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Johnny Marzetti

Ok, don’t judge me.  This was my favorite dish in the cafeteria at my high school, or was it at my first downtown job?  Either way I finally got enough nerve to ask one of the cooks in the cafeteria for the recipe.  Of course I had to do a little math to scale it down to 8 servings.  I finally pulled it out of the archives to make it for my family.   Continue reading

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Mexican Meatloaf

Who doesn’t love meatloaf?  There are so many different recipes for meatloaf, everyone has their own, everyone has their favorite.  I rarely make mine the same way because I like to keep improving on it or I just use what I have on hand.  I found myself at the store with a great sale on ground beef so brought it home and decided to create a new meatloaf recipe.  It was a big hit in our home, I just may have to make it again.  Hope you like it too!

Ingredients

2#’s ground beef (I used 93%)

Olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 jalepeno, chopped fine

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 – 14.5 oz. can Mexican stewed tomatoes, drained, reserve liquid, chop tomatoes

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1 tsp. ground cumin

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1 tsp. chili powder (I happened to have Mexican chili powder, you can use what you have)

1 cup fresh bread crumbs

Method

Preheat oven to 375°.  Heat a saute pan, once heated swirl 2-3 tbsp. of oil in the pan.  Saute the onions and peppers until almost soft, add garlic and continue cooking until all are soft, being careful not to burn the garlic.  Remove from heat.  Remove your rings and plan to get your hands dirty.  Place ground beef in a large mixing bowl, add all ingredients except the reserved tomato juice, combine well.  Form a loaf and place in a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.

Place in oven, set your timer for 30 minutes.  While meatloaf is cooking, place the reserved juice into your saute pan and simmer, reducing it slightly.  Pull the meatloaf out after 30 minutes of cooking and pour the sauce over the meat.  Return to oven and complete cooking for a total of about 1 hour or until the internal temperature reaches 155°.

I ALWAYS serve meatloaf with mashed potatoes and creamed corn.  What do you serve?  Enjoy!

Baked Spaghetti

This is one of those recipes that I always have the ingredients on hand.  If I think ahead I will take out some ground beef from the freezer and plan to make this family favorite for dinner.  It’s adapted from Paula Deen’s cookbook “The Lady & Sons, Too!”

Baked Spaghetti

Ingredients

1 – 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes (I like petite)

2 – 8 oz. cans tomato sauce

1 cup water

1/2 cup diced onions

1/2 cup diced green bell pepper (I use whatever I have on hand – red, yellow, orange, green)

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons seasoning salt

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

2 bay leaves

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

12 oz. uncooked spaghetti (I like rigati)

2 cups grated Colby Jack cheese

Method

To make the sauce, in a stock pot combine the first 14 ingredients (thru bay leaves).  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered for 1 hour.  In a large saute pan, crumble the ground beef and cook until no pink remains, drain the fat.  Add the ground beef to the sauce.  Simmer for another 20 minutes.  While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta according to the package directions.  Cover the bottom of a 13 x 9 x 2 in pan with sauce (I use a glass pan).  Add a layer of pasta, then half of the cheese, repeat the layers, ending with the sauce (save the other half of the cheese).  You will have some pasta leftover (great to saute with butter, salt and pepper and parm. on another day).  Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.  Top with the remaining cheese, return to the oven and continue to bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly.  Let rest 5 minutes before cutting into squares.