Thursday, February 23, 2012

Use it or Lose it Cookbook Challenge #1: Stuffed Vidalia Onions

The Use it or Lose it Challenge from my 30 by 30 list
23. Make one new recipe from each of my cookbooks, otherwise throw them out

Stuffed Vidalia Onions adapted from Weight Watchers Slow Cook It

On Sunday night, I spent about 43 minutes (while I was watching the Season 5 premiere of "Bones") looking through my different cookbooks searching for a recipe to make this week.  I have a LOT of cookbooks, so I knew I had to get started.     And I specifically wanted a slow cooker recipe since it's lacrosse season!

Maybe its just me, but when I get home at 6/6:30, the absolute last thing I want to do is make a big old dinner.  I am normally starving and ready to eat.  So I find the easiest thing to do is to eat dinner (leftovers or whatever) and THEN cook.   The perfect thing to do that in is a slow cooker.   I am able to prep all the stuff and then let the slow cooker do its magic while I'm sleeping!  I guess i could also leave it on all day while I'm gone, but I do worry that "the zoo" will knock it over or start a fire or something!  So I tend to cook it over night, stick it in the fridge during the day and then warm it when I get home. 

My problem with finding a crock pot recipe is that about 90% of them are either
a chili or a stew recipe.  And the thing is.  I have a chili recipe I love (ironically from this cookbook) so why would I want to try another recipe??   If I wanted chili, I would just make the recipe I like.   And the others are soups, which is fine.... but i feel like I'd still have to do a lot of work to make a full meal (like grill some chicken or something) so to me it defeats the purpose. 

I was excited to try this stuffed onions recipe since it was healthy and included onions which I love (Hence why my official Southern name is Vidalia Ina-- thanks cousins :P) The recipe is originally listed as a vegetarian recipe and included soy crumbles.  Now if I was making this for myself, I probably would have left it.  However, when you are cooking for a boy, you can't always do that!  When I told him it had soy crumbles, he gave me a look like "what are you trying to feed me!"   So I adapted the recipe and included lean (95%) ground beef instead.   I also added some chopped peppers and onion and changed up the spices used.

I think I may have made a "make it or break it" mistake while making this recipe that could have either made the recipe awesome, or ruined it.    I forgot to mix the rice in with the beef mixture until after I had already stuffed the onions.  So I decided the best course of action was to mix the rice in with the tomato "sauce".  It was just weird when it was done.   I was displeased.  However, I just cut up the onion and kinda mixed the onion and the sauce/rice thing together and it tasted really good.   
My onion sliced up mixture (with the djion green beans.. coming soon to the blog!)

I will definitely make them again.... and this time follow the directions more carefully :)  And its one cookbook I get to keep!

Stuffed Vidalia Onions 

Serves 4

  • 4 large Vidalia Onions (about 3/4 pounds each)
  • 1/2 pound (8oz) lean ground beef
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice ( I used Uncle Ben's Whole Grain Ready Rice)
  • 10 oz frozen peas and carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions (just use the insides of the vidalias you will be stuffing)
  • 1/4 cup chopped green peppers
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp italian seasoning
  • 2 cups tomato puree
  • 2 tsps lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tsp dill (I use salt free "Its a Dilly!")
  • 2 Tbsps Worcestershire sauce
  1. Remove the "skin"  from each onion
  2. Trim the bottom of each onion so that it can stand upright, but are intact to hold the filling
  3. Trim about 1/2 inch off the top of each onion
  4. With a mellon baller or sharp knife (I started with an ice cream scoop and then went to a regular old spoon), cut out the onion centers leaving all but the outer layer.   Use 1/2 cup of the onion centers in the filling, but you can discard the rest
  5. Combine the ground beef, onions and peppers in a skillet and heat for about 3-4 minutes.  Add in peas and carrots and continue to cook until vegetables are soft and meat is no longer pink.
  6. Drain the meat mixture and place in a large bowl.
  7. Add in rice!!
  8. Stir in salt, pepper, garlic powder and Italian seasoning.
  9. Fill each onion with the filling, packing firmly.  Transfer to the slow cooker (Note: You may have to turn the onions to get them all in... thats ok!  Once the start to cook they will get softer and you can squeeze them in).
  10. Put remaining meat mixture around the onions.
  11. Mix the tomato puree, chicken broth, lemon juice , dill and Worceshire sauce in a medium bowl
  12. Pour around the onions (not on them!)
  13. Cover and cook until onions are fork tender (about 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 on low).  {I cooked for 6 hours on low the night before and then refrigerated during the day.  Before serving, I cooked them on high for another hour....I also could have just microwaved them :)}
 Recipe Adapted from Veggie Stuffed Onions in the Weight Watchers "Slow Cook It" book

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