Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers are one of my most favorite foods.  It has every component for a complete meal too and uses ingredients I always have on hand!  My family doesn’t love them as much as I do…but they will eat them.  The girls like the filling, so it works!  They are very, very simple and so delicious.  I LOVE red peppers and don’t love green….so I usually opt for the red, but will use green too.  It’s really just a personal preference!

This is one recipe, I have other recipes too for stuffed peppers….stay tuned for more!

Stuffed Peppers

4 large red or green peppers (cut tops off and clean inside seeds out)

2 cups of rice (cooked)

1 lb. ground turkey

Diced Vadalia Onion (about 1/2 c)

2 gloves of garlic (minced)


1 can diced tomatoes

1 small can of tomato sauce 


Shredded Cheese — I used cheddar but you can use anything.

8×8 (or 9×9) Baking dish


In a large pan heat oil and add garlic. Cook for 30 seconds. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add turkey and cook until browned. Add drained can of tomoatoes and cook for about 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and cook for about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and add to the mixture. Add handful of cheese and mix well. Stuff the peppers with mixture.  You can either half the peppers (like I did this time) or keep them whole and standing in the pan.  

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Top the peppers with a little more cheese and breadcrumbs.

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Cook for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.


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Sundried Tomato Risotto

I stole today’s post from my old blog……this was from 2011, but it’s still delicious and a recipe you must try!

OH….SOOOOO…..GOOD!!  This maybe one of the most delicious risottos I have had in a long time!  While risotto is a bit time consuming, the end result is very worth it!   After a 14 day cruise and an empty fridge on their return home….my parents came over for dinner and I decided to make this risotto.  I got it from my friend, Kelly’s blog, and she originally got it from The Pioneer Woman (a blog that I visit often).  Everyone really loved it….My parents, my husband and even my children!

If you have a little extra cooking time in your schedule this is a not to miss recipe!

I served this with a parmesan crusted tilapia (recipe coming soon) and roasted cauliflower.

Sundried Tomato Risotto
from The Pioneer Woman


4 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
½ whole Large Yellow Onion, Diced  (I USED VIDALIA)
3 cloves Garlic, Minced
2 cups Arborio Rice, Uncooked
8 whole Sundried Tomatoes Packed In Oil, Drained And Minced
1 cup Dry White Wine (optional)
7 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth 
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 cup Parmesan, Freshly Grated
¼ cups Heavy Whipping Cream
Fresh Basil, Chiffonade (I used dried basil)

Preparation Instructions

Heat broth (note: it’s important the broth be low sodium) in a saucepan or in a microwave safe pitcher. Set aside.

Heat butter and olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. 

Add dry rice. Stir to coat and cook for 3 minutes, stirring gently. 

Pour in wine. Stir and cook over medium-low heat until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add in minced sundried tomatoes and stir. 

Then begin adding broth, one cup at a time, stirring gently while the rice absorbs the liquid each time. Repeat this until the rice is done—it usually takes between 6 and 8 cups of broth. The rice should have a slight bite to it, but not be crunchy at all. 

Remove from heat, then stir in Parmesan and heavy cream. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.




Homemade Pizza

Joe and I decided to start (or I should say re-start from my childhood) a family tradition!  Making pizza!     Every Friday, when I was growing up was pizza night!  We would sometimes order pizza if we were busy or if my brother’s or I had something going on…or my Mom would make her own!  I can still remember the smell that took over my house on those nights!  It may be the BEST smell in the world!     Sauce, bubbling on the stove, dough being rolled out, cheese being shredded….and then once it was in the oven……Mmmmmmmmmmm

Now that I have my own family and the girls are getting old enough to help out I am excited to start this tradition and have it continue as long as we can!  Friday nights we normally don’t have anything going on aside from swim.  So I usually pull the dough early in the afternoon so it’s room temperature when I’m ready to roll.  I also start the sauce early and let it simmer for a while.   This is when those familiar smells begin to take over my kitchen!   My girls love spreading the sauce and sprinkling (and eating) the cheese and then it starts “Mmmmm… smells so good!”  “How much longer?”   “Is it almost ready?”

Approx 20 minutes later…..DING!  It’s done!  Fresh, hot, homemade pizza for my family….and it makes me happy because it’s one meal I know everyone will eat!   Perfect for football Sunday,Super Bowl, or any time you want some pizza!

One important factor that really makes a huge difference in the taste of the pizza is the dough.  I’ve gotten different kinds…frozen, from the bakery, refrigerated….and once I found the perfect dough (local:  Stop N Shop in the’s their own dough) I won’t use anything else.  It’s easy to roll and shape and the taste is like none other!  So make sure you try different brands to find a good fit!

Homemade Pizza

Olive Oil

Garlic (minced)



Large can of crushed tomatoes

Pizza dough (2 pounds = enough 2 pizzas)

Parmesan cheese

32oz of mozzarella cheese (shredded) OR I get the chunks and shred it myself!

Bring pizza dough to room temperature.  While waiting…….

Heat 1TBSP of olive oil in a pan.  Add garlic and basil for about 1 minute.  Add can of crushed tomatoes.  You can add any kind of seasonings to it that you’d like…oregano, hot pepper seeds, etc.  (My girls don’t like “brown stuff” in their gravy so I don’t add anything extra!)  Bring to boil and then lower to simmer.  Simmer on low for approx 25-30mins.

Preheat oven to 375° degrees.   While waiting for your gravy….

Using a small amount of olive oil grease your cookie sheets.

Once dough gets to room temp, begin rolling and stretching on well floured counter top until it gets to the size of your cookie sheets and the thickness you like your pizza..  I normally do rectangle cookie sheets, and like my pizza on the thinner side..but not extra thin.    You can use a round pizza pan, you can make your pizza crust’s really whatever you like!

Once it’s to the thickness and size you’d like, carefully lift dough and place it on your cookie sheets/pizza pans.

Pinch gently around the perimeter to form a slight crust.


Using a cheese grater, shred your cheese (if you are going this route).


Your gravy should be done, or almost done.   Once it’s finished, ladle it on top of your crust and spread it evenly on top.  Make sure you leave some room around the edge for your “handle”.  


Next sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and then nice handfuls of mozzarella cheese!  Spreading them evenly and using as much as you’d like! 

 Cook pizza in hot oven for approx 20-25 minutes, but keep checking it and cook to however you like it (crispy, well done, doughy, etc).   Normally 20 minutes is good for us, but we have a brand new oven and it really cooks everything evenly.  I know my Mom’s oven doesn’t so she has to cook it for longer and she sometimes rotates them during cooking time!

When you remove it from the oven, let it sit and settle for approx. 5 minutes.




Penne Vodka

Many years ago this recipe came to me via a message board I was on.  A lot of times someone would post a recipe and about 100 people would make it within a week of hearing about it….. and then give their 2 cents.  With this recipe everyone was raving that this was “the best vodka sauce recipe ever”…..I think one person even ventured to say she’d like to bathe in it, she liked it so much.  Sounds..kinda….I don’t know…   Once I made it, I had to agree!!

So I filled my tub with this stuff, (my family thought I was nuts) and ……

It’s really that good!

I have a few different ways I make/have made vodka sauce, but this one is by far the best!  It’s the perfect thickness, with the best flavors…. all rolled into one delicious bowl of pasta!   My kids and my husband both love it…so it’s a winner in our house.   It’s also a great thing to make extra of and freeze for a night when you don’t feel like cooking…it defrosts and reheats nicely and is just as good as the first time!  It’s also just as delicious leftover!

We aren’t a huge “leftover family” (is that even a phrase?  I dunno?) but I usually make just enough dinner that there isn’t anything left over for another night.   Not the case for this sauce!   I urge you to make extra and have a lot left over.

I think my anti-leftover mentality comes from  when my Mom would say (every so often), “LEFTOVERS TONIGHT!”  And all of us groaning because it was normally something we didn’t like the first time around…..which was why it was left over to begin with!   Makes sense…yes?  I grew up with 2 brothers, so normally the good stuff was gone, FAST…..and didn’t need another night.  The bad stuff….well it was packaged up for another night.  Secretly it probably made my Mom happy….because she didn’t have to cook that night.

“LEFTOVERS TONIGHT….we are having meatloaf!”  (((((((GROAN)))))))

I’ve gone off on a tangent and off the subject.  Get used to that…it will happen again.

ANYWAY…….Thanks, Amy for this delicious recipe!  I’ve tweaked it a bit…i think the original recipe had something other than bacon (imagine that??)…pancetta maybe?  Prosciutto?  I can’t remember…but I’m sure either work!  🙂

Penne Vodka

1 pound of penne pasta cooked

6 strips of bacon (chopped)

1/ 4 c Vodka 

2 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes

2 TBSP Olive Oil

1/2 of a Vidalia Onion

1 Large Can of Crushed Tomato

1 C. Romano Cheese

2 C. Heavy Cream

1/2 Stick of Butter

In a small bowl soak pepper flakes and vodka (NO MORE THAN 5-8 MINUTES if you don’t want it too spicy — the longer you soak the spicier it is). Then using a small colander, remove pepper flakes….keeping the vodka.

Saute bacon, oil and onion for 8 minutes in a medium pot.

Add crushed tomatoes and vodka. 

Cook on low for 30 minutes.

Add cheese, heavy cream and butter.

Cook for 25 minutes.

Cook pasta as directed on box and drain.

Make sure to keep stirring so the cheese doesn’t stick to the bottom and burn!

Serve over pasta.




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Keepin it Real since February 18, 2014

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