Snuggle Up and Eat Bacon-Mac Stew

My mother used to make this.

Frankly, I’ve never see it anywhere else. Which doesn’t mean nobody makes it.

But I couldn’t find a really good picture. This is a decent approximation.

It’s truly comfort food for me. But I love bacon, and I love tomatoes, and I love pasta. So that accounts for that.

If you like these things, then this is a quick easy recipe you can make in the morning, and let sit all day. And heat up and finish off in less than 30 minutes.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 lb bacon, cut into 1 in pieces
  • 1 quart of tomatoes, (4 cups) chopped (canned or fresh)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cups cooked macaroni
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Cook the bacon about half way through and remove with a slotted spoon.
  2. Cook the onion until translucent and softened.
  3. Add the tomatoes and return the bacon to the pot.
  4. Add salt if needed and the pepper.
  5. Simmer on low for about 30 minutes, and shut off.
  6. About an hour before eating, cook the macaroni, and drain.
  7. Add it to the tomatoes and simmer on low for 30 minutes. Check often, as the macaroni can suck up the juice. Add water to keep it wet.

Serves: 4

** For me the real key here is the pepper. I usually add even more at the table.

 

This is the ONE! LASAGNA!

It got to the point where I stopped making lasagna. It just never turned out right. It was either too sloppy or too dry, or two bland, or some combination of all three. And did I mention it was bland?

I followed all the “appropriate” recipes. And I gave up. What was all the hullabaloo with lasagna anyway? Everybody drooled over it. They were liars.

Then, I was watching The Chew, and I saw Joy Behar, who is undeniably Italian. And she made hers. And I realized what I had been missing.

Not that this is exactly her recipe. I make my own sauce and I am quite happy with it, thank you very much.

But she inspired the proper cheese filling.

And well, if you make this you will see why it is undeniably the best lasagna.

It seems more daunting than it is. The sauce is the only time-consuming thing, and it’s basically the “Not Quite Your Wise Guy Spaghetti Sauce” with some meat.

INGREDIENTS:

For the Sauce

  • 1 lb pork sausage (fennel and I don’t like each other, feel free to use Italian sausage here)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp hot pepper flakes
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 2/3 c red wine
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the Cheese Filling

  • 16 oz container of ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 c grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 c freshly chopped parsley

Remainder of Ingredients

  • 9 lasagna noodles (softened in hot water) My lasagna pan perfectly makes 3 layers
  • 8-12 oz fresh mozzarella cut into slices
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1/3 c grated parmesan

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Saute the sausage until done, remove from pan and set aside
  2. Saute the onions until translucent. Add the pepper flakes, the garlic, and tomatoes and oregano.
  3. Simmer until nearly dry. Then add the wine, and simmer until a “sauce” consistency has been reached.
  4. Add the sausage back in, taste, and season accordingly
  5. Make the cheese filling but mixing all those ingredients together.
  6. Put your lasagna noodles into hot water until softened.
  7. Assemble the lasagna by starting with a very light layer of meat sauce in the bottom, the noodles, 1/3 of the cheese filling, about 6-8 pieces of the fresh mozzarella, more sauce, noodles, filling, mozzarella, sauce, noodles, filling, sauce, the 2 cups of shredded mozzarella and the parmesan on top.
  8. Pre-heat oven to 375° and bake for about 45 minutes or until bubbly. Sit out for 15 before serving.

 

 

More Please Chicken Cacciatore

Comfort food. Who doesn’t like it? It’s the food that makes us feel warm and fuzzy after a long day in the cold cruel world.

This is rustic, a peasant dish, no doubt made from the old hen who had long since seen her best days.

The recipe comes mostly from Joy of Cooking, but I’ve changed a couple of things. Mostly, I don’t use a whole fryer, but use one piece of the bird throughout. You can leave on the bone, or not at the end before serving as you desire. Thighs make is easy to fork off the bone.

Serve on a bed of pasta of your choice or egg noodles, with plenty of sopping up crusty bread and some great grated cheese over it all.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 chicken thighs, patted dry, seasoned with salt and pepper and dredged in flour
  • EVOO (about 3 tbsp)
  • 1 lg onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp each dried rosemary and sage (both hold up well as dried herbs, or use fresh (a TBSP each)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2/3 c red or white wine
  • 1 150z can of diced tomatoes (or 1 1/2 c fresh, seeds removed)
  • 2/3 c chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 c olives, sliced. Your choice, but green are better than ripe by far in this dish.
  • You can add 1/2 c of mushrooms if you wish. Do so at the time of the onions if you do.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Saute the chicken until nicely browned on both sides, and remove to a plate.
  2. Add the onions, rosemary and sage and saute until onions are translucent.
  3. Return the chicken, add the wine and simmer until wine is mostly evaporated.
  4. Add the garlic, tomatoes, bay leaf, stock and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  5. Before serving, add the olives and reheat.

I like to let this dish sit on the stove covered for a good hour to let the flavors meld a bit more.

Serves: 3-4

 

Oh My Pico de Gallo!

Oh salsa is the new ketchup. Everyone agrees. At least all who count agree.

I tried my first homemade salsa and never went back. It’s easy to put together, so don’t shy away from the fresh taste that is so much better than that cooked bottled crap.

You can leave it chunky, or you can whirr it up in the food processor for a more “sauce” kinda consistency. Either way, it goes with just about everything. From traditional dishes like chips, tacos and so forth, to scrambled eggs, over oven-roasted chicken or fried fish, this stuff makes it special.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 c diced tomatoes, fresh or canned (if canned, drain first, if fresh seed)
  • 1/2 c finely diced onion (red or white)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, grated on a microplane or worked into a paste if you are using a knife.
  • 1/2 chopped cilantro (must be fresh)
  • 1-2 finally chopped jalapeñoes, seeded or not, depending on how much heat you want
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 lime juiced and zested
  • 1 TBSP EVOO

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Mix it all together
  2. Let it stand for a couple of hours if you can, outside the fridge. I think it’s at its best at room temp.