Proverbs 27:27 And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Country Casserole

This is a very simple very versatile casserole that will use up a lot of milk and garden vegetables in the summer months.  It makes more than one casserole so if you have a small family cut it down.  In the pictures I am making a double batch because, you guessed it, I have so much milk.  I have cut the recipe in half for you here.  I love making a bunch of casseroles at the beginning of each week so I have quick meals all week long if I need them.  Also with teens in the house and so many boys, they are always needing a "snack meal" and can scoop some into a bowl, heat it and eat it.

Farmhouse cheese  - made from 1 gallon of milk (store bought ricotta can be substituted here)
Cooked elbow macaroniOne pound
Ground deer or beef - One pound.   I am using deer here.
Spaghetti sauce – home made or your favorite store bought – about 1 ½  24 ounce jars
Ground ginger
Ground cumin
Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper - if desired
Any garden veggies you need to use up that sounds good in it!

I will start from the point where you have made your farmhouse cheese and have it draining in your colander, on cheese cloth, for 10 minutes or so.
Plop your drained cheese into a large mixing bowl and work in 1 and a half jars of sauce with the back side of a large fork breaking up all the curds till mixture is smooth.  
Add your just cooked elbow macaroni (I’ll assume you know how to make this  :)  ) Mix well.
Brown your ground meat.  Once browned salt and pepper to taste. (store bought sauce has so much salt in them that if you use store bought you might not want to add the salt and pepper)  Also mix into the browned meat 1/8 tsp cumin and  1/8 tsp of ginger mix well.    
Then add to the pasta mixture.  Mix it up really good.

Now comes the fun part in the summer.  If you like peppers and onions, sauté them and add them.  If you have extra squash and zucchini, cut them up julienne style and add them.  We have added over the years with great success, mushrooms, black olives, sautéed onions and peppers, squash and zucchini, peas and corn. Okra that we salted and toasted in the oven first for a short while (to get rid of the slimy :) )  I am sure I am forgetting something else.  But I think you have the idea.  Let your creative juices flow.  Or just throw in what  you have overflowing your counter tops this summer.   If you really want to boost the flavor of the veggies you add and cut the cooking time down for the casserole, simply oven roast the veggies first in a pan with a little olive oil and a dash of salt. My husband also loves it if I add a little chilli powder once in a while or a good many dashes of chipolte pepper for a spicier casserole once in a while.

So add in the veggies of your choice.  Today, I didn't add anything extra as it is spring and we have nothing coming out of the garden right now and our freezer is about empty of veggies.  Trust me it tastes great this way too.   Once you add in your veggies that is where you might add the rest of the ½ can of sauce you held back, if you think everything is not coated well, add it.  If you don’t need the sauce in the casserole, toast some garlic bread and heat the sauce and use it for dipping the bread with the meal.  Add a huge salad and you are good to go!
Put your casserole in your casserole dishes and then the last step is to sprinkle Parmesan cheese on the tops. 
Preheat oven and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.  But keep an eye on it.  My oven is a convection oven and so it only takes about 20.  If you have some tougher veggies (like fresh green beans)  in it you might need a little longer for them to be softer. 

Psalms 34:8 O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

Abundant blessings,

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