CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Friendship Hotdish

Cooking for friends or family who are sick or are grieving the death of a loved one is probably a familiar act to a lot of us. I think many people who live around here in our rural communities can relate. It’s one of those things that is unique to small-town life.

Over the years, I’ve delivered food many times — be it a hotdish, a cooked smoked chicken or some fresh fruit — to people who’ve experienced tough times through sickness, death or some other form of misfortune.

I came to partake in this token of kindness through the example of my mother. Mom always was baking or cooking food for someone who was going through some tough times. Sometimes it was cookies, other times a casserole.

Here’s a meaty, cheesy recipe that I came across recently that would be perfect for such an occasion. There are a couple of nice things about this recipe. You make enough for two batches, one for yourself and one for friends or family. And the one you give away can be unbaked, so whoever gets it can cook it whenever they want.

Friendship Hotdish
2 pounds ground beef or turkey
½ cup green pepper, chopped
½ cup onion, chopped
¾ cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 ½ quarts spaghetti sauce
1 16-ounce package egg noodles
½ cup butter
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 16-ounce package mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown meat and drain off any fat. Add the green pepper, onion and mushrooms and saute with the meat for 5 minutes. Add spaghetti sauce and simmer for 20 minutes.
While the sauce is cooking start cooking the pasta. Cook the pasta according to package directions for (al dente). Drain and toss with margarine, garlic, powder, onion powder and Parmesan cheese.
Spray two 13-by-9-inch pans with nonstick spray. In each pan, layer half the sauce, all the noodles, remaining sauce and top with mozzarella cheese (8 ounces per casserole). Cover with foil that has been sprayed with nonstick spray and bake 45 minutes.

Leave a Reply