Posted by: Erica Retrochef | May 28, 2012

Beans in a Bonnet

Ann Page, the mythical home economist of the A&P company as well as their brand name of food items, had a penchant for recipes that were both cheap and quick. Like this recipe for bean-stuffed peppers. “Just heat ‘n’ eat for quick, time-saving meals. And on special occasions, try the flavorsome dish, featured above.”


2 cans Ann Page Red Kidney Beans
2 medium-sized green peppers
1/3 cup grated American Cheese

Wash peppers; cut in half lengthwise. Remove seeds. Cook in salted water 5 to 10 minutes. Fill pepper halves with beans. Top with grated cheese. Place in shallow baking dish. Add a little water in bottom of pan. Bake in moderate oven, 375°F., for 20 minutes. Garnish with pimiento — Recipe is generous for four: allowing one serving of “Beans-in-a-Bonnet” and liberal helpings of beans.

That’s 25-30 minutes of cook time, plus 5 or so for prep — this isn’t really a “quick, time-saving meal” so I guess it’s going to be for a “special occasion.” (Or, a Thursday.)

Aside from the green peppers, a lot of these ingredients were somewhat modified. The beans, for example: not only are they not Ann Page beans, they aren’t even canned. (Dried beans are super cheap. But they do take a bit longer to cook.)

Green pepper halves were boiled for about five minutes. (I really didn’t want to risk making them super-mushy, and a ten minute boil just seemed too long.)

The beans were scooped into the “bonnets” — about 1/2 cup of beans in each, I’d estimate.

Nobody sells grated American cheese, or even blocks that can be grated. So we got some slices from the deli, then julienned it — the result is more or less the same size you would get from grating cheese.

And then all that “grated” cheese was sprinkled over the bonnets.

Another thing that nobody seems to sell any more is pimiento strips, just chunks or whole peppers. So, I julienned some whole peppers. (Side note: marinated red peppers taste SO much better than typical pimiento chunks. Buy these things and then cut them up yourself. Mmmmm.)

While the “bonnets” baked, I tried to make some of those cute little cheese curls, but I can’t figure out how they did it. I ran a peeler over some cheese (cheddar, since I didn’t have American) and just got a flat rectangle of cheese. Oh well.

But I did have lovely strips of pimiento to put on top. It’s a great opportunity to get cute with food.

The recipe would have been better with cheddar, or any other interesting cheese, than American cheese. It did add a nice creamy texture, though, and helped pull everything together. I don’t know if I’d really call this a dish worthy of a “special occasion,” but it was good enough for a weekday dinner.

Recipe scanned in by bluwmongoose on Flickr



  1. Are we sure those are cheese curls in the illustration? Because I can’t do it, either – what cheese curls like THAT? Maybe we have the wrong tools? I’ve only seen carrots like that at an Asian restaurant…

    I’m on a kick of stuffing things in pepper halves. My latest has been a Piemontese dish of peppers stuffed with capers, Parmesan & olives – very yummy. I am definitely going to try this next – and/or replace the American with Parmesan!

    • I thought of carrots too, but those curls just looked too shiny and yellow to be carrots. Maybe American cheese curls better, but since I can’t buy it in blocks, I will never know 😀

  2. I never would have guessed they don’t sell grated American cheese- or simply blocks. Do they sell grated and blocked cheddar? Most of our ‘yellow/hard’ cheeses come grated and blocked.

    Well, it sounds best made with cheddar anyway, so I’ll try it with that!

    • Yes, you can get cheddar in blocks, grated, or occasionally even still in wax. (And there’s a variety of sharpness, age, etc. also.) It’s a much better cheese for just about any recipe I can think of!

    • You can go to the deli of a supermarket and just ask for a block of cheese, instead of having it sliced.

      • I just did that, this very week – needed a 1/2 lb. chunk of American cheese for grating by hand. I went to the deli and had to explain what I wanted a couple of times, as the employee had never had such an outre demand before.

  3. You needed some Velveeta. I think these look good. But I like most anything that is topped with cheese.

  4. This is a good vegetarian meal for those who will eat it! I’ve found small-ish jars of roasted red peppers in brine in The Dollar Tree, a bargain, because red peppers are so expensive. I think you could tweak this recipe with different cheeses and seasonings. Thank you!

  5. I assumed the cheese curls in the photo were rolled strips of American cheese. This doesn’t seem so bad, substitute the tortillas for the peppers and I’d eat it (can’t do green peppers). Thanks as always for the post!

  6. That dish sounds plenty of tasty — only i would use cheddar cheese or Laughing Cow Spreadable Wedges (those are yummy) instead of American cheese, and I would use red peppers instead of green to stuff my mixture into (I like the red ones better)

  7. Why do I keep replying to old articles? Anyway, feel free not to approve my comments. I suspect that “American cheese” of the past was more like a mild cheddar, though I was born in 1961 and can’t clearly recall the American of my childhood being way different from today’s. But it could be grated… surely it was once different.

    I wonder how many pitfalls there are in using these recipes. Tuna has less per can now, industrial foods may change recipes without changing names, I don’t recall much canned fruit not in syrup in my childhood, and so on ad nauseam…

  8. When you consider that when this was published it was common to spend a couple hours, or more, making dinner, this might have been considered quick to prepare.

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