Johnny Marzetti

This one’s for me

Hey, what do you want to do on Valentine’s Day? Want to go to Ruth Chris? How ’bout heading out on the causeway for some seafood? Or would you prefer to stay home and maybe I’ll throw some lobster tails on the grill.. whattaya say Drick?

Folks, when it comes right down to it, if I had my way, I’d settle for relaxation and a simple dinner dish, a one-pan meal would be just fine. And since I am a meat and potatoes kind of guy,  as long as you’re asking, something like this Johnny Marzetti resemblance would be just fine.

I first posted this recipe back in 2009 – it is a favorite of mine and of many of you as well; it gets a lot of attention from time to time. I mean really, it has everything going for it; a great, well flavored taste appeal – a tomato base meat sauce, egg noodles substituting unnoticeable for potatoes, very little if any vegetables, scattered creamy layers of saucy cheese plus a top layer of more cheese and a blend of seasonings that makes you go back for more.

This is what I wrote back then and I think is still appropriate for today, on Valentine’s Day:

Ladies, this casserole might not get you a new car, a diamond bracelet or that new fancy mink but it will sure put a smile on your face when your family (and man in your life) gets down to eating. Who knows, it might just get you that new kitchen appliance. It goes by many names but I think the title I chose is more direct, at least as far as I am concerned, more to the point – give Daddy what he wants!

And as I mentioned, this recipe is most famous in the Panama Canal Zone area since the time of World War II and where most down there are surprised to know, it did not originate there but from Columbus Ohio. Back then and even today, it is still a simple but good choice to please the man in your life, in this case, me. Enjoy!

Daddy’s Delight or my Johnny Marzetti
Serves 8 to 10

1 1/2 pounds ground round beef (85/15)
2 tablespoons bacon grease or oil
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 -10.75 oz can tomato soup
1 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
dash of cinnamon
4 scallions, finely chopped
1 -8 oz package cream cheese
1 -10 to 12 oz plain yogurt
1 -12 oz package narrow egg noodles, cooked & drained
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

Brown the ground beef over medium heat in a large skillet. Drain any grease and add the bacon grease or oil, bell pepper, onion, celery and garlic. Cook until onions are crisp tender. Add the tomato soup, salt, pepper, sugar, chili powder and just enough cinnamon to say you thought about it. Simmer for 10 minutes.

In a bowl, mix the yogurt, cream cheese and scallions to blend.

In a well-greased 2-quart baking dish, sprinkle the noodles, meat mixture and yogurt mixture in several layers. Sprinkle the two cheeses on top.

In a 350 degree F oven, bake for about 20 minutes or until heated and cheese has slightly browned. Serve immediately and make Daddy happy.

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