Tag Archives: Casserole

Meatless Monday: Macaroni and Cheese Part IX

2014-09-30 at 17-23-34

Part of our continuing series on the glory and splendor that is macaroni and cheese. See Parts: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII.

So, this recipe is an adaptation of an adaptation.

Food blogging is an area where plagiarizing someone else’s work is very easy to do. Let’s take macaroni and cheese. No one holds a trademark on it, so ingredient lists are not unique or special. The recipe as it is written by the person who developed it, however, is. I come up with about half of the recipes that I have published her at Al Dente. The other half come from a book or website. Those works are protected by copyright and, while I do give credit, I’m careful how I use these items because I don’t seek permission from an author or publisher before I use the recipe. Transcribing Donald Link’s recipe for his smoked sausage and pork belly cassoulet, as it appeared in his latest cookbook, would be wrong on so many levels. Continue reading Meatless Monday: Macaroni and Cheese Part IX

Advertisements

Meatless Monday: Goat Cheese and Swiss Chard Casserole

2014-02-17 at 18-18-28

 

When I was in elementary school, there was no President’s Day. There was Lincoln’s Birthday and Washington’s Birthday. As is the case with most holidays, these days served one basic purpose for me as a child: no school. Somewhere along the way, these two days morphed into one federal (not national holiday) called President’s Day. Apparently, this is a phenomenon observed only by some area’s of the country. I’ll let Valerie Strauss of The Washington Post explain:

In the early 1950s, there was a movement led by a coalition of travel organizations to create three-day weekends by moving the celebration of some holidays to Mondays. One of the suggestions was to create a Presidents’ Day between Washington’s birthday and Lincoln’s birthday, which was a holiday in some states. A few states tried the new arrangement, but it was not universally adopted across the country. 

The National Holiday Act of 1971 passed by Congress created three-day weekends for federal employees by moving the celebration of some holidays to Mondays, although states did not have to honor them.

So, today, though the federal holiday is marked on the third Monday in February, there is no agreed-upon name, no universal agreement on who is being celebrated, and the use of the apostrophe in the name is varied: Sometimes it isn’t used at all (as in Presidents Day), sometimes it is placed between the last two letters (President’s Day) and sometimes it is after the last letter  (Presidents’ Day).

So, what we’re talking about his a bogus holiday that was brought on by the tourism industry. Great. Continue reading Meatless Monday: Goat Cheese and Swiss Chard Casserole

Al Dente On The Side: Old Bay Roasted Sweet Potatoes

2013-11-28 at 14-08-04

I make sweet potatoes for every holiday that I host. And, every time, I’m the only one who eats them. Invariably The Wife or The Father will have a couple as a show of support for the hard work that went into the meal, but they are largely panned by the rest of the gathering at these meals.

This year, I decided that I was going to make a small sweet potato dish for me, and if anyone wanted some, they could join in. Ordinarily, I like my roasted potatoes to be burnt to an everloving crisp, but my single-oven setup meant that the turkey took priority. And the bird’s low and slow cooking method meant the sweets were going to cook at, oh, 175 degrees below the recipe’s recommendation. I threw them in for over an hour, but they were still a little soft.

But, they were good. Damn good.

I think that covering seafood in Old Bay is silly and takes away from the flavor of the fish. But, a heavy dusting of the stuff on potatoes is a very different flavor that complements the sweetness of the veggie.

Continue reading Al Dente On The Side: Old Bay Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Wednesday Dinner: Not-So-Slow Roasted Garlic and Lemon Chicken

2013-10-30 at 17-38-55

 

 

Don’t tell The Wife, but I am in love with Nigella Lawson. She’s beautiful, mouthy, and a seemingly marvelous cook. We share a pedigree: trained as writers but our best work is done in the kitchen. She, of course, is a stunning, wealthy international brand name. I am a middle class slob trying to get by here in Syracuse. The comparisons are few, but dammit, they are mine.

I liked her recipe for slow-roasted garlic and lemon chicken because it was easy and bordered on comfort food without all the extra saturated fat that accompanies that term. My biggest problem was time. I want to make this for a weeknight dinner, but I have a problem with her nearly 3-hour cooking time. One would like to make this for dinner and eat before, say, 8 p.m.

So, slow roasting is out. But, what’s to say that a little high temperature roasting couldn’t have the same effect?

It did and it didn’t.

WHAT WORKED: The chicken was cooked through, had distinct lemon and garlic flavors and, for thighs, pretty tender.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK: By her explanation, Nigella’s recipe results in a more harmonious flavor. This resulted in more independent garlic and lemon flavors.

WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: “This looks good.” To The Kid: “That’s hot. Don’t touch that.”

WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: Yes. I’d like to try this for the full cooking time and see what results.

Continue reading Wednesday Dinner: Not-So-Slow Roasted Garlic and Lemon Chicken

Killing Them Softly: Hot Dog Casserole

cookbooks

EDITOR’S NOTE: My recent discovery of our families’ collection of 1970s era church cookbooks has been nothing short of a conversation piece around Al Dente HQ. The kind-hearted and well-intentioned women behind these recipes set cooking back years, all the while trying to kill their families with butter, shortening and lard. Not wanting to hog the glory and splendor for myself, it is my pleasure to share these classic culinary gems with you. These are the original recipes with very little editing. If you have one of these around your house or find one at your parent’s home, please contact me. I would love to get my hands on it.

RECIPE: Easy One Pan Supper
AUTHOR: Janice Balduzzi
COOKBOOK: Cecilian Style, St. Cecelia’s Roman Catholic Church
APPROXIMATE YEAR: 1975

WHY DID I CHOOSE THIS? It’s tough to tell when this one goes off the rails. It’s a casserole, so the concept itself is already playing with a hand of low cards. I think it’s the step where you blend mayo in with the flour-mustard-milk paste. Yeah, let’s say it goes bad at that point.

Hot dog casserole with no ketchup? It seems so wrong.

Hot Dog Casserole

  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 6 medium potatoes, cooked
  • 1 can green beans, drained
  • 1 small onion (presumably chopped)
  • 6 hot dogs
  • bread crumbs

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat (JARED’S NOTE: I’m going to guess on the prep method as the instruction was to “melt butter.”

Blend in flour, salt, mustard and pepper. Add milk and stir until it thickens. Boil for one minute, stirring. Remove from heat and blend in mayonnaise. Fold in potatoes, beans, onion and hot dogs.

Pour into casserole dish; sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake in a 350 degree oven, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes.

Serves 3-4 people.

Killing Them Softly: Chicken and Rice (and Sodium) Casserole

cookbooks

EDITOR’S NOTE: My recent discovery of our families’ collection of 1970s era church cookbooks has been nothing short of a conversation piece around Al Dente HQ. The kind-hearted and well-intentioned women behind these recipes set cooking back years, all the while trying to kill their families with butter, shortening and lard. Not wanting to hog the glory and splendor for myself, it is my pleasure to share these classic culinary gems with you. These are the original recipes with very little editing. If you have one of these around your house or find one at your parent’s home, please contact me. I would love to get my hands on it.

RECIPE: Chicken and Rice Casserole
AUTHOR: Adeline DelFavero
COOKBOOK: Cecilian Style, St. Cecilia’s Roman Catholic Church
APPROXIMATE YEAR: 1975

WHY DID I CHOOSE THIS? On the face of it, this isn’t a bad recipe: chicken, rice, soup, bake beyond the point of recognition. But read closer. Three cream soups plus half a package of dry onion soup. It’s possible that Mrs. DelFavero’s children grew up to become cardiologists just so they could treat members of their family.

In 2013, these soups each had at least 850 mg of sodium per serving, or more than 2,000 mg per can. An envelope of onion soup mix had nearly 5,000 mg. This is after these companies made an effort to dial back the sodium in their foods. In today’s terms alone, you are looking at 11,000 mg of sodium in this dish.

And we haven’t even added the chicken.

The current recommended sodium intake for an adult is 1,500 mg. So, if this dish made four servings, you’re looking at more than 2,600 grams of sodium at dinner without eating any other food during the day.

I’m not one to talk about salt intake or good nutrition, but holy hell. You can do better for salt intake at McDonalds.

Chicken and Rice Casserole

  • 1 1/2 cups rice
  • 1 can each cream of chicken, cream of mushroom and cream of celery soups
  • 2 cans water
  • 1 envelope Lipton onion soup (dry)
  • 8-10 chicken pieces

Mix the first four ingredients together and spread on the bottom of a casserole dish.

Place chicken pieces on top of the mixture and sprinkle remaining onion soup on top.

Cover and bake in a 325-degree oven for two hours.

Killing Them Softly: Liver Savory

cookbooks

EDITOR’S NOTE: My recent discovery of our families’ collection of 1970s era church cookbooks has been nothing short of a conversation piece around Al Dente HQ. The kind-hearted and well-intentioned women behind these recipes set cooking back years, all the while trying to kill their families with butter, shortening and lard. Not wanting to hog the glory and splendor for myself, it is my pleasure to share these classic culinary gems with you. These are the original recipes with very little editing. If you have one of these around your house or find one at your parent’s home, please contact me. I would love to get my hands on it.

RECIPE: Liver Savory
AUTHOR: Jane Klaben
COOKBOOK: Cecilian Style, St. Cecelia’s Roman Catholic Church
APPROXIMATE YEAR: 1975

WHY DID I CHOOSE THIS? What’s a 1970s throwback without liver? You remember liver? Diner classic. Food that your father loved but you would cry if forced to eat. You were never sure what smelled worse: the liver itself or the bathroom after your family ate liver.

There’s one major trend that I’ve noticed in these cookbooks. Each recipe has a common thread: bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Everything — chicken, beef, liver — spent one hour in the oven at 350 degrees.

Liver Savory

  • lb. package noodles
  • 1 1/2 lbs. liver  (JARED’S NOTE: beef, I assume)
  • flour, salt and pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 4 tbsp. fat
  • 3/4 cup celery
  • 1 cup onions
  • 2 1/2 cups tomatoes
  • 1/2 lb. American cheese

Cook noodles. Sprinkle liver with flour, salt and pepper. Saute in fat until lightly browned. Place in a greased baking dish. Combine celery, onions, green pepper, tomatoes (JARED’S NOTE: I’m going to take a leap and say that these were also supposed to be chopped.). Pour over liver and cover. Bake one hour at 350 degrees. Add cheese and let melt. Add noodles before baking or pour mixture over noodles on plate.

Saturday dinner: Baked ziti with prosciutto

IMG_2372

From time to time, you encounter a recipe with a direction that you know is wrong. When it comes from a website like, say, this one, it’s probably okay to make your adjustment. I don’t have a test kitchen or a paid staff of trained chefs that are preparing these meals for publication. It’s just me and my Canon DSLR at work.

For me, when it’s Bon Appetit, I’ll err on the side of caution and make the adjustment. I’ve been burned too many times with their under-or over-estimated cooking times and mismeasured ingredient levels. But, when it’s CHOW, I follow the rules. The recipes there have never let me down.

So, when I saw this recipe call for an entire quart of heavy cream, I thought about it for a second and proceeded to heat the entire quart. In hindsight, I should have made the adjustment. It’s one thing to have too much marinata in a baked pasta dish. It’s an entirely different thing when your baked ziti comes out swimming in cream sauce:

IMG_2371

This is what the dish looks like in an apparent alternate universe:

Impossible. This dish is fine, even with the excess liquid, but there’s no possible way this was made with 4 cups of heavy cream. Continue reading Saturday dinner: Baked ziti with prosciutto