Stack of Quesadillas Casserole

quesa1This is a delightful little recipe that combines all my favorite things into one casserole dish. It’s not a lot of work and is perfect for putting together at the last minute.

You can make this as spicy as you wish, or tone it down for children as needed.

Hope you give it a try.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 lb each ground beef and ground pork
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1  red or yellow sweet pepper diced
  • 3-4 Anaheim, poblano, jalapeño, chiles, sear the skins, remove and then chop. You can put them together in whatever manner you wish. A Serrano could be added but this bumps up the heat a bit.
  • About three tablespoons of a “taco seasoning” or Mexican blend of spices.
  • 3 cups of a blend of  shredded cheeses (pepper jack, cheddar, queso fresco or any other you wish)
  • 1  1/2 c salsa ( homemade pico de gallo can be whirred up in the blender)
  • 1/4 c fresh cilantro chopped
  • 6 or so corn or flour tortillas

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Brown the meats along with the onion, and peppers.
  2. Once browned, add the spices and mix thoroughly.
  3. Oil a casserole dish (3 qt is fine, round if you have it).
  4. Place a tortilla on the bottom, spoon some of the meat mixture on, then some salsa  then some cheese. Sprinkle with a bit of cilantro. Continue in this fashion until you have about 6 layers, ending with cheese on the top.
  5. Bake in a 350° oven for 30 minutes or so, until cheese has melted and all is bubbly.

SERVES: 6

NOTES: This is very versatile since you can make it as hot or not as you wish, and also play to your own favorites in cheese. This rewarms quite nicely for leftovers.

SOURCE: Sherry Peyton

Oh So Good Bolognese Sauce

I’m not Italian, but I do play one on TV.

Well, okay, I don’t, but I love Italian food and I try to make it as authentic as I can.

This recipe comes directly from Joy of Cooking and having made a huge number of their recipes, usually they are terrific. This one is wonderful.

I’ve looked around the inter-tubes and not found another than sounds better. The only thing I have added is a couple of cloves of garlic, since I can’t imagine Italian anything without garlic.

This is a hugely rich sauce, so it pairs well with a good simple salad with a vinaigrette and some great crusty bread rubbed with garlic and some olive oil. Enjoy.  And don’t forget lots of great Parmesan cheese to grate over it!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 oz pancetta diced (optional)
  • 1 lg carrot minced
  • 2 stalks celery minced
  • 1/2 medium onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, micro-planed
  • 1 1/4 lb ground beef
  • 3/4  c beef or chicken stock
  • 2/3 c white wine
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste (see tips and tricks for saving the rest of the can)
  • 1 1/2 c whole milk

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Saute the pancetta until it releases its fat and then add the onion, celery and onion. Saute on medium until the onions are translucent.
  2. Add the meat and garlic and cook until browned well.
  3. Add the stock, wine and paste. Cook for 2 hours until it has reduced to a thick sauce, adding the milk in 1/3 c increments every 30 minutes or so until used up.

 

The Every Day Meatball

Over the years I’ve made Italian meatballs. I’ve made Swedish meatballs. I’ve made meatballs for subs and for appetizers. (Does anyone still do THAT?)

The fact of the matter is that almost every type of meatball you make is ultimately either dipped in a sauce or covered in one. So it seemed to mean that the answer was an all-purpose meatball, like that little black dress that proved so versatile in decades past.

So I looked at all my recipes, and came up with a synthesis of them all, that is generic and yet is substantial in its own right. Add the sauce of your choice or the dip and you got a meal.

This recipe makes a bunch–like about thirty depending on the size you choose to make, so you can freeze them with ease and pull out the number you need for any occasion.

The technique of cooking is an Alton Brown invention which I tweaked to fit the universality of this recipe. Alton made large balls and set them in mini-cupcake tins. But you can accomplish the same thing and may bite-size ones with my method.

So get cooking!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb each ground beef and ground pork
  • 1/2 c finely minced onion
  • 1 c fresh breadcrumbs (leave a few slices of bread out for a couple of hours and then buzz them up in the food processor)
  • 1/2 tsp granulated garlic (no garlic salt please!) or two cloves micro-planed
  • 1 lg egg
  • 1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 c fresh parsley chopped
  • 1/2 c milk more or less

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Mix meat with onion and breadcrumbs gently with your hands.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk the egg with the garlic, W. sauce, and parsley and half the milk
  3. Add to the meat and mix gently again, adding more milk until it comes together easily but not excessively wet. (if the mixture is too sloppy, the meatballs tend to flatten out and lose their nice roundness.
  4. Take two jelly roll pans and line with foil or parchment. Place wire racks in each (I have long ones or two short ones will do)
  5. With a small ice cream scoop or larger depending on the size you wish to make, scoop out some meat mixture and roll a bit in your palms until round and place on the rack.
  6. You can set the balls close together but no touching.
  7. When all are done, place in a 400° pre-heated oven for 20-30 minutes.
  8. Cool on the racks when done and then place in a freezer bag.

Serves: about 30 meatballs

Suggestions: These are fine for either Spaghetti and meatballs or Swedish meatballs. Just thaw and place in the sauce to warm up. Also consider making barbecue sauce or mustard sauce dips for parties. Be inventive. That’s what cooking is about. Heat the meatballs in a baking dish, covered for 30 minutes on 275° if using as dippers or for a sub sandwich.

Gringa Mexicali Casserole

This recipe was inspired by a desire to not put taco chips or corn/flour tortillas into a casserole. They simply turn to mush and are lost in the dish.

So, I decided to use pasta, an odd thing to be sure, and something not found in authentic Mexican cooking I expect.

Hope you give it a try. This is simply comfort food and perfect for fall and winter dinners. Great as a warmed-up leftover.

Serve with a tossed salad.

 

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb ground meat of any kind, the leaner the better
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1/2 green pepper diced
  • 2 jalapeno chopped (feel free to add or reduce with Serrano, chilis, or other peppers according to your taste)
  • 1 jalapeno for topping
  • 1 15oz can of diced tomato or equivalent fresh
  • 2 small cans tomato sauce
  • 1 cup corn, frozen, canned or freshly cut
  • 1/4 c. chili powder, and a tsp each of salt, pepper, cumin, chipotle powder.
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can any kind of beans such as pinto, red, or black, rinsed
  • 2 c shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • 2 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 c pasta (elbow or other) cooked and drained

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Brown meat in skillet, draining off grease when done, and set meat aside in a bowl.
  2. Add onion, green pepper and hot peppers and saute gently until well softened.
  3. Add meat back and add the diced tomatoes and one can of the sauce.
  4. Add all the spices. Stir and simmer for about ten minutes.
  5. Add beans, and corn and stir in the Monterey jack cheese.
  6. Add the pasta and stir.
  7. Pour into a good-sized casserole dish–at least 10×14 (or use two)
  8. Top with the other can of tomato sauce (spread around with the back of a spoon), the cheddar cheese, and slices of the remaining jalapeno pepper.
  9. Bake in a pre-heated 350° oven for about 50 minutes, depending on whether it is hot going in, room temperature or fresh from the refrigerator.

Serves: 10 good-sized servings.