The Most Excellent Stuffed Peppers

1 chopped brown onion
4 good-sized bell peppers*
1 lb hamburger (beef or turkey, but you need spicier salsa with turkey)
1 jar salsa** (I like hot salsa)
1 cup cooked or instant brown or white rice
About 4 oz cheddar cheese, in 16 small slices. Or more if you want.

Put a big pot of water on to boil.

In a large frying pan, brown onion in olive oil, add hamburger, cook til done. Add tomatoes/salsa/rice, maybe a little water if the rice absorbs all the liquids…it should be a tiny bit wet rather than dry.

While this is cooking, cut the tops out of the peppers, slice each one in half, take out the seeds and veins. When the water boils, put the peppers in CAREFULLY and cook for two or three minutes, take out with tongs, put in a bowl or on a towel until you need them.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Put the peppers, cut side up, in a 9×13 baking pan in one layer. It’s okay to squeeze them in a bit. Put one slice of cheese in the bottom of each. Spoon hamburger/salsa/rice mixture into them, heaping up if needed. Put the other 8 slices of cheese on top.

Cook at 350 for fifteen or twenty minutes til the cheese is melted.

One half is a decent size meal, two is a big meal. They reheat just fine in the microwave.

*Get peppers that are big enough that each half will hold a decent amount of filling; I like getting half red and half green, but whatever.

**This is most of the flavor of your meal, so go crazy! Try hot salsa, pineapple/mango salsa with turkey and Monterey jack cheese, or whatever your taste buds tell you. I just used Trader Joe’s Cowboy Caviar and it was GREAT in this.

Addendum: last night I made this, but cut the peppers in pieces about 3/4 inch square. I put half of them in the bottom of the baking dish, then a layer of meat/salsa, then a layer of brown rice, then shredded cheese, then more peppers, meat/salsa and cheese, and baked it for twenty minutes at 350. It was AMAZINGLY GOOD.

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Patti LaBelle’s Macaroni and Cheese

You can’t make a small amount of this. I usually buy a large foil lasagna pan at the store and take it to a potluck.

  • 1 tbsp vegetable Oil
  • 1 lb macaroni
  • 8 tbsp butter
  • 1 (seperate) tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup muenster cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup mild cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 8 oz. Velveeta cheese, cubed
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350.
Lightly butter a 2 1/2 qt baking dish (or your foil pan)
Cook macaroni according to directions til it’s al dente – don’t overcook!
Melt 8 tbsp butter and stir it into warm macaroni
In a large bowl, combine all four shredded cheeses (NOT the Velveeta!)
Reserve 1/2 cup of the mixed shredded cheeses.
Mix the macaroni, the rest of the shredded cheeses, the Velveeta, the half-and-half, the salt and pepper, and the eggs, mix well.
Put it in your casserole dish/foil pan
Sprinkle with the reserved 1/2 cup cheese
Dot with the last tablespoon of butter
Bake 30-35 minutes or til the edges are golden brown and bubbly.

 

 

Wonderful Slum*

For 2 people, scale it up for more.

  • 1/2 to 2/3 lb hamburger, divided and shaped into two thickish patties.
  • 2 slices of bread
  • Cheese- I like using 2-3 oz of cheap medium cheddar per person, since it’s going to be melted, and I use block cheese; shredded and high-end cheeses don’t seem to work as well.
  • 11 oz can corn, I like the kind with no added sugar.
  • 1 small bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 4 oz can sliced black olives
  • 4-6 oz sliced mushrooms (optional)

Get everything ready. Sprinkle garlic salt on the hamburger patties and grill/broil/fry them (I use a Foreman grill because I like that.)

While the patties are cooking, toast the bread in the toaster.

Put a saucepan on medium heat, drain the corn and olives, put them in with the green onions. Heat til you can smell the onions.

If you use mushrooms, sauté them with a tiny bit of olive oil in a separate pan so you can drain the juices when they are done. Add to corn and olives.

When the toast is done, put a slice on each plate. When the hamburgers are ALMOST done, cut up the cheese pretty small, add to the corn pan, and turn the heat to low medium. Stir and keep an eye on this pan, you want to melt the cheese but not let it burn.

When the cheese is melted and mixed in with the corn/onions/olives/mushrooms, put a hamburger patty on each piece of toast and spoon half the cheese mixture over each, serve immediately.

*When I was dating Mr. Otter, I went over to his house when he was sick. I’ll cook dinner, I said, and went looking in his kitchen. Typical batchelor kitchen, all he had was bread, cheese, hamburger, a can of corn, a can of olives and spring onions. I made this (we started adding mushrooms later) and served it for dinner.

What’s this called? he said.

I don’t have a name for it, I just slum it all together (riffing on Pogo).

Well, it’s wonderful, he said. And so it was named.

Cows in Blankets

  • High quality hot dogs (my fav is Hebrew National)
  • Cheese of choice (for me, cheddar)
  • Croissants or bread sticks in a tube

Make a slit in each hot dog the long way.
Cut slices of cheese about 1/4 inch thick and 1/2 inch wide, a bit shorter than the hot dog.
Open the bread sticks or croissants, unstick them from each other, and wrap one around each hot dog in a spiral.

Put on cookie sheet and bake at recommended temperature from the bread wrapper for about the time it says; keep an eye on them, make sure they’re done and browned but not burned.

NOTE: A package of Hebrew National has seven hot dogs, the croissants or bread sticks usually have eight or ten…you can get creative with the extra bread…