Pepper Bellies

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When I was growing up, my mom excelled in making meals memorable. Curried potatoes and pork chops, Chinese takeout that we ate at the coffee table, sitting on cushions, deli meats on fluffy white French bread — those are all tastes and memories of my childhood.

And Mom knew how to make things feel cozy. She loved to get a roaring fire going, snuggle up with blankets, and watch the logs crackle and pop.

One of my favorite meals from that era was Pepper Bellies. I have no idea why they were called that. But, that is what we called them, anyway.

I made them for my kids last week on a cold, rainy day. And if felt like a cozy supper once again.

This is super simple and you probably already make them, even if you don’t call them, “Pepper Bellies.” Tradition dictates that you use Fritos, but I didn’t have any. So feel free to update the classic with tortilla chips.

What’s YOUR favorite cozy supper?

About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. Alea says

    My son often makes this for lunch, but has just been calling it “glorified leftovers”. I am so glad I can tell him its proper name. 😉

  2. My favorite cozy meal is a really good soup, like a cream of broccoli, cauliflower or potato soup with a yummy homemade bread!

  3. I left my link for my favorite cozy, comfort breakfast! Love it!

  4. Sarah says

    Tomorrow I will have a recipe posting of the best stuffed bell peppers! Thank you for the linky!

  5. Lindsey says

    We call that Chili Fritos with cheese. Want to not wash dishes? Buy the small bag of Fritos, cut the side open, spoon the chili and cheese into the bag. Put some napkins under the bag where you’ll hold it because it will get super hot. Eat it with a plastic spoon. Voila! Easy, snacky meal with minimal dirty dishes, perfect for Cookbook writing night!

  6. Mr. Linky is acting up–we love Blanco Chili for cozy nights.

    Thanks for hosting!

    • Jessica Fisher says

      @Jackie, thanks for the head’s up on Mr Linky. I was hoping their issues would be resolved by now. So, instead, I’ve put up a different widget.

    • kate says

      In East Tennessee we call this Petros. I think it is a brand name and started when the dish was served at the World’s Fair in Knoxville.

  7. jan says

    Mom used to do something sort of similar only with taco fixings and would call them walking tacos (none of us kids would go near a bean when we were kids, look at us now!) … I can still smell the Frito’s when she would first open that bag….oh man, that was sooooo good!

  8. I just made chili last night! Great use for leftovers.
    I love some sort of roast with mash pots, gravy, and a salad

  9. I have lots of recipes that are cozy to me, I linked to my basic beef roast recipe, a few other favs are cheesy potato soup, beef stew (made with the leftover roast- shredded beef in stew- yum!), biscuits and gravy! I LOVE food! I can’t wait to have my energy back so I can make food again, this pregnancy has been a LONG one!!

  10. Becky says

    Yum – that’s frito pie in my neck of the woods. At TX fairs, they sell it in the individual bags of fritos with a fork. Pure comfort food.

  11. I’m go glad you posted a link to your curried potatoes! We were given 200 pounds of potatoes this week that are very near their peak. We gave some away, but we have lots left. Though you know we can easily eat 50 pounds of potatoes a week, what you didn’t know was that I was looking for a recipe to make curried potatoes, since I have 4 POUNDS of curry powder, and I thought it would be fun to do something with that and potatoes. Thanks!

  12. I can’t get the linky to work either.

    I’m sharina an easy, healthy, gluten & dairy free version of Rice Krispies Treats!

    It’s Marshmallow Week at The Nourishing Homemaker. A new marshmallow recipe will be posted each day.

    • Jessica Fisher says

      Linky has been replaced. 😉

  13. Denise C. says

    Just like Frito Pie! I loved making it in Texas! Why have I not made it on the East Coast, where I am living now? I think I know what is going on my menu plan! =)

  14. My mom made that dish as well…no pepper belly name just a bowl of chili with fritos. To this day when I made chili, I have to have crushed fritos or tortilla chips at the bottom and on top with cheese, sour cream and gaucamole.

    Thanks for sharing and hosting!

  15. That DOES looks cozy:-)

  16. Kim says

    I love your site and visit often on Thursdays & Fridays. Can you please increase the font size for the links for us with poor vision? 🙂 THX

  17. angie says

    sounds mighty good for some reason I can’t find my recipe for italian subs in the list here is the link

  18. Kara says

    Grandma use to call this recipe straw hats because the cheese on top looks like a straw hat. Thanks for the reminder!

  19. taco rice is a concoction i whizzed up when i realized i had both a soft tortilla and lettuce run out and needed a meal plan for left-over taco meat. it was cozy!

  20. Hi Jess, we make these all the time with leftovers but call them taco bowls for some reason! I love em, so easy healthy and quick! Linking up a recipe for whole wheat hamburger buns made easy by using a mixer for the heavy work. All the best. Alex

  21. Betsy N says

    We call them “haystacks”. why? I have no idea. They are good with both chili and leftover taco meat (if such a thing exists in your house!)

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