Diane Prather: For whom the bell pepper tolls? It tolls for you to eat

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Diane Prather

Diane Prather's columns appear in the Craig Daily Press and Saturday Morning Press. You can call her at 824-8809.

— There are a few tiny peppers on our bell pepper plants, but it's going to be awhile until they're ready. So yesterday, I bought three big bell peppers at the store. I just couldn't wait to try a recipe I found in the Fence Post awhile back.

Nadine Kunard of Grand Junction contributed the recipe.

To make California Stuffed Bell Peppers, you need: 3 large green bell peppers, 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce, divided, 1 (6.8-ounce) package Rice-A-Roni Spanish Rice, seasoning packet, 1 pound ground beef and 1 large egg.

Wash and cut the peppers in half lengthwise. Remove stem and seeds from each. Set aside.

Note: I usually pre-cook green peppers before stuffing to cut down cooking time. Put water in a saucepan, bring it to a boil, add the peppers, bring water back to a boil, and let peppers boil for 2 or 3 minutes. Remove from the water and let cool.

In a large bowl, combine 1 cup of tomato sauce, the Rice- A-Roni and seasonings, ground beef and egg. Stuff the pepper halves evenly with the mixture.

Then, according to recipe directions arrange the peppers, meat-side down, in a large skillet. Pour the remaining tomato sauce and 1 1/2 cups water over the peppers evenly.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer for 35 minutes, until the meat is done and the rice is tender.

Serve with remaining tomato sauce mix from the skillet.

Makes 6 servings.

Instead of using a skillet, I placed the peppers, meat-side down, in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and poured the sauce and water over them, as directed. I covered the dish with foil and baked the peppers at 350 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes, until the meat was done and rice was tender. It worked great.

I liked this recipe. Putting the peppers meat-side down allowed the rice to absorb the liquid, leaving the filling moist. (Surprisingly, there was not a lot of liquid left after baking.) Because of the seasonings, the filling was also quite tasty.

I served the peppers with zucchini, fresh from the garden, that I sliced, dipped in flour and beaten egg, and fried in a little oil.

Sometimes I make "Spanish Rice" as a side dish. You need: about 6 slices of bacon, cut up, 1/4 cup (each) finely chopped onion and green pepper, 2 cups cooked, diced tomatoes, about 1 1/2 cups cooked rice and salt and pepper, to taste.

Fry the bacon and remove it from the skillet. Cook the onion and pepper until tender. Then put the bacon back, add the other ingredients, and cook on low until it's heated through (about 15 minutes). You can use uncooked rice, but use about a cup and, of course, cook longer.

Thanks to the Fence Post for allowing me to reprint the pepper recipe.

Send your recipes to me at Box 415, Craig 81626 or call me at 824-8809.

Copyright Diane Prather, 2997. All rights reserved.

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