Diner fare -- made to order right at home

By Jaclyn Youhana



Larry and Christine Padgett have fond memories from owning Wally's, a diner that was located in the La Siesta building on Kennedy Drive. He ran the restaurant for 30 years, ending in the 1980s, and the best thing they served, hands down, was the chili mac, Larry said.

After Wally's closed, another restaurant owner offered Larry $2,000 for this recipe, but he said he turned the man down. Now Larry wants to share the recipe to leave Kankakee County with a piece of history.

Because this is the restaurant's recipe, the original makes 40 pounds of chili. We figure your family can't quite eat that much, so this is 1/8 of the original.

Wally's Drive-in

Chili Mac

Larry Padgett, Bourbonnais

2 1/2 pounds ground chuck, chili-grind (ask the butcher if it's not out)

1 1/4 pounds ground chuck, hamburger-grind

1 1/4 pounds kidney suet (a fat used in cooking), chopped (again, the butcher will know what this is)

1/4 pound dark chili powder

1/2 tablespoon granulated garlic

1 ounce salt

Cook suet until clear. Remove any fat that floats on the top. Add all meat; stir. Cook about 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 1/2 hours, stirring frequently. Add spices, and stir meat well from bottom to top. Cook about 45 minutes. Serve over spaghetti with a ring of ketchup around the meat.

Co-owner Jacqueline Liss said Carlo's Restaurant regularly sells out of their homemade lasagna.

Carlo's Homemade Lasagna

Carlo's Restaurant

1 package lasagna noodles, cooked al dente

1 pound ricotta cheese

1 1/2 cups parmesan cheese

2 to 3 cloves of garlic, minced very fine

2 heaping tablespoons dried basil OR 6 fresh leaves chopped very fine

1 teaspoon parsley, dried

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

6 eggs

4 cups mozzarella

3 to 4 quarts homemade meat sauce or marinara sauce

In large mixing bowl, mix ricotta, parmesan, garlic, salt, pepper, basil, parsley and eggs. Beat until thoroughly mixed and fluffy, at high speed.

Place 1 layer of noodles in 13x9-inch pan. Top with 1/2 of filling. Cover filling with sauce. Cover with 1 cup shredded mozzarella. Add next layer of noodles, and repeat process. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour 20 minutes in 425 degree oven or until lasagna reaches 165 degrees. Let sit 20 minutes, and serve topped with sauce.