Stuffed Peppers & a Winter Salad

Remembering the opposite of California winters...Montana Decembers.
How's winter weather for you? E. Coast, hope you can find a place to put all that snow. On this coast, N. California's been unseasonably warm, then BAM filling up the driveway potholes wet this last weekend. Time for the kind of food that involves roasting tasty things in your oven and lots of citrus to combat the damp/snow/whatever-cold-you're facing.

So, a simple stuffed pepper recipe that'll please a crowd or make your lunch routine easy-peasy. And now that it's February we're remembering those eat-more-salad resolutions from last month...am I right? No gagging on kale and a bunch of raw veggies, this one's delicious I promise!

Stuffed Peppers

6 red peppers (try for ones that have fairly flat bottoms)
1 box of 5-minute cook couscous (I bought Near East's Mediterranean curry, Parmesan & mushroom are both good too)
2 Aidell's Chicken & Apple sausages, sliced in small pieces
1 small yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, finely diced
Small bunch of cilantro

Preheat oven to 350. Slice very top off of peppers, right below where the stem joins the pepper set aside, then hollow out the seeds. Place the peppers, open side up on a baking sheet.

Add a little olive oil to a frying pan and once hot, add the diced onion and saute for 5 or so minutes on medium heat. Add in the diced garlic and sausage. Start couscous below. After sausage is starting to brown, remove the pan from the heat.

Follow the directions on the back of the couscous box, subbing in veggie/chicken stock if you want a bit more flavor. If you're not using boxed couscous, you typically just need to bring the pan's water/stock to a boil, add salt/spices, then pour in the couscous and remove from the heat. Let sit for 5 minutes or so until all the liquid's been absorbed, then fluff with a fork.

Add your frying pan ingredients to the couscous and stir all together. Fill the peppers with the mixture, packed in a bit, up to the top. Stick your pepper lids on and cook in the oven for about an hour. They're done when the pepper skin is starting to wrinkle and you can pierce it with a knife.

Winter Salad (for 2)

2 generous platefuls of mixed greens
2 mandarin oranges
Handful of toasted pecans
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup golden raisins
4-6 cubes crystallized ginger (like from a bulk bin), finely diced
Herbed croutons (if you're lucky enough to have a day-old baguette lying around, toast the bread with a bit of olive oil and make your own)
Either champagne vinaigrette or a citrus-based dressing

Assemble, toss, dress, serve with peppers. Stay warm!