I always looked forward to spending a day with Papa and Nana. We would usually begin with breakfast at one of the local joints, and I would always order pancakes. Afterwards, we would begin our shopping adventures. Some days we would have to go grocery shopping, which would consist of going to three or four different stores to catch all the bargains. My favorite days were the ones when we went to the mall or Kmart and I could pick out a new toy or outfit. After shopping, we would go back to the house where my cousin and I would play for the rest of the day until our parents got off work and came to pick us up.
I remember eating Nana’s stuffed peppers after one of these days of hanging out at Papa and Nana’s house all day. I don’t really remember eating them for large family gatherings, but I do remember eating them. It’s funny because when I was younger, I never really liked peppers or onions, so I remember just eating the stuffing out of the peppers. It was delicious.
When I was pregnant with my son, I craved these stuffed peppers, even after I hadn’t eaten them for many, many years. I never actually got around to making them because the recipe, like many of Nana’s, is nonexistent. I recently had a chance to catch up with my dad to ask if he knew any of her technique. Luckily, he had.
Nana’s Stuffed Peppers
6 bell peppers – tops, seeds and veins removed
2 lbs ground beef
3 cups cooked rice
1 onion, chopped
2 TBSP minced garlic
1 large cans of tomato sauce
1 small can of tomato paste
1 large can of water
1 TBSP Italian seasoning
1 TBSP dried basil
2 TBSP parsley
Nana made her stuffed peppers by cooking them in a pot of sauce. Typically, she would make about six peppers at a time. To begin, cook the onion, seasoned with a little bit of salt in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until translucent; add the garlic and sauté a couple more minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Mix the ground beef, rice, and sautéed onion mixture together. Stuff into hollowed out peppers. Once stuffed, drop into a large pot with the tomato sauce, paste and water mixed together. Season the sauce with Italian seasoning, basil and parsley. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for up to 2 hours, or until the peppers are cooked through and the meat is no longer pink.
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