As a kid, I spent a lot of time with my grandmother. My grandmother, an Italian who simultaneously ran a own business and loved to cook, mostly used her kitchen as an office.
It wasn't unusual to hear Nana conducting said business on the phone while preparing meatballs at the kitchen table. The sauce would simmer all day on the stove, and in the meantime, she'd set up appointments while dipping white bread in an egg mixture, and adding other (secret) ingredients to the mix before rolling her meatballs to perfection. She did it so effortlessly, it hardly seemed to take any concentration at all. When she wasn't working, she was often on the phone, gossiping. The problem was, her phone was attached to the wall (she was never one to embrace new technology) and she had a hard time walking.
This is where I came in.
As her faithful eldest granddaughter with a pension for gossip (I earned the nickname "yenta" pretty quickly), I spent a lot of time fetching things for Nana, while she sat: mainly breadcrumbs. To this day, I can't look at a the large blue Progresso breadcrumb cylinder without thinking of her.
Along the way, I learned a few things that I'd later add to my own dinner repertoire. One of them is stuffed peppers. I had never made them until last week, and they were so delicious, inexpensive (green peppers are a dollar each!) I thought I'd share. They can be made really any way you want - you can substitute the meat or make them vegetarian. I chose ground chicken and they were delightful as a main dish with a little left over for lunch the next day.
Stuffed Peppers, a la Nana O (serves 2-3)
4 green peppers
1 pkg ground chicken
1 white onion, diced
1 jar tomato sauce (or make your own)
1/2 c. parmesan cheese, shredded
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
Cut the tops off of the peppers and then dice that part and set aside in a bowl. Cut out seeds and white veins inside until hollowed out. Rinse out any remains.
Dice white onion and add to the bowl.
Coat a frying pan with vegetable oil, and add minced garlic, on low. Add the bit of diced peppers, along with the onion to the pan and cook until they begin to get soft.
Preheat oven to 425.
Rinse ground chicken meat and pat dry. Add salt and pepper to ground chicken, and add to the pan, on medium heat. With a spatula, break apart meat into pieces as it starts to cook. Once browned, cover with tomato sauce and remove from heat.
Spoon the mixture into the peppers and bake, for 20-30 minutes or until soft. In the last few minutes, add cheese to the tops and enjoy!!