This is the version we like best. It has shortcuts, but it is still as good as my all day simmered version. In a large skillet, brown 1 pound ground beef and 2 links of Mild Italian sausage with casings removed. Drain after the meat is brown.
On a cookie sheet, arrange a single layer of sliced pepperoni. I used about a third of a 16 ounce package. Cook at 350° for 12 minutes. Remove pepperoni from pan and allow to cool. Drain the oil from the pan and add 6-8 ounces of fresh, sliced mushrooms. DO NOT SALT! Bake 20-25 minutes until crisp. Let them cool in the pan.
In your large skillet with the browned and drained meats, add 1 can of petite, diced tomatoes (I prefer low sodium) and 1 can of Hunt’s Zesty & Spicy pasta sauce
To the mixture, add:
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 Tbls onion powder
- 1 Tbls garlic powder
- 1 Tbls dried oregano
- 1 Tbls + 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp fennel seed
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
In seperate pan, add 12 ounces of Rigatoni noodles to rapidly boiling water that has been seasoned with 1 tsp salt. Cook until noodles are al dente. Drain and immediately fold into sauce.
Add 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese and 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese. Crumble the crisp pepperoni and mushrooms and add to the mix. Top with 1.5 cups shredded mozzarella, and pour into a pan prepared with cooking spray.
Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes until cheese is bubbly and golden.
Note: it really should have sliced black olives, but I don’t like them, so I omit them.
I have to be frugal. It isn’t a choice. When meal planning, I have to look at ads (LOVE the Flip app!) compare prices and match coupons with sales. I try to keep my proteins below $2.50 per pound. Luckily, in my area there are fantastic stores that do a great job of competing for our business. Instead of paying $5.99 and up for center cut pork chops, I buy a whole pork loin when it goes on sale for $1.89 per pound, and cut them myself. I also pick up one for roasting in my slow cooker. This is what I cooked for dinner tonight. I normally cut my pork loins in thirds for the slow cooker. It is just the two of us, plus I like to cook for my mother. On average, I pay $10 for a whole loin on sale. Cut into thirds, I pay about $3.33 total for meat for dinner. This feeds 3 people a VERY generous portion, plus 2 large pulled pork sandwiches. Recipe: 1/2 cup water in the bottom of the crock. Place loin, fat side down Halve 3 small apples (I prefer Granny Smith but had Gala on hand) Halve 2 onions Place around the loin. Generously salt and pepper the loin. Sprinkle on:
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Dried thyme leaves
- Pinch of ground sage
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
Cook on high for 4 hours, or on low 8 hours. Remove and discard the apples. Add carrots and potatoes and cook an additional 90 minutes on high, or 2.5 hours on low. Sometimes I assemble and season the night before, refrigerate, and set it on low the following morning. To my followers, I haven’t abandoned this blog. I’ve just had a very difficult two years. I will be posting more and more as time goes on. Thank you for the emails and messages asking if I’m ok. Thank you for the thoughts and prayers you have sent me. They are much appreciated, as are you!