(Un)stuffed Bell Pepper Bake

To say that I haven’t had much time to spend in the kitchen lately would be a huge understatement.  Life with a toddler and an infant is lively to put it mildly.  I am not sure anyone could have prepared me for this adjustment.  It has been a wonderful five weeks with my two little nuggets, but my normal schedule has been completely rocked.

5:00 is the baby’s fussy time and the toddler’s extra wild time.  This combo makes it really hard to prepare dinner, so I have been making things that I can prep during nap time in the early afternoon and either pop in the oven for 20 minutes right before dinner or throw in the slow cooker.  I am also really into one dish options lately.

This simple dish came together one of those days that was extra crazy.  I had almost no groceries and wasn’t able to get to the store.  My sweet friend called from Fresh Market and asked if I needed her to pick up anything.  I asked for beef and chicken since I knew that would at least provide us with some protein for the next few days.  She dropped it by like a grocery bearing angel, and I paired the ground beef with a few staples that I always keep in my fridge to make this easy and yummy weeknight dinner.

Ingredients :

1 or 2 bell peppers

1 pound of ground beef or turkey, browned and drained

1 cup of salsa

2 cups of cooked brown rice

shredded cheese for topping

unstuffed bell peppers

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Saute the chopped bell pepper in a little oil until it is just tender.  My uncle grew this one in his back yard garden, and it was half red and half green – so pretty!

unstuffed bell peppers ingredients

Add the cooked peppers, beef, salsa and rice to a baking dish.  You can play with the proportions depending on your preferences or swap the brown rice for white rice, quinoa, barley, beans, etc.

unstuffed bell pepper bake

Mix it all together!  It is just like the stuffing of my favorite whole peppers that my Granny bakes all the time but in one big dish instead of scooped into individual shells. Ben is not a huge fan of bell peppers but likes them in small bits like this, so this dish is the perfect compromise for both our tastes.

unstuffed bell peppers with cheese

Top it with your favorite cheese!  Why does everything taste better with cheese?

unstuffed bell pepper bake  easy weeknight dinnerBake for 20 minutes uncovered and enjoy!  This was delicious reheated the next day as well which is always a huge plus around here.  I like to make a big batch of something at night, so we don’t have to worry about lunch the next day.

Have you tried any new quick and easy weeknight meals lately?

These are a few of my other favorites!

Pinterest Favorites | Sour Cream Noodle Bake | Chicken Parmesan Spinach Bake

DIY Fern Terrarium

Bringing the outdoors in is always a goal when decorating my home.  I am energized by seeing things that are fresh and green.  I like to take it a step further than viewing them out my windows and fill my tabletops and shelves with plants and flowers whenever possible.  There are two problems I commonly run into with this practice though.  I have a ton of trouble keeping house plants alive, and fresh blooms don’t last long at all. This makes it both expensive and time consuming to keep them.

DIY Fern Terrarium

 

A terrarium is a simple solution to both of these problems!  I have found that they are a pinch to throw together, very low maintenance and easy to keep alive for months or even longer.  I actually made this one in about 5 minutes without buying single thing!

fern terrarium 1

I just pulled a glass bowl from the cabinet.  Then I filled it with a little potting soil from the backyard.  Next I dug up a tiny part of a huge fern planted in my front yard.  I threw in some fresh moss from outside.  Finally I added a few smooth black rocks for some interest and texture.  (My aunt gave me the rocks, but Dollar Tree sells them.)

fern terrarium 2

I just spritz it with water a couple times a week, and it has been living for about two months.  It is in the center of our kitchen table right now, but it has been on a buffet table, in the center of the bar and on a shelf in the living room.  It is a really versatile decor piece that can instantly freshen up any vignette or tabletop!

DIY 5 Minute Terrarium

Currently : July

July is here, and that means fireworks, cookouts and patriotic place settings!  It is such a festive month, and while the red, white and blue scheme is not usually my thing, I love to see it decking doors, tables and mantles for a month each summer.  I even dressed my kiddo in it this morning.

These are a few other things that I am loving this July thanks to the fun prompts that Jenna and Anne came up with for this month’s edition of Currently:

Craving :  Blueberries! Every summer I go blueberry crazy, and this one is no different.  Here are a few new blueberry recipes I have on my “to try” list this month!

blueberry recipes

blueberry frozen yogurt | blueberry oatmeal cookies | blueberry smoothie

Grilling :  We got a pizza oven attachment for our grill for Christmas but waited until summer to test it out.  It’s amazing!  It heats up quickly and cooks a pizza in minutes.  You can put a homemade pizza in it or pop a frozen one in for a quick dinner that tastes much more gourmet than when it is baked in the oven.

Listening :  Desperately trying to keep a calm and peaceful vibe going in my home with a toddler and a newborn, I have been playing lots of soothing songs.  One particular song that I have played over and over again this past week is Ingrid Michaelson’s version of “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You.”

Planning :  I feel like a grandma because I have gotten so into gardening lately.  I have just fallen in love with reading and learning about plants, dirt and landscaping.  I still have so much to learn, but I am planning for some new updates and ongoing projects for my yard that I am excited to complete!

IMG_2481

Decorating :  I finished the nursery just in time for baby #2’s arrival.  Next on my list is the hallway that leads to my master suite and laundry room.  It is open to and visible from the living room and kitchen, so I am staring at that odd transition space quite a bit.  I want to lighten up the wall color and add some interesting artwork plus a makeshift mudroom near the laundry area.  I am envisioning something like the photos below.

mudroom wall

wall hooks | shoe cubbies | storage bench

What are you up to this month?