This is an old family standby, we usually make it with egg noodles or elbow macaroni but these large tubular shaped pasta things worked really well. I looked all over the package for the Italian common name to no avail but the handy pasta shapes dictionary tells me they are probably rigatoni. Heh, I was in my 20s before I knew there were more shapes than elbows and spaghetti.
A lot of chin scratching went into the recipe for this dish, lots of false starts and pantry restocking but it finally came down to ground beef, a chopped onion, a bit of chopped green pepper, chopped celery, a can of tomato bits with green chilies, and a ton of cheese sauce made from a basic white sauce and several different cheeses: Cheddar, yellow American, provolone, and Parmesan – whatever a search of the fridge for opened bags turned up. Put lots of milk in the white sauce because the pasta seems to soak up more than you’d think and this needs to be creamy. This is a dish that’s better the first time but you can reheat it later and bring the creamy back with added milk stirred in as it comes back to temperature.
I thawed a package of Italian Beef that I had made a while back to have something nice to put on the new batch of buns. I simmered the beef with all the juices in a sauce pan, laid a couple slices of provolone atop that, and covered it so the cheese would melt. Ladle the gooey result onto the buns and add some giardiniera and mmm… The twice cooked fries were perfect as a side.I still had a little beef left so I made a pizza with it, along with caramelized onions, pepperoncini, and plenty more cheese. I have a layer of sliced provolone under the meat and onions, and used a shredded cheese from a package of Italian cheeses that mixed mozzarella, asiago, fontina, Parmesan, and Romano.
This one is a cheese stuffed crust pie with my own homemade Italian sausage. I added a caramelized sweet onion along with a few dried tomatoes atop a base of awesome sauce. Plenty of cheese over all of that.The cheese in the crust is a string style snack mozzarella blend. The cheese on top is a packaged “Italian blend” along with additional fresh mozzarella and grated Parmesan.I like to trick my platter out with garnishes and extra pepper flakes. These are marinated garlic stuffed olives along with a few baby kalamatas. The marinade is olive oil and red wine vinegar with rosemary and lemon peel and pinches of dried basil and oregano.Leftovers! I slide the extra slices around so they aren’t touching and place the whole thing into the freezer. In the morning I’ll pop them loose from the pan and seal them into freezer bags.
Chorizo and Monterey jack in the quesadillas, garnished with guac and sour cream, the Tex-Mex seasoning I like, a wee sprinkle of cotija cheese and more of the Monterey jack. Gotta have eggs and hot sauce.
Looks like it will rain all day. We were needing some. I have a pork shoulder in the smoker. I set up in the garage and now it’s pretty smokey in there. It would be setting off alarms if there were any in there.
I finally used those shrimps that I’ve been moving back and forth in the freezer while looking for something else. Mrs J mentioned that it’s been a while since we did the seafood mornay sauce and so here we are. A mornay sauce is just a basic white sauce with cheese. I cleaned up some partial bags of cheeses making this one. There’s mozzarella, provolone, Monterey jack, Parmesan, and a fair amount of pepperjack cheese. The cheese sauce is covering it so you can’t tell but there is broccoli in there with the shrimp and crab meat.. The sauce baked with a sprinkle of bread crumbs covering it. The fettuccine is in a garlic butter sauce. I plated the noodles separate from the Mornay this time and combined them as I ate but you could do the entire meal in a single casserole as you would dish we call a “noodle bake”. Gives it a hamburger helper vibe, that way. LOL
I love these things too much. I wish I could find the Cholula brand hot sauce a bit cheaper. Amazon has 1/2 gallon jugs of their original recipe, I prefer the garlic lime but I may go ahead with the half gallon.Mrs J wanted something akin to the tostada and she kept asking for the one that was layered with “tortillas on the bottom and the top”. I finally understood that she was wanting a quesadilla which is a tostada with a lid. Kind of like the regular sandwich build vs an open faced styled item. These are pretty much the same recipe as the toastadas I made for myself only sans the hot sauce, minced peppers, and Monterey jack in lieu of the pepperjack cheese. It’s a mystery to me how she can prefer these plain looking things over a properly sauced dish. Think of the color loss!