Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Memphis Style Southern Dry Rub Pork Spareribs

Pork ribs done Memphis style, left overnight with a dry rub marinade, grilled over indirect heat for 1 hour, then brushed with a simple vinegar and mustard mop sauce and finished another hour.

Southern Style Dry Rub Pork Ribs

In many, if not most households, the husband is the master of the grill. Not in this house. The Cajun cooks nothing, and I mean nothing. So I'm the resident cook and griller, though I am certainly as amateur as it comes.

What you read here, is my learning process and what I'm picking up from cookbooks and from research, and frankly might just be all wrong. I am a gas grill girl for the most part, although on occasion I do also use my Weber kettle grill and I actually do even own a cheap-o smoker and more recently purchased an electric one, though purists will say that is not true smoking. The smoker is too time consuming and needy for my attention span and personality, and the wood or charcoal is generally a hassle and too wasteful for just the two of us. So gas and a smoker box is generally the winner for me.

In the past, I have always only owned the cheapest gas grills, which consequently also meant the smallest gas grills, but this spring I stepped up on my grill size to one that is large enough to actually do "zone" cooking - also known as cooking a rack of ribs over indirect heat. In the past I've had to bake them and then finish them with a sear on the grill. I did, of course, christen my brand new grill with my favorite cut of steak, a ribeye, adorned with absolutely nothing.

I got a little help with these ribs from an old cookbook of mine, The Barbecue! Bible, along with most of the tips in the recipe. Although adapted, these are dubbed Memphis style ribs (though mine weren't trimmed) for a couple of reasons.

First, I remove the membrane of the back side of spareribs. I don't know that everybody bothers with this, and while I don't find it necessary to do at all with baby back ribs,  it tends to be tough on spareribs so I always remove it. Just work a knife up under the end and pull. If it's being a bit difficult, you can use a pair of pliers with a paper towel to grip it. Then just pull it up and off; discard.

I also remove the extra flap of meat that is on the top side. You can discard it or reserve it for another use, such as seasoning or for stock.

Lift it and gradually work the knife underneath and slice it off.

Now you have a nice, clean rack of ribs that is ready to season.

These start with a nice, dry rub marinade, using paprika, black pepper, a little bit of brown sugar, salt, celery seed, my fabulous and favorite Slap Ya Mama Cajun seasoning, garlic powder, dry mustard and just a tad of cumin. Set aside a little bit of the rub mix to use at the end if you like - it adds another layer of flavor and is another trademark Memphis technique apparently.

The ribs are massaged all over with the rub, covered and left to marinate in the fridge overnight or about 8 hours if possible. Second, they are smoked rather than grilled, or as The Barbecue! Bible refers to them, "smoke cooked." I used some mesquite chips in a smoker box, because that is what I happened to have on hand - there are lots of nice wood blends available these days so check them out!

An hour into cooking, the ribs are treated with a simple vinegar and mustard mop sauce.  Memphis style ribs are served sans sauce, so the mop sauce is used only for basting during cooking. I had never tried a mustard based mop before, at least not to my recollection!  Surprisingly there wasn't any strong mustardy taste to the finished rib.

The hardest part for me was trying to figure out when the ribs were actually ready.  From what I've read, there are apparently a couple of tests, none of which are foolproof.  One way is when the meat pulls away from the bone about 1/4 inch or so and is fork tender.  Another is sticking a toothpick in several areas (sort of like testing a cake); they are supposedly done when there is no resistance to the toothpick. Another says to bend the rack to see if the meat splits, another to sort of try to split away the bone to see how easily it tears, and another is simply cutting into the center to look!

These ribs were nice and meaty and finished with a nice, crusty exterior. They had a great spicy bite to them that we both loved, and though they were done at about 2-1/2 hours, I wished I would have left them on just a bit longer. These instructions are written for a gas grill, and my new grill has 5 burners plus a searing burner and I did have some challenges regulating the heat at first, finding that I had to run 3 of the 6 burners (30,000 BTUs) on high throughout the entire cooking process, in order to maintain the recommended 350 degrees. To be honest, I think these could have gone a bit longer. They had a nice tooth to them, but had not tightened up enough for me. New grill. First round using indirect cooking on this grill, and I'll definitely be doing these again.

I tried these ribs as is and they were delicious, but since The Cajun and I prefer our ribs a bit on the saucy side, we passed the sauce at the table. My homemade sauce would be excellent for that too!

Recipe: Southern Style Dry Rub Pork Ribs

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Inactive time: 8 hours |Cook time: 2 hours 30 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 1 recipe dry rub marinade (below)
  • 1 (approx. 5 pound) rack of pork spareribs
  • Wood chips and smoker box
For the Dry Rub Marinade:
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 2 teaspoons of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
For the Mop Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/8 cup of yellow mustard
  • Pinch of kosher salt

Combine dry rub ingredients. Set aside a tablespoon of the rub and reserve for sprinkling on the ribs in the last few minutes of cooking, if desired. Pull the papery skin off the back of the spareribs and rub half of the dry rub on the ribs; turn and rub the other half. Wrap and place in the refrigerator to marinate overnight, or for up to 8 hours.

Preheat the grill and add ribs cooking over indirect heat for one hour. Brush generously on both sides with the mop sauce and continue cooking for another 1 to 1-1/2 hours, or until the ribs are tender and have shrunk back from the ends of the bone. In the last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking, sprinkle with the reserved rub if desired.


Cook's Notes: Serve with sauce at the table, for folks like me. May also substitute baby back ribs.

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©Deep South Dish
Gas Grill Directions: If using wood chips, about 30 minutes before grilling, soak the wood chips in water. Drain and place into a smoker box, or make a tray out of aluminum foil. Place the smoker box over direct flame on the active side of the grill - the opposite side from where you plan to place the ribs. Light all the burners on the grill to high - you want to get the grill up to about 500 degrees, or hotter.

Once the chips begin to smoke, reduce the heat on the active side down to medium to medium high. You'll want to maintain a temperature of about 350 degrees, so adjust up or down as needed. Turn all of the burners off on the inactive side, where you plan to place the ribs. Under the inactive side where the ribs are going to be, carefully remove the grates and add a cheap aluminum foil tray right under the grates, on top of the heat tent (but not right on the burner), to catch the drippings, if desired. Fill it about halfway with water. Replace and oil the grates using a pair of tongs and a paper towel folded over several times and dipped in oil, and place the ribs on the grate above the drip pan, if using one.

Grill the ribs without turning, over the inactive side of the grill, for one hour. Brush generously on both sides with the mop sauce and continue cooking for another hour to hour and a half, or until the ribs are tender and have shrunk back from the ends of the bone. In the last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking, sprinkle with the reserved rub if desired.
Leftovers? Build a BBQ Sundae!

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Check These Recipes Out Too!

Grilled Pork Spareribs or Baby Back Ribs
Fall Off the Bone Oven Baked Pork Spareribs with Homemade Spicy Sweet Barbecue Sauce
Barbecue Sundae

Posted by on March 31, 2010
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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Southern Strawberry Sweet Iced Tea

Fabulous southern sweet tea infused with strawberry!

Southern Strawberry Sweet Iced Tea

This Southern Strawberry Sweet Iced Tea is a quick and delicious variation of my southern sweet iced tea that is a nice refreshing change from the usual. You can certainly use your own usual tea recipe, or even make adjustments to mine in the strength of the tea, the sweetness, the tartness of the lemon and the level of strawberries to suit your own taste.  Make it your own, but I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do.

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Homemade Strawberry Buttermilk Sherbet

A delicious and easy sherbet made with buttermilk and fresh or frozen strawberries. You will love this one.

Strawberry Buttermilk Sherbet

I first found this recipe in Southern Living magazine several years back, but have since revised it by adding more strawberries and less vanilla. It is a wonderful light and low fat dessert for spring or summer and perfect for right now when strawberries are so perfectly sweet and delicious. It could not be any easier, either.

Clean and rinse 4 cups of whole strawberries and put them into your food processor or blender and puree.

Pass the puree through a strainer using a spoon or spatula.  Be sure to scrape out the bowl and then the bottom of the strainer also. Silicone spatulas pictured are perfect for making sure to get the last drop of anything out of a bowl because I'm telling you, they lick the bowl clean. As with most of the products featured in the Deep South Dish Store, they are another tool that I personally use, and use nearly every single day in my own kitchen.

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How to Make a Strawberry Fan Garnish

A strawberry fan is such a pretty garnish and they are really much easier to make than you think!

How to Make a Strawberry Fan Garnish

Strawberries are in season now - these below were some from Dover, Florida that The Cajun recently brought home for me. Aren't they gorgeous? And they are so sweet and delicious this year.

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

The All American Burger

The good ole classic All American Burger to me means a good ground chuck beef burger, pickles, tomato, grilled onion, mayo, mustard and ketchup on a toasted bun & topped with bacon and cheese, if you like. 

All American Burger

Saturday was a gardening day so supper had to be simple. Grilled burgers and southern style potato saladGrilled corn on the cob would be good too, but we just had that the night before {and yeah, I know, that's a lot of starches} so I settled on the burger and tater salad and it was plenty. Oh, well, there might have been a bit of leftover banana pudding involved there too. 

Since I've previously put up posts for a classic onion burger and my pepper jack stuffed burger, I thought I'd do a post for what I consider to be a basic, all American burger. Nothing fancy or outrageous here, just a simple, classic, ground beef burger with a light brushing of butter, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and dressed with mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, pickles, tomato and lettuce all on a toasted bun.  Throw a little cheese on there, and you've got your classic cheeseburger.  Add some bacon, and you got yourself a nice bacon cheeseburger. Ain't nothin' wrong with that!

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Velveeta Truck Stop Potato Casserole

A wonderful potato casserole featuring Velveeta, sour cream & diced tomatoes, plus optional garnishes of tomato, avocado, green onion & additional sour cream.

Velveeta Truck Stop Potato Casserole

I have no idea how Velveeta Truck Stop Potatoes got it's name. Do they sell something like this at truck stops? I don't travel the highways enough to know!

The basic recipe for this dish is all over the internet, so I have no idea where it originated. Mine is a little bit different from the traditional recipe which uses red potatoes, a combination of cheddar and monterey jack cheeses, plain diced tomatoes and garnishes with extra tomatoes, avocados, green onion and extra sour cream. The garnishes are really pretty, but it's all stuff The Cajun won't eat so I skip it. I prefer regular baking potatoes, Velveeta cheese, Rotel tomatoes and no garnishes, but you could certainly reverse substitute, or make it your way! It's a different, but delicious potato casserole.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Old Fashioned Seven Layer Salad

Classic 7 Layer Salad topped with a mayonnaise dressing is a common salad for barbecues and cookouts, parties, potlucks, church suppers and holidays, but why not make one just because?

7 Layer Salad

Seven Layer Salad is a good old-fashioned salad that has been around for years. It's perfect for cookouts, potlucks, church socials, reunions, funerals, and of course, the holidays!! A salad made with 7 layers, typically with lettuce, sometimes tomatoes, chopped and sliced boiled eggs, peas, celery, bacon and cheese, or really whatever your favorite tossed salad ingredients are. Then the salad is topped off with a thick layer of a mayonnaise based dressing, often Ranch dressing, and tossed just before serving. Seven Layer Salad was a very popular salad back in the 70s and 80s, and though it kind of went the wayside for awhile, it seems to be making a resurgence. Since I am determined to bring back some of those old classics, I, for one, am thrilled.

For my layers I like to use shredded romaine lettuce, Roma tomatoes, boiled eggs, frozen green peas that are lightly steamed, celery, bacon and cheddar cheese. I finish it with a slightly sweetened, but tangy, mayonnaise dressing on top. Layer the ingredients from the outside rim of the bowl and then in toward the middle, so that you get a little peek of everything from the outside of the bowl. The dome of a covered cake plate, turned over and placed into a smaller, wide bowl, makes a great container for the party size salad - just make sure it is seated well and won't shift around.

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Original Watergate Salad

Watergate salad is a well-loved fruit salad, made up of pistachio pudding with marshmallows, pineapple and Cool Whip and often other add-ins.

Original Watergate Salad

This original Watergate Salad is another one of those classic recipes that dates back to the 70s and that just about every southern cook has in their party file, though like everything else, with some variations. It's still a very common dish at baby showers, bridal showers, and even weddings down south, and I honestly cannot remember a single event that Mama catered where this wasn't expected on the table.

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Butterscotch Pull Apart Bread

Paula Deen calls it the Ultimate Coffee Cake, Rhodes, the Butterscotch Bubbleloaf, some still call it Monkey Bread or Pullapart Bread. Whatever you call it, it's pretty darned delicious!

Butterscotch Pull Apart Bread

I'm sure everybody has a recipe like this, made with frozen bread rolls and butterscotch pudding. Even Paula Deen makes it and calls it the Ultimate Coffee Cake, and I made it too, so here it is! Mine is an adaptation of the Rhodes Famous Butterscotch Bubbleloaf, but it's virtually the same recipe that Paula uses too. Nothing could be easier either since you pretty much just dump very convenient Rhodes frozen dinner rolls into a bundt pan and sprinkle the top with butterscotch pudding the night before you want to have this for breakfast.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Crab Stuffed Shrimp

Fresh jumbo shrimp stuffed with a mix made with buttery Ritz crackers, Old Bay, Cajun seasoning, fresh parsley and fresh crab.

Crab Stuffed Shrimp

I had thawed out two packages of shrimp thinking that I would either make gumbo or fry them, but when I realized these were some of the larger shrimp, I knew they were worthy of something just a bit better. I thought very seriously about grilling them, but then remembered that I had not yet done a stuffed shrimp for the website. Besides. Once you get the image of a crab stuffed shrimp in your head, well, you're bound to have to go there!

So first things first, I would need to peel, devein and butterfly them. For stuffed shrimp, leave the end tip of the tail on - it makes a nicer presentation.  There are basically two ways to butterfly shrimp, and either will work well for stuffed shrimp.  For more on butterflying shrimp, click right here.

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How to Butterfly Shrimp

How to Butterfly Shrimp

How to Butterfly Shrimp

To clean a shrimp, you will most often, remove the head and peel away the shell, though for purposes of grilling a shrimp, the shell can also be left intact as a cover to protect the shrimp from drying out too easily. You can still devein the shrimp and leave the shell intact.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

9 Ways to Cook Sweet Potatoes ... Baked and More!

Some of my favorite ways to cook sweet potatoes ... baked, twice-backed, microwave, french fried, roasted, grilled, skillet hash, mashed and pureed.

Ways to Cook Sweet Potatoes

I realize that folks all over the U.S. eat sweet potatoes, and I also realize that they are grown in a lot of states {and even overseas}, but sweet potatoes sure speak southern to me.

Did you know that over 235 million pounds of them are produced annually right here in our fine state of Mississippi? Vardaman, Mississippi, located in the northern part of our state, is only one of the top five Mississippi sweet potato producers. Every year in the first week of November they host a National Sweet Potato Festival, and Vardaman, in fact, lays claim to the title of "The Sweet Potato Capitol of the World." In truth, North Carolina is the biggest producer in the U.S., followed by close competitors Louisiana, California and Mississippi. Even still, China is the largest producer of sweet potatoes - about 80% of the world's supply.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Beef and Bean Burrito Skillet Dinner

An easy Tex-Mex skillet supper made with ground beef, green chilies, canned pintos, flour tortillas, and seasoned with Sazon, chili powder and cumin.

Beef and Bean Burrito Skillet Dinner

I love Beef and Bean Burritos and this recipe transfers that flavor into the ease of a skillet meal. Made from scratch, it's fresh and just delicious. If you are in a rush, you can speed stove to table time by substituting a package of taco seasoning (eliminating all items beginning with salt through to, and including, the oregano) and a can of refried beans for the pintos and Sazon. Top individual servings with your favorite burrito garnishes - shredded lettuce, sliced black olives, chopped tomatoes, chopped avocados, green onion, or other toppings as desired.

Here's how to make it.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

New Orleans Old Sober - Yakamein Soup

Yak a Mein, New Orleans Old Sober Soup is most often made from beef, always includes boiled eggs, and is offered with condiments of soy sauce, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and ketchup.

Yakamein Soup

Known by a couple of different names and spellings, Yakamein (Ya Ka Mein) Soup, often just called "Yock," picked up the name "Old Sober" in New Orleans, for its alleged healing powers in warding off the after-effects and resulting hangover from late night French Quarter partying.

A popular soup in several areas of the United States, Yakamein, was sold mostly in neighborhood mom and pop bodegas of New Orleans in days past, but has all but become a lost recipe there now. Maybe the flooding of Hurricane Katrina contributed to that in New Orleans, but I hope that Yakamein falls back into favor at some point, because it is a mild, but flavorful soup for any day, hangover or not! By the way, should you be so inflicted at some point, swing by my hangover helpers for a few more ideas to help you out.

I had intended to get this post up during Carnival season, but it flew by and was over before I got to it. Too bad, since it is suppose to have such hangover curative powers, something that would certainly come in handy during Carnival. At least it will be here for the next party, which in The Deep South, is always only just around the corner.

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ritz Cracker Thin Mint Cookies

Thin Mint Cookies made with Ritz crackers

Ritz Cracker Thin Mint Cookies

Okay. I'm just gonna go ahead and warn ya up front. If you are a fan of the Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies, I'm guessing you'll like these too, and well, I will not be held responsible for your inability to stop eating these once you start. It will be difficult.

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Weekend Cocktails - Vodka Collins

It's cocktail time! Isn't it funny that spring hasn't even officially made an entrance, and yet here I am already thinking of summer cocktails!?  My apologies for the lack of photo styling folks, but eh, we were working in the yard today and I was tired, so maybe next time I'll do a nice, pretty, styled picture.

I don't imbibe in alcohol much these days, heck, I don't even have the proper bar tools except for what is leftover from my younger years, though I keep saying I'm gonna remedy that. But, for now, my shaker is a quart Mason jar, the same thing that we very often drink sweet, iced tea in, or build a bbq sundae in from our leftover picnic fixin's. My strainer? I use a regular ole kitchen strainer.  Simple living.  That's how we roll Down South. 

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Basic Homemade Sweet and Sour Mix

A basic, general purpose bar mixer that can be easily adapted for desired sweetness or tartness by adjusting the amounts of simple syrup and citrus juices. Can also be made with only lemon juice if desired, though the mixer with lime included is perfect for margaritas and mojitos.


Basic Homemade Sweet and Sour Mix
From the kitchen of

3 cups of 2:1 simple syrup
2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 12)
2 cups freshly squeezed lime juice

Prepare a batch of 2:1 simple syrup, using 3 cups. Cool completely.

Add the juices, stir to combine and refrigerate. Can also make with only lemon. Very adaptable - adjust the citrus mixture for desired tartness; adjust the simple syrup for desired sweetness.
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Friday, March 12, 2010

Crawfish Monica Copycat

Spicy crawfish in a rich and creamy sauce, pictured here with a Tri-Color Rotini Pasta

Crawfish Monica

This is my copycat recipe for Crawfish Monica, a spicy, rich and creamy crawfish and pasta dish, extremely popular and once found only at a booth at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival - a long running music event held in New Orleans. With two stages of soul-stirring music, from jazz, to gospel, to Cajun and zydeco, rock, funk, blues, Caribbean and so much more, and more southern, Cajun, Creole and international foods than you can shake a baton at y'all.  If you've never been, you really should put it on your bucket list for sure. Check it out here.

Crawfish Monica created by Chef Pierre Hilzim, and named after his wife, Monica Davidson, was once only available on the Jazz Fest grounds during the two (extended) weekend festival. Now the original can be purchased at my favorite grocery store, Rouse's Market, here in Mississippi as well as over in Louisiana, along with several other stores around the state of Louisiana. Crawfish Monica now also has two other sister dishes now - Monica’s Herbed Shrimp Alfredo & Pasta and Monica’s Sauce with Chicken, Andouille, Tasso & Pasta! Delish.  Don't fret if it hasn't made it's way near you.  Just visit the Kajun Kettle Foods website for some fun Crawfish Monica trivia, or to order some for your next party, or make a pretty darned good substitute with this recipe.

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

St. Patrick's Day Recipe Ideas

St. Patrick's Day recipe ideas from Deep South Dish.

St. Patrick's Day Recipe Ideas

Top o' the mornin' to ya! St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner, and we have a saying down here that at least on St. Patrick's Day, everybody's got a little Irish in them. For pete's sake though, wear your green, and wear it out in the open and obvious... because green undergarments just don't count... or else I guarantee that you will most definitely get yourself pinched, if you aren't showing your green!

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

7-Can Taco Soup

Seven can taco soup is such a quick and easy soup to throw together, with a well stocked pantry you can whip it up in no time.

7-Can Taco Soup

While 7-Can Taco Soup may not be a classic southern recipe, it is certainly a very popular recipe in the south, no doubt because it feeds a crowd, is a party favorite, and is simply delicious. It's also another one of those recipes that's been around forever. Called 7-Can Taco Soup, because it uses 7 cans of some combination of beans, tomatoes and veggies - my cans of choice are diced tomatoes, Rotel tomatoes, canned green chilies, chili beans, kidney beans, pinto beans and a can of corn. What you put in it varies from recipe to recipe, so settle on your own favorites and use whatever number of cans you like. This version just happens to be the way I like mine.

Here's how to make it.

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Creole Stuffed Bell Peppers

Sweet bell peppers stuffed with a mixture of ground beef, Italian sausage, rice & a Creole tomato sauce, topped with cheddar cheese or slices of Velveeta.

Creole Stuffed Bell Peppers

I absolutely adore stuffed bell peppers. The Cajun? Not so much.

Remember his aversion to veggies?  Well, the poor bell pepper falls right into that category of any other whole veggie that is stuffed - even though most often the very veggie he is rejecting whole, is mixed in the stuffing anyway! So, as with any stuffed vegetable, he will just eat the stuffing from a stuffed bell pepper, and throw away the pepper. Silly man. I mean, he eats green bell pepper a lot. How many recipes do y'all see here that contain The Trinity - onion, celery, and ... hello ... green bell pepper? Lots. Sigh.

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