This recipe can be altered to fit any taste by adjusting how spicy and saucy you make it. On occasion, I like using ground turkey in place of the beef-or adding leftover spaghetti sauce instead of the tomato paste.
With my husband—who won't eat the same thing twice—I've had to learn to be creative with leftovers (around here, we call it "recycled food"). I put this recipe together to use up leftover meat loaf. When it's dressed up with homegrown peppers, he doesn't know he really is getting yesterday's main course!
Actually, leftovers are both coming and going in this recipe—if I have any peppers left over, I use them to make my spaghetti sauce.
Although we live close to Houston, there's a pasture near our house and we can hear the cows that graze there. We have two sons, 4 and 2.
I've enjoyed cooking ever since I was a child. I can remember standing on a stool and watching Mother make bread on the old Hoosier cupboard. I prepared meals for 23 years at a retirement home and made this recipe often.
Having my recipe selected as a winner is a special thrill for me—my husband is a manager of the Penn State Univ. poultry research farm.
Baking has always been my favorite type of cooking. So, when I got married 9 years ago, I was happy to have this simple yet delicious recipe—which originated with my aunt and was passed on to my mom. Now, with three small children (they're 6, 4, and 1), I need all the fast dishes I can find! It's great for a luncheon...or served with salad and rolls, for supper.
Meet the Cook: Like most farmers, my husband loves chili. And with all of the vegetables, cheese and meat in it, this quick dish makes a real meal-in-one. I serve it frequently in fall and winter.
I began cooking young. My mom taught me a lot...so did years of 4-H!
My husband and I have a dairy farm, and we also make maple syrup. I'm the mother of two small boys. They don't care for the olives in this recipe - but the rest they eat right up!
-Katherine Brown, Fredericktown, Ohio
Meet the Cook: My husband and I have four children, ages 15 to 3 - and this dish is the best way I've found to get them to eat their vegetables! (I'll frequently substitute broccoli and cauliflower, for instance, for some of the other ingredients.)
Actually, my kids call this "Mom's Secret Recipe", because I put something different in every time - instead of pork, I'll sometimes use chicken, beef or tuna. However I prepare it, they'll each have two or three helpings.
-Sally Pelszynski, Princeton, Illinois
Meet the Cook: My "policy" in the kitchen is to try to fix something totally new at least once a week. This recipe came out beautifully on the first try! Ever since, in between experiments, I've made it often.
I usually fix Meaty Spanish Rice for family meals - but it's also great for doubling if unexpected company comes and the cupboards are all nearly bare!
My husband and I own a small engine repair service. Someday soon, we plan to retire to the farm 70 miles west of here that we also operate. We have three grown children and five grandchildren - and I spend as much time with those little ones as I can!
-Margaret Shauers, Great Bend, Kansas
Meet the Cook: I've enjoyed cooking and baking since I was just a girl - and my husband and I now have eight grandchildren! But this recipe is actually his.
He's a meat cutter, and we'll have this dish as often as once a week (it's as good, if not better, reheated). We've made this for family dinners, picnics, potlucks...it's so popular I make sure I have a copy of the recipe to pass out.
-Patricia Ann Fredell, Orion, Illinois