Here in south central Pennsylvania we are experiencing some of the worst flooding in 30 years. Basements are flooded, back yards are rivers, roads are closed and have I mentioned they are calling for 5 more inches of rain?! Not since hurricane Agnes has this area seen this much water in this short of a time span. Once again I am in awe of the power of water and the Awesomeness of God.
We are among the fortunate few who do NOT have standing water in our basement. We have a sump pump that, at its high point, was running every 14 second. (Yes I was timing it to see if it was getting worse or better.) My next door neighbor has had 13″ of standing water, twice, in the past 24 hours. Other friends have 6-8″ of water in the basement and a bucket to bail it out.
So what do I do I do in a crisis?
What do I do when some one dies?
What do I do when a friend is hurting?
My friends are hurting so I will cook. I will cook what my penny pinching pantry holds…..Pizza Casserole.*
Through the wonders of social media including Twitter and Facebook I was able to determine who had a wet basement. A few clicks and phone calls later I had 4 casseroles promised for lunch. I didn’t think I was going to get any objections to a hot lunch delivered after a sleepless night of hard labor but you can’t be too certain.
*note that the ingredient list will be for one recipe but the photos will be for 4 casseroles of different sizes with extras for my family.
- 1 Box of Pasta (12-16 oz) Pictured here is Ronzoni that I got for free with a store sale and a doubled coupon.
- 1 pound ground beef (or bulk sausage if you are so inclined)
- 1 onion, chopped finely
- 1 jar pizza sauce (home made shown but DelGrosso is also a preferred brand)
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 1 small can tomato sauce (whoops that didn’t make it in this photo opp.)
- mozzarella cheese
Brown your ground beef (or bulk sausage or combination of both)
Almost there. All the pink needs to turn brown. Drain off the fat and transfer the cooked meat to a clean plate or bowl. Leaving a bit of the drippings in the pan will be fine. You are going to be sautéing the onion in a minute anyway.
Finely chop an onion.
Sauté the onion in the rendered beef fat till soft, translucent and slightly golden on some of the edges. Add olive oil or more pan drippings if there is not enough to sauté properly.
Cook your pasta about a minute short of al dente. For this particular brand that will be 6 minutes.
*once again note this is 4-5 times the amount of pasta you will be using.
Time to mix.
Add your ground beef.
Add the onions.
Add the tomato paste.
Add the pizza and tomato sauces. Stir. Be sure to get all the noodles up from the bottom and coated with the sauce/meat/onion mixture.
Put half the noodle/meat mixture in a 9×13 pan.
Spread a generous helping of mozzarella cheese.
Spread pepperoni in a single layer.
Pepperonis are lovely.
Feel free to add other pizza toppings at this point. Green peppers, mushrooms, and ricotta cheese, just to name a few.
Repeat the process of adding the second half of the pasta/meat mixture and mozzarealla cheese.
Add one more layer of pepperoni.
Pop in the oven for 45 minutes at 350* or till heated through and bubbly.
Serve warm and gooey.