Monthly Archives: June 2015

Papa Dennis’s Stuffed Peppers


4 medium or 3 large red, yellow, or orange bell peppers (about 6 ounces each)
½ cup Minute Rice that has been pre-cooked and set aside to cool.
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
12 ounces ground round
3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon Beef flavor
2 Tablespoons red wine
1 (14 ½ ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained with ¼ cup juice reserved
4 ounces Cabot Vermont White Sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
2 T chopped fresh parsley (or 1 t dried)
Ground black pepper
¼ cup ketchup

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Remove about ¾ inch from the top of each pepper. Remove the seeds and inner membranes from the peppers. After extracting the stem from each removed top, finely dice the rings of pepper flesh that remains

Bring 4 quarts salted water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Add the peppers to the boiling water and cook until the peppers just begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the peppers from the pot, drain off the excess water, and place the peppers upside down on paper towels to dry.

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat until oil is shimmering. Add the onion and the diced pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until onion and pepper are softened and onions are beginning to lightly brown, about 5 minutes.

Add the ground beef, breaking beef into small pieces with a spoon. Cook until beef is browned. Make a well in the center of the meat mixture and stir in the garlic and pepper flakes. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Mix garlic well into meat. Again, make a well in the center of the meat mixture and stir in the bouillon. Deglaze the entire pan with the red wine and remove meat mixture from heat. Add the cooked rice, drained tomatoes, cheese and the parsley to the meat mixture and combine until cheese is fairly well melted into the mix. Salt and pepper to taste.

Stir together the ketchup and the reserved tomato juice in a small bowl.

Place the peppers, cut side up, into a large casserole or baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Using a soup spoon, divide the filling evenly among the peppers, pressing down with the spoon (or fingers) as you go to compress mixture into each pepper. Slightly over-fill each pepper.

Line the baking dish around the peppers with any remaining meat mixture. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the ketchup mixture over each filled pepper and drizzle remains over mix in the dish that is outside the pepper cups.

Bake until the filling is heated through, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

(I love you dad!)

Vikki's Shrimp Pasta Salad

Vikki’s Creamy Ranch Shrimp Pasta Salad

Like shrimp? This cold pasta salad is always a hit at barbecues and cookouts. Living in Florida this can be almost every weekend. I wait for frozen shrimp to go on sale and stock up for this recipe.


1 ½ pounds medium shrimp cooked, deveined and tails pieces off.
2 packets Dry Hidden Valley Ranch (get the one for dressing not dip)
16 oz. of sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup milk
1 ½ cups of frozen peas
1 ½ cups shredded carrot (I buy matchstick carrots)
1 red pepper, diced small
2 boxes bowtie pasta (Al Dente)

Cook pasta according to box directions (don’t forget the salt), drain, run under cold water until pasta is cool. While pasta is cooking combine dry packet, sour cream, mayo and milk, stir until smooth. Take 10 shrimp and dice them, add them to sauce. Add remaining full shrimp. (I set aside a few to put on the top of the dish for presentation). Add peas, carrot, and red pepper, stir until all ingredients are coated. Add cooled pasta. Stir. Add paprika for color and decorative shrimp and dill if it is to your taste.

I cook pasta al dente because it absorbs the sauce and gets more tender as it sits.

I never use small salad shrimp for this recipe, because they can’t be properly deveined they have a funky taste in my opinion, and folks love big, fat shrimp.

I add the peas while they are still frozen, they keep the pasta cold on the way to its destination and are thawed by the time the salad is served. If serving immediately allow peas to thaw before beginning.

I pack it to go to the cookout in those disposable baking pans with a lid so I don’t lose yet another large bowl to a friend. I will usually divide the recipe into two smaller pans so one can be set out to serve and the other tucked in the fridge or cooler until the first one runs out (It always runs out).

Whenever I ask what I can bring to a party, the resounding answer is always “Your shrimp pasta salad, of course”

The Cheeseball

I make this cheeseball for almost every occasion. I’m a modern girl and it suits my on-the-go lifestyle by being yummy and fast. Everyone loves it so much I always make sure to have the ingredients on hand.

1 pkg. cream cheese (8 oz.)
1 Good Seasonings Italian Dressing packet (dry)

Mix cheese and packet together and form into a ball. Chill for 1 hour. Serve with crackers.

DaMomma’s Fake Caramel Bars

My friends call these “Crack Bars” because they’re so addictive

1 Package of Vanilla Cake Mix
1 stick (1/4 lb.) Butter softened
2 cups Light Brown Sugar
1 8oz. package Cream Cheese

Mix cake mix and butter until crumbs form. Pat into the bottom of a greased 9 x 11 pan to form the crust. Mix together brown sugar and cream cheese. Spread mixture over crust. Bake at 325 degrees for 25-35 minutes.The outside will bubble and get dark, don’t worry it’s supposed to. Bars are done when middle looks done. Warning: Gooey as can be. I serve cut bars in mini paper cups.


Cherry Oatmeal Dreams

(These are a sacred tradition in my family so act accordingly)

Preheat oven 350°

3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 cups quick rolled oats
1 cup (2 sticks) margarine or Crisco
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs (beaten)
1 tbl maraschino cherry liquid
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup chopped cherries
1 cup chopped walnuts

Sift flour, baking soda and salt together, add oats and set aside. Cream together butter and sugar. Add cherry liquid and vanilla, blend. Add eggs and mix again. Stir in dry ingredients, cherry pieces and nuts.

Shape dough into ½ inch balls and roll in oats. Place ball onto ungreased cookie sheet and gently smush a cherry half on top, so it sinks in a bit. Bake 10-12 minutes in 350° oven.