Sunday, September 6, 2015

A Family Recipe from a Non-Foodie

As I have discussed in a previous post, I am a very picky eater. This means I am about as far away from a foodie as one can get.  When I was growing up, my mother and the school cafeteria served something called Hungarian Goulash. When my oldest started school, his school cafeteria served American Chop Suey. After school, I asked him what it was; his reply was, "Goulash." That is when I learned that the same dish has different names in different places, but this is what it looks like:

My family loves this dish and was often requested while menu planning. Especially when sliced cheese is melted on top. My family also loves lasagna; my mother taught me to use cottage cheese instead of ricotta cheese.

However, my (ex) mother-in-law created a dish to serve to her family of seven that she called Lasaroni. First, she was a terrible cook - she admits it. Second, she served a lot of casseroles. Finally, this was the only casserole dish my ex would eat.

It is very easy to make, is a lot like the goulash/chop suey recipe, and can be made in large batches. My Girl Scout troop would go to encampments. Being the older girls, we were often called on to cook the community meal, and we chose to make Lasaroni for 100 people from age 5 and up. I made it for adult overnights, also.


1 lb. box tube pasta, cooked according to box directions, then rinsed and drained - I use elbow macaroni or ziti with stripes

While that is cooking, in a skillet:

1 lb. ground beef, or other ground meat mixture, browned and drained; 
12 oz. package of Morning Star Meal Starters Grillers Recipe Crumbles, warmed through

To the meat, add and heat through:

1 28-oz. jar spaghetti sauce - I use the chunky garden 
Spices to taste - I use Italian Seasoning, Minced Onion, Salt, Pepper, Oregano, Basil, Garlic, and Rosemary (crumbled)

Add meat and sauce to drained macaroni in pot. Add and stir together well:

1 16-oz. container of cottage cheese - I use low-fat
1 16-oz. package of shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat through in kettle or put into lasagna dish and bake until bubbly. 

This dish is very freezer friendly, tastes better the next day like most tomato and pasta dishes, and can be made in a crock pot.

Optional, thinly-sliced additions: onions, peppers, carrots, celery, broccoli, zucchini, summer squash, spinach, etc. - saute with the meat or cook separately and add to pot or lasagna dish when meat sauce is added

If you try it, let me know how it turns out in the comments below. Post any questions below, too, please.