrot sticks on top of the peppers and fresh spinach (fresh from my parent’s garden in South Georgia) on top of the cucumber slices.    I put the two sides together and sliced the sandwich in half.

Photo 2012-12-29 09.29.42 AM

I ate my sandwich with a handful of Trader Joe’s Barbeque Popped Potato Chips (a lighter alternative to fried potato chips), Trader Joe’s Crunch Curls (made from lentils and potatoes), and a couple of baby dill pickles.

If you, like most people, plan to make a New Years resolution to eat healthier, I hope this sandwich inspires you to bring healthier lunch options to work instead of dining out every day.

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers

Inspired by Giada De Laurentiis’ Orzo Stuffed Peppers recipe, I decided to significantly change the recipe based on items I had in the pantry to make a Southwestern twist on stuffed peppers.

My recipe for Southwestern Stuffed Peppers requires:

  • 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies, drained
  • 14.5 oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes, drained
  • 2 medium zucchini, shredded
  • 1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup shredded Mexican blend cheeses
  • 2 Tbsp fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 1/8 cup fresh oregano, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 32 oz chicken stock, I used a 32oz carton of Wolfgang Puck’s Roasted Chicken Stock
  • 1 cup orzo, I used Pappardelle’s Southwest Orzo
  • 4 bell peppers, I used 2 orange and 2 red

To make the stuffed peppers, begin by preheating the oven to 400 degreed Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, mix together the tomatoes, zucchini, beans, cheese, herbs, garlic, oil, salt and pepper. Because the zucchini adds extra moisture to the mixture, be sure to drain the tomatoes and the beans well.

Vegetable filling
Vegetable filling

Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a pot and add the orzo. Jill and I bought Southwest Orzo from the same Pappardelle’s pasta stand at the Winter Park Farmers’ Market where we bought the mafaldine featured in our Eggplant and Zucchini Pasta Bake and our Another Delicious Mafaldine Recipe posts, but any orzo should work. Cook the orzo for 5 minutes. Strain the orzo from the chicken stock, pouring the stock into a 9 by 13 inch baking dish.

Southwest orzo
Southwest orzo

Mix the strained orzo with the pepper filling until combined.

Vegetable - orzo mixture
Vegetable - orzo mixture

Remove the tops from the bell peppers and carefully remove any seeds and ribs. Fill the peppers with the stuffing and place the peppers in the baking dish with the chicken stock.

Stuffed bell peppers
Stuffed bell peppers

Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake the stuffed peppers for 45 minutes. Let the peppers cool briefly and serve on a bed of fresh spinach.

Baked stuffed peppers
Baked stuffed peppers

These stuffed peppers make a light, healthy dinner with bold flavor. Left over stuffing can be cooked in a pot until the orzo reaches the desired tenderness and served as a pasta dish.