Stuff and Nonsense: Mom's Stuffed Peppers


Mom's Stuffed Peppers

Everyone, I'm sure, has dishes they most associate with "home" and these stuffed peppers are one of mine. I remember coming home from school and the whole house would smell so distractingly delicious that it would be difficult to concentrate on whatever new novel I was currently devouring.

When I hear talk now about getting kids to help out in the kitchen to make them more conscious eaters and give them the skills they'll need to make good food choices as adults, I'm always a little amused (and surprised), because that's how I grew up and it just seemed like the "normal" thing to me (although I recognize that due to contemporary constraints on time and family member availability, I am probably wrong).

I'm sure my mother never thought twice about putting me to work in her kitchen as there was no reason a clever child such as myself couldn't peel vegetables, mash potatoes, empty the compost bin, and set and clear the table. None of these were particularly difficult or strenuous activities -- although I strenuously objected to emptying the (gross!) compost bin -- and I managed to do them with a certain amount of competency considering my brain was almost always only half-concentrating on the task at hand.

I did not actually learn how to cook from my mother -- oh, how I resisted what I thought of as "girlification" -- but I was aware that the foods I ate at home were frequently "better for me" and more "real" than food I saw on the tables of friends and relatives. This awareness has, no doubt, served me well as an adult, but caused some resentment in my childhood when I realized my cousins did not view pizza or fruit roll-ups as once-a-blue-moon treats!

Admittedly, my parents didn't have a lot of disposable income so my mother's restriction on junk food might have been more fiscal than nutritional. And that is probably also why we ate a lot of things like meatloaf, roast turkey, stuffed cabbage, and stuffed peppers -- cheap, filling, and good for leftovers.

Regardless, I am grateful I had a mother who cooked (and who shared her recipes with me).

Mom's Stuffed Peppers

Yield: 6


  • 6 large green bell peppers, topped & seeded
  • 1 lb 85% lean ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped onion
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ⅛ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup cooked white rice
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 350F°.
  2. Parboil peppers in salted water for 5 minutes or until bright green and slightly tender. Drain. Cook beef and onions in a sauté pan until browned. Add salt and pepper, garlic powder, rice, and 1 cup of sauce. Mix well.
  3. Lightly stuff meat mixture into peppers. Stand peppers up in a greased pan about as deep as the peppers are tall. Top peppers with remaining sauce. Cover and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes more.
  4. Serve with mashed potatoes and a tossed salad.

I will admit that, as much as I have fond memories Mom's stuffed peppers, I tend to tweak the recipe when I make it -- increasing the chopped onion and seasonings. Mom herself probably used more garlic powder and onion than her written recipe lists as she definitely a "more garlic is better" cook.

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