Pan-Roasted Asparagus

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In case I haven’t mentioned it before, I should disclose now that I am not a vegetable eater. Well, that’s not entirely true. I do eat some vegetables, but for the most part they are not cooked and they are not green. Beans… asparagus… brussel sprouts… no thank you. Nick, on the other hand, loves his veggies. I wish I could love them, I really do. I know they are very good for me. I have tried to “outgrow” my dislike and try them again and cooked in different ways… but, it doesn’t work. I just don’t like them. However, far be it from me to keep Nick from eating his vegetables!

Now, little did I know that asparagus is actually known as an aphrodisiac! According to a list found on Mele Cotte’s blog:

Asparagus
Given it’s phallic shape, asparagus is frequently enjoyed as an aphrodisiac food. Feed your lover boiled or steamed spears for a sensuous experience. The Vegetarian Society suggests “eating asparagus for three days for the most powerful affect”.

Who knew, right? I have entered my asparagus in the Kitchen of Love blogging event, hosted by Mele Cotte, which is a collection of aphrodisiac foods. Head on over to check out the event and be sure to check out the round up that will be posted on February 12, 2008.

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This pan roasted style of asparagus is Nick’s absolute favorite way to have them prepared and is now the default method in our house. I hope that all of you veggie-lovers enjoy it as well! (And who knows, maybe it will give your mojo a boost as well!)

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Italian Stuffed Peppers

Tonight was a stop in Italy. Although stuffed peppers are not an inherently Italian dish (sshhh, don’t tell my Grandma!), this version certainly tasted like it was straight from the old country! The addition of the parmesan cheese and using spaghetti sauce versus plain tomato sauce made all the difference. This is my new official stuffed pepper recipe!


Italian Stuffed Peppers (adapted from Lunch with Lynn)

4 large bell peppers
1 cup cooked rice
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 large vidalia onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt
Pepper
Italian seasoning
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce (I used homemade that I had in the freezer)
Shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375.

2. Cut the tops off of peppers and clean out seeds and membranes. Place in baking dish that has a small amount of water on the bottom (it will keep the peppers from sticking and keep them moist).

3. Brown the ground beef with the onion and garlic, crumbling the meat. Season with salt, pepper and a couple of dashes of Italian seasoning. Drain beef mixture.

4. Mix beef mixture, rice, parmesan cheese and almost all of spaghetti sauce in a bowl. Stuff an equal amount of filling into each pepper. Top with a spoonful of sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese on each pepper.

5. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese and continue to bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

**What I Would Do Differently**
The peppers were still pretty raw when they came out of the oven, so next time I would boil them quickly to get them started before stuffing them and baking them.