Thursday, October 18, 2012

Rao's Sunday Sauce

I'm feeling a little "fluffy" after making (and sampling) the pumpkin donut holes 3 times in less than 2 weeks! I do that, wear out a good recipe and then I move onto the next one, and the next one and the next one. Dr. Oz actually addressed this syndrome recently, Pinterest Addiciton. Pinning something to excess. Guilty as charged, I do love the ability to have recipes in the wings waiting for an occasion for me to make them. I traded my cookbook addiction for Pinterest and I've not looked back, that's a good thing! Think how much money I'm going to save on cookbooks ; )

This week I made two of our old time favorite casseroles that were staples when our girls lived at home, King Ranch Chicken Casserole and Lasagna. Our daughter had surgery this week, so it gave me an excuse to make 9X13's... I love 9X13's! If you have an excuse to make either of these, don't pass it up. In fact, make one for yourself too... it's big fork good! All my recipes are printable by just clicking on the titles~

2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1 (10 1/2 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
1 (10 1/2 ounce) can cream of chicken soup
1 (10 1/2 ounce) can Rotel tomatoes & chilies
1/2 cup chicken broth 
2 cups diced cooked chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken from Walmart)
12 corn tortillas, ripped into bite sized pieces
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese 

Preheat oven to 325°F In large saucepan, saute the onion and pepper in the butter until tender. Add soups, tomatoes, and broth. Stir to combine. Fold in the chicken until well blended. Lightly grease a 9 x 13" baking dish. Layer with 1/3 the tortillas, 1/3 the chicken mixture, and 1/3 the cheese. Repeat layers twice more. Bake for 40 minutes or until hot and bubbly. About ten minutes before removing from the oven, sprinkle shredded cheese over the top; replace in oven until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Here's an easy version of lasagna that goes together quickly...

1 pound (16 ounces) ground beef
1/2 cup diced white onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 (24 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup water
1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
3 cups mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus more for top
1 whole egg
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley or 2 teaspoons dried parsley
lasagna noodles(you can use no cook kind or the ones you boil for 10 minutes)

In a large skillet brown beef and onion. Add garlic and cook for one minute. Drain. Add spaghetti sauce and water and simmer for about 5 minutes. Mix ricotta, 2 cups mozzarella, 1/2 cup Parmesan, egg and parsley. Pour 1 cup of spaghetti meat sauce into a 9X13 greased casserole dish. Place a layer of the noodles and half of the ricotta mixture on top of the sauce. Cover with half of the remaining meat sauce. Add another layer of noodles, the remaining cheese mixture and the sauce. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and more Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake 375 degrees for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake another 30 minutes. Let set for at least 15 minutes to cool before slicing.

If you have the time, and it really takes less than 30 minutes... you can do your own sauce and have enough for two pans of lasagna or do like me and freeze the remainder for later! I love this simple recipe and it's great for any pasta dish.

from Rao's Restaurant NYC Cookbook
2- 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
1 cup beef broth
1 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon parsley
sprinkle or two of red chili flakes, optional
salt and pepper to taste, I use 1 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper

Saute the onion and garlic until transparent, add the tomatoes, broth and spices and bring to boil while stirring. Turn heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. 
*Italian sausage or hamburger can be added to the sauce if desired. Just brown the meat with the onion and garlic, then add the remaining ingredients.


  1. Ooooo. That king ranch chicken thing sounds yummy. Going to write that one down for later, seems like it would be nice to sit down to after being outside in the cold.

    1. It is comfort food and even if you have leftovers it's good! I rarely make this one anymore since it's just the two of us, but I may just have to start doing a small batch! Enjoy!

  2. I made an easy lasagna yesterday too. I use frozen cheese ravioli for the noodles. Did yu get my email about our trip to Eureka springs? I was looking for a little advise to what to do. Have a great Thursday!

    1. That sound good Patti, I'm going to try that. I could do smaller version and not feel so guilty about all the calories! I hope you have a great time on your vaca!

  3. I have that cookbook too, their recipes are terrific. Did you know, if you aren't part of their "In" crowd, it can take three months to get a reservation there?

    1. I doubt if I'll ever set a foot inside their famous restaurant, but love having the cookbook so I can at least make the food. So much history with that restaurant, if the walls could talk...


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