New Castle News

January 12, 2013

Culinary Conversation: Some hearty fare for wintry days

Lugene Hudson
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Culinary Conversation is off to a great start in 2013.

The goal is to feature a guest contributor every week and our first submissions came from Cindy Hickok of Old State Road. Cindy shared her thoughts on her love of cooking and baking, and all of that plus her recipes will be included in next week’s column.

Meanwhile, we’re all settling into a new year and for some, that means, a change in eating habits.

More than likely, your holidays were like mine — a flurry of activity that included a theme of eat, eat and eat some more.

During that time of year, life is one giant, nonstop buffet.

Then the snow came, providing some pretty scenes and putting an end to my three-day bout of cabin fever after Christmas.

So we set out for a nearby park, capturing some beautiful pictures. And I romped in the white stuff like I did when I was a kid.

It was a day that called for returning home to homemade soup and bread and relaxing by the fire.

That didn’t happen.

Instead, we ate leftover beef tenderloin with a curry-mayonnaise go-along, risotto, cucumber salad and Brussels sprouts hash.

Soon after, though, a big batch of Brunswick stew — bursting with flavorful vegetables and chicken pieces — was prepared. Now if I could just conjure up enough ambition to bake some homemade bread, my world would be a better place.

Most of the snow has melted, and while meteorology is not my forte, it’s a good guess we’ll be getting more of the white stuff before this winter ends. So that will allow for plenty of time to indulge in some hearty fare, which is what is in store for you today.

As guest contributors, we welcome your recipes, cooking suggestions or cooking-related stories at Culinary Conversation — a tasteful place to be.

Meatball Stew

In large bowl, combine ground beef, bread crumbs, onion, milk and 1 tsp. salt. Shape into 1 1/2-inch meatballs.

In large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Brown meatballs, half at a time, for 8 to 10 minutes or until brown on all sides. Return all meatballs to Dutch oven.

Add 1 cup water, undrained tomatoes, corn, green beans, broth, parsley, thyme, pepper and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, cover, for 35 minutes.

Serves 6 to 8.

Spaghetti Pie

Preheat oven to 350. Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, in large skillet, cook meat and onion until meat is brown and onion is tender. Drain fat.

Spoon 1 1/2 cups of the pasta sauce into a 3-qt. rectangular baking dish, spreading evenly. Spoon meat on top of sauce.

In large bowl, stir together egg, ricotta cheese, 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese, garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper. Add cooked spaghetti. Toss until spaghetti is coated with cheese mixture; spoon on top of meat. Pour remaining pasta sauce over pasta.

Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 2 cups mozzarella cheese. Bake 10 to 15 minutes more or until cheese melts.

Cabbage Casserole

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 3-qt. rectangular baking dish; set aside.

In large saucepan, cook cabbage in small amount of boiling water, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Cover pan. Continue cooking about 5 minutes more or until cabbage is tender. Drain.

Spread cabbage in prepared dish. Sprinkle with ham.

In large mixing bowl, stir together, flour and butter. Stir in soups and milk. Pour over ham in baking dish. Bake, uncovered, for 60 to 70 minutes until bubbly. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake 5 minutes more or until cheese melts.

Let stand 10 minutes.