Monday, July 11, 2011

The Blog is Back ... with Cheese. Again.

Tonight, after a stressful day at work, and several days of philosophizing over what to do in life and how much money to waste and what to do to make our most inner beings happy, I made up a dish.


Yes, I realize that there are too many "ands" in that, but whatever.  After ingesting no mind-altering substances for nearly a month, I decided that a glass of wine was in order ... and that I should start blogging again and stop worrying about money and which manilla folder I should put paperwork for X, Y and Z in.  My husband, who recently crashed a motorcycle, was my top priority, but now that he can wash his own hair again, I feel like I can relax a little bit.  For those of you who know my loving husband, he is doing great after getting a giant pin in his elbow and a massive skin graft on his knee.  His bike, unfortunately, is still totaled.  And I am almost qualified to be the nurse that changes the bed pans.   

I also wanted to share that I tried my mother's sweet and sour recipe again--only this time with pork.  It wasn't quite there, but better.  The extra gob of ketchup helps a lot, but I didn't get the sauce to thicken up like I remember it.  I'm almost thinking I should add the cornstarch at the end, like I normally do when I use it in other recipes.  Next time I'll try that and report back.  For the recipe, see this post. 

So back to this casserole.  Easy stuff.  I had some of my favorite meatballs frozen from my last batch ...

1 lb ground meat
1 clove garlic minced
1 egg
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
2-1/4 tsp. parsley (I use the equivalent amount in dried usually)
salt and pepper
1 c. breadcrumbs (I use Panko style)
3/4 c. lukewarm water
1/2 c. olive oil

1.  Mix the beef, garlic, egg, cheese, parsley, salt and pepper.
2.  Mix in breadcumbs.
3.  Slowly add in water.
4.  Make balls and fry in oil until brown; drain.
5.  Simmer in sauce for 15 minutes.

Normally I cook half of them all the way, and then I freeze the other half after the browning process.  The best way to do this, is place them on a cookie tray or something else flat and put them in the freezer until they stop being soft enough to stick together, then throw them all in a freezer bag.  When you thaw them out later, you can toss them in the pot of sauce until hot.  Try it.  Its amazing.

So for the casserole, I cooked the meatballs in the sauce, proceeded to accidentally slice them with the wrong side of a jacked up paring knife, and layered them with cooked macaroni noodles, shredded cheese and my favorite jarred pasta sauce in a casserole dish, dumped a bunch of cheese on top and placed it in the oven at a random temperature--like 350ish?--for about ten minutes.  I would have used the broiler, but my Corning-wear clearly states not to put it in the broiler on the bottom of it and I wouldn't want to break the rules.  Or my baking dish. 

The casserole turned out yummy, and was a much needed break from boring old spaghetti and meatballs, with basically the same ingredients. 

PS:  I promise to post more!! :)