Archive for the ‘Casseroles’ Category

Hash brown casserole…

…has been a staple in my family’s recipe arsenal for as long as I can remember. Potatoes, sour cream, cheese…it’s comfort food at its best. Schatzi recently had the great idea to take our base recipe and modify it to make a main course. We came up with about a dozen ideas to try, and this “Italian” version was our first creation.

For Italian hash brown casserole, you need:

  • 2 lbs frozen grated hash browns
  • 1 pt sour cream
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage (I used hot, but use your favorite)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 10 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups Corn Flakes, crushed
  • 1/4 cup melted butter

Brown the sausage in a large skillet. Then, add the onions, garlic, herbs, and diced tomatoes and let everything soften for 3-5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

DSC_0701Preheat the oven to 350. Meanwhile, mix the sour cream, cream of mushroom soup, and tomato paste.  Then, add the potatoes, mozzarella, and meat mixture from the stove. Season again with salt and pepper.  Press everything into a 9×13.


Bake for 30 minutes. While the casserole bakes, crush the Corn Flakes and mix them with the melted butter. Add an extra sprinkle of the basil, oregano, and Italian seasoning. After 30 minutes, spread this mixture over the casserole and return it to the oven to bake another 15 minutes.


When the timer buzzes, your cheesy, spicy (or sweet, if that is your sausage of choice) casserole is ready to be devoured. I suggest using a spork as your weapon of choice, as I recently discovered that a spork is the absolute best tool for comfort food consumption.


Give it a try. Or, if you just want an excellent potato casserole, omit the meat, spices, tomatoes/paste, and replace the cheese with cheddar. Either option is certainly a solid decision.



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…is one of the most wonderful foods on this planet, period.  Make it into mac and cheese, and you have a little (who am I kidding, HUGE) plate of sheer delicious joy.

For gnocchi mac you need:

  • 1 pound purchased or homemade gnocchi
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 tsp. garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Fontina cheese
  • Salt and white pepper, to taste
  • Parmesan cheese, for garnish
  • Basil, for garnish

This is a surprisingly simple recipe, too!  One of the most wonderful things about gnocchi is how quickly it cooks.  So, start here, by bringing a large pot of water to a boil.  Salt it, and throw in the gnocchi until they begin to float, which only takes about 2 minutes.  Drain the delicious dumplings and place them in a small (1 1/2 quart) baking dish that’s been greased and heat the oven to 375.

While you’re waiting for the water to boil, melt the butter over medium heat in a saucepan. Add the garlic and cook just until it becomes fragrant, then whisk in the flour until it bubbles.  Whisk in the milk and dijon, and continue stirring until the sauce thickens, about 3 minutes.  Then, add the cheese by handfuls, stirring until each addition is completely melted.  Season the delicious cheese sauce with your salt and pepper, then pour over the gnocchi.  Top with a bit of parmesan and pop the dish into the oven for about 20 minutes, until bubbly and slightly browned.

Garnish with basil and be prepared…

…to go to Food Heaven.  I could not be more serious.  Once you make this (and you must, it is not optional), you will never want to return to regular mac and cheese with plain old cheddar and elbow noodles (that is, unless you are eating my aunt’s crockpot mac and cheese, which will also get you in to Food Heaven).  FORGET making mac and cheese out of a box ever again–this stuff is too delicious AND easy.  Try me.


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…makes my mouth water at the mere thought of it.  Has it really been almost 8 months since I was last helping clog the Internet with a delicious recipe I dug up somewhere?  At the encouragement of my mom, I decided to jump back in and occasionally update good old SC when a recipe is just too good to keep to myself.   So, here it is: an incredibly easy, yummy chicken pot pie–no pictures for this post though, as it is all gobbled up!

For this simple pie with great reward you need:

  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 2 Tbsp.  Italian Dressing
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
  • A couple pinches of crushed red pepper
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 can creamof chicken soup
  • 1/4 lb. (4 oz.) VELVEETA, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 egg, beaten

The original recipe call for a pound of chicken breasts, cut into chunks.  I typically prefer to cook with ground chicken, as I think it is much easier (and faster!) and I prefer the texture.  Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add the chicken tossed with the salad dressing.  While the meat is cooking, heat the oven to 400.

When the meat is fully cooked, stir in the mixed vegetables, soup,  pepper seasonings, and Velveeta.   Pour the mixture into a greased 9-inch baking dish.  Place the sheet of puff pastry on top, pressing it closely to the sides and top of the mixture to form a good seal.  Cut a few slits into the pastry and brush the top with egg to give it that beautiful golden coloring when the pie is baked.  Place the dish on a cookie sheet (in case of spills!) , pop it into the oven, and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown.

Let the chicken pot pie rest for 5 minutes, then dig in and enjoy.  This dish literally comes together in minutes with the help of the soup and puff pastry.  It will absolutely delight your (and your family’s!) taste buds.  With Fall practically here, and Winter trudging along behind, put this on your list of must-tries.

bien manger!


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…was truly one of the best we have had yet!!!!  Oh, Noble Pig, you are the ultimate source of breakfast perfection.  Saturday, we made a bacon, tomato, and cheddar bake with eggs and it was absolutely heavenly!

For this wonderful breakfast bake you need:

  • 1 pound white artisan bread cut into 1″ cubes (16 cups)
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. diced bacon
  • 1 onion, halved/thinly sliced
  • 28 oz. Italian tomatoes, chopped & patted dry
  • 8 oz. shredded cheddar
  • 8 oz. shredded Monterey Jack
  • 2 tbsp. snipped chives
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 6 eggs

Heat the oven to 350 and grease a 9×13.  Toss the bread with the olive oil and spread it out on a large baking sheet.  Crisp the bread in the oven for 20 minutes, turning once or twice.

While the bread is going, crisp the bacon in a large skillet.  Set the bacon aside on some paper towels to drain and keep about 2 tbsp. of fat in the skillet.  Add the onion to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, until it is nice and soft.   Toss in the tomatoes and cook the mixture until the liquid has evaporated.

Combine the toasted bread, bacon mixture, cheeses, chives, and broth until everything is well-moistened.  Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and cover it with lightly greased foil.  Bake the “casserole” for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes.  Then, using the back of a ladle, press six bowls into the bread.  Crack an egg into each indentation and return to the oven for 13-15 minutes, until the egg whites set.

Scoop out a portion of bread with an egg and enjoy!

When it comes to eggs for breakfast, it does not get better than this!  If you have been craving a savory breakfast, this is the meal for you.  It takes a bit of effort, but is more than worth it!


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…are horrible for you, let’s just face it.  We made Rocco’s Chicken and Dumplings last weekend, and I think he puts it best: “This is a southern comfort food dish that some say came straight out of the Great Depression as a way to stretch a little bit of chicken to feed a big family.  Flour and fat are combine to form a dumpling (such a sweet name for such an insidious food, don’t you think?) that is then cooked in broth.  In real life, those sweet little dumplings are calorie bombs that call for a healthier version–like this one.”

For Rocco’s delicious, healthier dumplings you need:

  • 1 tbsp. and 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 large celery stalks, sliced thin
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced thin
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups cooked/shredded chicken
  • 2/3 cup Bisquick (heart-healthy version)
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped

Whisk together the cornstarch, chicken broth, and milk.  Pour the mixture into a large pot and bring it to a boil while whisking constantly.  Add the veggies and season with salt and pepper, returning the mixture to a boil.  When it’s bubbling, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 10 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

Add the chicken to the vegetable mixture and raise the heat to medium-low.  Cover the pot and bring the soup to a simmer.

Meanwhile, combine the Bisquick and buttermilk to make a soft dough.  Drop 12 spoonfuls of dough into the soup pot, spreading the dumplings out as much as you can.  Cover the pot again and simmer until the dumplings have cooked through, about 7 minutes.

Sprinkle the dumplings with the parsley, season with a bit of salt and pepper, and ladle the mixture into a soup bowl.

Dumplings can be tricky and time consuming, but these come together super-fast and are absolutely fantastic!  And, of course, you can feel way better about eating a bowl of Rocco’s dumplings:

fat before: 50g           fat after: 6g

calories before: 845     calories after: 269

We had been wanting a comforting bowl of chicken and dumplings, but didn’t want to put in the work (or suffer the calorie punch!).  We were quite glad to find Rocco’s recipe and were very happy to eat it! The dumplings are absolutely delicious and hit the spot without a doubt.


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…are one of my favorite vegetables to cook with.  They are just so delicious!  For Thanksgiving a few weeks ago, we made Ellie Krieger’s sweet potato-pecan casserole, and I could honestly eat this stuff every day!

For Ellie’s sweet potatoes you need:

  • Cooking spray
  • 3 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped pecans

Heat the oven to 350 and start boiling some water for the potatoes.  Salt it and cook the potatoes for about 10 minutes, or until they are fork-tender.  Then, just mash in the honey, egg, sugar, and spices, using 1/2 tsp. cinnamon.  You can use a potato masher like we did, or, if you would like a smoother texture, whip the potatoes with a hand mixer.

In a separate bowl, mix the pecans with the brown sugar and the other 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon.

Pour the potatoes into a greased 9×13 and top with the pecans.  Bake the casserole for 40-45 minutes, until it is nice and brown around the edges, then serve a scoop with your favorite Thanksgiving fixings.

This is a great casserole, and with 160 calories a serving, it is one Thanksgiving side dish you don’t have to feel bad about eating!  But, these sweet potatoes are so good, we will be fixing them throughout the Fall and Winter months–no holiday occasion necessary!


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…is not a dish that excites many people.  However,  last week we made Ellie Krieger’s version of tuna casserole and absolutely loved it!

For Ellie’s healthy casserole you need:

  • 5 slices whole-wheat bread, crusts included
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 large stalk celery, finely diced
  • 10 oz. mushrooms, stemmed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups 1% milk
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound whole-wheat fettuccine noodles, broken into thirds and cooked according to package directions
  • 10 oz. frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
  • 10 oz. frozen peas, thawed
  • 24 oz. chunk light tuna in water, drained

Preheat the oven to 425.  Tear the pieces of bread into large chunks and toss them in the food processor for a few seconds to turn them into fine breadcrumbs.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium.  Add the onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the celery and cook 5 more minutes, stirring often.  Then, stir in the mushrooms until they are golden, another (you guessed it) five minutes.  Add the flour and quickly stir it in to dissolve amongst the veggies and their juices.  Once it is dissolved, stir in the milk and broth and bring the mixture to a bubble.  Knock the heat back to a simmer and let the mixture thicken and reduce, about 8 minutes.  Season the sauce with salt and pepper.

Mix the tuna, noodles, broccoli, and peas with the sauce and pour into a 9×13.  Top the casserole with the breadcrumbs and bake it for 20-25 minutes, until golden and bubbling.

We made some delicious lemon-anchovy broccoli from Food Network Magazine to go alongside the casserole.  You need:

  • 1 bunch of broccoli florets
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 5 anchovy fillets
  • 1 punch crushed red pepper
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • salt
  • olive oil

Simply toss your florets in some boiling salted water for about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, heat a drizzle of oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook the garlic, red pepper, and anchovies.  Stir the fish until they dissolve into a paste.

Toss the broccoli with the anchovy mixture and lemon juice, then season it with a bit of salt and a drizzle more of oil.

Serve a plate of casserole (a serving is 1.5 cups) and the broccoli alongside.

I would be willing to bet that most of you are not at all convinced this is a meal worth trying, particularly the broccoli!  Alas, I am here to tell you that you’re wrong.  The casserole is full of delicious, creamy flavors, and in all honesty, the broccoli actually steals the show!  It is a bit salty and has a delicious hint of heat–absolutely delicious.  Challenge your taste buds and give both dishes a shot–I think you will be pleasantly surprised!


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