About Dana

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I'm a dichotomy of blue jeans, pretty jewelry, frugalista, and Southern girl living the simple rural life. I want to live my life holistically, thoughtfully, economically, and most of all gratefully, and encourage other women to do the same.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Baked Spaghetti Casserole

I just quickly peeked at the page views on The Country Belle blog, and I see you all like to learn about new recipes as much as I like cooking them. My recipes veer 180 degrees from each other. They either fall into the delectable Southern put-some-meat-on-my-bones dishes or healthy remove-the-fat-from-my-rumpus recipes. The following recipe falls into the first category, but when you taste it, you'll want to slap your mama. (Not really. DO NOT tell your mama The Country Belle said to slap her.)

This recipe came from my mother-in-law, which she posted in a church cookbook. Do you own a Southern church ladies' cookbook? I think maybe I own 30 by now. If you don't have one, go get yourself one immediately. They contain some of the finest Southern cooking around.

I've just put together a progressive photo montage of the recipe. See how better it looks with each photo?

Baked Spaghetti Casserole

2 onions, chopped
1 med green bell pepper, chopped
2 1/2 lbs. of ground beef
2 cans tomato soup
1 jar stuffed olives
1 lb. extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb. thin spaghetti, cooked
2 cans cream of mushroom soup

Brown the onions and pepper in olive oil in a medium-hot, large non-stick skillet. Add ground beef, salt, and pepper and cook until meat is browned. Drain. Add tomato soup, 2 soup cans of water, and olive juice to the skillet. (If you enjoy olives, you can slice them and add to the sauce at this point. My family is totally adverse to olives, but adding the juice is a necessity for great flavor). Simmer until the mixture thickens, about 30-35 minutes. In the meantime, cook the spaghetti according to package directions and drain. Put it in the bottom of two greased 13x9 inch casserole dishes (or one larger casserole dish). Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Next, turn off the heat under the skillet and add the Worcestershire sauce and cheese. Stir until it melts. Divide the meat sauce evenly between the two casserole dishes, layering it over the spaghetti. Top each casserole with a can of cream of mushroom soup. (Hint: Stir the soup in the can until it is easily spreadable over the meat sauce). Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

If you want to save a casserole for the future, you can freeze or refrigerate it before you add the mushroom soup. Bring it to room temperature and add the mushroom soup right before baking.

Baked spaghetti casserole is great for the holidays when you have a big crowd coming to your house to eat.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Double-Yolk Egg

I wrote a post a few weeks ago about how large my hens' organic eggs are compared to those I've purchased in the store labeled "large." But sometimes the size changes.

Recently, we added three new hens to the flock. They were only 4 months old when we brought them back to our coop from the breeder, so we knew it would be a few weeks before they could lay eggs. Most hens start laying about 6 months old, and we prefer to purchase them when they are close to that age instead of when they are still in the fragile chick stage of life. This week was the first time any of them laid an egg, and as you can see, it sometimes takes a while for their systems to kick into production mode.

See how little one of the new chicken's eggs is on the left? The one on the right is a little larger, but not nearly as big as the older hens' eggs. That will change in time, I feel sure, as it did with the original hens' production.

Most mornings, I eat eggs for breakfast. I thought I'd crack open both of these this morning since one was so tiny. But no need. See what I found in the larger egg?


First time I have ever seen this. Have you?

Happy Day!