Grace Before Meals

I love to cook, but whenever I go to try a new recipe, I end up changing quite a bit, believing I’m smarter than the chef who designed the recipe. I substitute a lot and refuse to measure (which is why baking can end tragically for me!), and this often yields a not so 20140728_191421great final product.

I learned how to cook from my mom, who also doesn’t measure. She is a big proponent of using her hands to get a feel for how much of something she needed. Her requests for me to bring her a handful of a certain ingredient caused me to ask “Your handful or mine?” She tasted as she went along, letting her palate decide if something needed more salt or lemon or vanilla or whatever else went in to her dishes.

I own exactly one cookbook (aside from the sheets of recipes copied from magazines and colleagues…and my pinterest boards), Fr. Leo Patalinghug’s Grace Before Meals. Fr, Leo gained fame when he beat Bobby Flay in a Fajita Throwdown, but before his Food Network appearance, his focus was on families coming together for meals. This past Sunday I decided to give one of his recipes a go–The Comfort Stuffed Peppers. It seemed easy enough, so on the way home from church, I picked up all the necessary ingredients:20140727_180123


I also pulled out an old Christmas gift from my sister, “The Perfect Meatloaf Pan,” which upon my first attempt at making meatloaf with it wasn’t quite so perfect. It’s easy to pick up the pan by the tray handles and drop an entire meatloaf on the kitchen floor.20140727_181552 Sad for me but great for my sous chef who immediately came to eat it up. Needless to say, he was closeby as I made these peppers.

After determining that the ground beef and onions should be cooked first (it didn’t include that step in the recipe!), I began to mix my ingredients as the instructions said and stuffed them. (Of course I couldn’t help but substitute real garlic for the garlic powder that the recipe called for.) After letting them bake for 50 minutes (which, trust me, when you’re hungry feels like a lot longer than just under an hour), I came out with a good looking product.

20140727_192616The good news was that the aroma matched the visual image. The bad news was that there was still one more step, but boy was it worth it!

20140727_193238Melted provolone on top of each pepper? Who could say no to that? And yes, it was as delicious as it looked and smelled.

The best part…I still have leftover filling…


Off to the market I go to buy  more bell peppers!

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