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.


  • 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


  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.


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


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.


  • 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


  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.


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



Queso Fundido Mac & Cheese

fundito Fundido means molten or melted and that certain is the case here. The Internet is besieged with fundido recipes it seems, and so you should consider it molten in more than one way.

In other words, play with it and make it your own.

This plays with the concept of mac and cheese and takes it to an all-time high with chiles and chorizo and tons of cheese and crema.

It should be considered comfort food.

It should be considered in your next meal-planning session.

Trust me.


  • 5 ounces Mexican chorizo
  • 2 large poblano pepper
  • 1/2 diced onion
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • 3 C  extra sharp cheese, shredded or a combination of Jack, cheddar, Queso Fresco etc.
  • 1½ cups Mexican crema
  • 8 ounces small pasta shells
  • ½ cup crushed, taco chips
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Canola or olive oil spray


  1. Blacken your chiles, peel, seed and chop and set aside.
  2. Brown your chorizo and 1/2 diced onion in a skillet and set aside.
  3. In a saucepan, melt the butter, add the flour, stir to a roux and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add the milk and cream and heat until it starts to simmer and thicken. Add the mustard and nutmeg.
  5. Add the cheese, and stir until melted. Add a bit of pepper.
  6. Cook the pasta until al dente.
  7. Drain and place in an oiled or buttered 10 x 14 baking dish
  8. Add the cooked chorizo, onions, and chiles.
  9. Pour the cheese sauce over the top and spread evenly.
  10. Cover with the panko/taco chips.
  11. Bake uncovered at 375° for about 30 minutes.
  12. Set to cool for about 15 minutes before serving.

SERVES: 8 generously

NOTES: as always, substitute any peppers or add more. I added one chopped Serrano to the cheese sauce. Also you could use ground pork or ground beef if you don’t like chorizo, but you will lose a lot of flavor. If you do so, add a tbsp of chile powder and a tsp of cumin to the cheese sauce.  If you leave out the pasta, make in a cast iron skillet and put under the broiler to brown and serve with chips.

SOURCE: Hispanic Kitchen

A Reuben Casserole?

ReubencassOh are you in for a treat.

It’s as good as a reuben sandwich.

It’s in a casserole.

It warms up the second go-round just as good.

I am serious.

Make this!


  • 1/2 box of puffed pastry
  • 4-6 slices of a rye bread
  • slices of baby swiss, about a dozen
  • 1 lb of corned beef from the deli
  • about 1/2 – 2/3 c of thousand island dressing
  • 1 can or jar (15 oz) of sauerkraut, rinsed and squeezed dry


  1. Use a casserole either 9 x 11 or 10 x 10 (the 10 x 10 works best because the sheet of puffed pastry fits perfectly
  2. Butter the casserole dish.
  3. Lightly toast some rye bread, then butter one side and lay buttered side down, covering the bottom of the casserole. Cut to fit if you need to and it doesn’t have to be perfectly covered.
  4. Lay on a layer of swiss cheese slices
  5. Layer on the corned beef.
  6. Slather on a decent amount of the thousand island dressing
  7. Scatter the sauerkraut over the top.
  8. Add another layer of cheese.
  9. Top with the puffed pastry.
  10. Brush the top with either egg, milk, or butter.
  11. Place in a 375° and bake until the puffed pastry has risen and browned and you can hear some bubbling inside, about 30 minutes or so.


NOTES: This is commonly made with all puffed pastry or crescent rolls (2). I liked the idea of incorporating the rye bread. Serves up nice with some potato type salad.

SOURCE: Sherry Peyton

OVEN: 375°

OVEN TIME: 30 minutes +

Shepherd Boy’s Casserole

Okay, it’s Shepherd’s pie. No biggie.

And frankly, I always kind of turned up my nose at it, honestly as being a bit too rustic and “common”.

I was wrong. This recipe rocks.

It is truly comfort food of the first order.

And all you have to do is remember the next time you are making mashed potatoes–make double.

The rest is child’s play.

But even made from scratch, it’s quick so do try it. This recipe is adapted from Juanita’s Cochina.


  • Enough potatoes to cover your casserole dish (probably about 4-5 lg) peeled, diced and cooked just to done, and drained.
  • 6 tbsp butter, divided
  • 1/2 heavy cream
  • pepper
  • 2 tbsp canola oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef, as lean as you can afford
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 c beef stock (I try to get salt free whenever possible)
  • 1/2 lg onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 2 zucchini, or use chopped celery, parsnips, green beans, etc. About 2 cups in total of whatever veggies you have on hand
  • 2 carrots grated
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 4 oz havarti or other cheese of your choice.


  • 1/2 lg onion, diced
  • 8 oz mushrooms of your choice, sliced
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1 c red wine (a nice dry red is best)
  • 1-2 c beef stock
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. In a large skillet, add one tbsp each of oil and butter and brown the beef with Worcestershire sauce, cayenne, salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Add the tomato paste and blend in. Add stock and bring to a simmer. Adjust seasonings if necessary and then remove to a bowl.
  4. In the skillet , add another tbsp each of oil and butter and saute the onions and other vegetables until just tender. Add the paprika.
  5. Using a 9 x 12 casserole, layer half the meat, and then sprinkle the grated cheese on top. Then the rest of the meat and then all the veggies.
  6. Add 3 tbsp or so of the butter to the pot of potatoes, mash, add the cream and mash until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Spread the potatoes onto the casserole.
  8. Bake for about 30 minutes or until edges are browned and bubbling.
  9. For the Gravy: Saute the onions and mushrooms in the oil until tender. Add flour and whisk until the flour is cooked. Add the red wine, whisking until it starts to bubble and thicken. Add as much beef broth as you need to reach the consistency you desire.
  10. Serve over the pie when dished.

Serves: 6 generously

Sausage and Rigatoni Bake



Nothing like some good Italian food. A side salad and some garlic bread, a bit of Chianti, and well, can you get much better than that?

This is a bit time consuming if you make the sauce from scratch which I do, but I find it worth it since most store-bought sauces are lacking a lot in my opinion.

If you do buy a sauce in a jar, then you can whip this up in no time, and place a first-rate meal on the table worthy of guests.

So do give it a go.




  • 1 lb of Italian sausage, mild or hot, or other sausage that you love.
  • About 2 -3 cups of marinara sauce.
  • About 2/3 of a lb of rigatoni, or use other hefty dried pasta.
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella, cubed
  • 8 oz Asiago cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 c butter, cubed
  • 4 oz – 6 oz Parmigiano cheese, shredded or Romano
  • 1/4 c chopped parsley


  1. Make your sauce. Set aside.
  2. Crumble the sausage and cook. Add to the sauce when browned and simmer until finished. Set aside.
  3. Boil the rigatoni in salted water until al dente. Drain.
  4. In a large baking dish, grease the surface with some butter.
  5. Add the cooked pasta and the cubes of butter, mix.
  6. Add the Mozzarella and the Parmigiano cheese, mix.
  7. Pour the sauce over the top and top with the Asiago cheese.
  8. Bake in 350° oven for about 30 minutes, until warm and bubbly and the Asiago has melted.
  9. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve.


Serves: 6 generously

Note: vary the cheeses, the sausage used, and the sauce as you like. This reheats nicely for leftovers too.


Chokes and Eggplant Parmigiano

Eggplant Parmesan is always an elegant meal, but I decided to amp it up just a bit by adding another of my favorite veggies, artichokes. Since I don’t live in an area where artichokes are sold at the “young” stage, rather than cook and dice several to make this dish, I used canned. Feel most free to use the real thing of course.

I also used my own marinara sauce, but you can substitute with a favorite store-bought variety should you have one.

In any case, with a salad and some hot garlic bread, you have a real great meal. And don’t forget to add a nice glass of Chianti to round it out.


  • Several small eggplants of the Japanese variety or one large regular eggplant.
  • About 3 cups of marinara sauce
  • 8 oz or so of fresh mozzarella, cubed
  • 1 c grated good quality Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1 15 oz can of artichoke hearts, diced


  1. Slice the eggplant in 1/4 inch slices long ways for the Japanese variety. For the regular, it’s usually best to salt the slices, pile in a colander and weigh it down. After about 30 minutes, rinse and pat dry.
  2. Liberally brush olive oil on the slices and place on a cookie sheet that is brushed with oil as well or use parchment paper which also has been oiled a bit. Bake at 425° until browned and done. Usually no more than about 20 minutes.
  3. Place 2/3 of a cup of the marinara into the bottom of your baking dish, layer some eggplant, scatter some pieces of the artichokes, and scatter about a third of the mozzarella. Do a second layer, and then a third.
  4. Top all with the Parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake in a 375° oven until heated through and browned lightly on top.

Serves: 6-8

NOTE: You can add a layer of ricotta cheese into which you have stirred 1 egg until blended and 1/2 c of Parmesan cheese. Also you could add about 2/3 of a pound of Italian sausage either diced, sliced, or crumbled in each layer as well. Or add some zucchini or other summer squash.