Saturday, December 7, 2013

Gorilla Casserole

About 40 years ago one of the home and food magazines had a recipe they called something like "Tomato, Beef and Pasta Casserole".  The write-up described it as making enough to feed 12 hungry gorillas.

At a family gathering, Aunt Evelyn and I were putting together the casserole and decided we preferred the name "Gorilla Casserole".  The name stuck and I made it often for my family.  Instead of filling two 9" x 13" pans, I would put it in four 8" x 8" pans.  That way I could freeze three pans for later meals.  I never tested it with 12 hungry gorillas but it did fill up teenage boys!

Gorilla Casserole

2 1/2 lbs ground meat
2 Tbs vegetable oil
2 cups chopped onions (2 large)
2 cups chopped celery (3 ribs)
1 1/2 cups grated carrots (3 large)
4 lbs tomatoes chopped or equivalent in canned tomatoes (two 2lb.3oz. cans Italian-style)
2 Tbs salt
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
20 oz frozen spinach
24 oz macaroni or noodles
1 cup Parmesan cheese 

Brown meat & drain fat.  Stir in ingredients listed through garlic powder.  Bring to a boil, lower heat & cover; simmer 1 hour. 
Meanwhile; per package directions cook 1-1/2 lbs macaroni shells, or elbow macaroni, or noodles, drain & set aside. 
When sauce is don, stir in cooked pasta & spinach, slightly thawed.  Mix thoroughly.  
Pour into 2 9x13 pans.  Top with Parmesan cheese. 

Oven - 350 degrees
Bake for about 30-45 minutes until heated through, bubbly and cheese is melted.

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