Category Archives: Tailgating Game Day

Grilled Marinated Pork Loin Chops with recipe for Tangy Gold BBQ Sauce

Lean with a healthy slant, this is a recipe to sink your teeth into.

Did you know pork loin is America’s most popular lean meat? Well, other than chicken, neither did I. And, marinating thick chops are one of our favorite way to flavor this cut of pork as well as putting it on the grill.

The loin roast comes from the upper part area of the hog between the shoulder and the start of the leg. The loin roast is delicious when marinated and grilled quickly over direct heat. For a crisp surface on your chop, be sure the grill is fully preheated before placing the chops on the rack. Of note, if cooking pork loin chops on the stove, again, be sure to use medium high heat. Because of the connecting fibers, these chops should not be braised or stewed as they have a tendency to lose tenderness when cooked by means of moist heat.

Now, according to wiki-how, “the USDA recommends cooking pork to 160 degrees,” that is, if you prefer tough meat, “but it is perfectly safe to cook American pork to 145 degrees. Trichina dies out at 137, and most other ones die at around 140. For those outside American soil, you should probably cook your pork well.”

Enough of all that. I don’t know how many times I have used this marinade on pork chops nor guess how many more times I will in the future. I know it will be many more good eatings.

Tender, juicy and full of flavor, these chops with or without the tangy sauce is spectacular. Hope you get your grill out and get to cooking soon. Enjoy!

Grilled Marinated Pork Loin Chops
glazed with Tangy Gold BBQ Sauce
4 servings

3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon low-sodium Worcestershire
1/2 teaspoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
4 -1 1/2 to 2 inch thick boneless pork loin chops
Tangy Gold BBQ Sauce -see below

Combine all marinade ingredients in a container or sealable bag and let marinate for 1 to 2 hours refrigerated. Remove from refrigerator and let rest about 30 minutes before grilling.

Heat grill to high heat. Place chops directly over flame and after first sear marks appear on both sides (about 2 minutes each side) reduce heat to medium heat or move away from direct heat. Begin glazing with the Tangy Gold BBQ Sauce. Move chops further away from heat if the sauce darkens too much. You want to coat with several layers of the glaze for a really outstanding taste.

Grill until internal temperature reaches desired range (140 to 155 depending on taste and location). Remove from grill, tent with foil and allow chops to rest for about 10 minutes before cutting or serving. Remember, meat will rise in temperature about 5 degrees after removing from heat source as long as it is tinted.

Tangy Gold BBQ Sauce

A well bodied, full flavored table sauce for pork, poultry, game, fish and seafood – also great for glazing on BBQ or Grilled foods
makes about 1 cup

1 cup yellow prepared mustard
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
4-5 tablespoons Splenda Brown Sugar Blend (or 1/2 cup brown sugar)*
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons whole grain Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 tablespoon fresh cracked black pepper
3/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 tablespoon cayenne
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon chili powder

Mix ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sauce just begins to simmer. Reduce heat and cook stirring often until sauce is reduced in half or thickens to desired consistency. Serve cool or warm.

*Adjust Splenda Blend or brown sugar to taste. To me, Splenda Brown Sugar Blend is sweeter in strength compared with regular brown sugar using the equivalent amount.

You can store sauce in a sealed jar refrigerated for a several weeks.

Award Winning Summertime Tasting Hamburger

A new favorite, maybe the best!

It is crazy how we get stuck in a rut. I mean, eating the same thing over-and-over again. Now I am not saying to put away a good recipe when you find one, I’m just saying I like to try and create new ones from time to time. Do I try to ‘out do’ the previous favorite? No, nor do I try to replace it. But I think having several great recipes for the same food under the belt, so to speak, is a good idea. To change things up a bit at times, don’t you see.

So when I came up with this recipe a few weeks ago, I did what I do best, I reached into the cabinet and let my mind and taste thoughts lead me toward creating what became a hamburger with a remarkable and flavorful, southern smoky grilled taste. A new recipe that was hailed as ‘award winning’ by all who enjoyed it. (I have made a second batch and grilled them with equally great reactions.) In fact, one even went as far in saying it was the new favorite, the best ever. Well, I don’t know . . . I’ll let you decide that. Go ahead, make up a batch yourself, get to grilling and enjoy a really good great hamburger. Enjoy!

My New Southern Seasoned Hamburger Recipe
makes 4 burgers

2 tablespoons Southern Seasoning Home Blend (see below)
2 tablespoons low-sodium Worcestershire
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce
1/2 teaspoon Badia Complete Seasoning or seasoning salt
2 pounds ground chuck beef (80/20), cold from refrigerator

In a wide large bowl, whisk the first 6 ingredients together. Let set for about 5 minutes. Add the ground beef by carefully breaking it apart and with a large spoon or spatula, blend it into the seasoning mixture. Using your hands will heat the meat and cause the fat to tighten up the texture.

Dip your hands in ice-cold water. Dry hands completely and divide mixture into 4 balls. Quickly pat out into no less than 1-inch thick patties. I like to form the side edges somewhat flat, perpendicular to the surface. Lay each on a baking pan and press an indention into the center of each burger. Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours or until about 30 minutes before ready to grill.

Preheat grill on medium high. Grill patties for 5 minutes per side or until desired doneness. Baste both sides with the of the Hamburger Basting Sauce (below) while grilling.

Top each with a layer of cheese (I used Chipotle Cheddar) right after removing from grill. Add what ever condiments and finish with a dressing however you like. I made up a quick jam by sauteing red and green bell pepper slices with onion silvers along with olive oil and as it just began to caramelize, I added grain mustard and ketchup for a wonderful, dressing to pair with the grilled hamburger.

Note: Badia Compete or Sazon Completa is the same item and is available in most grocers. I use the heck out of this in so many foods as an all-purpose seasoning blend. And what I like best, besides the taste, is that salt is one of the last listed spice ingredients.

SO… What are a few of my other ‘favorite’ burgers’?
Steakhouse Burger – with flavors of a steakhouse grill
Dad’s Better Burger – beef and pork sausage burger with bacon jam and special sauce
Sensational Burgers – pure savory beef burgers with no egg or bread fillers
Smoky Texan ‘Ham’burgers – loaded patty with onions, peppers, smoked ham and bacon…juicy with Texan BBQ sauce glaze

Southern Seasoning Home Blend
I like to make up a batch and use as a general additive to so many foods, from dips, soups, stocks and the likes of this: hamburgers. (also esp. good in meatloaf)

1/4 cup dried minced onions
3 tablespoons dried parsley
2 tablespoons dried carrots flakes
2 tablespoons dried minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried bell pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground bay leaves

Combine all in a container with a tight fitting lid. Store in a dry, dark cabinet or pantry.
Note: Carrot flakes are found in natural or health food specialty stores

Hamburger Basting Sauce
Use this to mop on the burgers as you grill.

2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon low-sodium Worcestershire
good dash of Chipotle Tabasco or liquid smoke

I like to place this in a half-pint mason jar and mop with a baster

Oven Cooked Chili Cheeseburger

The Chili is in the Burger.

Still hankering for a little more tasty meals other than the bland foods we tend to eat when we have a cold or the flu, my taste buds motivated me toward a spicy, messy Chili con Carne topped cheeseburger. But before I got too carried away, I decided to go another route: Make a hamburger loaded with the flavors of a big ol’ bowl of chili loaded roasted flavor, I mean that is all Chili con Carne really is, right? Meat flavored with chiles.

And one of the best things going is the way I prepared these; you can do so in the oven, anytime of the year. No going outside during the winter, no worrying about the burgers falling apart (it do contain a lot of moisture) and no frying on a stove-top griddle slinging grease all over the kitchen. Yup, a very appealing yet satisfying burger.

Enjoy!

Chili Cheeseburger
makes 8 burgers

1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 or 3 garlic toes, minced
1 -4 oz can Fire Roasted (Hot or Mild) Green Diced Chiles, Hatch brand
2/3 can (from a 15.5 oz can) Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes, drained
Recipe for my Taco Seasoning Mix or 1 -1.35 oz package Taco Seasoning
1 1/2 tablespoons good chili powder blend (Mexene will do)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 pounds ground lean (93%) beef
6 Onion split buns, toasted
6 slices Pepper Jack or Monterey Jack cheese
Romaine lettuce leaves, thin onion and tomato slices and sliced avocados if desired

In medium sauté pan, heat oil over medium high heat and sauté onion and garlic until onion is slightly brown. Add drained chilies, tomatoes, taco seasoning, chili powder and cumin. Stir and simmer about 10 minutes to reduce moisture a bit. Let cool about 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

With a large spoon or spatula, mix cooked ingredients with meat. Divide mixture into six portions and shape into burgers. Place on a large roasting pan or bake ware about 1-inch apart. Place in oven and reduce heat to 350 degrees.

Cook about 10 minutes and turn burgers over. Continue cooking about 10 minutes or until desired doneness. Remove and drain on plate. Place cheese slice on each and tent loosely with foil.

Use your favorite salsa or condiment on the buns and add lettuce, onion, tomato and avocado if desired.

Gumbolaya – the best of Gumbo and Jambalaya

A New Orleans and Mobile Flavor.

A rich, full-bodied gumbo is the essence in many southern kitchens across the south but most folks think of New Orleans when the name of gumbo comes up. And that’s okay. There is nothing wrong with New Orleans. Now when folks mention Jambalaya, many too think of the Crescent City. But as I have written previously, the name hails from Mobile, not New Orleans.

According to an essay by Andrew Sigal, the first mention of Jambalaya in English print appears to be from Mobile AL. Submitted from Mobile to the American Agriculturalist journal in May 1849 is a mention of ‘Hopping Johnny’ with Jambalaya in parentheses. Later in 1878, the Ladies of the St. Francis Street Methodist Episcopal Church in Mobile published ‘The Gulf City Cook Book’, which features a recipe titled ‘Jam Bolaya’. The recipe contains oysters and chicken giblets along with the familiar tomatoes and rice.

This recipe melds the deep flavors of a Cajun style chicken and sausage gumbo with the savory essence of a Creole chicken and pork jambalaya. Combining the two is a passage into a whole ‘nother territory and folks, it is a good place to be.  Enjoy!

Gumbolaya
Cajun Gumbo marries Creole Jambalaya
about 10 servings

1 pound hot smoked or Cajun sausage, 1/4-inch sliced
1 tablespoon bacon grease or cooking oil
3 to 4 boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 pound center-cut pork chops, cubed
2 large onions, chopped
1 large green bell pepper
1 small red bell pepper
1 cup diced celery
4 garlic toes, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups chicken stock
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons Creole seasoning
2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 -10 oz frozen cut okra
1 -14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with liquid
1 cup uncooked long grain rice
1 cup chopped green onions

In a large stockpot over medium high heat, add the sausage and oil. Cook until sausage is light brown. Add the pork and cook until brown on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate. Add the chicken (half at a time) sautéing until each side is nice and brown, about 4 minutes each side. Remove chicken to a plate and keep meats in a warm place.

browned meats for Gumbolaya

Add the vegetables and sauté to brown, about 15 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook stirring until light brown roux forms, about 5 minutes. Add the stock, seasonings, okra, tomatoes and cooked meats. Allow to come to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cook covered about 20 minutes.

Add the rice and when the Gumbolaya begins to maintains a simmer, cook uncovered about 30 minutes or until the rice is tender.

Serve in bowls with a topping of green onions. We like hot crusty Fresh bread but cornbread muffins are equally good.

Gumbolaya – the best of Gumbo and Jambalaya

A New Orleans and Mobile Flavor.

A rich, full-bodied gumbo is the essence in many southern kitchens across the south but most folks think of New Orleans when the name of gumbo comes up. And that’s okay. There is nothing wrong with New Orleans. Now when folks mention Jambalaya, many too think of the Crescent City. But as I have written previously, the name hails from Mobile, not New Orleans.

According to an essay by Andrew Sigal, the first mention of Jambalaya in English print appears to be from Mobile AL. Submitted from Mobile to the American Agriculturalist journal in May 1849 is a mention of ‘Hopping Johnny’ with Jambalaya in parentheses. Later in 1878, the Ladies of the St. Francis Street Methodist Episcopal Church in Mobile published ‘The Gulf City Cook Book’, which features a recipe titled ‘Jam Bolaya’. The recipe contains oysters and chicken giblets along with the familiar tomatoes and rice.

This recipe melds the deep flavors of a Cajun style chicken and sausage gumbo with the savory essence of a Creole chicken and pork jambalaya. Combining the two is a passage into a whole ‘nother territory and folks, it is a good place to be.  Enjoy!

Gumbolaya
Cajun Gumbo marries Creole Jambalaya
about 10 servings

1 pound hot smoked or Cajun sausage, 1/4-inch sliced
1 tablespoon bacon grease or cooking oil
3 to 4 boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 pound center-cut pork chops, cubed
2 large onions, chopped
1 large green bell pepper
1 small red bell pepper
1 cup diced celery
4 garlic toes, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups chicken stock
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons Creole seasoning
2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 -10 oz frozen cut okra
1 -14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with liquid
1 cup uncooked long grain rice
1 cup chopped green onions

In a large stockpot over medium high heat, add the sausage and oil. Cook until sausage is light brown. Add the pork and cook until brown on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate. Add the chicken (half at a time) sautéing until each side is nice and brown, about 4 minutes each side. Remove chicken to a plate and keep meats in a warm place.

browned meats for Gumbolaya

Add the vegetables and sauté to brown, about 15 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook stirring until light brown roux forms, about 5 minutes. Add the stock, seasonings, okra, tomatoes and cooked meats. Allow to come to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cook covered about 20 minutes.

Add the rice and when the Gumbolaya begins to maintains a simmer, cook uncovered about 30 minutes or until the rice is tender.

Serve in bowls with a topping of green onions. We like hot crusty Fresh bread but cornbread muffins are equally good.

Beef and Pork Roasted Tomato Chili

Fill Up On this Super Bowl of Chili

Folks sure have been talking up the Super Bowl this year and with the Harbaugh teams going against each other, well, the media frenzy is just crazy. Take Media Day for example; the hype for fans to sit in the Super Dome and watch, which they paid $25 to do, show the obsession of fans who may or may not be in attendance to the actual game. To just hang around and watch 3000 plus reporters do their thing to me is plain crazy. Those in the stands could not talk to, solicit autographs from the players, or come in any contact whatsoever. What they could do is sit there for 4 hours and watch, spend their money at the concession stands, which by the way, sells alcohol and which also probably helped past the time. It just goes to show the popularity of the Super Bowl and the NFL and as one Forbes article put it, ‘if the NFL was selling sand in the desert, fans would buy it.’

More popular than the desire to sit and watch Media Day is sitting and watching the actual game. And to me, more popular than that, is eating on game day. This is a chili recipe I came up with a while back, one based on the old southern way of making chili and one we think is a darn right winning bowl of goodness. The richness of the tomato-laden sauce mingles well with the spiciness of chili flavors and blends into a developed meaty base that has a slight fire-roasted savory savor.

Enjoy!

Beef and Pork Roasted Tomato Chili
6-10 servings

2 pounds pork roast, 1/2-inch cubed
salt, pepper and garlic powder
3/4 cup flour
cooking oil
2 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
8 oz mini sweet peppers, sliced (or chopped red bell pepper)
2 large onions, chopped
6 garlic toes, minced
2 cups extra rich chicken stock
2 -10 oz cans petite cut tomatoes and chiles (Hatch brand)
1 -28 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 -11.5 oz can tomato juice
1 -29 oz can seasoned pinto beans, with sauce
1 -15 oz can corn kernels, drained
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon crushed dried oregano
4 to 6 tablespoons good chili powder (like Mexene brand)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/4 cup diced sweet onion
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
grated cheddar cheese

Add the flour to a medium wide bowl and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste. Toss the pork cubes in the flour coating well.

In a large stockpot over medium high heat, add about 3 tablespoons cooking oil and when hot, add about half of the pork. Brown on all sides and remove to a paper towel lined plate. Brown the remaining pork and put aside.

Add the ground beef and cook until brown. Add the bell pepper, sweet pepper, onion and garlic and cook until onion is soft. Add the chicken stock, Hatch tomatoes, fire roasted tomatoes, tomato juice, pinto beans, corn, lime juice, oregano, chili powder and cumin. Stir to incorporate and allow chili to come to a light simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook about 20 minutes to allow flavors to develop.

In a small bowl, make the salsa by combining the onions with the tomatoes. Give it a light splash with salt, pepper and lime juice if desired.

To serve, top each bowl with grated cheese and good spoonful of salsa. Serve with cornbread, saltines or your choice of bread and sour cream is optional too.

Church St. Scrabble

Not the ordinary chex party mix.

My grandmother made batches of her Scrabble to give to friends during the holidays and to have on hand around the house for us nibblers. She also made the mix many times throughout the year. Her version of the chex mix is very addictive. It is a must at any cocktail party, goes well to picnics and always travels with us during our stays at the beach. Grandmother also made another snack mix, one she called ‘Nuts and Bolts’, consisting of cheerios (nuts), pretzels (bolts), rice chex, nuts, cheese tidbits and a savory blend of seasonings. This mix was a mainstay at every bridge club table as I remember each player having a bowl at their side.

This year at my house, a new version of Scrabble was formed, a combination of Grandmother’s two snack mix recipes. I followed the customary giving to neighbors and in doing so, made two batches. It was well received and enjoyed. Like Grandmothers recipe, this one is addictive too. Many have requested the recipe, so here it is. Enjoy!

Church St. Scrabble
makes about 8 -1 quart containers

2 sticks salted butter
1/4 cup Worcestershire
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon granulated onion
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco
6 cups rice Chex cereal
6 cups corn Chex cereal
3 cups cheddar tidbits (fish, penguins or any fun shape)
3 cups pretzel sticks, broken in half
3 cups cheerios
2/3 cup sesame sticks
2 cups mixed nuts
2 cups whole pecans
salt if needed

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

In a small saucepan, melt butter and add Worcestershire, soy sauce, garlic and onion powder, celery salt and Tabasco. Whisk to incorporate. Set aside.

In a large roaster or 2 medium deep pans, gently combine the remaining ingredients. Slowly drizzle about 1/3 of butter mixture over the mix. Gently stir to mix and drizzle another 1/3 of butter mixture. Gently stir to mix followed with the last of the butter mixture. Stir and place in the oven.

Remove pan every 15 minutes and gently stir to lifting mix from the bottom. Cook total of 1 hour stirring every 15 minutes.

Spread mix on newspaper or sheets of craft paper to cool. Allow to rest at least 2 hours. Store in airtight containers.

Grandmother’s Scrabble and Zig’s Nuts and Bolts is published in our family cookbook, Grits to Guacamole.

Loaded Meaty Lasagna

Meat, Meat Please

First, let me say, this is in no way an ‘authentic’ Italian recipe. It does contain many Italian ingredients and flavors, but ya not gonna find it in the Encyclopedia of Regional Italian Cuisine. Like most of my recipes, I just made it up.

This one is for the folks, ya know who you we are, that like a lot of meat in casseroles. Yup, those ‘meat and potato’ fellers that line up at diners across Americana eateries. Layered in this easy-to-make chunky pasta sauce is four kinds of meat not to mention (okay, I will) five vegetables and a blend of yummy cheeses. Go ahead, loosen up your belt, roll up your sleeves and make a meal out of this one. Enjoy!

Loaded Meaty Lasagna
My ‘Kitchen Sink’ casserole using a no-boil pasta method
about 6-8 servings

1 pound lean ground beef
1 -8 oz button mushroom, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/5 green bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic toes, minced
1 celery  stalk, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 -24 oz pasta sauce
1 -14.5 oz fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon from an 6 oz can tomato paste
1 -8 oz tomato sauce
1/2 cup red wine
1 tablespoon Italian seasonings
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
9 Lasagna noodles from a 16 oz box
1 -16 oz large curd cottage cheese
2 -8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup diced precooked bacon
2 links of precooked Italian sweet sausage, sliced
3 oz turkey pepperoni slices
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Brown the ground beef in a dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook tossing ’em around until tender. Add the onions, bell pepper, garlic, celery, carrots and cook until onion is translucent. Stir in the pasta sauce, the diced tomatoes (liquid too), tomato paste, sauce and red wine stirring to incorporate the paste. Stir in the seasonings. Cover with lid and allow mixture to come to a simmer, then cook for 45 minutes with lid ajar. Stir often.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a bowl, mix the cottage cheese with 8 ounces shredded mozzarella. I like to add a couple of turns of black pepper. Put aside.

Spray a lasagna pan or a 13x9x2-inch baker with cooking spray. Cover the bottom with the meat sauce. Place 3 of the uncooked lasagna on top of the sauce. Spoon half of the cheese mixture on top and even out. Add 1/3 of meat sauce, half of the bacon, half of the sweet sausage slices and pepperoni. Add anther layer of lasagna followed with the remaining cheese mixture. Add another 1/3 of the sauce, repeating with layering the remaining meats. Place the last layer of lasagna, the last of the meat sauce and the remaining 8 oz mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle the Parmesan on top. Cover with foil.

Bake in the oven for 1 hour. Uncover and bake 10 to 15 minutes or until cheese begins to brown. Remove and let rest 10 minutes before cutting.

Note: When ever I am layering as such, I always do a listing so I won’t get lost. This one goes something like this. Start from the bottom.

2 cheeses
1/3 meat sauce
3 lasagna pasta
1/2 meats
1/3 meat sauce
1/2 cheese mixture
3 lasagna pasta
1/2 meats
1/3 meat sauce
1/2 cheese mixture
3 lasagna pasta
a little meat sauce

Loaded Meaty Lasagna

Meat, Meat Please

First, let me say, this is in no way an ‘authentic’ Italian recipe. It does contain many Italian ingredients and flavors, but ya not gonna find it in the Encyclopedia of Regional Italian Cuisine. Like most of my recipes, I just made it up.

This one is for the folks, ya know who you we are, that like a lot of meat in casseroles. Yup, those ‘meat and potato’ fellers that line up at diners across Americana eateries. Layered in this easy-to-make chunky pasta sauce is four kinds of meat not to mention (okay, I will) five vegetables and a blend of yummy cheeses. Go ahead, loosen up your belt, roll up your sleeves and make a meal out of this one. Enjoy!

Loaded Meaty Lasagna
My ‘Kitchen Sink’ casserole using a no-boil pasta method
about 6-8 servings

1 pound lean ground beef
1 -8 oz button mushroom, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/5 green bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic toes, minced
1 celery  stalk, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 -24 oz pasta sauce
1 -14.5 oz fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon from an 6 oz can tomato paste
1 -8 oz tomato sauce
1/2 cup red wine
1 tablespoon Italian seasonings
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
9 Lasagna noodles from a 16 oz box
1 -16 oz large curd cottage cheese
2 -8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup diced precooked bacon
2 links of precooked Italian sweet sausage, sliced
3 oz turkey pepperoni slices
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Brown the ground beef in a dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook tossing ’em around until tender. Add the onions, bell pepper, garlic, celery, carrots and cook until onion is translucent. Stir in the pasta sauce, the diced tomatoes (liquid too), tomato paste, sauce and red wine stirring to incorporate the paste. Stir in the seasonings. Cover with lid and allow mixture to come to a simmer, then cook for 45 minutes with lid ajar. Stir often.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a bowl, mix the cottage cheese with 8 ounces shredded mozzarella. I like to add a couple of turns of black pepper. Put aside.

Spray a lasagna pan or a 13x9x2-inch baker with cooking spray. Cover the bottom with the meat sauce. Place 3 of the uncooked lasagna on top of the sauce. Spoon half of the cheese mixture on top and even out. Add 1/3 of meat sauce, half of the bacon, half of the sweet sausage slices and pepperoni. Add anther layer of lasagna followed with the remaining cheese mixture. Add another 1/3 of the sauce, repeating with layering the remaining meats. Place the last layer of lasagna, the last of the meat sauce and the remaining 8 oz mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle the Parmesan on top. Cover with foil.

Bake in the oven for 1 hour. Uncover and bake 10 to 15 minutes or until cheese begins to brown. Remove and let rest 10 minutes before cutting.

Note: When ever I am layering as such, I always do a listing so I won’t get lost. This one goes something like this. Start from the bottom.

2 cheeses
1/3 meat sauce
3 lasagna pasta
1/2 meats
1/3 meat sauce
1/2 cheese mixture
3 lasagna pasta
1/2 meats
1/3 meat sauce
1/2 cheese mixture
3 lasagna pasta
a little meat sauce

Old-Fashion 2-Meat Chili

Spice up your Bowl with Goodness

So, what makes this old-fashion you ask?  Mainly it’s the way I was taught to make chili, Alabama style. No box mix or spice package, this one is made just the way many kitchens did with simple ingredients found in most cupboards, crisper drawers and meat compartments.

Chili is such an ideal food for casual entertaining, football watching and extra good during the winter months. Served steaming hot, it will put a big ol’ smile on a frosty face, warm the tummies on cool nights and perk up those with Autumn doldrums.

Old-Fashion Chili
Gooder than good … actually, damn gooder!
about 12 servings

1/2 pound dried pinto beans or 2 -15.5 oz cans rinsed and drained
2 pounds lean ground beef (from the shoulder area is fine)
1 pound lean ground pork or venison (pork loin is pretty cheap with little fat)
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large onions, chopped
2 large green bell peppers, chopped
2 garlic toes, minced
2 tablespoons ground cumin
4 to 6 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 bay leaf
1 -10.5 oz can condensed beef broth (Campbell’s)
water or tomato juice
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 -28 oz cans diced tomatoes
1 -6 oz can tomato paste

Soak overnight the beans or use can ones if you are in a really big hurry. Drain and rinse either way; put aside.

In a Dutch oven of medium stockpot, brown both meats. Ya might have to add a little oil if you meats are really lean. Drain meat into a bowl and wipe out any oil.

Add the oil to the pot over medium high heat and saute the onion and bell pepper until the onion goes limp. Toss in the garlic and give it a stir. Add the cumin, chili powder, flour, paprika, black pepper, sugar, oregano, vinegar, cayenne and stir to coat all the vegetables. Add the bay leaf, the can of beef broth, enough tomato juice or water to thin the consistency and the parsley. Allow the mixture to come to a simmer; fold in the meat and beans. Return mixture to simmer and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Stir occasionally.

Make sure the beans are as tender as you like them before adding any tomato product. If tender, add the tomatoes along with the paste. Stir and add just enough water to your liking. Allow chili to come to a simmer and cook another 30 minutes.

Serve with a simple pico de gallo, cheddar cheese and sour cream if desired. Cornbread sticks are very appreciated.