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NEWS

8A • COMMUNITY PRESS/NORTHWEST • OCTOBER 11, 2017

These warm meals are perfect for crisp fall days As I write this column, the weather has cooled significantly. Time to finish cutting the corn stalks down for fall decorations, and to harvest the rest of the gourds so they can dry naturally. And I can’t forget about saving seeds from the marigolds, zinnias and other annual flowers so that I Rita have a Heikenfeld good amount RITA’S KITCHEN for next year’s flower garden. The pegs in the hallway are holding herbs that are drying. Hopefully, they’ll be dried before we have to use the pegs for coats. I know autumn is a busy time for you, too. The recipes I’m sharing are just right for these crisp, fall days. The vegetable soup is in my Recipe Hall of Fame. The vintage stuffed bell pepper recipe is still being made in lots of Community Press kitchens. It’s that good. Rita Nader Heikenfeld is an herbalist, educator and author. Find her blog online at Abouteating.com. Email her at rita@com munitypress.com with “Rita’s kitchen” in the subject line.

Western & Southern’s cafeteria’s stuffed bell peppers This was originally sent to me at a Delhi reader’s request by Thornton Kindred and Mary Ann Williams. I had another request for just yesterday. Thornton said this recipe was in the magazine back in the ‘60s. Now this is a recipe with staying power. Meat and rice stuffing: 4 large or 5 medium peppers 1 -1/2 lbs ground beef 1/4 cup chopped onions 1 cup tomato sauce made from recipe below 3 tablespoons flour 1 tablespoon salt added to water to cook rice 1 teaspoon black pepper 1/4 cup rice (cook according to package directions, in salted water, until done and stir in pepper.)

Tomato sauce: 3 cans, 10-1/2 ounces each condensed tomato soup 24 ounces can tomato juice 2 teaspoons salt Pinch of black pepper

Mix all ingredients and bring to a boil. Set aside one cup sauce. Stuffing: Over medium heat, cook and stir beef until crumbly. Add onions and continue cooking until meat starts to brown. Remove from heat, add flour and mix well. Add seasoned rice and reserved one cup of tomato sauce. Mix and set aside. Peppers: Cut peppers in half vertically. Remove seeds. Put in boiling water to soften. Remove from heat and let set for 20 minutes. Drain. Stuff peppers with meat and rice mix. Put in baking pan and pour sauce over peppers. Bake in 350 degree oven about1 to 1-1/2 hours or until peppers are tender. Baste peppers with the sauce during baking.

When the weather gets cooler, the requests start pouring in for Rita’s Spicy (or not) 30-minute beef vegetable soup. RITA HEIKENFELD FOR THE COMMUNITY PRESS

Spicy (or not) 30-minute beef vegetable soup How many times have I shared versions of this? Too many to count, but when the weather gets cooler, the requests start pouring in. For Meghan and Jen, two moms who asked for the recipe during a recent presentation. l-1/2 pounds lean ground beef - I used sirloin 1 heaping cup chopped yellow or white onion, not sweet onion 1-2 teaspoons garlic, minced 1 jar chunky garden style pasta sauce 1 quart low sodium beef broth Water to taste (start with a couple cups of water and go from there) 10 oz. can tomatoes and chilies or 14.5 ounces diced tomatoes if you don’t want it spicy

1 pound or so frozen soup or mixed vegetables, thawed if you have time Few handfuls any fresh greens (optional) Cheddar for garnish

Saute meat, onion and garlic together in pot until meat is cooked. Now add everything else but the greens. Bring to a boil and let simmer about 20 minutes or until vegetables are cooked. Toss in greens and cook until just wilted, about a minute more.

Tip from Rita’s kitchen Freeze extra peppers They’re in season now so preserve as many as you can. No need to blanch sweet or hot peppers. Just chop, pour onto cookie sheet in single layer and freeze hard, uncovered. Pour into covered containers and store in freezer. Peppers won’t clump together and pour out easily. I don’t thaw before adding to cooked recipes.

Tip from Rita’s kitchen A potato masher works wonders to break up the ground beef as it cooks. Watch me make the soup: It’s on my abouteating.com YouTube channel.

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