Spittin’getti Casserole

IMG_8555Comfort food time is rolling around and you shouldn’t be caught short. This recipe is sure to please everyone. Mild enough for kids and sophisticated enough to please the adult palate as well.

It makes enough for an army, and warms up pretty well too.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 lb. ground round, browned
  • 2/3 lb. pasta of your choice, cooked al dente
  • 1/2 lb Italian sausage or other sausage, browned.
  • 1 c diced onions
  • 1 c diced mushrooms
  • 2 c spaghetti sauce homemade or store-bought
  • 1 c parmesan cheese
  • enough slices of pepperoni to cover the top
  • 8 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Brown the beef and sausage together, remove to another dish.
  2. Cook the onions in the fat from the meet until translucent, then add the mushrooms and saute until limp cooked.
  3. Heat salted water in a separate pot and cook up the pasta, drain well.
  4. Add the meat back in with the onion mixture and mix.
  5. Add the sauce and the pasta to the meat mixture and stir until mixed.
  6. Spread half of the mixture into an casserole pan.
  7. Top with half the cheeses.
  8. Add the rest of the meat mixture to the top, cover with the balance of the cheeses and then the pepperoni..
  9. Bake at 375° for 35-40 minutes, or until bubbly.
  10. Serve with bread and a crisp salad.

SERVES: 8

NOTES: You can use other cheeses if you wish. Use any type of mushroom you desire.

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Skillet Moussaka

d12f9d29bf86ba8e69c134926eb859b0I worked in downtown Detroit for many years, my office being but two blocks from Greek town. I thus became something of an expert on Greek food.

Moussaka is a favorite of mine and I’ve made several casseroles over the year, but this recipe is a good but quick substitute. It comes together quite fast, and tastes surprisingly good.

Great for a quick meal.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and diced.
  • 1 1/4 pound ground beef
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • dash pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 ounces shredded Monterey jack or mozzarella cheese, grated
  • chopped parsley (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Peel and cut eggplant into diced chunks about 1/2 inch each.
  2. Brown beef with garlic in skillet; drain.
  3. Add eggplant, tomato paste, water, oregano, salt, onion powder, cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, and pepper.
  4. Cook about 10 minutes or until eggplant is tender.
  5. Combine milk and egg in small bowl. Set aside.
  6. Melt butter in small saucepan. Add milk mixture. Cook over low heat stirring constantly until thickened
  7. Power white sauce over meat mixture. Top with cheese.
  8. Place skillet in oven about 6 inches from broiler and broil on high for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is browned. If you don’t want to turn oven on, you can cover the skillet and just cook until the cheese melts.
  9. Sprinkle chopped parsley on top if desired.

SERVES: 6

NOTES: You can make a traditional roux of flour and butter if you wish instead of the egg, but the carbs will be higher.

SOURCE: Low Carb Yum

Smothered Chicken Fried Steak

820211714_KFVtw-M Nothing says comfort food like chicken fried steak. I mean seriously, the gravy alone is worth it. Add all your favorite fixin’s on the side and you got a dinner that will please everyone.

This is how I make mine.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb of steak of your choice, but I would recommend flatiron, or a thinly cut sirloin. If you move to round steak, then really keep it thin.
  • flour for dusting and dipping.
  • egg wash made from 1-2 eggs whisked with a tbsp of water.
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 c or so of Panko crumbs
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 c milk
  • 1/4-1/2 c beef stock

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Cut the steak into serving pieces. Pound out until it is no more than 1/8 of an inch, and, depending on the cut, is tenderized.
  2. Sprinkle each slice with salt and pepper.
  3. Dip in the flour and shake off excess. Let these rest until all are done.
  4. Then dip each piece in the egg wash and then into panko crumbs. Place on a rack until all are done.
  5. Heat oil in a large skillet and place as many in the pan as will comfortably fit and not touch.
  6. Fry until golden brown and then flip, and do the other side.
  7. Remove to the rack again, and place in a low oven to keep warm.
  8. Pour off most of the oil in the pan until you have the equivalent of about 3 tablespoons or alternatively, remove all oil and add in 3 tbsp of butter. Melt and add the flour and whisk until smooth and cooked (2 minutes)
  9. Add the milk and stir in and bring to a boil. Continue whisking until it has thickened. If it seems a bit too thick, then add the beef broth to thin it down. This adds some depth to the taste.
  10. Put the gravy in a gravy boat and serve at the table with the breaded steak.

SERVES: 4

NOTES: It is essential that if you use round steak, that you really pound this out. Otherwise it will be miserably tough. This is traditionally made with a poor cut meat so tenderizing is required to make it work. Best served with mashed potatoes and your favorite comfort veggie. Corn or peas for most.

SOURCE: Sherry Peyton

Bacon Eye-Talian Meatloaf

Bacon-BBQ-Meatloaf Meatloaf is comfort food for us, and serves a dual purpose of being the center of a great dinner and an even better sandwich cold. We never are sure which we like the best.

This one fits both purposes most excellently.

It won’t last long in your house I promise you.

 

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb ground beef (leaner)
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 cloves garlic, microplaned
  • 1/2 c finely chopped onions
  • 3 good slices of a sourdough or other hearty bread, cubed and soaked with 1/3 c of milk
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 c fresh parsley,chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 eggs lightly mixed
  • 1 c mozzarella shredded
  • 1/2 parmesan cheese shredded
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • slices of bacon or pancetta
  • can of diced tomatoes well-drained
  • 3 tbsp of honey
  • slices of provolone cheese

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Add all the ingredients up to the bacon in a large bowl and mix gently until everything is evenly distributed.
  2. Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap and put the meatloaf in it, covering with plastic.
  3. Refrigerate for a couple of hours so that the meatloaf can “set up.”
  4. Turn it out onto a rack (so that the grease can drip off and away. Layer on the bacon in a single layer.
  5. Place in a 400° oven and bake for 45 min. or until internal temperature is 160°.
  6. Meanwhile mix the well-drained tomatoes with the honey and some salt and pepper.
  7. When the meatloaf is baked, remove from the oven, place the diced tomato mixture down the center and lay thin slices of provolone cheese over the top.
  8. Reduce the oven to 300° and return the meatloaf for 15 minutes or until the tomatoes have warmed through and the cheese has melted.
  9. Let sit for 20 minutes to rest.

SERVES: 8

NOTES: You could add chopped spinach if you like. Or make it ahead up to the topping and then just reheat and add the topping.

SOURCE: Sherry Peyton

Eggplant Sorta Rollatini with Beef

Rollatini3-500x375 Okay, this is a total fraud. This is Eggplant Rollatini minus the roll. It’s the lazy woman’s Rollatini and plus meat.  Tastes like, but doesn’t look like. Company meal for really close friends who won’t care that you didn’t go to enough trouble for them.

Are we clear now?

Besides that minor glitch…it’s damned good.

I mean really really good.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 c EVOO
  • 3-4 large cloves of garlic microplaned
  • 1/2 c minced onions
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (best quality)
  • 1 tsp hot pepper flakes
  • 1/2 c or so of a good quality red wine
  • 1 lb of ground sirloin (keep the fat down) or at least 93% fat-free
  • 2 medium eggplants
  • 1 container of ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c Parmigiano Reggiano grated
  • 2 cups mozzarella shredded
  • 1/4 c minced fresh basil
  • 1/4 c minced fresh parsley

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Heat up the olive oil and add the garlic being careful not to burn it.
  2. Add the onions and saute until translucent.
  3. Add the beef, breaking up and browning it well.
  4. Add the hot pepper flakes, and the wine, bring to a light simmer, and reduce until most of the liquid is gone.
  5. Add the tomatoes and continue the simmer until quite thick. An hour or so. You want to get most of the juice out.
  6. While sauce is cooking, cut the eggplant into slices lengthwise. I found that 12 strips fit perfectly in my lasagna pan.
  7. Place on parchment paper and liberally brush with EVOO and salt and pepper.
  8. Place in a preheated oven at 400° until browned. Turn over and do the same, and return to oven until the eggplants are done. Set aside.
  9. In a bowl add the ricotta, Parmigiano, eggs, and herbs, mixing well.
  10. Assemble oiling your lasagna pan liberally. Then layer a small amount of the sauce in the bottom. Cover the bottom with eggplant slices, then cover with sauce, then add all the ricotta mixture. Sprinkle with about one cup of the mozzarella. Place the remaining eggplant to cover all this. Place the last of the sauce over the eggplant and then sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella.
  11. Place in a 350 oven for 45 minutes, uncover the last 15.
  12. Let it rest for 15 minutes and serve.

SERVES: 8

NOTES: The traditional way is the place the ricotta mixture on each slice of eggplant and roll them up and place them on a bed of sauce and then add more sauce over. Do this if you are into pretty or a masochist.

SOURCE:  Sherry Peyton

 

 

Beef And Cabbage Casserole

fried cabbage meal This is another one of those comfort food casseroles. I guess casseroles are sorta all comfort food, but I really like this one. No big surprising flavors, not particularly spicy. Just good.

Enjoy. Kid friendly.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb leaner ground beef
  • 4-6 slices bacon, diced and fried and drained on paper towels and set aside
  • 1/2 of a large cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 1 fairly large onion, sliced or diced
  • 1 15oz can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 c chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Retain a tablespoon or so of the bacon grease and fry the onions until translucent and then reduce heat and saute until caramelized.
  2. Remove and add to the bacon set aside.
  3. Brown and cook thoroughly the beef, breaking it up into small crumbles. If there is noticeable grease from the cooking, drain off. Add to the onions and bacon.
  4. Place the chopped cabbage in a microwave safe bowl and cook until about half done.
  5. Place garlic in the pan and saute until fragrant, and turn out to the dish with meat and onions.
  6. Melt the butter in the pan and add the flour, making a roux. Cook for a minute or two.
  7.  Then add all the cooked ingredients into the pan. Add the tomatoes, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring up to a low boil just so the juices will thicken.
  8. Mix well and transfer to a baking dish. 8 x 11 should be fine.
  9. Bake in a 350° for 30-45 minutes depending on whether you do this immediately or set it all aside for final cooking later. Cook covered with foil.
  10. About 2/3 of the way through, remove and stir in the parsley and return to finish off the cooking.

SERVES: 6

NOTES: You can make this your own by adding chopped carrots or corn, or frankly anything else you like to the mix.

SOURCE: Sherry Peyton

 

Beef Gorditas

beef gorditas Oh this is heavenly food. What’s on the inside is really up to you, but you gotta master the gordita end of it. That’s where the true joy comes from.

It’s sorta like a taco but not really. It’s sorta like a burrito, but not really.

Got that?

It will take a bit of time to make the gorditas but it’s so worth it.

So get out the flour and get busy.

INGREDIENTS:

for the masa:

  • 2 1/2 c masa harina (found in most grocery stores)
  • 1/2 c regular flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c lard (this is best but you can use shortening or even regular oil)
  • 2 + c of warm to hot water

for the innards:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 poblano, Anaheim or hatch chile, blistered, peeled and seeded and chopped
  • 1 -2 jalapenos chopped
  • 1 tbsp Mexican seasoning
  • 2 c of Mexican coleslaw
  • one batch of Pico de gallo
  • cheese any kind you like, but queso fresco is great with this

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Mix the dry ingredients for the masa dough, and then drizzle over this the melted lard. Mix with fork until its sort of like peas.
  2. Add the water one cup at a time, mixing until it forms a dough (you could do this in a food processor). When it comes together, just knead it a few times to bring it together nicely.
  3. Cover with a towel and leave for 15 minutes or so. (You can put in fridge covered with plastic wrap, but you must bring it to room temp and then warm it in the microwave a bit before proceeding.
  4. When ready to fry, get a fry pan (cast iron works well here), filled with about a 1/4 inch of oil. Heat to around 350°.
  5. Divide the dough into fifteen or so balls about golf ball size (you can halve this recipe).
  6. Wet the left hand, and then place the ball in that palm, and press other palm to it, flattening, turning the disk and patting it out. You’ll get the hang of it. (you could use a tortilla press but I’d advise oiling or using plastic wrap to keep it from sticking).
  7. Place as many as will fit on a griddle or large dry pan and leave for just a minute or so to brown. Flip to other side and do the same.
  8. Place each partially cooked gordita into the hot oil, not crowding. They will puff up and rise to the surface. Flip and do the other side until lightly browned.
  9. Remove to a paper towel. Cool until they can be handled and slice open. Fill as desired.
  10. Brown the meat, chiles, and seasonings until no pink remains.

SERVES: 8

NOTES: You can use any fillings you prefer. Shrimp, chicken, turkey, carnitas, you name it. You can omit the coleslaw and used chopped tomatoes and lettuce. You can add any cheese you prefer or no cheese at all. These are like sandwich pockets and can be filled as you like. Peanut butter and jelly? I don’t see why not.