Tag Archives: casserole

Meals from Raiding the Freezer

28 Jan
"And what meal shall I select from the freezer today?"

“And what meal shall I select from the freezer today?”

I’ve been on a self-imposed cooking haitus this week. I decided to scour the freezer for all the leftovers we had stockpiled in there from our snowbound two months, and discovered I had NO LESS than 8 meals in the freezer I decided we should heat up and eat before they were freezer burnt and long forgotten.

I made a list on our fridge white board we usually use for our shopping list, and have been gradually eating them and wiping them off. I can’t help but make meals for 4 to 6 or 8 people (some kind of hangup from growing up in a family of 8), and with my daughter gone most of the time, we simply can’t eat the same meal more than two nights in a row (or sometimes every other night). Many of these just needed a side salad, bread, or veggies/potatoes.

I have compiled for you my freezer list meals, along with links to the recipes for them. (Or similar recipes or part of one, and some are adaptations of prior recipes I’ve posted.) I’ll get back to more recipes and cooking soon! Enjoy!

Lasagna Soup

This freezes really well! Just as good, if not better later with loads more fresh-grated Parmesan cheese.

One-Pot Lasagna Soup

One-Pot Lasagna Soup

Beef Stroganoff

A classic with a healthy twist. No canned soups! The version in our freezer was a wonderful meal made with shredded cooked beef that my husband made instead of ground beef, but similar concept.

Homemade Ground Beef Stroganoff

Homemade Ground Beef Stroganoff

Smoked Sausage and Tortellini Soup

Another Italian-based soup recipe that freezes well and gets the same raves as the day you made it!

Smoked Sausage and Tortellini Soup

Smoked Sausage and Tortellini Soup

Cabbage and Chicken Soup

I made this same type of soup, but used shredded chicken instead of ground beef. Try it, you’ll like it!

Mexican-Style Beef and Cabbage Soup

Mexican-Style Beef and Cabbage Soup

Turkey and Turkey Gravy

Traditional roasted turkey leftover from New Year’s dinner, with gravy made from the turkey carcass stock. Here I give you the recipe for the stock.

Turkey Carcass Stock

Turkey Carcass Stock

White Chicken Chili

One of our favorite winter comfort foods. I know it’s many of my friend’s favorite too! I used white beans instead of black beans for the leftovers in the freezer but I’ve posted both versions before, but this one has the printable PDF.

Creamy Chicken Chili and Beans

Creamy Chicken Chili and Beans

Sous Vide Meatloaf with Bacon

I made this with a several pieces of ground up uncooked bacon in it and cooked via the sous vide method. Wow, talk about a flavor bomb! I am linking up to Conor Bofin’s recipe, as his inspired me to make my mom’s meatloaf with bacon and sous vide method. I did not write my own post about it.

Mom's Meatloaf

Mom’s Meatloaf

Spicy Chicken Florentine

Well I know I just posted this, but it IS in the freezer and we need to finish it. Just two small lunch-sized servings left. 🙂

Spicy Chicken Florentine

Spicy Chicken Florentine

Chicken Dumpling Casserole

5 Nov
Chicken Dumpling Casserole

Chicken Dumpling Casserole

The last time I made chicken dumplings the hubs complained it was too soupy, so decided to make it into a casserole where it would thicken up nicely for him. Typically I would make this with celery in it, but since I didn’t have any and trips to the store are few and far between for me, I substituted some fresh mushrooms we had on hand instead. And to make it a tad fancier, I added some basil that I dried from my garden to the dumplings too.

I precooked the chicken with my sous vide immersion circulator earlier in the day, but you can substitute rotisserie chicken instead. I have been experimenting with that cooking method and FINALLY cooked a pork tenderloin that was juicy and tender as any beef tenderloin you could have!

Juicy Pork Tenderloin

Juicy Pork Tenderloin

Yes, pork is safe to eat when pink in the middle! My husband was a little put off by the pink, so he pan-seared his slices in a hot cast iron pot for a few seconds on each side. No sous vide recipe as of yet until I have a solid recipe for you.

But back to the dumplings. This is thick and hearty, yummy comfort food, perfect for welcoming in the winter!

Chicken Dumpling Casserole

1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons flour
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
3 cups homemade or low sodium chicken stock
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 cups cubed cooked chicken

Dumplings

1 cup biscuit/baking mix
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/3 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet, sauté onions, carrots, and mushrooms in the olive oil and butter until tender, about 10 minutes. Add garlic in the last minute.

Carrots, Onions, and Mushrooms

Carrots, Onions, and Mushrooms

Stir in flour, salt and pepper, basil and mix until blended. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add peas and chicken and mix to combine. Pour into an oil-sprayed 2-quart casserole dish.

Chicken Dumpling Filling

Chicken Dumpling Filling

For the dumplings, combine baking mix and basil in a small bowl. Stir in milk with a fork until moistened. Drop by tablespoonfuls over the chicken mixture.

Bake uncovered 30 minutes. Cover and bake 10 minutes longer. Serve in bowls with a side salad.

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

 

Cheesy Baked Goulash

9 Apr
Cheesy Baked Goulash

Cheesy Baked Goulash

 

Cheesy Baked Goulash

Cheesy Baked Goulash Just out of Oven

Howdy friends and family! This is a repost recipe from three years ago that never got much attention from my readers, minus the intro paragraphs. Unfortunately, we had a series of three medical events in the house recently that has prevented me from creating a new recipe for you this week. (One event was an excruciating back spasm that lasted an hour and a half before I felt I wasn’t going to die. After multiple trips to both my doctor and chiro, I now have the pain under control.)

The other event was too low of blood pressure, and I thought I would pass out so had to have my high blood pressure meds adjusted. The third event involved my daughter but she’s healing up nicely since an outpatient procedure. However, on the first day I felt well enough to cook, I dragged out my old stand-by recipe for this dish of Cheesy Baked Goulash. My daughter requests this often, and for my new readers, I am glad to share it with you. I am also fortunate to have a hubby that cooks and for takeout pizza, ha! Happy Spring!

Cheesy Baked Goulash

1 pound ground beef
2/3 cup chopped onion
Ground black pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 cup dry elbow macaroni pasta
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce (or 2 8-0unce cans)
1 jar homemade canned tomatoes diced, or 1 can low-sodium diced
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and set a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the burger and chopped onions, then grind a bunch of black pepper over it. Cook until beef is browned and onions are translucent. In the last minute or so, add the minced garlic. Drain any grease, if needed.

Browned Burger and Onions

Browned Burger and Onions

When the water is boiling for the pasta, add the macaroni and cook until just before al dente, then drain and set aside. It will cook more in the oven. Meanwhile, add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, soy sauce, sugar, and herbs to the ground beef and stir to incorporate.

Cooked Macaroni and Tomato Beef Sauce

Cooked Macaroni and Tomato Beef Sauce

Or you can be like me and forget the parsley until later. Next add the cheddar cheese (or perhaps parsley if you forgot) and mix until cheese is melted. Stir in the cooked macaroni until combined.

Cheddar Cheese and Parsley Added

Cheddar Cheese and Parsley Added

Pour into a 2-quart casserole dish sprayed with oil. Top with the Mozzarella cheese and bake for 30 minutes.

Cheesy Baked Goulash

Cheesy Baked Goulash

Let rest about 5 minutes, then serve with buttered bread, and a salad if you want.

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Cheesy Baked Goulash

Cheesy Baked Goulash

Merry Christmas Eve!

24 Dec
Hash Brown, Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Casserole

Hash Brown, Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Casserole

I hope all my wonderful friends and family have a blessed Christmas and a bright 2016!

Hash Brown, Sausage, and Egg Casserole

I’ll be making my traditional egg casserole again tonight, but with a couple of changes. I’ll prep the hash browns and sausage as normal, but leave the whisked eggs covered in a bowl, and add them and the cheese in the morning just before popping in the oven. My hubby thinks it will come out a little less dry, and I agree with him! Oh, and I’ll be mixing half breakfast sausage and half chorizo sausage, both homemade! I’ll have to get those recipes up here one of these days.

Next week I’ll be starting my fifth year of blogging. A special thanks to all my readers who have hung in with me through thick and thin. You are all very special. ❤

 

Chicken Tetrazzini Casserole

10 May
Chicken Tetrazzini Casserole

Chicken Tetrazzini Casserole

Busy, busy, busy! That’s what I’ve been lately, and when you’re busy it’s so nice to have a fairly quick and healthy casserole to whip together, just like this one. This is even something I wouldn’t mind cooking myself on this Mother’s Day (as long as I don’t have to do the dishes!). And Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers out there, be it mothers of humans, fur-kids, or nature! I hope you enjoy this recipe, this was a thumbs-up in my family all the way around.

Chicken Tetrazzini Casserole
Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

5 ounces uncooked linguine, snapped in half
2 1/2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cups homemade or low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup Half and Half, or milk
1 ounce Neufchâtel cream cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 ounces sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped onions
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/4 cup dry sherry
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
1/2 cup frozen peas
2-inch thick chunk French bread baguette, torn into chunks
1 teaspoon oil

Shred that Chicken Breast!

Shred that Chicken Breast!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain, and set aside.

Meanwhile, melt half the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and whisk for a couple of minutes until all combined. Pour in the chicken broth and milk, whisking constantly.

Stirring the Cheese into the Sauce

Stirring the Cheese into the Sauce

Bring up to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes, whisking occasionally. Stir in 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese and the cream cheese until combined, then turn off heat and set aside.

Suateing the Mushrooms and Onion

Sauteing the Mushrooms and Onions

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the rest of the butter. Add the mushrooms and saute for 3 to 5 minutes. Then add the onions, garlic, and thyme and saute for 5 more minutes. Add the sherry, then cook for a minute more.

Combining the Casserole

Combining the Casserole

Pour in the saucepan of milk/cheese mixture, the pasta, chicken, and peas. Toss to combine. Spoon the mixture into a 2-quart casserole coated with oil spray.

Casserole Ready for Bread Crumbs

Casserole Ready for Bread Crumbs

Place the torn bread pieces and the rest of the Parmesan cheese in a food processor and pulse until coarse crumbs form. Sprinkle evenly over the pasta. Bake for 30 minutes or until browned and bubbly.

Chicken Tetrazzini Casserole

Chicken Tetrazzini Casserole

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

Roasted Cauliflower and Chicken Sausage Casserole

26 Apr
Roasted Cauliflower and Chicken Sausage Casserole

Roasted Cauliflower and Chicken Sausage Casserole

I “borrowed” this recipe from my foodie blogging friend Seana over at Cottage Grove House. Her recipes have never failed me, and this one didn’t either. The flavors in this are bright and flavorful! If we hadn’t left town for a couple of days this would have been completely consumed. The original recipe called for almond meal and nutritional yeast, but since I couldn’t find either of those I subbed in with ground roasted almonds and shredded Parmesan cheese.

Side note: This made a LOT of food for my small family so I plan on halving it next time. Part of that was my fault for using a pound of chicken sausage instead of 1/2 pound — DOH! But the family liked it and that’s what counts, right? 😀

All Natural Chicken Sausage

All Natural Chicken Sausage

Roasted Cauliflower and Chicken Sausage Casserole
Adapted from Roasted Cauliflower and Chicken Sausage Casserole at Cottage Grove House

1 medium head of cauliflower (roughly 2 pounds) cut into bite size florets
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound organic chicken sausages, removed from casings (1/2 pound would be plenty, too)
1 cup diced onion
1/8 teaspoon dried, crushed thyme
1 28-ounce can Italian-style diced tomatoes with garlic, oregano and basil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup roasted almonds, ground in a food processor
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Roasted Cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower

Preheat oven to 375°F.  In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower florets with the minced garlic and 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil. Spread the cauliflower on a baking sheet and roast for approximately 20 minutes, turning them over halfway through cooking time. When the cauliflower is lightly browned, remove from the oven and set aside.

Browning the Chicken Sausage and Onions

Browning the Chicken Sausage and Onions

Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken sausage, breaking it up as you add it. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes until it is cooked through and browned thoroughly. Lower the heat to medium low and add the onions, and thyme. Sauté the mixture for about 5 to 7 minutes until the onions have started to soften.

Tomatoes Added to Chicken Sausage Mixture

Tomatoes Added to Chicken Sausage Mixture

Add the Italian diced tomatoes to the skillet, with its liquid. Stir thoroughly and cook for 5 more minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Last, stir in the cauliflower until all pieces are coated with the tomato liquid.

Cauliflower Added to Mixture

Cauliflower Added to Mixture

Spray a 3-quart casserole with olive oil and pour the cauliflower and sausage mixture into the dish. In a small bowl combine the ground almonds and Parmesan cheese and distribute evenly over the casserole. Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Remove and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Casserole Ready for Almond Cheese Topping

Casserole Ready for Almond Cheese Topping

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Creamy Squash, Spinach, and Chicken Polenta Casserole

17 Apr
Creamy Squash Spinach and Chicken Polenta Casserole

Creamy Squash Spinach and Chicken Polenta Casserole

Strange ingredients? Please hear me out. This is NOT weird at all and received multiple thumbs up from the family. Gosh, even the leftovers were awesome. There is something about the down-home creamy corn base from the polenta and slightly sweet taste from the squashes and then the spinach and chicken that just made this an incredibly surprising meal! My eyes gone wide, you know what I mean? WOW! (This actually doesn’t even need the chicken and could be vegetarian, but the meat was already defrosted.)

I had the defrosted chicken breast and a fresh bag of spinach, and set my sights on something new for the combination. I have made my Balsamic Chicken and Spinach more times than I can count the past few years. Somehow I came across some vegetarian polenta and spinach casserole recipes, and tasked myself with coming up with a recipe my family would actually eat.

I found a great recipe with fresh spinach and mushrooms but it used pre-made polenta cakes. Another recipe I found had a creamy homemade polenta base with zucchini, squash and tomatoes. Well, the daughter doesn’t “do” mushrooms, I only had fresh spinach and dried polenta grain on hand, so decided to mix up the two recipes and came up with my own original. You will NOT be disappointed. (Aside note: I was following the vegetarian version recipes and totally spaced on browning the chicken until assembly. Yikes! So please, follow my instructions below instead of doing what I did. Or, omit chicken altogether. It all worked out, we only ate 10 minutes later than the original plan.)

Creamy Squash, Spinach, and Chicken Polenta Casserole

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken (breasts or thighs)
Ground black pepper, and salt or Mrs. Dash, to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup dried polenta (course cornmeal)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped onion
1 small zucchini, sliced and quartered (about 1 cup)
1 small yellow squash, sliced and quartered (about 1 cup)
1 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes with oregano, garlic and basil (if yours are plain diced, add dried or fresh herbs to taste)
1 8 to 10-ounce bag fresh spinach
Ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup shredded fresh Mozarrella cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and season to taste with ground black pepper and salt or Mrs. Dash. Heat a skillet with the 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and brown the chicken about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often. Set aside.

Cooking the Creamy Polenta

Cooking the Creamy Polenta

Heat 1 1/2 cups of water in a medium sauce pot to boil. Stir together the milk and polenta to make a slurry, then add to the boiling water. Bring up to a simmer then reduce the heat and simmer for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. (If you want you could brown the chicken now in this step. I just didn’t want you to forget!)

Creamy Polenta Poured into Pan

Creamy Polenta Poured into Pan

When the polenta is done, pour it into an oil-sprayed 13 x 9 or so sized casserole dish and set aside.

Chopped Onion, Zucchini, and Squash

Chopped Onion, Zucchini, and Squash

Meanwhile, add the 2 tablespoons olive oil to a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, zucchini, and squash and sauté until the onions are softened.

Vegetable Mixture Simmering

Vegetable Mixture Simmering

Add the tomatoes (and spices if tomatoes aren’t pre-seasoned). Bring up to a simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the browned chicken and mix to combine. Now, by handfuls, tear up the spinach and add to the mixture and stir in until all is added and wilted.

Spinach Wilting into Vegetables

Spinach Wilting into Vegetables ~ WAIT ~ You don’t see that forgotten chicken in the background you had to cook first, right??

Meanwhile (again), preheat the oven to 350 degrees. After the vegetable mixture is done, spread it evenly on top of the polenta in the casserole dish. Top with a combination of shredded Mozarella and Parmesan cheeses.

Creamy Squash Spinach and Chicken Polenta Casserole Ready to Bake

Creamy Squash, Spinach, and Chicken Polenta Casserole Ready to Bake

Bake for about 25 minutes until it is heated through and bubbly and the cheese has melted. Turn the heat up to broil and broil for 5 minutes. Take out of oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve on plates or in bowls. Nothing else is needed, as this is an entire meal! If this weren’t so fugly coming out of the casserole dish, I’d call it guest-worthy (taste-wise)!

p.s. (My sister arrived today from Texas for 10 days, so I might not get a post out for awhile. Enjoy browsing my archives if you want if you are a newcomer!)

Casserole Half-Eaten

Casserole Half-Eaten~ YEP! Three of us pretty much wiped out half of a lasagna pan of this in one sitting!

 

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Pastitsio, Pasticcio, Pasticchio

28 Feb
Pastitsio, Pasticcio, Pasticchio

Pastitsio, Pasticcio, Pasticchio

Pistachios, am I nuts? No, this is Pastitsio, also known as Pasticcio, and sometimes spelled Pasticchio. But my tattered Better Homes and Garden cookbook names this Greek dish it the latter. No matter how you spell it, it’s dang good! It also messes up a lot of pots and pans. But don’t let that stop you from making this guest-worthy casserole.

You can shorten the cooking time by preparing some of the steps concurrently, or, if you have a lazy weekend day with lots of time you can just methodically work your way through each step. The end result will be the same. Bites of savory tomato and ground beef pasta topped with a lusciously puffy bechamel/egg crust. Are you drooling yet???

I had not made this in probably 5 or 6 years, so I just followed the recipe again as written (mostly) in the cookbook. Traditionally, this dish is made with a tubular pasta but I think the smaller macaroni works well with this. My family agreed it could use a few tweaks, but even so we all enjoyed this immensely. I’ve added my tweaks to the recipe below, and I think you’d be satisfied with them. So here it goes:

Pasticchio
From Better Homes and Gardens All-Time Favorite Recipes

6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) dry elbow macaroni
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (the real stuff!)
1/4 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
3/4 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce (I would also add a can of diced tomatoes next time)
3/4 teaspoon salt (I used Mrs. Dash, but we agreed real salt would be better)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I actually used 1/4 teaspoon, and it was the right amount)
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper (I ground in liberal amounts)
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Paprika, to make it pretty

Pasta Mixture

Pasta Mixture

Cook the macaroni according to package directions. Drain, and set aside to cool for a bit. When cooled enough not to cook the egg you will be adding, stir in 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup of milk, and the beaten egg. Set aside.

Beef and Tomato Sauce Mixture

Beef and Tomato Sauce Mixture

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef and chopped onion until the meat is cooked and the onion is tender. Drain off any excess fat. Stir in the tomato sauce (and can of diced tomatoes, if using), and the salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and pepper. Set aside.

Bechamel Cream Sauce

Bechamel Cream Sauce

In a saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and a little bit of salt to form a paste. Pour in the 1 1/2 cups of milk all at once, whisking continuously. Cook and stir until the sauce is thickened and bubbly. Add the other beaten egg to a bowl, then pour half the sauce into the bowl with the egg and combine. Then pour that mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of it. Stir in 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese until combined.

Final Prepping of the Casserole

Final Prepping of the Casserole

Layer half the macaroni mixture to a lightly oil-sprayed 2-quart casserole dish. Spread the meat mixture evenly on top of the pasta, then the remaining macaroni. Spread the cream sauce over all. (Optionally sprinkle ground paprika over it, to make it pretty.) Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy with a side salad or vegetable. Guest-worthy, indeed!

Pastitsio, Pasticcio, Pasticchio

Pastitsio, Pasticcio, Pasticchio

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Oktoberfest Brown Butter Noodles

15 Oct
Oktoberfest Brown Butter Noodles

Oktoberfest Brown Butter Noodles

My office held an Oktoberfest potluck for lunch this week, and I brought this side dish to the event. The company provided bratwurst and sauerkraut with spicy brown mustard, while the employees brought German side dishes. Oh, and they also served root beer. (Hey, it was lunchtime! I doubt we’d have many productive employees the rest of the day if they served German beer!)

This is a quick and easy dish and makes a great side to almost any meal! Since unsalted butter is used and there isn’t much else to add flavor, you will definitely need to season it up with salt and pepper, and perhaps even some Parmesan cheese if you like. Brown butter is traditionally (in Germany) served with Spaetzle, but I used pasta as a shortcut since I had to make this after our dinner the night before the potluck. No time for making dough and rolling out little Spaetzles! I used the cute Gemelli pasta instead, but you can use any pasta shape you want for this.

Oktoberfest Brown Butter Noodles

1 package (8 ounces) dried pasta (any shape)
1 stick unsalted butter (8 tablespoons) plus 1 tablespoon reserved
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 slices stale bread, processed into coarse crumbs (about 3/4 cup, reserve 1/4 cup)
Salt and pepper to taste
Dried or fresh parsley, for garnish
Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

Cook the noodles according to package directions in a large saucepan. Drain and return to the pot and set aside.

 

Cooked Gemelli Noodles

Cooked Gemelli Noodles

Heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. After a few minutes, add the chopped onion. Continue stirring until the butter is brown, about another 4 to 7 minutes depending on your stove. Watch carefully as you don’t want to let it burn! Burnt butter is gross. Brown butter is nutty and yummy. Once a nutty brown color, remove from heat immediately and add 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs. Stir to combine.

Browning the Butter

Browning the Butter ~ Note: It is almost impossible to get a photo of your butter when it starts to turn brown, because if you pause at that stage to snap a photo, you will burn your butter!

 

Pour the butter/breadcrumb mixture over the noodles. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir until well-combined.

 

Gemelli Noodles with Brown Butter Breadcrumb and Onion Mixture

Gemelli Noodles with Brown Butter Breadcrumb and Onion Mixture

Add the noodle mixture to a lightly oil-sprayed casserole dish and set aside. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in the small saucepan and add the remaining 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs and mix. Distribute evenly over the casserole and garnish with parsley (if dried). Place dish in oven and broil for about 5 minutes until the topping is browned slightly. Remove and either serve immediately with fresh parsley garnish and Parmesan cheese (optional), or cover and refrigerate to eat later. This can be reheated either in the oven or a microwave, but if you microwave the breadcrumb topping will not be as crunchy.

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

 

Ham and Scalloped Au Gratin Potato Casserole

18 Jun
Ham and Scalloped Au Gratin Potato Casserole

Ham and Scalloped Au Gratin Potato Casserole

I volunteered to make ham and scalloped potato casserole to bring to a Father’s Day BBQ last weekend. Actually, my husband had volunteered to bake a ham, but by the time he informed me of this the hostess had already bought ribs for the event AND my husband had already defrosted the ham we stuck in the freezer last month when it went on sale.

We had about 12 people to feed. Armed with all those factoids, I decided a scalloped potato casserole would work, and then I could add some of the leftover ham that we ended up baking the day before Father’s Day instead.

I found a great recipe for this on one of my favorite foodie cook’s site, The Pioneer Woman. Gosh, I don’t even know how many gajilion recipes I’ve made of hers. She makes it look sooo easy and her food photography is great! She calls it Scalloped Potatoes, but with all the cheese it’s really Au Gratin too, so I added that to the title.

However, last time I made a dish with a ton of sliced potatoes (mind you we are feeding a crowd), it took me over 45 minutes to slice the potatoes, and even then, they were haphazardly sliced, at best. I’m terrible at slicing thin potatoes.

I decided to risk life and limb and invest in a food slicer (also known as a mandoline, and no, not the instrument kind.) They now come with hand guards and decided I could make the plunge and invest in one. And heck, it was less than 10 bucks! What was I waiting for???? Those horror stories of old of trips to the emergency room to re-attach a fingertip are long gone with this device.

My new love:

Food Slicer and Potatoes

Food Slicer and Potatoes

Story: I got the slicer all assembled and cut a potato in half (to have a flat surface to start with). I put it on the gadget and quickly ran it twice up and down to slice. Nothing. Nada. I was like… “Uggh, this thing doesn’t even work! And then I lifted it up, and two beautiful slices were laying underneath it on the cutting board. Really? I thought I would feel some resistance, something, anything! Nooop! That blade is so sharp it was like cutting through soft butter. I had 3 pounds of potatoes sliced perfect-thin in under 10-minutes! WOW! Happy me. 🙂

The below recipe is how I made it as I didn’t have all the ingredients, but you can find the original recipe link below. And just use whatever cheese you have on hand. I used all my cheddar for another recipe earlier in the week, so ended up used store-bought grated Colby-Jack combined with some fresh-grated Gruyere cheese. Either way it came out great! I didn’t have much to bring home from the BBQ. Now on to the recipe.

Ham and Scalloped Au Gratin Potato Casserole)
Adapted from Ree Drumond, The Pioneer Woman, Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

3 pounds Russet potatoes, washed and scrubbed
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 large sweet onion, diced
3 cups ham, diced
1/2 cup half-and-half (that is all I had, you can use more and reduce the milk for creamier potatoes)
2 cups milk
1/4 cup flour
Black pepper, to taste
1 cup grated Colby Jack cheese (mixture of Colby and Monterey Jack)
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees then butter a large casserole dish. (Mine was 9 x 13 inches.) Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat, add the onions and cook for several minutes until they start to turn translucent. Add the ham and cook for another few minutes until heated through. Remove from heat and set aside.

Sauteeing Ham and Onions

Sauteing Ham and Onions

Combine the half-and-half and milk in a microwave-safe container and cook in the microwave for about a minute, until no longer cold. Whisk in flour and black pepper until combined. Set aside.

Using a vegetable slicer (or a knife if you don’t own one), slice potatoes into 1/8-inch slices. Layer 1/3 of the potato slices in the buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle 1/3 of the ham/onion mixture over that, then 1/3 of the cheese.

Scalloped Potatoes without Milk

Scalloped Potatoes without Milk ~ Sometimes I don’t follow directions exactly

Here is where I went astray. I forgot to pour 1/3 of the milk mixture over it until the end, but if you want you can pour on 1/3 of the milk mixture now. It didn’t seem to make a difference.

Repeat this twice more, ending with a sprinkling of cheese and pouring on the rest of the milk mixture (or in my case, all at once). Then grind a bunch more of black pepper over it. Cover the pan with foil and bake for an hour.

Peeking at Casserole

Peeking at Casserole ~ Yes I peeked at the casserole at the hour mark

Remove the foil and bake for an additional 30 minutes at least, or until bubbly and hot and the potatoes are tender. Check with a fork periodically for doneness.

p.s. (You can make this ahead of time and cook later. I cooked mine to the one hour mark, then brought it to the BBQ. About a half hour before ready to eat, I uncovered it, popped it in a preheated oven and baked until ready, about a half hour more.)

Casserole in Oven

Casserole in Oven ~ I had to check on that puppy! Baked beans underneath from other guest cooking

 

 

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

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