My love for cooking comes from my father, who got his passion for food from his mother, my Grandma Evelyn. Ask anyone who knew her and they will tell you, the woman could cook!
She passed away unfortunately when I was 7, but up until then we would go at least once a month to her house in Howard Beach, Queens, where my father grew up, and have Sunday dinner.
Walking into the house, the smells of garlic and tomatoes – likely for the sauce she was making for the pasta- were heavenly! Thankfully there was always a big platter of antipasto to curb our appetites, with fresh mozzarella, pickled vegetables and genoa salami.
And then came the pasta. Sometimes it was baked spaghetti or Bolognese (my favorite!), which was then followed (yes there is more food) by a meat or fish dish, served with vegetables.
Of course you can’t end without dessert and grandma Evelyn did not disappoint. Needless to say we always left with full bellies and ready for a nap!
Never do I remember my grandmother making any dish that was anything beyond amazing, but there was one dish to this day I remember absolutely loving. Her stuffed peppers.
My dad had the recipe written down on a note card and had put it in one of his cookbooks, but has not been able to find it forever. And while one can always cook up some stuffed peppers, it just felt weird making them without her recipe.
So until now, I had never really tried to make my own version, because nothing could compare to hers.
And then I had the urge to give it a try recently and came up with what I thought would be tasty – rice and ground chicken mixture (grandma always did a meat and rice mixture) with lots of fresh garlic, onion and spices. And of course tomato sauce!
It may not be exactly my grandmother’s recipe, and I admit I’m still on the hunt for that, but it was definitely delicious. And just like my Grandma Evelyn’s meals, our bellies were full and happy.
3 large green peppers
one small onion
one pound ground chicken
1 cup cooked rice
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh garlic
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup of tomato sauce, plus more to top the peppers
grated romano cheese
Wash the peppers and then cut a thin slice at the stem and take out the insides.
Heat a large pot of water to a boil and add in the peppers, with enough water so it comes up near the top of the peppers, but doesn’t go inside them.
Cook the peppers for 10 minutes. Remove them and place them in an ungreased glass casserole dish, standing up.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat , add in the garlic and onions. Cook for a minute or two and then add in the chicken, cutting it up as it cooks to separate it.
When the meat is cooked, drain the liquid and then place back on the stove on medium heat. Add in the cooked rice, tomato sauce, garlic powder and Italian seasoning and salt and pepper and siracha.
Split the filling between all the peppers and top with sprinkled Romano cheese. Cover securely with foil and place in a 375 degree oven for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and top with a touch more cheese and put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes.
Watch out, because these will be hot! I recommend cutting your pepper in half on your plate, to let it air out a touch and to have two nice stuffed halves.