Friday, October 12, 2012


My mom loved to cook to watch cooking shows. Paula Dean, Rachael Ray, and The Barefoot Contessa were her favorites. She would watch attentively and furiously copy down recipes onto little scraps of paper she fished out of the nearest trashcan. Every now and then I find a new 'recipe' of hers, written on half a discarded envelope, tucked into her address book (beats me, she was weird). I treasure all these little scraps; although, I don't actually remember her cooking any of these things. Most of her 'recipes' are just a random list of ingredients, no measurements, no title, and hardly any instructions.

Today I'll be sharing her Mostacholi--this one is special, I don't have a written recipe for it. I learned how to make it by watching her and helping her in the kitchen. 

Start with a pound of ground meat. Cook it thoroughly with some diced onions, then add a can of diced tomatoes

Now for the spices: Garlic, oregano, seasoning salt, and Italian seasoning

Like I mentioned before, I don't use a recipe with actual measurements. Add some garlic

 Then the spices

Then a few sliced olives

Now some Parmesan cheese--add enough to thicken up the consistency, making it a bit 'sticky'

Measure out your dry pasta to fit your baking dish

Cook the pasta-- take it out just a minute before its done

Drain it and return to the oiled baking dish

Spread the meat on top--btw, I've made this using ground turkey, it works nicely 

Sprinkle on some mozzarella cheese

 And a few olives

If you're looking for a meal that holds up for freezing, stop right here. The unbaked casserole keeps in the freezer for a couple months. Just defrost in the fridge for a day and let it come up to room temp for a couple  hours before putting it in a hot oven (to prevent your dish from cracking). Put it in the oven for about half an hour, or until golden and bubbly

Ok, not this golden. Mine is just a bit burned. After the timer went off, I turned on the broiler to make it pretty, but I lost track of time--oops. Sorry, Mom. 

Serve it with a side of veggies and a salad.

Ingredients: These are approximations, add more or less according to your preferences

  • 1 pound Ground meat
  • 2 Tbs diced Onions
  • 1 can diced Tomatoes
  • 2 tsp diced Garlic
  • 2 tsp Seasoning salt
  • 2 tsp Oregano
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning 
  • 1 cup sliced Olives, divided
  • 1/2 c Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups Mozzarella cheese
  • Pasta
  1. Cook ground meat thoroughly with diced onions
  2. Add in canned tomatoes, garlic, seasoning salt, oregano, Italian seasonings and most of the sliced olives
  3. Mix in Parmesan cheese 
  4. Cook pasta, remove just a minute before done
  5. Put pasta in an oiled baking dish
  6. Spread meat on top of pasta
  7. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese, and top with remaining olives
  8. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes

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