Stuffed Green Peppers

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Whole Stuffed Pepper
My mother often made stuffed peppers, so I grew up loving them and also often made for my family. 

In the days before salsa and sour cream were easily available, we passed the ketchup bottle around topping them off before eating.

Green peppers are inexpensive, even lower priced during summer months or abundant at farmer's markets.  I stock up, half and remove seeds, blanch and freeze for future use.  Large ones halved can be stuffed and served in a "boat-like" style.

Frozen green peppers are handy to have on hand for chile, Italian beef sandwiches, omelets, & stews.

Stuffed Green Peppers
  • 4 - 6 green bell peppers
  • 2 Tabs. oil
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 Tab. minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley or  1 Tab. dry
  • 3/4 tsp.salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 Tab. Worcestershire sauce
  • *1-1/2 cups cooked white rice or Mexican rice
  • 8 oz. tomato sauce, or salsa
  • 1-1/2 cups of shredded cheese, I use Cheddar
  • Stuffed Green Peppers
    Halved Stuffed Peppers
  • Water
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cut off tops and remove seeds. If they're uneven on bottom, take a thin slice off the bottom so they stand flat. If large, cut in half and serve in a "boat-like style. Parboil peppers 2 to 3 minutes in boiling water to soften. Remove, drain and cool. 
Heat oil, add onions, beef, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper and Worcestershire. Cook until the meat is browned, stirring to break up lumps. Add rice and tomato sauce, mixing well. Remove from heat, let cool, then mix in 1 cup of cheese.
Pour water into a baking dish to just cover the bottom, about 1/4-inch deep. Stuff peppers with mixture, packing tightly down, and place in the baking dish. Bake until the peppers are soft and filling is heated through, 25 to 30 minutes. Leftovers can be wrapped in foil and frozen. Sometimes I make extra and freeze.
Remove from oven, top with remaining cheese and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Toppings: ketchup, salsa, sour cream, Tabasco sauce.

*When cooking rice I make a double batch and freeze to have on hand when recipes call for cooked rice. It's a time saver for many recipes calling for a small amount.

Estimated cost: $1.25 per serving or less, for whole stuffed pepper; .63 cents for a half.

Bacon Wrapped Fried Hot Dogs

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppWe're Food Network Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives fans, so I always ask my husband to jot down a dish, or meal he sees that he'd like me to make ......... and bacon wrapped fried hot dogs was his latest request.  

As Rachael Ray would say: YUMO!  It's not just the bacon, but the flavors of the toppings combined with the crispiness of the "dog" that make this a new family favorite.

Growing up in Chicago, Vienna hot dogs were readily available at vendors all around the city. That taste spoiled me, so I'm picky when it come to hot dogs.  All beef please, with skins that pop!  

Nathan's brand is sold here in Oregon, so that's the closest I've found to Viennas.  When Mom was alive and flew out to visit from Chicago, she always brought several package of Viennas - what a treat!  Of course the cost of this dish can be easily be lowered by buying less expensive brands, (lower than $3 - $4 a package) especially if feeding a crowd, or large family.

This is basically what I saw on the show, except I added celery salt (a Chicago style ingredient), and substituted salsa for diced tomato.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppBacon Wrapped Fried Hot Dogs
Vegetable oil, for frying
4 all beef hot dogs 
4 to 6 slices bacon, as needed to cover
4 hot dog buns
1 green pepper, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
1 diced tomato, or salsa
celery salt
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Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppSaute green peppers and onions until soft, Season if desired.  Meanwhile while they're cooking, wrap bacon around each hot dog to cover it, and secure with tooth picks.

Heat oil to 350 and fry wrapped hot dogs about two minutes or until bacon is crisp. Remove toothpicks.

Put on steamed or warmed bun.  Add mayo, ketchup and mustard; top with pepper onion mixture, Sprinkle celery salt and top with diced tomatoes or salsa.
Serves 4.

Estimated cost: $3.60 or less, .90 cents or less per serving.

Taco Soup

Taco Soup photo 784E7500-D920-47A1-A29D-0983AD3C2387_zpshznkmavb.jpgThis is an easy, flavorful soup with many of the ingredients used for making tacos.  It could be made in a crock pot or on the stove top. On the stove it takes about a half hour to make.

There's hundreds of similar recipes on the Internet using different combinations of beans, but the norm is to have two or three different kinds of beans and corn kernels.  

If you buy dried beans in bulk, it's even more economical to make. When using dried beans, I use my pressure cooker to prepare beans for this soup. They cook and soften in about 15 minutes.

Add a salad and/or corn bread for a hearty feast.

Taco Soup
1 lb. cooked ground beef, shredded chicken or ground turkey
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green peppers
1, 16 oz. can diced tomatoes with liquid
1, 16 oz. can kidney or pinto beans with liquid
1, 16 oz. can of black beans with liquid
1,  15 oz. can beef or chicken broth
1, 17 oz. can of whole kernel corn with liquid
1, 8 oz. can tomato sauce
One package taco seasoning
black pepper
cayenne pepper
Suggested toppings: sour cream, green onions, shredded cheese, guacamole, tortilla chips

Taco Soup photo B1979ACC-C6D6-4B63-99EC-BC7B1A2DBF3F_zpsvpevsv53.jpg

Cook meat and drain.  For the chicken, shred after cooking or use store roasted chicken and shred. Add ingredients to a 3 quart or larger, soup pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Or add ingredients to a crock pot set on low and cook about 4-6 hours, or on high 3-4 hours. Serve in bowls with optional toppings such as grated cheese, sour cream, guacamole and crushed tortilla chips.

Makes 3 quarts - 12 to 14 servings

Estimated cost $7.40 or less; .60 cents a serving or less.