Adjustment to Days of Casseroles…and Other Topics

Thanks to a raging sinus infection (thanks a lot spring pollen!), I had to modify our 365-day casserole challenge. We’d done 10 days in a row of new and different casseroles, which for the most part were a huge success. On what would have been day 11, we had leftover casserole, so it technically was still a casserole day, but then I got hit by these nasty allergies, and I didn’t do much of anything for a few days.

Kevin, bless his heart, took over cooking for a couple of days, but he’s just not a casserole kind of cook. We did, however, have family favorites such as liver and onions (which were awesome) and pork chops on another night.

So, I’ve amended the titles of these casserole posts, as it’s been decided we just like too many other dishes and cooking styles to solely concentrate on casseroles alone, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be working through my huge list of casserole recipes. I’ll be sure to post each new one as we try it.

On the gardening front, the plum trees are in full bloom, and the apple trees are getting ready to bloom. Of course, the forecast for the upcoming week is for lows in the 30s, so I’m hoping we don’t have a frost, or there won’t be any fruit from these trees this year. The radishes, lettuce, peas and kohlrabi are peeking through the ground, and the cauliflower and rhubarb are looking pretty good too. Kevin said he spotted a few stalks of asparagus coming up, so in a few weeks we can hopefully have a meal with fresh garden veggies.

The chickens are growing larger every day, and we’re down to 51 now after starting out with 54. Butchering will be on the agenda in a few weeks, and we’re all looking forward to that first BBQ chicken dinner, as well as getting that empty-looking freezer filled with meat.

Days of Casseroles: Day 10 – Loaded Mashed Potato Bake

I found today’s recipe at Mom on Timeout, and I’m using the picture from that website as well, mostly because I mixed everything in with the mashed potatoes, and her picture is so much prettier than mine! No matter the looks, it tastes wonderful and pairs nicely with the roast beef we had with it.


This is mine πŸ™‚


Loaded Mashed Potato Bake

9 or 10 medium-sized potatoes
8 slices of bacon
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Cook or bake bacon, and chop into small pieces.

Peel and cube potatoes. Place potatoes in a large pot, and fill with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and let simmer for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Drain the water, and return the potatoes to the pot. Mash potatoes with butter, cream cheese, sour cream, milk, onion powder and garlic powder.

Stir in 1 cup of cheese and half of the bacon pieces.

Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray. Transfer mashed potato mixture to the dish. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bacon.

Place dish in a preheated oven, and bake for 15 minutes, or until the cheese on top is melted. Sprinkle with chives before serving.

Days of Casseroles: Day 9 – Pineapple Casserole

We’ve gotten a bit more garden put in the past few days. Kevin already had lettuce, radishes and peas in, and I planted 2 short rows of spinach yesterday. I’m starving for fresh greens for salads, so hopefully we can get a little rain this week to help these seeds pop out of the ground. In about a week or so we can hopefully put out our plants. We’ve started cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kohlrabi, ground cherries, peppers and tomato plants. I still need to find some Brussels sprouts, but then it will be the end of May for the rest of the garden. I discovered that my 3 granddaughters loved the mock zucchini pineapple I made last year, so I need to save room in the lower garden for another zucchini patch….so good to see them enjoying a healthy snack πŸ™‚

Today’s casserole is a side dish, as the guys wanted brats, and I needed something that would complement them. I found this pineapple casserole on Tasty Kitchen. I’d tasted something similar at a family potluck, so I thought I’d give this recipe a whirl.



Pineapple Casserole

1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
20 ounces crushed pineapple, drained
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
12 tablespoons Ritz crackers
8 tablespoons butter

Mix sugar and flour in a mixing bowl. Add the pineapple and cheddar cheese. Mix thoroughly. Pour into a greased 2-quart baking dish. Crush the Ritz crackers, and add the melted butter to them. Sprinkle this mixture over the pineapple and cheese mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Days of Casseroles: Day 8 – Sauerkraut and Pork Chops Casserole

We love pork chops, and we love sauerkraut, especially our homemade kraut that we make about every other year. Since we plant huge late-Dutch flat cabbages, we usually make a batch of kraut that lasts us 2 years. When I saw this recipe on Taste of Home, I knew I had to try it and give us another way of using up all that kraut.


Sauerkraut and Pork Chops

3 cups sauerkraut, well drained (I used home-canned kraut)
2 cups applesauce
1/2 cup chicken broth (I used Wildtree’s chicken broth)
1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional if your kraut is fairly salty)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
6 pork chops, 1-inch thick (about 7 ounces each)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 teaspoon paprika

In a large bowl, combine the sauerkraut, applesauce, broth, bacon, brown sugar and seasonings. Spoon into an ungreased 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

In a large skillet, brown pork chops in oil; drain. Place chops over sauerkraut mixture. SprinkleΒ with paprika. Cover and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Yield: Β 6 servings

I admit to liking a Bavarian-style sauerkraut, which is a little sweeter than traditional kraut. My family, however, does not. This recipe definitely tastes like a Bavarian kraut, so keep that in mind if your family prefers a tangy, sour sauerkraut.

Days of Casseroles: Day 7 – Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

One of the recipes I found on Pinterest that I’ve been wanting to try is from Jo and Sue, a chicken cordon bleu casserole. I absolutely love chicken cordon bleu, but to make it the “traditional” way takes too much time for me these days. But I love the flavors, and when I saw this recipe on their blog, I knew I had to add it to my list of recipes to try during our experiment. And I was right – the family loved this and wants me to make it again πŸ™‚




Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

6 cups cooked chicken, diced
1 1/2 cups cooked ham, diced
8 slices Swiss cheese
4 1/2 tablespoons butter
4 1/2 tablespoons flour
3 1/4 cups milk
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 cups Panko bread crumbs
6 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons dried parsley

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Sprinkle chicken and ham evenly in the dish. Cover with Swiss cheese slices.

Melt the 4 1/2 tablespoons butter in a large pot. Add the flour to form a roux. Slowly whisk in the milk until smooth. Continue to whisk until the sauce starts to thicken, which takes about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, and stir in the lemon juice, mustard, paprika, salt and pepper. Pour sauce over the casserole.

For the topping, combine the Panko bread crumbs, 6 1/2 tablespoons melted butter, seasoning salt and parsley. Sprinkle over the casserole.

Bake uncovered for 45 to 55 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Days of Casseroles: Day 6 – Sausage Egg Breakfast Casserole

My stepdaughter Jill and her three daughters were coming for a visit, and I decided to do a brunch-type casserole when they were here. It’s a traditional breakfast casserole that can be made the night before and popped in the oven when you’re ready to eat. This is a recipe from Trisha Yearwood on Food Network, although I added the onion because I like onions with my sausage dishes. πŸ™‚


Sausage Breakfast Casserole

1/2 loaf white bread (I used leftover homemade white bread)
1 pound sage-flavored pork sausage
1/2 onion, chopped
10 ounces shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
2 cups half-and-half
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
5 large eggs, slightly beaten

Cut the bread into 1/2-inch pieces, and layer them in a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

In a medium skillet, cook the sausage and chopped onion until the sausage is no longer pink. Drain the fat from the sausage, and place the meat over the bread cubes in the pan. Sprinkle the Cheddar cheese over the meat.

In a separate bowl, mix together the half-and-half, dry mustard, salt and the eggs. Mix until combined. Pour the mixture over the cheese. Cover the casserole with foil, and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.

The next day, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the covered casserole for 50 minutes, or until set and slightly golden. Remove from the oven, and allow the casserole to set for approximately 15 minutes before serving.

Yield: Β 12 servings

Days of Casseroles: Day 5 – Cheesy Broccoli Casserole

Since the family wanted a main dish other than “casserole” today, I decided to make a broccoli casserole to go along side the shrimp scampi they were screaming for. We all love broccoli, even the kids, so this is a favorite side dish for us any time of the year.


Cheesy Broccoli Casserole

2 10-ounce packages frozen broccoli (I used 2 frozen quart bags I had from our garden last summer)
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups crackers, crushed (can substitute Panko bread crumbs)
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the broccoli, mayonnaise, cream of mushroom soup, cheddar cheese and beaten eggs until well combined. Pour mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle crushed crackers or Panko bread crumbs over the top of the casserole, and evenly drizzle the melted butter over the topping.

Bake for 35 minutes or until set and bubbly.

Since I mentioned it, here’s my recipe for shrimp scampi. I’ve made it for years, and while we don’t have it often, it’s a treat when we do and really very easy to make. The ingredients are in approximate measurements, as I really just eyeball it when making this.

Shrimp Scampi

2 pounds fresh or frozen shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 teaspoons Wildtree shrimp scampi seasoning, optional
1 stick butter
1 small onion, finely diced
2 to 3 cloves freshly minced garlic
1/3 cup dry white wine
Fresh parsley, chopped
Hot cooked rice or noodles

If using scampi seasoning, combine prepared shrimp and seasoning in a large bowl to completely coat the shrimp. Set aside.

Melt butter in a large skillet. Add onion and garlic to the pan, and saute until translucent but not browned. Add shrimp to the pan, and cook just until the shrimp turn pink. Don’t cook longer as this toughens the shrimp.

To serve, place cooked shrimp and some of the butter sauce over hot cooked rice or noodles. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley, if desired.

Days of Casseroles: Day 4 – Easy Shredded Chicken Mexican Lasagna

I have this huge list of different casserole recipes I’ve been wanting to try, so can you believe I’m stumped on day 4?? Well, not really. It’s just I’m refusing to go grocery shopping until I whittle away on a few things still in the freezer and cupboards. Once I get through what’s already here, I can go grocery shopping with a more focused idea of exactly what I need to get based on the recipes I’ll be making each week. I’m such a terrible grocery shopper – I buy what I see. Yes, I make a list and get what’s on it, but I always end up spending way more than I should on impulse purchases. I’m hoping this casserole-a-day experiment will help us save on our grocery bill by narrowing my shopping list down to EXACTLY what I have to have for my meals. I should have a better idea how this will work by the end of April. πŸ™‚

For this recipe, I used what I had in my pantry. The sauce mix was an impulse buy, with me thinking I’d use the crockpot for an easy-to-fix meal. Since that didn’t happen and it’s still sitting in my cupboard, I’m using it in this recipe, although I definitely prefer to make my enchilada sauce from scratch.



Easy Shredded Chicken Mexican Lasagna

1 package flour tortilla shells
1 package Campbell’s Slow Cooker Mexican Red Chile Taco sauce***
1 1/2 pounds cooked, shredded chicken breast
1 package cream cheese, softened
1 package frozen corn, thawed
1 can diced tomatoes, drained well (I used home-canned grape tomatoes)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained (I found a use for my home-canned black beans!)
Shredded cheddar cheese, divided
Sour cream, guacamole, chopped onions for garnish, optional

Combine the cooked chicken, cream cheese, diced tomatoes, black beans and corn in a large bowl. Mix until well combined.

Grease a 9 x 13-inch pan. Place one layer of the flour tortillas on the bottom of the baking pan. Layer half the chicken mixture on top of the tortillas. Sprinkle some cheddar cheese on top of the meat mixture. Repeat layers. Pour the Campbell’s sauce over everything. Top with remaining cheddar cheese. Cover with foil.

Bake casserole in a 350 degrees Fahrenheit oven for about 40 minutes. Uncover casserole and bake an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Serve with sour cream, guacamole, chopped onions if desired.

***If your family loves spicy food, you’ll love Campbell’s Slow Cooker Mexican Red Chile Taco sauce. My family said it was too spicy and asked that I remake this with my homemade mole sauce, which isn’t so spicy. They did like the casserole overall, though – so fair warning to those of you who like a milder taco dish πŸ™‚

Days of Casseroles-Day 3: Pizza Casserole

Well, we’ve made it through three whole days of the casserole experiment, and so far, no complaints. The first two casseroles were rated as ones I can make again, so that’s good news πŸ™‚

Today’s casserole is another family favorite – Pizza Casserole. You can change out the ingredients to ones your family loves. This is what I usually make to satisfy our pizza cravings.


Pizza Casserole

1 pound ground beef
1 16-ounce package rotini noodles
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 eggs
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 16-ounce jar meatless spaghetti sauce (I use homemade canned sauce)
1 8-ounce can mushrooms (or use fresh if you prefer)
1-2 teaspoons pizza seasoning, optional (I use Wildtree’s Pizza Sauce seasoning)
1 package pepperoni
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Combine the eggs, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder and melted butter in a large bowl. Set aside.

Cook rotini noodles per package instructions. Add cooked noodles to the egg and Parmesan cheese mixture. Toss noodles to coat. Set aside.

Cook ground beef with the onions until the beef is completely brown. Drain. Add spaghetti sauce and mushrooms, and cook on low for 5-10 minutes or until the sauce is well combined and slightly thickened. Add meat mixture to the cooked noodle mixture. Add pepperoni slices, reserving some to place on the top of the casserole. Mix all ingredients until well combined.

Place mixture into a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Top casserole with remaining pepperoni slices and the 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake covered in a 350 degrees Fahrenheit oven for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Days of Casseroles: Day 2…Cheesy Ham and Hash Brown Casserole…Plus Easy Cherry Cheesecake

Kevin got in some garden today, as he planted kohlrabi, radishes, peas and some lettuce. He also got the rhubarb transplanted, so while I might be out a rhubarb crisp this year, next year I should have plenty of tasty stalks to pick πŸ™‚

The chickens were moved to the coop this past week too. We lost another chick before that, so we’re down to 52 little peepers. The rest are looking great, so in a few weeks, we’ll be up to our necks butchering.

Today’s casserole is a great way to use up that leftover Easter ham, and it works well as a brunch or dinner main dish.



Cheesy Ham and Hash Brown Casserole

1 2-pound package frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
1/2 cup melted butter
2 cups chopped, cooked ham
1 10.75-ounce can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 8-ounce container sour cream
1/2 cup chopped onions
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups crushed cornflakes
1/4 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, combine hash browns, 1/2 cup melted butter, cream of chicken soup, ham, sour cream, chopped onion, cheddar cheese, salt and pepper. Mix well. Place mixture in a greased 3-quart casserole dish.

In a separate bowl, combine 1/4 cup melted butter and crushed cornflakes until the cornflakes are coated. Sprinkle the mixture over the top of the casserole.

Bake covered at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes.

What’s an Easter dinner without dessert? While I generally make traditional cheesecakes, I was running short on time (as in the kids wanted to eat cheesecake today instead of letting it set overnight!). This is a good recipe when you’re in a hurry.




Easy Cherry Cheesecake

1 graham cracker pie crust
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 can cherry pie filling (or use your favorite flavor)

Beat cream cheese in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add sweetened condensed milk, and blend thoroughly. Stir in lemon juice and vanilla. Pour into pie crust.

Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours, or until firm. Top with chilled pie filling before serving.

Yield: 8 servings

1 2