Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Stuffed Pepper Saga

When I got married, I couldn't cook. Could not boil water. My mother-in-law (no doubt fearing for her son's life) gave me a small Betty Crocker cookbook entitled, "Good and Easy." I could read and follow directions fairly well, so I was off and running.

One of the first things I learned to make, that was a little special, was stuffed green peppers. That became a mainstay to serve when having company over for dinner. They looked good and everyone seemed to like them. But then I decided the filling was lacking something (I personally was never crazy about it), so I started fiddling with the recipe. Can't tell you how many filling recipes I tried over the next few years, but finally did settle on one that Roy thought was great and I was happy with . . . until this last winter.

Maybe I should back up a little in this highly engrossing tale. One year when I had a bumper crop of green peppers, I decided to try freezing the stuffed peppers. Worked out great. What an easy meal to have in the freezer. I had only to remember to set them out on the counter to defrost during the day, then put in a covered casserole dish for a half hour in the oven, and voila! Quick, simple, yummy dinner dish . . . for family or company.

Last year, the garden again bestowed us with an abundance of green peppers so I made and froze (waaay too many) stuffed green peppers. This past winter we ate them so often that I decided (once again . . . boy, am I a pain) I no longer liked my filling recipe.

Fast forward to this year, and let me digress a little. I have unsuccessfully tried forever to get my home grown green peppers to turn red. Supposedly when they do, the general nutritional content is higher. They taste sweeter and sure are purdy. (I know the sweet red peppers are a lot pricier to purchase, too.) Well, lo and behold, look at what I'm getting from my garden this year.

And there are a lot of them. Wahoo! I'm not going to waste one of them and since we can only eat so many fresh, I'm back to making up and putting a bunch in the freezer. But not without a new, scrumptious, luscious, you're-gonna-love-this-filling recipe. Knowing I was going to have lots like the ones pictured above to harvest shortly, I once again did some research and came up with a filling recipe that sounded good.

Yesterday I got out my biggest bowl and mixed up the recipe that was supposed to stuff 24 peppers, or 48 halves. (Honest, that's what it said.) Unfortunately, I wasn't the brightest cook in the kitchen in that I blanched all 24 peppers thinking . . . well, that the filling would fill 24 peppers. Only had enough filling for 12 peppers, or 24 halves. Whoops. Did I figure wrong? Nope. Went over the recipe carefully two times and I had the called for amounts of each ingredient. Without making a trip to town to buy more ingredients and starting over again, I was definitely short filling mixture.

So what to do with the 12 (unfilled) blanched peppers? I chopped them up and froze them on cookie sheets, then packaged them for the freezer. I can use them in soups, casseroles, stir fries and such. Crisis averted.

Back to the stuffed peppers. Here's a shot of them individually stuffed, frozen and getting packaged up for the freezer.

I kept a sample out for dinner last night and . . . TA-DA! The filling is the best I've ever made and dear (always hungry, easy-to-please) husband thinks so, too.

Whew! It's an exciting life I lead. My mother-in-law would be so proud of me.

1 comment:

Jim said...

All that build up, and then no recipe! Come on, Mama, for those of us who haven't spent all our adult lives experimenting on pepper stuffing, tell us how to make the world's best stuffed peppers.