Spaghetti and Meatballs

Since about 2016 or 2017, I have been trying to perfect my spaghetti and meatballs recipe.

…I think, as of 2021, I have come close to where it needs to be…

Here are the ingredients:

(And just so we’re clear I hardly ever measure my spices. I just eyeball everything. You too will know when it’s right.)

Olive Oil.
Garden Combination Spaghetti Sauce.
Lean Ground Beef.
Yellow Squash, sliced.
Zucchini, Sliced.
Basil.
Parsley.
Italian Seasoning.
Green and Red Bell Pepper Flakes.
Onion Powder or Flakes.
Garlic Powder.
Mozzarella Cheese.
Parmesan Cheese.
Seasoned Salt.
Black Pepper.
Bay Leaves.
White or Brown Sugar.
Dried Spaghetti Pasta.
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (optional.)

First of all, preheat your oven to 350 Degrees Fahrenheit.

Then while waiting for the oven to reach the target temperature, take a mixing bowl, and add your Lean Ground Beef. Also add your Black Pepper, Parsley, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder or Flakes, and Mozzarella Cheese. If you dare, add some Crushed Red Pepper flakes at this time, although later you or your family members may need Alka Setzer (think of a certain commercial from 1969!) Sanitize then rinse your hands thoroughly then mix all of these ingredients until they are evenly distributed throughout the mixture. Once everything is evenly mixed, form it into balls the size of ping pong or table tennis balls, you can go bigger or smaller on the size of the meatballs depending on how many you wish to feed.

Place them in a non-stick skillet, spacing them about 1.5 inches apart.

Once the oven indicates that it has reached the target temperature, place your meatball pan in the oven for 25 minutes. The way I personally keep track of the baking time is by using the stopwatch feature on my Casio G-Shock wristwatch.

While the meatballs are baking, take a decent-sized pot and pour in the Olive Oil. Pour just enough until the bottom of the pot is completely covered.

Add the sliced Squash and Zucchini, Basil, Parsley, Italian Seasoning, Green and Red Bell Pepper Flakes, Onion Powder or Flakes, Garlic Powder, Seasoned Salt, Black Pepper, Bay Leaves, and White or Brown Sugar.

Place pot on medium heat and stir very frequently.

Once the seasoning base has slightly browned, add your jar(s) of Garden Combination Sauce. Ragu is a very good brand but the store brand will do just as well. Whatever sauce remains in the jar after pouring, rinse with your from your kitchen tap and let the mixture of sauce and water collect at the bottom of the jar. Add this to the sauce in the pot. Lower the heat and stir occasionally.

By this time, the meatballs should be baked, but if not, take them out when the timer or stopwatch reaches 25 minutes.

The reason why I say to bake them in a skillet is that a skillet has a handle. This will be crucial to the next step.

When the meatballs are indeed done baking, slowly pour them and their drippings (this adds extra flavor to the mix) into the pot of sauce and stir very thoroughly until the entire mixture is evenly distributed. And please for CYB purposes as well as your safety, use a gosh durn pot holder when handling the skillet (it will be very hot.)

Lower your heat to Medium-Low and stir occasionally.

Taste your sauce frequently during this time and adjust the seasonings to your desire. This is where you would adjust the Sugar, Black Pepper, and Seasoned Salt until it conforms to your’s and/or your family’s personal preferences.

Let the sauce simmer for the next 2.5 to 3 hours.

Meanwhile, take another pot and fill it with water from your kitchen tap.

Then take your dried spaghetti strands and break them in half, then drop them in the pot of water. Add a few drops of Olive Oil.

Place on High heat until the noodle strands are soft and have earthworm-like flexibility. Check and stir frequently, sometimes they cook quicker than you think, so frequently checking not only to saves time but also saves on either your electric or gas bill (depending on which is the power source for your stove.)

Once the noodles are indeed flexible as earthworms, turn on the cold water tap in your kitchen sink and place a colander in the basin in which you placed your colander. Make sure the drain is unplugged and otherwise unobstructed. This will preserve the drain seals on your sink and save you a lot of trouble down the road. Pour the noodles into the colander and let the water flow. The cold water coming out of the tap will cool off the boiling hot water from the pot, which would otherwise eventually disintegrate your drain seals.

Either keep the noodles in the colander or transfer them to a serving bowl. Garnish with some Parsley and/or Italian Seasoning.

Keep stirring and tasting the sauce until it has simmered for 2.5 to 3 hours.

Serve sauce over pasta and enjoy!

Add the Parmesan Cheese to individual servings at this time as each person sees fit.

This meal would be complete with sides of Garlic Bread/Texas Toast and a Garden Salad with Italian Dressing.

The perfect drink to go with this meal, in my opinion, would be Concord Grape Juice and the store brand is almost as good as Welch’s!

Back to “The Dirty Drip Pan”

Ghetto Punch

I had heard of a certain restaurant in New Orleans making Ghetto Punch and I heard it was a combination of Kool Aid and Tea.

I’m not sure exactly how true that was, but one day I was out of sugar and pay day was a ways off.

So, I improvised and mixed Instant Tea mix (which already contains sugar) with Kool Aid and my drink came out fairly decent.

I’ve been trying to tweak it as of lately and I find this is the best combination.

Try it if you dare.

As stated on Facebook and Instagram:
…This is how I make Ghetto Punch…
1 Gallon of Tap Water
1.33 Cups of Lemon flavored instant tea mix
1 Packet of Watermelon Kool Aid
1 Packet of Pink Lemonade Kool Aid
Extra sugar until sweet enough (optional)
Stir briskly
Chill in refrigerator until cold
Enjoy!
This recipe really comes in handy towards the end of the month especially as a cost effective alternative to soft drinks!

Back to “The Dirty Drip Pan”

White Beans

Dry Loose White NAVY Beans
Cooking Oil
Medium Grain Rice
Black Pepper
Salt
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder
Pickled Jalapeno Peppers
Tabasco Coarse Ground Mustard

This is a simple and a fairly cheap meal, but if done right is very delicious believe it or not.

I will say that you have to use Navy White Beans, and NOT Great Northern.

I find that Navy Beans have a better taste, so that is why I am advising this.

Soak your beans overnight for 12-36 hours and change your water at the halfway point of soaking.

Line the bottom of a medium to large pot with cooking oil and add the black pepper (use a liberal amount), onion powder, garlic powder and a little salt.
Eyeball your spices. The more beans you are cooking, the more spices you will need!
Place on a slightly high fire until the base is ever-so-slightly carmelized.

Reduce fire then add beans and water. Make sure you have enough water for the beans to swim deeply in.

Stir the mixture thoroughly, then cover.

Continue stirring occasionally.

It is optional to mash some of your beans against the inside of the pot as they get softer. This creates a thick gravy and makes the beans creamy.

Add more black pepper and salt to taste.

This may take 1 to 5 hours of cooking time, whether you are feeding yourself or you could be cooking on Navy Battle Ship (if so, thank you for your service!)

I frequently taste the food I am cooking and you should too so you can know when the beans are soft enough and the flavors are just right.

As the beans are finishing, draw water into another medium to large pot and add a few more drops of cooking oil.
Bring the water in that pot to a boil.
Boil the medium grain rice for 26 minutes or until soft.
*I misplaced my Casio G-Shock watch, that a durn big mistake! However, many times when cooking rice I employed the countdown timer feature on that watch to precisely cook rice*

Drain the rice and run cold water in your sink whilst doing so. The preserves the seals in your sink drains and therefore will prevent your sink from leaking.

Serve rice over beans and garnish with a liberal amount of pickled jalapeno peppers.

If you really want more flavor, because white beans, I wholeheartedly admit can be quite bland, add the Tabasco Coarse Ground Mustard to individual dishes!

Enjoy!

Back to “The Dirty Drip Pan”

Fried Chicken

This is more or less how I make fried chicken.

I’m definitely not saying I will be the next Colonel Sanders (I mean only God Himself could make better fried chicken than Colonel Sanders-change my mind) but mine does taste fairly decent.

Cooking Oil
Milk or Buttermilk
Eggs
Louisiana Hot Sauce (optional)
Chicken Pieces
Flour
McCormick Poultry Seasoning
Sugar
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Season Salt
Creole Seasoning

Caution:
…This entire process is totally messy from start to finish…

Take as many fresh or frozen pieces of chicken as you wish.
They can be on the bone or fillets.
If fresh, you are good to go.
If frozen defrost them toroughly.

Fill your skillet 3/4 full with cooking oil and begin heating it up. This is one of the few times I measure.

OPTIONAL: Drizzle Louisiana Hot Sauce on chicken pices and massage it into the meat.

Take eggs and beat them in a bowl.
Combine them with milk or buttermilk.

Take a plastic sealable bag and combine most of all flour, then: poultry seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, season salt, Creole seasoning and a tiny bit of sugar. As always, eyeball your seasonings. Leah Chase, God rest that wonderful lady’s soul, never measured by the way!

Seal the bag and then shake it very well.

Take your chicken pieces and dredge them completely through the milk and egg mixture.

Afterwards, place chicken one by one in bag of flour and seasonings.

Shake the bag with chicken until the piece is completely coated.
Repeat with every piece.

By this time the oil in the skillet should be hot.

Slightly reduce the heat.

Place chickens in hot oil for 18 to 25 minutes depending on their sizes.

The larger the chicken piece the longer the frying time.

Turn pieces over with a pair of tongs at 4 minute intervals to prevent burning.

This would be another situation where my Casio G-Shock would have come in handy, but I misplaced the durn thing.

An entry level Casio G-Shock wristwatch, namely the model DW-5600E, is a stellar watch and is very helpful for kitchen work among many other professions, by the way.

Remove chickens from frying pan and allow them to cool for a few minutes.

Enjoy!

Back to “The Dirty Drip Pan”

Potato Salad

Diced Red Potatoes
Chopped Red Bell Pepper
Smoked Sausage
Parsley
Mayonaise
Onion Powder
Black Pepper

This is my own take on Potato Salad.

It is uniqe, but tastes very good.

…There are countless ways to make potato salad by the way…

Wash the red potatoes thoroughly! This is of the utmost importance!
Dice the red potatoes (you may need a few or you may need many depending on the amount of people you are feeding.)
Leave the skin on the potatoes. Not only will this say you time, but it will give you extra nutrition from the skins!
Boil them until they are soft enough to easily push a fork through.

While the potatoes are boiling place some smoked sausage in a frying pan.
Heat it until it is cooked thoroughly.
Save the drippings and cut sausages into small chunks.

Drain the potatoes.
Run cold water in your sink while doing so, as I’ve stated before, to preserve the seal on your sink drains and therefore prevent your sink from leaking!

Place boiled potatoes in a bowl.

Add mayonaise (the more potatoes you have, the more mayonaise you will need.)

Add sausage chunks and drippings.

Add garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper. Eyeball your spices, you will know when enough is too much.

Cut a red bell pepper into small chunks also and add to mixture.

Add a little parsley for garnish.

Mix and mash entire contents together until it is consistent.

Serve hot or cold.

Enjoy!

Back to “The Dirty Drip Pan”

Green Beans

Ingredients:

Fresh or Frozen Green Beans
Cooking Oil
Bacon
Sugar
Season Salt
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder
Black Pepper
Diced Red Potatoes (optional)
Chopped Mushrooms (optional)

When I can (please no pun intended), I use fresh green beans but if this is not an option, frozen works almost as well.
Most canned green beans have a terrible after taste and I consider canning them to be assault, battery, rape and muder of perfectly good green beans.

If using fresh green beans, make sure the tips are snapped off. French style cutting is also an option, but this is very time consuming and can also cause personal injury if not absolutely careful. I use my Case Trapper knife for this very purpose.

If using frozen green beans, allow them to defrost, at least for a little while.

Take your favorite type of bacon and some sterile kitchen scissors and cut the bacon into neat little squares.
*If you use raw bacon and are anal about food borne pathogens like I am, you may microwave the bacon before cutting it, but for best results add the drippings as well as the bacon to the recipe.*

Line the bottom of a medium to large pot with cooking oil, then add the cut up bacon (and drippings if applicable), sugar, season salt, onion powder, garlic powder black pepper and the optional diced red potatoes.
…Eyeball your spices. I never measure! The more green beans you have the more seasonings you will need. You may just be cooking for yourself or you may be cooking for a small army…
*If you add the diced red potatoes, make sure you wash them well, but to save time as well as add some nutrition to your meal, leave the skin on. The skin is good for you!*
You may also add the chopped mushrooms at this time if you wish.

Place pot on a medium to high fire.
Heat the base and frequently stir until it is ever-so-slightly carmelized.

Dump green beans into pot and add some water.

You want enough water to steam the green beans but NOT boil them.

*Steaming preserves the all the nutrients that green beans provide whereas boiling destroys all those nutrients*

Lower the fire.

Mix everything thoroughly so the flavor of the seasoning base is infused to the green beans.
Cover the pot, but stir occasionally.

The cooking on low fire time may take 1 to 3 hours depending on how tender you want your green beans to be and how much you are cooking.

Serve and enjoy.

Back to “The Dirty Drip Pan”

Red Beans and Rice

Ingredients
Cooking Oil
Dry Loose Red Beans
Medium Grain White Rice
Finely Chopped Parsley
Smoked Sausage
Bay Leaves
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder
Black Pepper
Creole Seasoning
McCormick® Perfect Pinch® Roasted Garlic & Bell Pepper Seasoning

I don’t give specified amounts of ingredients because some of you may be serving plenty of people and some of you may just be serving yourself.

I never measure my spices, either, instead I eyeball everything.

Soak dry loose red beans overnight for 12-36 hours.
Change water at halfway point during soak.
Drain beans.

Cut smoked sausage into small round pieces.

In a medium to large pot (depending on the amount desired to cook), line the bottom of the pot with cooking oil.
Add the smoked sausage, bay leaves, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper Creole Seasoning and McCormick® Perfect Pinch® Roasted Garlic & Bell Pepper Seasoning. Eyeball your spices!

Place pot on medium to slightly high fire.
Stir frequently.
Press on pieces of smoked sausage to allow their fat and juices to mingle with the seasoning base.
Heat until slightly browned.

Lower the fire to between medium and low and combine beans and water with enough water for the beans to swim in.
Cover the pot and stir occasionally.

The beans will get softer and softer as the cooking time progresses.

Mash some of the beans against the pot when soft enough (optional.)

It could take between 2 and 5 hours to complete cooking and water may need to be added during the cooking process.

I always taste the food that I am cooking and this helps determine whether it is done or not.

When the beans are near done, take another medium to large pot and fill it with water.
Add a few drops off cooking oil to the water and bring to a rolling boil.
Add the rice and boil for approximately 26 minutes or until rice is soft enough.
Drain rice and for Heaven’s sake, run the cold water in your sink while draining.
*Don’t run the cold water on the rice, but let it hit the drain hole while draining your rice. Boiling hot water causes the seals in your sink drain to deteriorate prematurely, which will cause your sink to leak!*

Serve rice over beans and garnish with parsley.

Enjoy!

Back to “The Dirty Drip Pan”