“The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!”
– Robert Burns, “To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough”, 1785
All ingredients assembled per recipe directions? Check.
Heat reduced to low? Check.
Checking the food every ten minutes or so to make sure that all is well? Check.
Smell of burning? ……Dang. Check. :(
I had my trepidations about this recipe, and I ignored my gut feeling. The result was somewhat of a disaster. I’m noticing a pattern here: this recipe is from the same source as the failed Easy Pork Chop Rice Bake, and has a very similar problem. There simply was not enough liquid to prevent the dish from burning. Not a good sign for future reliability.
The flavor of the unburned portion was pretty good, but the pasta was still hard and crunchy. I think that I could rework this recipe without too much trouble, by doing the following:
- Cook the pasta in advance. Hoping that it will miraculously self-cook, as the author of this recipe seems to have done, is unrealistic.
- Brown the ground beef and onion together, and layer over the pasta in a 13” x 9” Pyrex dish.
- Layer the remaining ingredients per the original recipe directions, omit the extra water, cover with aluminum foil, and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about half an hour.
I really don’t think that this would be a difficult fix, and I’m a little disappointed that the original recipe led to a burned mess of what could have been a really delicious casserole. The next time that I attempt a “Peggy’s Kitchen” recipe from the Oklahoma Natural Gas Company, I’m going to follow my instincts. I have been fooled twice now, and it’s time to wise up. In the meantime, here are the pictures and directions for what I did cook. While today’s post is filed under the ‘fail’ tag, I took on this recipe blog with the intent to be transparent and honest whenever things didn’t go according to plan. If I can learn from my own mistakes, others can learn from them as well.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 cup sliced black olives
- 2 cups medium noodles, uncooked
- 1 (16-ounce) can stewed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup water
In a large skillet, sauté the onion in the butter until tender.
Add the ground beef, salt, and pepper, and cook until browned.
Layer into the skillet the cheese,
Pour the tomatoes and water over the top.
Cover, and heat to steaming.
Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 25-30 minutes.
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