Lasagna

You can never have too many lasagna recipes, in my opinion. They may not always be significantly different, but sometimes you can take ideas and methods from various recipes to combine into your “own” special method. My mother used to put slices of pepperoni into hers on occasion. I loved that. These days, if I make a big pasta dish, it’s one of the “lazy day” lasagna types that uses rigatoni or penne noodles. I hate working with the big lasagna noodles because they always tear. One thing you can do is parboil them rather than fully cook them. They will absorb a little bit more liquid when baking.

What do you like to do with your lasagna to make it your own special recipe?

Lasagna

2 lbs ground beef

1 48 oz jar Ragu Spaghetti Sauce (any brand is ok)

2 lbs ricotta cheese

1/2 lb mozzarella cheese

1 egg, beaten

1 T parsley flakes

Salt & pepper to taste

1 lb lasagna noodles, cooked

1 c grated parmesan cheese

Brown beef, drain fat. Add Ragu, heat just to boiling. Cut 12 thin slices mozzarella for topping. Shred remainder and mix with ricotta, egg, parsley, salt & pepper. Ladle 1 cup meat sauce into bottom of each (almost 12×8) baking dish. Layer 3 noodles (I think this means side by side, not on top of each other) then about 1 cup cheese mixture & 1 cup meat sauce in each pan. Repeat twice. Sprinkle 1/2 parmesan onto each. Top with mozzarella slices. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes until bubbly. Serves 12.

Favorite Beef Loaf

Just the other day, a friend of mine was lamenting that she couldn’t make meat loaf because she can’t tolerate milk. After shaking my head, because I have never ever made meatloaf with milk, I shared a recipe very similar to this one with her. She happily was able to make her meatloaf and even put one in the freezer. Cooking knowledge for the win! With this particular recipe, it goes without saying to combine all ingredients (I use my Kitchenaid mixer with the paddle), then place in a greased loaf pan. To be really decadent, top with slices of bacon. Enjoy!

Favorite Beef Loaf

1 1/2 lb ground beef

1 cup medium cracker crumbs

2 beaten eggs

1 8 oz can (1 cup) seasoned tomato sauce

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

2 Tbsp chopped green pepper

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 medium bay leaf crushed

Dash thyme

Dash marjoram

350

About 1 hour

Noodles Alfredo

This is a simple recipe for Alfredo sauce. I use gruyere sometimes if I don’t have Swiss cheese on hand. It’s surprisingly easy. If you ever thought home made Fettuccine Alfredo was out of reach, think again. While this recipe does not have you incorporate the cheese in the sauce pan, that is very easy to do. Simply melt the butter, add the cream, then add the cheeses and whisk until they are evenly melted. Pour over cooked fettuccini noodles. Add some thinly sliced, grilled red or yellow peppers, some grilled chicken, and you have a delicious dinner that would cost you 20 bucks at a restaurant.

Noodles Alfredo

8 oz (4 cups) egg noodles

12 cup butter or margarine

1/2 cup cream (use heavy whipping cream)

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese

Salt & Pepper to taste

Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain. In a small sauce pan melt butter. Add cream & heat through. Pour over noodles. Add cheeses, salt & pepper. Toss lightly until noodles are coated. 4-6 servings.

Tuna Potato Chip Casserole

Who doesn’t like crushed potato chips on their tuna casserole? This is straight up mid-century comfort food.

Tuna Potato Chip Casserole 

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1/3 cup milk

1 7 oz can tuna

1 cup crushed potato chips

1 cup cooked or canned peas

Empty can of soup into a casserole dish. Add milk and drained tuna. Stir well. Stir in 3/4 cup of crushed potato chips and the peas. Sprinkle the remaining potato chips over top. Bake 25 minutes at 350.

Overnight Casserole

You know how sometimes the leftovers are even better than the first time you have a dish, because the flavors have been able to combine? Well, this casserole seems to work on that principle. The uncooked elbow macaroni is allowed to soak up the liquids, and when baked it probably tastes pretty good. Also, I think if you really wanted to use an American cheese, you could use Velveteta, but honestly I’d probably use cheddar.

Overnight Casserole

2 cups diced seafood, meat or poultry

1 3/4 cups uncooked elbow macaroni

2 cans cream of mushroom soup

1/2 lb american cheese, diced

3 hard boiled eggs – chopped

2 cups milk

1 small jar pimento – drained

Mix all ingredients in 3 quart casserole. Refrigerate over night – bake next day at 350 for 1 hour 10 minutes

White meat of chicken also good. After making the first time you may want to cut back a little on milk. Heats up just as well as first day. Crumbs on top.

 

Cheese Balls

I feel like this is something good for a party and served with crackers. In the 1970s and 80s, cheese balls were a popular thing at parties – both cocktail parties and casual gatherings. These days you don’t see them as often (maybe for the best?), in favor of a cheese board with a variety of cheese, fruits, nuts and spreads. Changing fashions and tastes dictate the popular things at parties. This recipe doesn’t have a method, but it goes without saying you will need to combine everything. See my italic notes, below.

Cheese Balls (Nancy)

2 8 oz cream cheese room temperature

1 8 oz sharp cheddar shredded

1 Tbsp chopped pimento

1 Tbsp green pepper chopped

1 Tbsp onion (chopped)

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Form into balls & roll in chopped nuts

Combine all in a bowl & stir until completely mixed. Separate into two portions. Form into balls & roll in chopped nuts. Serve with crackers.

Tasty Macaroni & Cheese

I’d guess for people in their fourth week of self quarantine & social distancing, comfort food is a must. While we might try to eat healthful meals and not gain weight, no one is going to blame anyone for needing some good old mac & cheese. This recipe has a variety of added ingredients that some may like and others may say “ew.”

Tasty Macaroni & Cheese

1 3/4 cups macaroni

1 can (4 ox) mushroom stems & pieces, drained

1/4 cup finely cut up pimento

1 1/2 cup cubed processed American cheese (about 8oz)

2/3 cup evaporated milk

3 Tbsp chopped onion

1 tsp salt

1 tsp mustard (dry)

1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce

1/8 tsp pepper

350┬║

Cook macaroni as directed on package. In greased 1 1/2 qt casserole, mix mac, mushrooms & pimento. In 2 qt saucepan over low heat, stir remaining ingredients until cheese melts. Stir into mac. Top w/ more cheese (maybe shredded). Bake 20-25 min or until bubbly. 6 servings.