Tag Archives: ground beef

Mama’s 80’s style delight and that’s how I roll…

It’s been a while since I have written any posts and it feels good to be writing again!! If you are reading, let me say thank you for your loyalty. Thank you for reading along. Thank you for being right along with me. Kids have been out of school and I have been focusing my energy on them and just trying to let myself BE. That is a task for me sometimes. Just BEing. Not moving, not shaking, not making any waves…just being here. Or there. I hope you can understand what I mean. There are other things we have been doing and no grass has grown under our feet and I will fill ya’ll in as we go along. This summer has involved a bunch of Zumba, walking, Swimming, traveling and hanging out with friends. And summer is not over yet. Not until we have to go back to school. Lots of changes coming for our family this school year and I am frankly not ready for it. Biggest change of all is my oldest is going to be starting middle school. When I say I am not ready, I mean I am really not ready. He is. I am not. That brings to mind for me one thing I love about cooking.  No matter the time that passes, some things never change. The taste, the ingredients, the smell of a dish when it is cooking and most of all, the comfort of knowing that I am passing down something to my kiddos that my mama passed on to me. 

Now, I remember being about 7 or 8 when my mama first made this dish. I remember it being during a time when she used to babysit some kids during the day, before she went to college to be a nurse. I don’t know the origin of this dish, if it was something she concocted or if she got the recipe from someone. I associate it with her creating a dish my sister dubbed “noodle magoodle” and this one came soon before or after.  As I said, she babysat some kiddos and I remember her getting commodity cheese and butter and going downtown to get it with her. She created noodle magoodle using that commodity cheese (and that is what it made it so good my friends!) and for whatever reason, that dish and this one are linked together in my mind. Either way, being a mom myself now, knowing she had two kiddos and was likely pregnant with baby girl number 3, I have to give her props for creativity in the kitchen and building a tasty dish around what she had and what was not too expensive, commodity cheese and ground beef. This recipe is part of that time. So circa 1980’s, from the kitchen of Bernadatte aka Bernie aka my mama, not sure if this dish ever had a proper name but I am gonna dub it Mama’s 80’s delight. It’s simple, easy, cheap and always ensures a happy plate. My whole crew lapped it up last night and I figured I would share the recipe with ya’ll. I know, I know, I haven’t posted a recipe since April, and maybe I should post something fancier and more impressive. But no. This summer there has not been much fancy cooking going on. It’s been laid back, easy breezy beautiful cover girl and getting people fed has been the main goal. That’s how my mama did it and it’s good enough for me.  I am assuming if you are reading my blog posts, you know this is how this Cajun mama rolls.  Roll with me, won’t you? 

My sisters and I back in the day …a few years past the commodity cheese days…

Mama’s 80’s delight 

Stuff you need~

2 cups white rice, cooked

1/2 cup diced onion 

2 pounds ground beef, cooked and drained 

1 (14.5 ounce) can tomato sauce 

1 can pork and beans (I used a 16 ounce can of baked beans because that’s what I had…just as tasty) 

Salt, pepper, and garlic powder for seasoning (I used Jane’s Mixed Up salt in place of all of this) 
What to do with the stuff~
Brown the ground meat and onion, drain grease. Stir in tomato sauce and baked beans. Sprinkle in seasoning to taste and then stir in some rice until it’s to your liking. I used almost all of the rice, probably closer to 1 1/2 cups. 

 

this is the only picture I took (i am out of practice) and this is how it looks just before the rice is added…
 
My mama circa 2015 but she is timeless …like her recipes
 

Million dollar spaghetti and at the center of it all

So when I was growing up, spaghetti was an event. Spaghetti and meatballs that is. My mom’s spaghetti and meatballs. Took all day to cook and it was worth the wait. It almost always was a meal on a weekend and we would have leftovers during the week. That meal to this day is very special and still very much an event. I do enjoy cooking up a pot of spaghetti and meatballs from time to time, but my family loves and I mean LOVES spaghetti. And as much as I love them, I do not have time to make a pot of spaghetti and meatballs as often as they would like it. So I often turn to spaghetti and meat sauce. My oldest prefers meatballs (mix of pork and ground chuck mom, STAT) but he will endure meat sauce if he has to.
Of course, as much as I adore tradition, I am always looking for good variations on our favorite meals. I like to shake it up sometimes, keep it fresh, and make some noise (ha! Like I have to do that…these cookoo loos over here make enough noise for 3 households) but you get what I am saying. I like to stay out of the dinner time rut. So when I came across this recipe on Pinterest for million dollar spaghetti a while back http://ashleykaitlin.blogspot.com/2011/01/million-dollar-spaghetti.html?m=1, I knew I had to try it.
Well this week has been, um, interesting to say the least. It started off that way and it continues to be so. For different reasons. Swimming pool calamities, sick kids, sick hubby and it’s only Thursday, so I figured let’s just blow it out and doing something crazy! Let’s make million dollar spaghetti!!! Or it went something like that. I have said it before and I will say it again, when things are stressful on the home front and I have an inkling of that feeling that I just want to bury my head under the covers and cry, I shift into crazy homemaker mode. I know that few things are in my control, but what I cook and how I feel in my home, is all me. So I cook something traditional and comforting or I try something new. I try a cleaning tip and do some laundry. I guess my home is my center and I find comfort there. I guess it’s the Narcille and Beulah Mae coming out in me and every other Cajun mama I come from.

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the two sick dudes laid up, everyone else around them (getting infected I can only imagine)…but that’s my chaos and my heart and soul

This million dollar spaghetti was a wonderful alternative to our regular spaghetti and meat sauce. Big Daddy said he could do with less creamy stuff, but the kids LOVED it. Even my BHB (picky man) ate it with gusto. It’s kind of like my lazy girl’s lasagna https://cajunmamacookinblog.com/2013/12/13/lazy-girls-lasagna/, only with angel hair pasta. It really was very easy and delicious. I recommend you give it a go the next time you are feeling stressed to the limit and not quite certain you do this whole being a grown thing another day. It may not change the world, it may not make things 100% better, but it will surely change your outlook. You can look around the table at your family enjoying a meal that you made and think, ” I cannot do it all, but I can make a meal my family enjoys” and “I can bring my family together.” And let’s not forget, that is kind of the point of this whole cooking for these people we live with anyway. Enjoy!!~AMB

Million dollar spaghetti
Stuff you need~

8 ounces angel hair pasta, cooked al dente
2 lb. container Cottage cheese (that’s the taller one)
1/4 cup sour cream
8 ounces cream cheese
1 small jar spaghetti sauce (I am a Ragu girl)
1 pound ground chuck
1 stick of butter (I used about 3/4 of the stick)
2 cups shredded mild cheddar

What to do with the stuff~

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook your pasta according to package directions. Brown ground beef until no longer pink. Drain well.
Stir spaghetti sauce into the drained ground beef. Heat until warmed throughout.
In a mixing bowl, mix together the softened cream cheese, sour cream, and cottage cheese. (I used my standing mixer to do this, as she suggested)
Put half of the butter (sliced into pats) at the bottom of a 9 x 13 dish. Layer half of the noodles on top of this. Now layer all of the creamy mixture on top of this.
Next, layer the rest of the noodles on top of the creamy mixture. Lay the rest of the butter pats on top of the noodles.
Now spread the spaghetti sauce and meat all over the top.
Cook at 350 for 30 minutes.
Finally, sprinkle the cheddar all over the top of the whole shebang.
Cook for another 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is all bubbly and irresistible looking.

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noodles on top of creamy mixture

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more butter pats on top of the noodles

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my handsome boy helping me cook and telling me all about his latest google research. He amazes me.

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layers and layers of yummm