Only stuffing your food during Thanksgiving is for the birds. So many more foods than just turkey can be stuffed, cooked, and served. Stuffing one food with another is an easy way to combine flavors. It makes whatever you’re serving a little more intriguing, and the presentation will make even an amateur at-home cook look like a top-level chef, so get stuffing with these six recipes.
1. Spinach stuffed chicken breast
Pepper jack cheese will add a little spice to your dinner with AllRecipes.com‘s stuffed chicken. For a milder meal, you can substitute for another type of cheese, like monterey jack.
- 1 (10-ounce) package fresh spinach leaves
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup shredded pepper jack cheese
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, pounded to half-inch thickness
- 1 pinch ground black pepper
- 8 slices bacon
Directions: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place spinach in a large glass bowl and heat in microwave for 3 minutes, stirring every minute or so, or until wilted. Stir in sour cream, pepper jack cheese, and garlic.
Lay the chicken breasts out on a clean surface and spoon some of the spinach mixture onto each one. Roll up chicken to enclose the spinach, then wrap each chicken breast with two slices of bacon. Secure with toothpicks and arrange in a shallow baking dish.
Bake uncovered for 35 minutes in the preheated oven, then increase heat to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, or use the oven’s broiler to cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes to brown the bacon.
2. Greek orzo stuffed peppers
For a stuffed dish vegetarian-style, go Greek with these stuffed peppers from Eating Well. Chickpeas are a great vegetarian source of protein, making these peppers a great Meatless Monday meal component.
- 4 yellow, orange, and/or red bell peppers
- ½ cup whole-wheat orzo
- 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 6 ounces baby spinach, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
- ¾ cup crumbled feta cheese, divided
- ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, (not oil-packed), chopped
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar, or red-wine vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Directions: Halve peppers lengthwise through the stems, leaving the stems attached. Remove the seeds and white membrane. Place the peppers cut-side down in a large, microwave-safe dish. Add ½ inch water, cover and microwave on high until the peppers are just softened, 7 to 9 minutes. Let cool slightly, drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add orzo and cook until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Mash chickpeas into a chunky paste with a fork, leaving some whole.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add spinach and oregano and cook, stirring, until the spinach is wilted, about 1 minute. Stir in the orzo, chickpeas, ½ cup feta, tomatoes, vinegar and salt; cook until heated though, about 1 minute. Divide the filling among the pepper halves and sprinkle each pepper with some of the remaining quarter cup of feta.
3. Pizza stuffed mushrooms
For a new take on pizza and mushrooms, try these mini mushrooms stuffed with pizza flavors. As Emily Always Cooks points out, the recipe can easily be halved or doubled, depending on your needs. All the measurements are for mushroom caps, if you use larger mushrooms you’ll need to adjust to fit the size.
- non-stick cooking spray
- 40 whole baby bella mushrooms
- 8 ounces light cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, divided
- 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, shredded
- ½ teaspoon dried Italian herb blend (or ½ teaspoon dried oregano)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
- salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- ½ cup pepperoni, finely diced
- ¼ cup green bell pepper, finely diced
- ¼ cup red onion, finely diced
- ½ cup black olives, finely diced
- ½ cup marinara sauce
- additional filling options: use ½ cup crumbled sausage instead of pepperoni, or an additional ½ cup fresh veggies to make vegetarian
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (for easy clean up, optional) and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside and reserve. Wipe mushrooms with a damp paper towel to get rid of any dirt and remove stems. The stems should easily pop out. Set aside while you prepare the filling.
In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, ½ cup mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, dried Italian herbs, garlic, fresh basil, salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Stir until well incorporated. Stir in pepperoni, green bell pepper, red onion, and black olives. Set up an assembly line with the prepared mushroom caps, marinara sauce, cheese filling, and remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.
Stuff each mushroom cap with ½ teaspoon marinara sauce, ½ tablespoon cheese filling, and ½ teaspoon mozzarella cheese (in this order). Place mushrooms on the reserved baking sheet, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Serve hot straight from the oven.
4. Stuffed eggplant
For the Food Network, Michael Chiarello made “Mom’s” stuffed eggplant, an Italian take on the dish. There is also a Greek version, called Papoutsakia. Both use beef in the stuffing, but are set apart by the ingredients, which reflect the respective cultures and cuisines.
- 1 large eggplant
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- ½ pound ground beef
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 onion, small diced
- 1 red pepper, small diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup freshly chopped parsley leaves
- ½ cup freshly chopped basil leaves, chopped
- 1¼ cup grated Pecorino Romano, divided
- ¼ cup bread crumbs
- 1 egg
- 2 chopped tomatoes
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the eggplant in half and scoop out the center, leaving enough meat inside the skin so that it holds its shape when baked. Boil the scooped-out center part until very soft, about 10 to 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Add the seasoned ground beef to the pan and sauté until all of its liquid is evaporated and the beef begins to brown slightly. Drain the beef, removing the extra, unnecessary fat. Let cool briefly and chop the cooked beef so that there are no large chunks of meat. In another medium sauté pan over medium heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and sauté the onions, peppers and garlic together.
In a bowl mix together the cooked eggplant, vegetables, cooked beef, herbs, 1 cup of the cheese, bread crumbs, and the egg. Fill the scooped-out eggplant halves with this mixture, dividing it evenly among the two halves.
Top with chopped tomatoes and the remaining ¼ cup of grated cheese, season with salt and pepper, place on an oiled oven tray or baking dish, and bake for 50 minutes in preheated oven. Let cool briefly, slice widthwise and serve.
5. Sweet potato ravioli
Stuffed pasta dishes tend to call to mind shells, and other cheese-filled noodles, but that is not the case with this ravioli in a brown butter sauce from Bon Appétit. Instead inside the wonton wrappers, you’ll find a creamy sweet potato filling. For a little crunch, garnish the dish with chopped toasted pecans.
- 1½ pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams)
- 2 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 48 square wonton wrappers
- 2 large egg whites, beaten until foamy
- ¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter
- 1½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1½tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
For the pasta: Pierce potatoes all over with fork. Cook potatoes in microwave on high until soft throughout, about 6 minutes per side. Cool slightly. Cut potatoes in half; scoop 2 packed cups potato flesh into large bowl. Mix in brown sugar and nutmeg. Season sweet potato filling with salt and pepper.
Line large baking sheet with plastic wrap. Place 1 wonton wrapper on work surface. Using pastry brush, lightly brush wrapper with beaten egg whites. Place 1 tablespoon sweet potato filling in center of wrapper. Top with another wrapper. Press edges together to seal. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling. (This can be made up to 4 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
For the sauce: Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Cook until butter begins to brown, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Carefully mix in vinegar and thyme.
Meanwhile, working in batches, cook ravioli in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, carefully transfer ravioli to hot butter sauce; spoon sauce over to coat ravioli. Transfer to plates. Sprinkle with pecans, if desired; serve immediately.
6. Caramelized onion and smoked gouda stuffed burgers
Rather than serve cheese on top of your burgers, stuff the cheese inside with Healthy Living‘s burgers. Stuffing a burger with cheese might be odd to some, but not to residents of Minneapolis where two restaurants – Matt’s Bar and the 5-8 Club – claim to be the originators of the Jucy/Juicy Lucy. Where you go depends on how they spell it, but both cook their burgers with the cheese on the inside.
- 1 pound ground beef
- 4 ounces smoked gouda cheese, grated
- 2 large yellow onions, sliced thinly
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- 4 hamburger buns
- condiments of your choice
Directions: In a large pan, with a lid, cook the onions in the olive oil over very low heat. Every 10 minutes or so remove the lid and stir the onions. When they are softened, remove the lid and continue to cook until they are golden brown and tender. Set aside to cool.
Preheat your grill to high heat. To assemble your burgers, season the meat with salt and pepper and mix with your hands. Divide the meat into eight equal portions. Mold each portion into a flat pancake-like disk. On four of the discs, arrange about 2 tablespoons of cooked onions and 1 ounce of grated cheese.
Place the plain discs on top of these and press each together to form burger patties. Don’t mix the meat, just press it together to make a pocket. Drizzle burgers with a bit of oil and season with salt and pepper and place on the grill. Grill for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side for medium. Serve on toasted buns with condiments of your choice.