Saturday, January 16, 2016

Cheesy Meat Sauce and Pasta Casserole

This is another back to basics recipe for the winter, and possibly a take along to a friend's house for lunch or dinner.
Gather together "twistie" pasta, shredded cheddar cheese, bread crumbs, olive oil, and basil.
 Also red tomato pasta sauce of your choosing, and one and one half (1 1/2) pounds of ground beef chopped meat

Render the chopped meat in a heavy cast iron frying pan.

Drain off any extra liquid.
 Stir in red tomato sauce
 Cook for a short time.
 Fill a large sauce pot with cold water, and sprinkle in salt.
 Prepare casserole dish with a coating of olive oil.

 Cook pasta until almost done.
 Drain pasta
On arrange casserole elements before starting to combine sauce and pasta.
 Spread a bit of sauce in the bottom of the casserole dish.
 Add a layer of pasta,
 then sprinkle  a layer of shredded cheddar cheese,
 next a layer of meat sauce.
 Continue layering pasta,cheese and sauce until casserole is full.

 End layering with a top layer of shredded cheese.
 Sprinkle a small amount of bread crumbs on top to add crunch.
 Add basil flaked on top for flavor.

Bake at 350 degrees F until cheese, sauce, and pasta are combined until well melted.
Now you can carry the casserole to a friend's for a comfort style meal.  

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Blueberry Muffins

 On a January day, what could be better than a cup of hot Tea and a Blueberry Muffin?
 My dear friend Jane, gave me a recipe booklet last week.
 Another friend had given me a container of fresh Blueberries.  Of course I decided to make Blueberry Muffins.
 Generally I use unbleached flour.  This time I doubled the recipe and sifted out 3 cups of flour.
 2 cups of Sugar
2 tablespoons of baking powderand a teaspoon of salt.
 I whisked two eggs in a bowl,
 then melted one stick of butter in my cast iron pan,
 added the butter to the eggs
 combined it with 2 cups of milk,
 then I made a "well" in the center of the flour mixture and poured in the liquids.
 I stirred it gently then
 added in the blueberries which were
 coated with 1/4 cup flour.
 The berries were added into the mixture.  Originally the recipe called for 2 cups of blueberries, but I had dipped into the blueberry box earlier that week, so I added cranberries to make up the difference.

  The recipe also originally called for 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, which I didn't add this time.
I coated the muffin pans with baking spray,
and then ladled in the batter until the cups were 2/3 full.
 The oven had to be hot, 400 degrees F, and the lmuffins cooked for about 15-20 minutes.
 I had two different sized muffin pans,
 so I used a long wooden skewer stick to test for doneness.
  Tea Time!

 The Christmas decorations on my hutch were put away for next year while I baked the muffins.  This is my winter display for 2016.

The cookie jar was made by the Delano Studios pottery company from Setauket, Long Island, and along side the whaling sihp on the jar stands and antique glass whale oil lamp.
 The muffin plate with a winter scene by Currier & Ives
 The Lenox label from the winter bird tea cup.
Muffins for storing in the freezer, if you can get them there before they are eaten!