Continuing on with the “everything is broken except my bones” theme that my life has become, the internet connection at my home has (for lack of anything more eloquent to say), crapped out. Three people have tried to fix it in as many days, and no dice. So much for that Mercury retrograde theory…
Alas, tonight I’m posting live from my local coffee shop and bringing you Cajun-style meatloaf stuffed peppers two days after the revelry of Mardi Gras.
Given the state of affairs in this beautiful but so damn imperfect world we live in, a lack of internet service in my home is not a big deal. It’s inconvenient and particularly trying given one of my two major character flaws is impatience. I do not particularly like being this way. I’ve tried to overcome it, but I swear it is hard wired into my cells.
The other character flaw, in case you were curious, is taking out my frustration on the ones I love the most. If I ever yell at you about nonsense, no worries, it’s just my way of telling you I love you. Upon digesting that explanation, you may be thinking that I actually have three major character flaws, one of which is self-delusion. Let’s move on.
Practically everything I do relies on the internet. This makes me wonder, what the heck was I doing 15 years ago? I mean really, how did the world work? I vaguely remember getting letters (letters!) from my grandparents delivered in the mail. But goodness, how did I shop? Or entertain myself? (The answers to both of those are “I didn’t” and “I drank more beer”. )
After the trials and tribulations of the past month, my mindset is slowly shifting to the point that I am willing to expect things not to work. In the past, I have tried on the mindset where I did not expect too much so I would not feel disappointed when things did not work out. In hindsight, all that did was lower my expectations and sell myself short. But the world tends towards chaos, does it not?
I would love to say a lack of working internet connection in my home gives me a greater appreciation for things, but if it does, it is so incremental that I do not notice it. The fact of the matter is I am accustomed to connecting with whatever I want whenever I want. I expect hot, clean water coming out of my tap and appliances that wash, dry, cool, heat and the like. I am so damn spoiled, and I don’t even appreciate it.
So let us appreciate the food. The food we all need to nourish us. The food that, for most of us, is not just nourishment but a true source of enjoyment. How lucky we are.
All my life I have enjoyed stuffed peppers with meat and rice. Encountering a stuffed pepper recipe that was basically a meatball in a pepper shell rocked my world. Other than the Tabasco, I am not so sure what is Cajun about them, but pay that no mind. They are delicious.
A word on the cooking. The peppers had a lot of juice to them, i.e.) the bottom of the baking dish seemed really greasy. I cooked with lean meat, but still, there was quite a bit of juice going on by the time all was said and baked. Some of it was from the peppers, no doubt, but it was a nuance I find worth mentioning.
Serve the peppers alone or with a side of rice. If you want to go Cajun-crazy, this Cajun rice recipe would be a good choice. If vegetables are not your thing, enjoy the meatloaf recipe or form the mixture into meatballs. It really does not matter how you enjoy your food, so as long as you appreciate it as you do. Happy eating!
- 8 (or 9) bell peppers
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 small to medium yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire
- 2 tablespoons hot red pepper sauce (like Tabasco)
- 1½ teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ cup ketchup, plus additional for topping the peppers once stuffed
- 1 pound ground meat of your choice: beef, turkey, or chicken
- ½ pound spicy ground sausage
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- Core the eight peppers and cut them in half to serve as shells for the meatloaf. Place the pepper shells in a lightly oiled baking dish (I used two 8 x 8 dishes; my 13 x 9 pan was too small). If you have an extra bell pepper or half bell pepper on hand, go ahead and dice it to add to the meatloaf mixture. You will want ½ cup of diced pepper. Set peppers aside.
- Heat the olive oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add the onion, and if using, the diced bell pepper. Saute until tender, stirring occasionally, about five minutes.
- Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, cumin, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
- Once the sauces and spices are well incorporated, turn heat to low and stir in the ketchup. Allow to simmer for about five minutes.
- Remove from the heat and add the meat, sausage and lightly beaten eggs to the skillet.
- Spoon the meat mixture into the prepared pepper shells and top with a dollop of ketchup spread across the top.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes. The meat loaves will be golden brown on top, and the peppers will be soft.