Streamlined Lasagna

This is the recipe that my mother made when I was growing up. It is not authentic in many ways, but it is delicious comfort food using ingredients that were readily available in a grocery store in the 1970s.

Servings: 6

1 Tbsp oil
½ cup onion, diced
1 lb ground beef
1 clove garlic, sliced
¾ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
3 Tbsp parsley, chopped
15 oz can diced tomatoes
8 oz tomato sauce
8 oz lasagne noodles ( 8 slices)
4 oz Swiss cheese, sliced thin
1 ½ cups cottage cheese
parsley, chopped

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Saute onion until tender.
  2. Add ground beef, cook until browned.
  3. Mash garlic with salt and add to meat with pepper, oregano, parsley, tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. If making ahead, refrigerate sauce until ready to assemble.
  5. Preheat oven to 350℉.
  6. Cook lasagne noodles until al dente. Drain & cover with cold water.
  7. Spread of sauce in a 9×13 pan. Top with half each of lasagne noodles, Swiss cheese (reserve 1 slice) & cottage cheese.
  8. Repeat, ending with remaining sauce and reserved cheese.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes or until hot & bubbly.
  10. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.
  • I prefer “petite diced” tomatoes which are cut into appx ½” pieces. You could also use fresh or frozen tomatoes.
  • You can substitute mozzarella for the Swiss cheese and ricotta for the cottage cheese for a more authentic dish.

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Dad’s Chili con Carne

This is my Dad, Steve ReVeal’s, recipe. I’m sure that he got the original recipe from a friend, but I don’t know who it was.  My father is a very good cook – his specialties are chili, pizza & Chinese food.

Makes about 3 quarts

2 lb ground beef
3 Tbsp chili powder (not ground chile)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 large onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped *
2 – 15 oz cans tomato sauce
1 bay leaf
2 – 15 oz cans kidney beans or pinto beans, undrained *

  1. Brown ground beef. Drain off fat.
  2. Sprinkle chili powder, salt & sugar over beef. Mix well.
  3. Add onion, bell pepper. Cook until slightly softened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add tomato sauce, bay leaf & beans. Cover & simmer for 1 hour.
  5. Remove bay leaf before serving.
  • I do not use the bell pepper.
  • My dad always used kidney beans, but my husband doesn’t like them so we use pinto beans.

Moussaka

My mother cut this recipe out of a magazine in the 70s. I have a photocopy of it, but it does not show the magazine’s name. Like many old photocopies, it is faded and very difficult to read. The recipe, however, is as delicious as always.

Servings: 6

Meat Sauce

2 Tbsp butter
1 cup onion, diced
1 ½ lbs ground beef or lamb
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ tsp oregano, dried
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp cinnamon
dash freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
16 oz tomato sauce
2 Tbsp dry bread crumbs

  1. Melt butter in 4 quart Dutch oven.
  2. Add onion and meat, stirring until brown, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, herbs, & spices. Cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add tomato sauce, bring to boil, stirring often. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered, 1/2 hour.
  5. Stir in bread crumbs.
Eggplant

2-2 ½ lbs eggplant
½ cup butter, melted
salt

  1. Halve unpeeled eggplant lengthwise, then slice ½ inch thick.
  2. Place in broiler pan and brush lightly with melted butter. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
  3. Broil 4 inches from heat, 4 minutes per side, or until golden.
Bechamel (Cream Sauce in original)

2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
½ tsp salt
dash pepper
2 c milk
2 large eggs

  1. In a medium saucepan melt butter; remove from heat and stir in flour, salt and pepper.
  2. Add milk gradually. Bring to a boil, stirring until mixture is thickened. Remove from heat.
  3. In a small bowl, beat eggs.
  4. Temper eggs by adding a small amount of hot bechamel sauce, whisking constantly. Return mixture to saucepan. Mix well and set aside.
Topping

½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
½ cup Cheddar cheese, grated

Assembly
  1. Preheat oven to 375℉.
  2. In the bottom of 9″x13″ baking dish, layer 1/2 of the eggplant, overlapping slightly.
  3. Mix cheeses. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons over eggplant.
  4. Spoon meat sauce over top.
  5. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons cheese.
  6. Layer rest of eggplant, overlapping as before.
  7. Pour cream sauce over all.
  8. Sprinkle top with remaining cheese.
  9. Bake 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and top is set. If desired, brown top under broiler for 1 minute. Cool slightly before serving.
  • You can replace the Cheddar cheese with more Parmesan.

Meat Stuffing (for Zucchini or Bell Peppers)

This recipe is adapted from how my mother used to make it.  The measurements are not exact because a lot depends on how thick you want the stuffing to be and how much seasoning you like.

1 lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped
8 oz can tomato sauce
saltine crackers
dried basil
black pepper
salt

  1. Brown hamburger and onion.
  2. Add tomato sauce.
  3. Crumble in saltines until stuffing holds together.
  4. Season to taste with basil, pepper & salt.
  5. Stuff into parboiled or roasted zucchini (split & seeded) or par-roasted bell pepper halves.  Top with cheese.
  6. Bake at 350 F for about 20-30 minutes or until heated through and cheese it melted.
  • Precooking the zucchini or bell peppers makes sure the vegetables are done when the stuffing is. Otherwise they will still be hard while your stuffing is getting burned.

Portuguese Fish Supper

adapted from Rachael Ray

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 pound Mexican chorizo, casing removed
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 large bundle kale
few gratings of nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chicken stock
8 oz can tomato sauce
15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
4 thick pieces cod or haddock fillets (6-8 oz each)
Old Bay seasoning
Italian parsley, chopped

  1. Heat the extra-virgin olive oil over medium-high heat in a high-sided skillet or Dutch oven.
  2. Add chorizo and render for a couple of minutes, then add onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Strip kale leaves from stems. Slice stems into ¼” pieces (like celery). Chop leaves coarsely.
  5. Stir in the stock, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, kale stems, and thyme. Bring to a simmer and cook over low heat for 10 minutes.
  6. Add kale leaves and toss to wilt, then season with a few grates of nutmeg and salt and pepper, to taste.
  7. Season the fish with Old Bay seasoning and salt and pepper, to taste. Add the fish to the sauce and cover. Cook until the fish is opaque and cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  8. Ladle into shallow bowls garnished with parsley.
  9. Serve with crusty bread for mopping.
  • Rachael Ray uses Spanish chorizo, but I have not found it in my area, so I substitute Mexican chorizo. I believe the seasonings are the same, but Mexican chorizo is a raw sausage.
  • You can discard the kale stems if you prefer, but with a little extra cooking they taste great & I hate to waste them.
  • You can substitute Swiss chard or spinach for the kale. 
  • You can substitute any other seafood for the fish – shrimp, scallops, or ???