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.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

December Already!

My last post mentioned The Remedy knitting.  Now, there will be a rippit, rippit noise from The Remedy.  Thanksgiving chatting and TV watching were detrimental to knitting so I will take it back to the half-point lifeline and reknit.

Since it is December it is time for some Christmas baking.  A couple of years ago I posted my dad's favorite dark, moist fruitcake.  My favorite is a lighter fruitcake that is delicious with the candied fruit but I like it too with dried fruit.  It is open to a bit of adaptation and should taste just as yummy any way it is prepared.

White Fruit Cake
Makes 2 loaves.
Oven - 275 deg 

1 lb butter
1 lb sugar (2 cups)
1 lb flour (4 cups)
1 lb pecans
1 lb white raisins
1 lb candied red & green cherries
6 eggs - separated - beaten
1 1/2 oz bottle lemon extract 

Cream butter & sugar, add egg yolks.  Mix and add fruit & nuts alternately with flour.  Add lemon extract & fold in egg whites.  Line loaf pans with wax paper.  No greasing necessary. 

Bake 2 hours. 
 
After the cakes cool, you can wrap them in foil to season, store in refrigerator or freezer.  I like to wrap the cakes in cheesecloth, sprinkle on some wine or cider, then wrap in foil and place in the refrigerator.