Susan Peters serves up family focused cooking show

By Tammara Fogle | August 2, 2021

Susan Peter’s first guest on “The Family Dinner Table” was chef Luis Pena, of Butler Community College’s culinary program.

The Active Age

An idea that’s been simmering in Susan Peters’ head for years is finally ready for consumption: a TV show based around family recipes.

“The Family Dinner Table” debuted on PBS Kansas (formerly KPTS) last month. New episodes of the half-hour show will air at 2:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month and repeat at 2 p.m. on the following Sunday.

Peters enjoys passing family recipes down to her daughters, Nikki Rose and Jenna Lynn, seen in a 2003 photo.

Peters, a Wichita TV anchorwoman for 28 years, said the stories behind those recipes will be a big part of the show. 

“There are a lot of websites and cooking shows that have professional chefs on them, but there aren’t a lot that have family cooks with recipes that are passed down from generation to generation,” said Peters, who’s an enthusiastic cook herself.

The show is Peters’ latest endeavor since retiring from KAKE, Channel 10, in 2016. In addition to leading Susan’s Kids, which helps Kansas foster children get adopted, she co-hosts Best of Hatteberg’s People on PBS Kansas with former KAKE co-anchor Larry Hatteberg and is in frequent demand as an emcee for events. She’s subbed as a host of the public TV station’s “Kansas This Week” and helped with its on-air fundraising.

“It’s all volunteer work,” she said. “It’s a lot more rewarding and it’s very much fun, and it’s very nice to be back on television without it being on commercial television. You’re allowed to explore topics and candidates or whatever a lot more than you are allowed to in commercial television, where you get a minute for each story.”

Last fall, Peters hosted an online fundraising event for the station in which people could talk with nationally known chef Nick Stellino. The pair’s chemistry was good, and when the station asked Peters if she’d be interested in doing a regular cooking show, she jumped at the chance.

Peters’ first two scheduled guests are professional cooks — Luis Pena, the new head of Butler Community College’s culinary program, and Natasha Gandhi-Rue, chef-owner of The Kitchen. But plans are to book nonprofessionals as well, and the focus of the show will be family cooking.

“With recipes that are passed down, there are also incredible stories that are passed down with them,” Peters said. “That’s the difference in this cooking show. I interview the chef. Before we start cooking, he tells me the story and we have his old family photos around the dinner table, pictures of his grandmother who gave him the recipe, that sort of thing.”

Research shows that family meals make more than just memories and happy tummies, Peters said.

Susan’s grandparents, Rose and Dominic Capranica, are shown making polenta. ” They used to just spread it on the table and we would all gather round with a fork and eat it off the table!” Peters said.

“It even goes so far as values are created around the table.”

Peters grew up in San Diego but traces some of her fondest food memories to her early childhood in Peoria, Il., where her Italian mother and Lebanese father had many relatives.

“My mother is 100 percent Italian. She passed down all her recipes. Absolutely, I cook a lot of Italian.”


Chicken Marsala

1 chicken, about 3½ lbs., cut up

Flour, salt and pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

2 tablespoons butter

½ cup Marsala wine

1 cup chicken broth

1 teaspoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon rosemary

½ lb. mushrooms, sliced

¼ cup minced Italian parsley

¼ cup butter


Dredge chicken in flour. Season with salt and pepper. In a skillet, saute chicken in olive oil until browned, turning once. Transfer chicken to large skillet.

In same skillet, saute onion and celery in 2 tablespoons butter for 3 minutes or until softened. Transfer to skillet with wine, chicken stock, tomato paste and rosemary. Stir well, cover and simmer about 1 hour, or until chicken is tender.

While chicken is simmering, saute mushrooms and parsley in ¼ cup melted butter for 5 to 8 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Add to saucepan about 10 minutes before chicken is done.


Easy Pasta Fazool

1 28-oz. can tomatoes

1 small can tomato paste

1 cup water

1 can kidney beans

Italian seasoning

1 lb. elbow pasta


Heat together tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 cup water and kidney beans in a large saucepan. Add Italian seasoning to taste. 

In a large pot, cook pasta until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving the water. Add pasta to sauce and simmer together for 10 minutes, adding reserved water until it’s soupy.