Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers with Goat Cheese and Homemade Tomato Sauce by Ronak Patel

Sugar Beet Co-op member and volunteer, Ronak “Roc” Patel, studied culinary arts at Le Cordon Bleu Chicago. He is a private dining chef as well as a caterer.

For more information on Chef Roc’s private dining services, go to his website: 

Makes 30-40 individual stuffed peppers.

Here's what you'll need...

  • Large casserole dish
  • 1 medium bag of mini sweet peppers 
  • 4 oz. mild, soft goat cheese 
  • Fresh basil for garnish

 Rice stuffing...

  • ½ medium onion, small diced 
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced 
  • ½ jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
  • tablespoon olive oil   
  • 1 cup of brown rice, uncooked 
  • 1 box of frozen mixed vegetables, any variety
  • 1 cup of cooked beans, any variety
  • 3 cups of water or vegetable broth
  • 1 8 oz. bag of mozzarella cheese

 Step by Step...

  •  Sauté onion, garlic, and jalapeno in olive oil
  • Add brown rice and sauté with aromatics until glossy. 
  • Add mixed vegetables and cooked beans and sauté everything together until vegetables are tender. 
  • Add water or vegetable broth. Cook until done, roughly 45 minutes. 
  • Let rice cool slightly. 
  • Add mozzarella cheese to rice mixture. Check for seasoning.  

Tomato Sauce

  • 1 28 oz. can of tomato puree 
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder 
  • 1 ½ tablespoons onion powder 
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme 
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano 
  • 2 tablespoons dried basil 
  • sugar, salt, and pepper to taste

Step by Step...

  • Heat tomato puree and add spices (garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, oregano, dried basil, sugar, salt, and pepper). 
  • Simmer sauce on a very low heat for roughly around the time it takes for the rice stuffing to be done. Use your own judgment. 

Assemble Peppers...

  • Stuff peppers with rice stuffing 
  • Coat greased casserole dish with small layer of tomato sauce. 
  • Arrange stuffed peppers in an even layer. 
  • Cover with more tomato sauce. 
  • Top with small dollops of goat cheese. 
  • Bake uncovered for 45 minutes.
  • Top with fresh torn basil for garnish 


Pastichio- Greek Style Lasagna by Laura Bruzas

Sugar Beet Co-op member, Laura Bruzas, has been compiling healthy tips and recipes for her blog, Healthy Dining Chicago, since 2003.   Laura's mission is to help spread the message that good nutrition and an eco-friendly lifestyle are paramount to disease prevention and management.  Laura adapted this recipe for her neighbor to take to a church potluck.  It's what she calls a "special occasion" recipe... and it was delicious!


recipe is from this webpage:

This recipe makes 2 large 9×11 pans and serves at least 10-12…

If you only want to make 1 pan…split the measurements in half!  Enjoy!

Here’s what you’ll need…

  • 2 lbs ziti noodles
  • 2 9×11 lasagna pans

    For the Meat (or vegetarian) Sauce:
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large chopped yellow onions
  • 4 stalks finely chopped celery
  • 6 finely chopped carrots
  • 6 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 lbs. lean ground beef or LifeLight Vegetarian Crumbles
  • 1 cup chicken stock or veggie stock
  • 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • pinch of cumin
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes in puree
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

    For the Bechamel:
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan
  • 4 extra-large eggs (beaten)

    Okay, here’s the step by steps…

  • Preheat your oven to 350.
  • Finely chop the carrots, celery, onion and garlic (I do it in the food processor)
  • In a medium-large saute pan on medium-high heat add a few tablespoons of olive oil and sweat your veggies (season with salt)
  • Once everything softens, add your ground beef or LifeLight Veggie Crumbles and work it into small crumbles with a wooden spoon (season with salt and pepper)
  • Once the meat is cooked (8-10 minutes) add your chicken or veggie broth and continue to cook for another 5 minutes
  • Now add your cinnamon, cumin, salt pepper, oregano, thyme….mix together and cook for a few more minutes
  • Stir in your tomatoes and pinch of sugar, turn your stove down to simmer and let it cook for 30-45 minutes. Taste to see if it needs more salt and pepper. (Set aside when done)
  • Cook your ziti as directions state until it’s “under cooked” about 5-6 minutes You want it to have a bite to it. It will continue to cook in the oven. (Drain and set aside)

    Now for the cheesy cream sauce…
  • For the béchamel, heat the milk and cream together in a microwave safe measuring cup for about 1 1/2 minutes until it’s warm
  • In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly for 2 minutes.
  • Pour the warm milk and cream mixture into the butter and flour mixture, whisking constantly. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, until smooth and thick.
  • Turn off the heat, and carefully stir in your beaten eggs (temper them first so they wont scramble)
  • Add the nutmeg,  salt and pepper and stir in 3/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese

    Now it’s time to assemble our pastichios…
  • Add a big spoonful of meat sauce to your ziti and mix together
  • Now evenly distribute the ziti into your lasagna pans
  • Evenly distribute the meat sauce over the noodles
  • Now pour béchamel over everything in a thick layer until everything is covered
  • Sprinkle the remaining parmesan cheese on top
  • Bake uncovered in the oven for about an hour until everything is bubbly and golden brown.

Shroomschetta Panzanella with Green Beans by Cheryl Muñoz

"I make this recipe for potlucks and when I have a group coming over.  It's versatile and if I have some greens, bread or pasta and a jar of shroomschetta, I can pull together something healthy and really, really good in less than 30 minutes."

River Valley Kitchen Shroomschetta Panzanella with Green Beans
by Cheryl Muñoz

1  16 oz jar of RVK Shroomschetta (buy at farmers' market and Sugar Beet Co-op soon!)

1 baguette
2 lbs green beans
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cups red wine vinegar
1 cup chopped fresh parsley (or basil/ or both)
6 oz goat cheese
salt/ pepper to taste


to make:
1. Trim and cut green beans into 1 ' pieces
2. S
team green beans until they are bright green but not soft
Cut baguette into crouton-sized cubes
4. In a large mixing bowl, mix jar of Shroomschetta, oil and vinegar
5. Add green beans, herbs and croutons to Shroomschetta mixture
6. Mix very well and taste for salt/ pepper
7. Pour into serving bowl and dot top with goat cheese

Serve room temp - makes about 15-20 side dish servings
In place of green beans, you could use any combo of greens, red onions, mushroom, sliced peppers...anything!  In place of baguette, you can use a pound of whole wheat spaghetti.