Three-Sisters Casserole

This is an easy one that our girls like to make. They all like it a lot, and so do their parents.

Pasta casserole is always a hit.

Three-Sisters Casserole


  • 1.5 lbs ground beef
  • 2 qts pasta sauce (click if you need a recipe for the sauce)
  • 16 oz pasta of your choice, e.g. penne, wide egg noodles, rotini or farfalle
  • 1 Tbl butter
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 8 oz mild cheddar cheese, shredded


  • Brown the beef until it is cooked through.
  • Cook the pasta al dente, drain and return to the saucepan.  Toss with butter and Parmesan cheese.
  • Heat pasta sauce and add the ground beef.  This basically makes Bolognese sauce.
  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  • Layer the pasta and the sauce into a casserole dish: First 1/3 of the sauce, then half the pasta, then another third of sauce, then the rest of the pasta, then the rest of the sauce.
  • Sprinkle with shredded cheese.
  • Cover with lid and place in the oven.  Bake for about half an hour or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  • Enjoy with a side dish of green beans, or try the cole slaw we suggested yesterday as it goes very well with this dish as well.


Easy Mac and Cheese from Scratch

Please, do yourself a favor and stop buying boxes of mac and cheese.  It’s such an easy dish to make from scratch, and so much better that way!

The time for casseroles is upon us again!  Well, almost.


Easy Mac and Cheese


  • 2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • 1/4 cup fat (butter, bacon fat, or lard, for example)
  • salt and pepper
  • a little mustard
  • a splash of Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 8 oz mild cheddar cheese, shredded (you can do that yourself or buy it already shredded)


  1. Cook pasta, drain and set aside.
  2. Melt the in a saucepan fat and add the spices.  I use the same pot for this that I boiled the pasta in.
  3. Sprinkle in the flower and mix with the fat until the mixture is somewhat bubbly.
  4. Add 2 cups of milk and bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly.  Let boil for 1 minute.
  5. Take off the heat and stir in shredded cheese, stirring until it is melted.
  6. Stir in pasta.
  7. Turn oven to 350º F.
  8. Pour pasta-cheese-sauce-mix into an un-greased casserole dish.
  9. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes in the middle of the oven.

You can use this pasta as a side dish along with Bolognese sauce or meatballs, or throw in some bacon before you bake the pasta.  For a quick, cheap and yet complete meal, add a can of tuna and a can of peas before baking the pasta.


Summer Johnny Marzetti

Grandma never made this Ohioan recipe as a casserole, so this is mostly a summer dish for us.

This pasta recipe is a spin-off of spaghetti Bolognese, and a quick favorite.  As long as our own canned tomato sauce lasts, I use it instead of the crushed tomatoes, onion, garlic and spices listed below.  The recipe will feed a family of five unless you are raising young hobbits.  Serve with green beans and salad on the side.  If you are avoiding carbs, substitute pasta for spaghetti squash or sauteed cabbage (see below).

Johnny Marzetti


  • 2 cans of crushed tomatoes, each 30 oz or thereabouts
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
  • lots of oregano and basil, dried or fresh, pepper and salt to taste
  • red wine to taste
  • splash of maple syrup or 1 Tbl of brown sugar to taste
  • 2 lbs bulk maple sausage
  • 3 cups of elbow macaroni


  • Use crushed tomatoes, onion, garlic, spices, wine and sweetener to make a tomato sauce.
  • Brown the sausage until cooked.  Add sausage to sauce.
  • Add red wine to the skillet you browned the sausage in, boil for a moment and scrape the skillet bottom.  Pour into the sauce.  Let sauce simmer.
  • Cook pasta according to directions.
  • Serve with grated cheese, Parmesan or otherwise.



Any thick-ish pasta will be fine with this, and if it is cold outside, you can turn it all into a casserole, too, which is what most people make when they prepare Johnny Marzetti.  Just mix pasta and sauce, top with cheese and and bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 350F, or until the cheese is bubbly.

If you are using spaghetti squash instead of pasta, bake squash halves upside down in the oven on a baking sheet with a little water on it, at 300 F until it is soft.  Time depends on the size of your squash.

If you use cabbage instead of pasta, sautee a chopped onion in butter and bacon fat, then add chopped cabbage.  Season with ground or fresh sage, and pepper.  Sautee for about two hours, stirring frequently and adding more fat when necessary.


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