Chile Rellenos

While I joke about the husband not cooking, he does make one dish (granted, he only makes it about once a decade, but still): Chile Rellenos. They are a favorite of his — he judges the quality of Mexican restaurants based on their rellenos — and somehow, someway, he taught himself to make this dish.

He also once won a chile relleno cook-off, but that’s another story for another day.

Making chile rellenos gluten-free is amazingly easy. Making chile rellenos is also pretty easy (though a bit messy). Eating them? Easiest of all.

The recipe below is for what we now know as traditional chile rellenos. The Notes and Meal Suggestions section has ideas for alternate preparations, including an awesome baked relleno.

Quinoa and Vegetable Stuffed Bell Peppers

Another weeknight quickie, especially if you’re using leftover quinoa (or rice). It’s a great vegetarian option that is highly flexible when it comes to ingredients. For example, instead of spinach, I’ve used dandelion greens or kale. In fact, you can mix up the ingredients all sorts of ways…to the point where instead of a bell pepper, maybe you’re stuffing an acorn or butternut squash (note: this may increase cooking time!).

Quinoa and Black Bean Cakes

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is suddenly everywhere. This ancient South American grain is tasty and versatile. It cooks up just like rice*. I find that quinoa absorbs flavor really well, and I really love as a stuffing for squash and peppers.

Quinoa also makes a great vegetarian patty or cake, perfect as a base for Huevos Rancheros or an interesting side dish (maybe topped with a creamy mustard sauce?).  Quinoa and black bean cakes are a great way to use leftover quinoa, with the added bonus of tasty black beans. Adjust the seasonings in this recipe to suit your palate and goals — there is no wrong way to make these!

* Seriously, just like rice — if you’re cooking on your stovetop, it’s 2 cups water or broth to 1 cup quinoa plus seasonings (salt, pepper, cumin, or whatever you like), bring to boil, let simmer for 15 − 20 minutes; if you’re using your rice cooker, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for basic white rice.