Main dish

Hearty Stuffed Peppers

Hearty Stuffed peppers

Stuffed peppers is a dish found in many cuisines, particularly in Spanish cuisine, and it’s also a very common in Serbian Dish as well.  I grew up on a farm in Serbia and our garden was abundant with all the vegetables that go into making stuffed peppers.  Add some meat to this dish and you have a hearty meal. 

You can make a vegetarian version of this dish or substitute any kind of ground meat as well as incorporate your favorite vegetables.  Get creative and add raisins or pine nuts to the mixture. 

Traditionally, a sauce was also made for the stuffed peppers, but you can use your favorite pasta sauce in this recipe

  • 1 Cup of olive oil
  • 1/2 Onion
  • 2 Celery stalks
  • 1 Cup of shredded carrots
  • 1 Grated zucchini
  • 5 Large mushrooms
  • 2.5 lbs Ground Turkey, or Ground beef or pork
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Cup of rice
  • 5-6 Garlic cloves
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
  • Black pepper and sea salt to taste
  • 10 Large bell peppers (green, red, orange or yellow)
  • 1  Jar of Pasta Sauce

Cook 1 cup of rice and set aside.  Heat olive oil in a skillet and sauté onion, celery and carrots and mushrooms.  After a few minutes add the zucchini.  Add the meat and cook until meat is  done.  Remove meat mixture from heat.  Add salt and pepper, 1 cup of cooked rice and 2 eggs
Incorporate fresh parsley and garlic

Stuff Peppers

Half the peppers or keep them whole. Remove the top stem, seeds and membrane from peppers making sure to leave the lip on the pepper so the mixture stays in the pepper.   Stuff the peppers with the mixture being careful not to overstuff the peppers, you’ll need to leave a little extra space for the rice to expand.  Place the peppers in a roasting pan and add the pasta sauce and enough water to cover the peppers only 1/4 of the way.

In a 350 degree preheated oven bake stuffed peppers for 45 minutes or until peppers are tender.


How to stretch your food investment: Vlada’s tips for organizing your refrigerator

It’s a good idea to organize and clean out your refrigerator about once a month.  Vlada did just that with a class at Rancho Damacitas for single moms.  Rancho Damacitas is a foster home in Temecula, California helping to serve struggling single mothers with young children through the Empowerment Village Program.  The class that Vlada held at Rancho Damacitas helped shed light on the importance of not letting food go to waste and making the most of your grocery investment.   Vlada believes It’s important to avoid food waste and it’s especially important when you are on a tight budget and want to make your dollars stretch.

By cleaning out your fridge regularly you take an inventory of what you have and organize food by how perishable it is.   

Here are some of Vlada’s favorite tips to making the most of your groceries and and organizing your refrigerator:

  1. Organize and take an inventory of your refrigerator regularly so you know what you have.
  2. Place highly perishable items together and at eye level so you are sure to use those first.
  3. Place sweet treats and unopened prepackaged items in the back of the refrigerator.  You don’t want to be tempted to use those first since they can sit in the refrigerator longer
  4. Place Dairy, milk and cheese on their own shelf.  Re-wrap opened cheese packages to help them stay fresh longer
  5.  Place meats or foods that have a long shelf life, especially if heavily processed or in unopened packages, on the bottom shelf.

While cleaning out your fridge, this is a great time to plan and cook your dinner from items that are about to expire.  When you are done, you’ll not only have a clean refrigerator but you will also have dinner on the table  from items in your refrigerator that might have otherwise been tossed in the trash, and that’s money saved.


Stuffed Cabbage

Throughout my childhood I  watched my mother and grandmother prepare this traditional dish. I feel very happy to share recipe with you! 

To start, we’ll need 30-35 pickled cabbage leaves. To learn how easy it is to make them click here:

10 slices smoked bacon
1 c. olive oil
1 large onion
1/2 tsp. Hungarian paprika
3 1/2 lb. ground beef
2 eggs
1 c. pearl rice
Salt & pepper per taste

1/2 c. olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. Hungarian paprika
8 oz. tomato sauce
4 c. water
Pinch of salt & black pepper
Pinch of sugar

The directions are easy to follow, but if you need a little help just send me a note on my Contact page, and I will be glad to help.

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Italian Sausage Pasta Sauce

For years I have been enjoying making different sauces using Rinaldi pasta sauce, and this is just one of my favorites!

1/2 c. olive oil

1 med. onion

2 stalks celery

1 med. eggplant

6 sweet Italian sausage links

1 zucchini

1 medium to large carrot

1 jar Rinaldi spaghetti sauce (24 oz.)

Fresh basil



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Turkey Chili

Simply delicious and loaded with nutrients! Just watch the video for simple instructions. I hope you enjoy making this recipe as much as I do! 

1/4 c. olive oil

1 med. onion

2 stalks celery

1/2 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1/4 tsp. granulated garlic

1/2 tsp. black pepper

2 lb. ground turkey

16 oz. black beans

16 oz. baby butter beans

40 oz. pinto beans

6 oz. tomato paste

15 oz. diced tomatoes

3/4 c. water or chicken broth

Fresh cilantro & lime for finishing touch


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Summer Mixed Vegetable “Satarash”

This  quick, traditional summer dish from Serbia is often served as a main dish, or accompanied by protein and fresh pasta, or bread. It is easy to make, yet very rich in flavor and nutrition! For preparation details view the easy instructions.

2 large onions (sliced)

1/2 c.  preheated olive oil

4 med. bell peppers

4-5 cloves fresh garlic (chopped)

4 med. tomatoes (cubed)

Chopped basil leaves

Salt & pepper to taste

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Homemade Corn Dogs

All kids, including mine, love corn-dogs! To make everyone happy I decided to create my own version using better ingredients. The final comment was, ” Can you make more tomorrow?” This batter is good for about 10 corn dogs.

 2 eggs
Good pinch of salt
1/4 tsp. granulated garlic
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 c. buttermilk pancake mix
1/2 c. corn meal
1/4 c. milk
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder

Fry the corn dogs in 1 1/2 c.  oil; I suggest peanut oil.

Have fun cooking with your kids!

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Stuffed Cabbage

An old world classic, stuffed cabbage represents Eastern European cuisine in its most authentic way.

To learn how to pickle your own cabbage, please view the video.

30-35 pickled (or boiled) cabbage leafs

10 slices smoked bacon

1 cup olive oil

1 large onion

1/2 teaspoon Hungarian paprika

3 1/2 lb. ground beef

7-8 cloves fresh garlic

2 eggs

1 cup pearl rice (or any other)

Salt & pepper to taste

Simple step-by-step instructions are provided in this helpful video.


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Shrimp Chow Mein

You don’t have to be Chinese to cook great Chinese food! Experimenting is fun, so lets experiment together:


6-7 green onions

1 Portobello mushroom

1/4 olive oil

4-5 cloves fresh garlic

1 small bell pepper

10 large tiger shrimp

1/2 teaspoon soy sauce

Pinch of salt & black pepper

Roasted sesame seeds and hot sauce (optional)

Instructions are provided in the video. Have fun!

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Sun-Dried Stuffed Peppers

This recipe is compliments of my dear friend Mila Spasic. I thank her for sharing it with us and uncovering her secrets to an amazing dish.


15-20 dry red peppers

1 cup smoked meat

3/4 -1 cup fresh tomatoes

1/2 cup fresh carrots

3 sticks celery

4 cloves fresh garlic

6 small potatoes

2/3 cup olive oil

1 med. onion

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes

Mila makes it very simple to make this recipe. See her instructional video.


Sun dried peppers