Montana Jones

Montana n: A state of the northwest United States bordering on Canada. Admitted as the 41st state in 1889. The fourth largest state in the union, it includes vast prairies and numerous majestic mountain ranges.
Syn: Treasure State, Big Sky Country, Last Best Place.

Jones n: slang. An addiction or very deep craving.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Stuffed Peppers

A two quart square casserole dish with lid. That was all I wanted. I had been researching stuffed pepper recipes for days. I had the peppers, I had the time, I had the ambition. I was missing the casserole dish.

I needed a few more ingredients for my stuffed peppers. A can of crushed tomatoes. An onion. A bottle of wine. I thought I might be able to find my casserole dish in that kitchen stuff aisle of the supermarket. I started there. Nada. They had plenty of Pyrex stuff, but nothing in quite the right size and nothing with a lid.

The friendly employee girl asked if she could help me find something. "No," I said "If I don't see it you probably don't have it."

"Well what are you looking for? Perhaps I can help."

"A casserole dish with a lid."

"We have these dishes over here." She really wanted to be helpful.

"Yeah, but I need one with a lid. You don't have any with lids."

"Oh, yeah. Well." Quietly, conspiratorially, "I get all mine from Target."

"I hear you."

I had stuffed peppers on my mind all day. This would not stop me, only a setback. I left the supermarket and made my way across town to the Target. I started thinking of other things I could get at the target as well. I could use a picture frame and I should swing past the paperback books too.

There were fat people loitering at the front door of Target. I wasn't exactly looking like a million bucks myself but it reminded me of why I hate shopping at big box stores. In this corner of the universe the rule is to consume, consume, consume. "In and out fast Jones," I thought to myself. "Get that dish and get on with dinner."

The Target had the same selection of lidless Pyrex that I could have bought at the supermarket.

I spent several minutes hovering through the cookware aisles. I contemplated just getting one of these lidless jobbies and using foil to cover it. But no dammit. I have been using foil for a lid my whole bachelor life. I like cooking I ought to have the right tools for the job. I ought to have a two quart square casserole dish with a lid. I distinctly remember my mom using a blue Corningware one as I was growing up and I think my grandma had one too. That dish would perfectly hold four stuffed peppers. This is a consumerist society, I ought to be able to get one. What is wrong with this world when there are a million choices of crap and not one single two quart square casserole dish with a lid?

I abandoned the Target. I did not look at picture frames or paperback books. In fact they were damn lucky I didn't leave the empty little shopping basket in the middle of the aisle.

I still had a bag of groceries sitting on my front seat and I needed that two quart square casserole dish with lid. Next stop, Kmart. I should have thought of the Kmart before I thought of Target. It is closer to home. It took a while to drive back across town, but this was a quest now. Holy grails and casserole dishes don't care about mileage. The inconvenience was to be dealt with.

The Kmart greeted me with a chorus of screaming children. Wails, cries and upsetness filled the air like Christmas carols. Fitting. I was starting to get hungry and cranky myself. The Kmart did slightly better. They had a three quart square casserole dish with a lid. Martha Stuart brand. I haunted the aisles there too, looking for the perfect dish. There was the frilly round two quart dish with lid. I considered it. But no damn it. I am an American consumer. By god I want a square two quart casserole dish with lid. Just like the one mom used. I imagined putting four stuffed peppers into that three quart dish and the vision was horrible. Peppers falling over, sauce running everywhere. Not cool. I needed two quart and I needed square and I wasn't whipping out the credit card for anything without a lid. The Shopko was across the street. My last hope.

I really like quests when they bear fruit. This quest was starting to piss me off. The Shopko parking lot was an adventure in people meandering through traffic. Move it people. I'm needing some stuffed peppers here. The Shopko cookware section was every bit as disappointing as all my other stops. The same lidless Pyrex crap I could have bought three times already. In fact the selection was almost identical to the Target only with slightly higher prices.

I fumed.

I was disgruntled.

I was hungry for stuffed peppers.

The Shopko did have a two quart round casserole dish with lid. I thought about it for a long time. Not the dish I wanted, I could run back across the street to the Kmart for the three quart jobbie. There was still Wal-Mart down the road. I had sworn off Wal-Mart years ago. They don't deserve my money on principal.

I grabbed the round dish. It would probably do the job and I didn't want to deal with any more running around. On my way to the cash register I told myself that even though this dish won't help much with the other recipe I wanted it for; my strawberry kiwi crisp, I would still end up with one more cooking tool in my Kitchen arsenal. Having a well armed kitchen is never a bad thing. Think positive Jones, someday I might just need a round two quart dish and at least it has a lid.

The stuffed peppers turned out okay.

1/3 pound italian sausage.
1/3 pound hamburger.
Browned in a skillet.

Chop 1 small onion, two stalks celery and the tops off your peppers. Mix in the meat, some shredded mozzarella cheese, one can of diced tomatoes, a half cup of Italian bread crumbs and press a garlic clove into the mix too. Spice with Italian seasoning and pepper to taste.

Stuff that stuff into four peppers and put them in your two quart square (or round) casserole dish. Cover and bake at 350 for at least 30 minutes. 40 minutes might be better. Heck, make it 45, they didn't turn out quite right on the first try.

Serve with a salad and whole bunch of wine in case you are still bitter about that casserole dish.

i'm going to borrow the recipe...I have the casserole dish, stuffed peppers are one of my favorites, just didn't have a recipe.
That sounds wonderful...minus all that shopping. I hate shopping! *shudders*

You should try The Pampered Chef...they have everything you ever thought you wanted and stuff you didn't even know about for cooking. It's a home party order kind of business, you can look them up on line and just order direct from a consultant near you. YOu don't have to have a party or anything, the consultant can just order for you without all that party nonsense..unless you like the party.. I'm not a consultant or anything, I just really really like the stuff. It's sturdy, lasts forever, and I swear by it. You'd have to buy your lid separately though...
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