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Stuffed Peppers

Jan 17, 2014 | Posted in: , , | 0 Comments

Stuffed Peppers – stuffed green peppers to be exact – are one of those comfort food recipes that will forever remind me of my grandma. This is one of my favorite dishes of hers (and one of her favorite dishes in general), and she often will tell me a stories about times I requested that she make them when I was little. A few years ago I called her to ask for the recipe, and instead of giving me one, she said that I should find my own, any old recipe would do. I got the feeling that she had been cooking from memory for so long, that the genesis of her stuffed pepper recipe was still very fluid. Even still, there are basic components – she always uses large green bell peppers, carefully selected, ground beef, and rice. Whatever her reasons for not divulging her recipe, it was very liberating in a way to have her suggest I try my own recipe. I can’t really say she passed this recipe down,  but she did pass down something even more important – a love of stuffed peppers  which will always remind me of her, and of how much she loves me.

Last week, I was thinking of my grandma and back on our recent visit just after new years, and decided to try my own iteration of this recipe. I didn’t use a written recipe, I made up my own, just as she had advised.


Green Stuffed Peppers

6 large green bell pappers

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 lb of lean ground turkey

1 large onion finely chopped

3 cloves garlic minced

1 tsp white pepper

1/2 tsp cumin

salt to taste

8.5 oz bag of brown instant rice (steam in microwave kind)

1 large can (28 oz) tomato sauce

1 small can (8 oz) tomato sauce

shredded cheese – mozzerella, parmesan, monterey jack – whatever you like



Preheat oven to 400. Core and rinse peppers, removing tops and seeds inside.In a large pot of briskly boiling water, blanche the peppers (3 at a time) for 5-6 minutes, removing with a large slotted spoon, and draining. Place blanches peppers in a 9×13 baking or casserole dish. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet to med high and add olive oil. After pan is warm, add ground turkey and stir until all turkey is cooked through, about 6-7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add onions and garlic, stirring until onions are soft. Add white pepper, cumin and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then stir in small can of tomato sauce, cook for 1 more minute. Heat rice in the microwave. Remove skillet from the heat, and stir the rice into the turkey mixture. Spoon the turkey/rice mixture into the blanched peppers, and surround and top with the tomato sauce (large can). Cover with tinfoil (or lid of it’s a casserole dish) and bake for 35 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese, bake for 5 more minutes, then enjoy!
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Share your story with us!

Dec 17, 2013 | Posted in: | 0 Comments

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It’s a little over a week until Christmas, and it’s hard to contain my excitement at the thought of the feast we will experience as a result. For my family which leans heavily on my father’s Polish side for tradition this time of year, that means Polish breakfast on Christmas morning, complete with babka, eggs and kielbasa, and some other less Polish things that have become family staples, such as Doubletree Chocolate Chip Cookies and Shrimp Scampi on Christmas Eve. I’m sure I’ll  be posting on some of these things over the next few days, but I’m more interested in what Christmas means to your family! What are some of your recipes and traditions? If you aren’t Christian, what are some winter-time traditions and foods your family has?

We at The American Recipe Project are committed to exploring the cultural intersections between food, family, and history for all Americans, but we can’t do it without your help! Please help our research continue and give us amazing stories like the ones you see in our webisodes (! Your story and recipes are important, share them here:

Elaine’s Pumpkin Cookies

Nov 22, 2013 | Posted in: , , , , | 1 Comments

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1 cup sugar, 1 cup canned pumpkin, 1/2 cup shortening (CRISCO) solid   (MIX TOGETHER)

2 cups all-purpose* or whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder*
1 teaspoon baking soda*
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt*
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
1/2 cup nuts  (optional)

Heat oven to 375,  Mix sugar, pumpkin, shortening.  Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  Stir in raisins and nuts.

Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake until light brown 8 to 10 min.  Immediately remove from cookie sheet, cool.  Spread w/Light Brown Glaze.  About 4 dozen cookies

*If using self-rising flour, omit baking powder, baking soda and salt.


1/4 cup margarine or butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 2 tablespoons milk

Heat margarine in 1-1/2 quart saucepan over medium heat until delicate brown.  Stir in powdered sugar and vanilla.  Stir in milk until smooth.

Pumpkin Cookie Post #2 – The Cookie That Never Was

Nov 21, 2013 | Posted in: , , , , | 0 Comments

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To close out our Pumpkin Cookie narrative for our Pie-Tacular, we traveled to Moatsville, West Virginia for (full disclosure) one of my best friend’s weddings. Elaine McMillion, the bride-to-be had mentioned in her submission that this family recipe (Pumpkin Cookies), a Thanksgiving staple, would be made for and served at the wedding, but as it turned out, it was not to be. This bride, who spent the week before the wedding in about three different states, bought the ingredients but never had time to actually get them ready.

I had so much fun (unofficially) photographing this wedding, and the epic dessert table, which included contributions of family and favorite recipes from friends and family alike, that this could hardly be called a loss. It was really touching to see all these people contribute their own little sweet to the dessert table, as a little gift to the bride and groom for guests to enjoy. I toted my own family oatmeal choc – chip walnut cookies from Boston, because I remembered they travel well (my grandmother used to mail them to me in a box when I was in college) and although I make them a bit differently, the result of a delicious, well-traveled cookie, I am happy to report, is the same.

Pumpkin cookies are still a family recipe that is part of the narrative of this now (expanding) family – the sentiment of their presence existed at this wedding even where the cookies themselves did not.

Stay tuned for a video about a traditional apple pie and much more in the coming days! Thanksgiving is almost here!

Grauel/Herec Family Oatmeal Choc-Chip Walnut Cookies

2 sticks butter

1 1/2 c. brown sugar

2 c. flour

2 c. quick cooking oats

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. baking soda

large pinch of salt

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup choc chips (chunks are better)

1 cup chopped walnuts

-Preheat oven to 350

-Cream butter and sugar together

-Add in vanilla, egg

-Combine dry ingredients in a bowl (except choc chips and walnuts)

-Mix dry ingredients into the wet ingredients

-Stir in chips and walnuts

-Drop by rounded teaspoons on cookie sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes

Pie-Tacular Post #1 Pumpkin Cookies

Nov 12, 2013 | Posted in: , , , , | 0 Comments

For part one of our first Pie-tacular post, we visit the incomparable Ms. Elaine McMillion in Elkview, WV on what is nearly the eve of her wedding! Elaine’s family recipe is an Appalachian classic – Pumpkin Cookies. She had this to say about the recipe

To make this “pumpkin” cookie recipe you need a little bit of pumpkin and a lot of lard and love.

I don’t really know if this cookie has “ethnic” roots but you can find it in some bakeries scattered in Appalachia. It probably came out of a cookbook during wartime.

However, it’s special to me because this is the cookie my family makes every year around Halloween and Thanksgiving. It’s one of those cookies that you end up eating too much of while baking!

The cookie is very moist and thick. Less like a cookie and more like cake. And the icing is thick and super sweet. The icing requires patience to get it to the right consistency without burning the milk.

This has always been a cookie we have made as a family together or have made as a gift to others. When I was little, I would take a whole bag of them to school and share with my classmates. Now on November 17, I will be taking them to my own wedding and sharing them with friends and family there!”

Expect post number two (including the recipe deets) on this history-making family recipe next week, after we’ve hopefully had the opportunity to sample this one in person!

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