Cooking for the Weekend Part I : Polynesian Fruit Salad and Stuffed Venison Peppers

I see lots of recipes for fast cooking during the week. My cooking is the opposite; I prepare ahead for the weekend. After working a 12-hour shift I don’t want to cook….in fact, I don’t want to do much. My cooking has to something my hubby can heat up or add to since he is busy with his business (garage…he is a gear head) and something to bring to work to share with my peeps.

As a nurse I have come to terms with my schedule…as in working every other weekend. After all, sick people need care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. However, there are benefits to working the weekend….days off during the week with fewer people at the grocery store, bank, and post office. Not as many people at the boat ramp during scallop season, and, most importantly, working with a great, close-knit team who works the weekends with me. It’s sort of like hanging with your buds without a beer and getting paid for it. It’s all about attitude.

One thing we do is cook on our weekends so every two weeks we have a pot luck with a new theme each time. This weekend is summer food, hot dogs, fried chicken, and watermelon kind of stuff. 

On our trip to Tahiti we noticed that everyone had fruit salad. Every restaurant made it, in fact, we even had it on an catamaran excursion. With that in mind I decided to make a Polynesian fruit salad using tropical fruits, such as papaya, mangoes. cantaloupe, and watermelon. First order of business was a trip to the Fanning Springs Flea Market to visit Debbie at Glen Meyer’s Fruit & Veggies. I wanted everything fresh….nothing canned. The melons are still coming in from the fields around here (the Chiefland Watermelon Festival was last Saturday). I added a few locally grown strawberries and blueberries for color. I made a big bowl of fruit salad…enough for a small bowl for the house. 

Yummy fruit salad with mangoes, melons, papaya, pineapple, strawberries, and blueberries.

Yummy fruit salad with mangoes, melons, papaya, pineapple, strawberries, and blueberries.

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A close up of the yummy fruit salad.

The venison stuffed peppers was a last minute decision while at the market. 

2 Beauties from the flea market in Fanning Springs.

2 Beauties from the flea market in Fanning Springs.

I cut the tops off the peppers (save the tops and use them for another dish). I lightly seasoned the inside of the peppers with a little of Adobo (a mixture of garlic, salt, and pepper) and set them aside. 

Cut the tops off the peppers and clean out the seeds and ribs. Sprinkle with seasoning.

Cut the tops off the peppers and clean out the seeds and ribs. Sprinkle with seasoning.

The venison was mixed with 1 egg, 1 small chopped onion, salt and pepper, and a handful of rice. This time I used brown rice. I love the nutty flavor. 

Use 1 pound ground venison, 1 small chopped onion, a handful of rice, and 1 egg.  Season with salt and pepper (or Adobo). Mix.

Use 1 pound ground venison, 1 small chopped onion, a handful of rice, and 1 egg. Season with salt and pepper (or Adobo). Mix.

A handful of rice....about 1/2 cup for those of us who use measuring cups.

A handful of rice….about 1/2 cup for those of us who use measuring cups.

The brown rice is Lundberg Jubilee rice….gluten free, no GMOs, totally organic. It has a wonderful, nutty flavor.

Pour the tomato sauce over the peppers and sprinkle with parsley

Pour the tomato sauce over the peppers and sprinkle with parsley

Stuff the peppers loosely with the mixture. Make meatballs with the extra meat. Place in a saucepan with a lid. Pour tomato sauce (8 ounce can) over the peppers and meatballs. Sprinkle with parsley. 

Cook the peppers on a medium-low heat on top of the stove for about 25-30 minutes.  Serve with rice or noodles. 

As for the venison….the hubby is a hunter. We put up what he gets so I usually have ground venison available for cooking but the recipe works well with ground beef, ground turkey, or ground chicken without changing a thing. Using the stove instead of the oven cuts the cooking time and helps keep the kitchen cool.   Regular long or short grain rice can be substituted for the brown rice. 

Happy weekend to all.

Post by Eileen Patterson…who is GoofingOff.  Now, back to posting patterns!

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