MARIA'S SAUSAGE & EGG CASSEROLE

Thank's Maria! This is so much more than a brunch casserole. Its a complete dinner in one pan! Delicious!

MARIA'S SAUSAGE & EGG CASSEROLE 
        Here is another extended family recipe I was able to get my hands on this Summer, and I finally got a chance to make it for my family this evening.  I was unable to be at the luncheon when it was first served and I kept hearing how wonderful it was.  Later that week, my Aunt Theresa (Maria's mom) brought me in a slice, cold) while we were out east.  I was already about done with dinner and in the dim light it looked like crumb cake.  So I put it aside until later, when my sweet tooth hit. Then I unwrapped it and took a bite.  Much to my surprise, there were no crumbs and no cake, and I was a little dumbfounded.  Yet, I found myself taking bite after bite of this succulent little square until it was all gone.  It turned out to be one of the best casseroles I've had in years, and I didn't even heat it up!  So, I'm going to share my version with you, and hope you enjoy it as much as I did!  Maria - this was fantastic!  
*where I've made changes, I'll indicate that.  
INGREDIENTS
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
1  9" x 13" casserole dish, sprayed with cooking spray
10 Slices cubed bread  
     (I used the pieces of bagels that we pull out and freeze from our morning bagels, we always have bags full in the freezer - you will need enough to cover the entire bottom of the pan)
1 - 1/2 lb cooked sweet Italian sausage
     (I had 8 sausages in the casing, which i just sliced open and browned, discarding the casings)
1  dozen eggs, well beaten
2 cups milk (I used 1%)
*I also added about 1/4 bag frozen chopped onions to the browned sausage when they were almost done, and a drop or two of brandy.
 and about a teaspoon of sea salt and fresh ground pepper to the eggs.  
DIRECTIONS
Spread the bread cubes over the bottom of the greased pan, making sure its well covered.  Its ok if there are a lot of cubes of bread or bagel pieces because they will soak up the milk and eggs and make a light and fluffy casserole. 
Cover the bread with the sausage (and onion) mixture, leaving out the grease that came out of the sausage; then cover the sausage with the cheese.**  
In a large bowl, whisk together all the eggs the milk, along with salt and pepper to taste and pour entire mixture over the sausage cheese and bread.  
**(I had extra cheese so I mixed it with the eggs and poured it in then used a spoon to swirl it in just a bit - but do not mix)
Bake at 350 loosely covered for about 50 minutes.  Remover cover 5 minutes before finishing.  
  • Giant Zucchini. To put it in perspective, that little one is about a foot long!

  • Zucchini Lasagna, prepared, but uncooked.

    Obviously since I had leftover zucchini slices so...

  • Fried Zucchini:

    I cut and fried them until browned, added tomato & leftover cheeses, and put it under the broiler. A side dish for tomorrow.

ZUCCHINI NOODLE LASAGNA (all veggie & cheese)

Zucchini Lasagna w/ Mushrooms, Onions & Peppers

     I don't know if you heard, but this year my husband turned into a Farmer.  Suddenly he comes in yesterday with these giant, and I mean giant, zucchini. See photos.  What on earth?  I don't know what he fed them with but I knew I had to get them out of my fridge!  Since he's trying to do the low carb thing, I thought it would be perfect to make a lasagna and use the zucchini instead of noodles.  I didn't have any sauce on hand so I improvised, and it was delicious.  Simple and delicious!

INGREDIENTS

  • About 5 lbs Zucchini (they don't have to be giant) sliced about 1/8 to 1/4 inch;
  • 4 or 5 heirloom or very ripe beefsteak tomatoes;
  • 4 tbsp olive oil 
  • 1 lb button mushrooms, sliced;
  • 1 pkg frozen, chopped onions & peppers (or 1/2 c. each fresh)
  • 3 lb container Ricotta cheese (whole or part skim)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c. half & half (I used fat free)
  • 1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 c. shredded or chopped mozzarella
  • handful parsley
  • bread crumbs

DIRECTIONS

In a large bowl mix together Ricotta, Mozzarella, Grated Cheese, Parsley, Eggs and Half & Half until well combined.  In a large skillet saute mushrooms in 2 tbsp Olive Oil until browned on one side (best to just let them sit in the pan until you can smell them brown).  Then stir them and add the peppers and onions and let cook over high heat until the onions are translucent and just beginning to turn color.  Meanwhile, slice the zucchini lengthwise into long strips of about 1/4 inch.

In a large, deep casserole or lasagna pan, oil bottom and sides then take one tomato, diced and sprinkle over bottom, then line bottom with the strips of zucchini just as you would lasagna noodles.  Cover the zucchini with about 1 c. or so of your cheese mixture, then top with some more diced tomatoes.  Add another layer of sliced zucchini, then the cheese mixture, now the mixture of mushrooms and onions (reserving about 1/2 c.) and a bit of diced tomatoes.  Top with one more layer of zucchini, dab with spoonfuls of the cheese mixtue, sprinkle with mushroom mixture and the diced tomato.  Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and drizzle all over with extra virgin olive oil. 

Bake at 425 degrees, covered for about 45 minutes, or until lasagna begins to bubble and zucchini are soft, then uncover and bake 10 minutes more until top is golden.  Let sit 15 minutes before slicing.  Enjoy. 

 

Deb's French Herbed Sausage & Chicken Cassoulet

     I was browsing through a few cassoulet recipes, since I had a bunch of sausage and white beans on hand, but they were all so time intensive and complicated.  I thought, there had to better way than a dish that took 2 days because you needed to soak dried beans overnight.  So, I took a little from here, and a little from there, and came up with a delicious Cassoulet that everyone loved (even though we didn't have duck) and it only took about an hour and a half to put together.  You will definitely enjoy this one!

INGREDIENTS
1/4 lb. sliced bacon, chopped
2 lbs sausage, casing removed (I used half sweet, half spicy)
1/2 c. finely chopped celery
1 pkg frozen chopped onions and peppers (or 1 c. of each)
1/4 c. olive oil
1 tbsp of flour
1 c. dry white wine
1 tbsp Herbs de Provence
1 tbsp Garlic Powder
2 tbsp Worchestershire sauce
3 – 4 c. chicken broth (I used the fat free one in the box)
3 – 4 cans Progresso Cannelini beans, rinsed & drained
2 c. cooked boneless chicken (your own, or short cuts or rotisserie)
Breadcrumbs & oil mixed for the topping.
DIRECTIONS
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Add the oil to a heavy bottomed dutch oven and when hot, add the bacon and sausage to brown. When the sausage is brown on all sides remove it from the pan and reserve it until later. (it will finish cooking in the oven) You can leave the sausage whole or cut it in chunks, whatever you prefer.
Turn down the heat to medium and add the chopped vegetables and saute’ in the bacon and pork fat, along with the bacon, until soft and translucent. Add a bit more oil if necessary so they don’t stick. Sprinkle with the flour and cook about 1 minute or more. Then pour in the wine deglaze the pan, scraping up all the stuck on bits from the bottom and sides of the pan.
Add the next four ingredients from Herbs through the Canned Beans, adding just enough chicken broth to cover the beans by not more than an inch, and stir to combine, bring to a boil on high heat.
Turn off the heat on stove and carefully place casserole dish or dutch oven in the oven at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes to an hour. Check it half way through to stir and be sure you haven’t reduced it too much. If so, add more chicken broth.
Remove from oven and taste for seasoning, add salt and pepper to taste. Add the chicken and stir. Your Cassoulet should be thick and bubbly. If it is not, add a quick slurry of 1 tbsp cornstarch and 2 tbsp water and cook 10 minutes more. Then remove, and add the Breadcrumbs that were mixed with oil so you completely cover the top. Place under broiler for 1 – 2 minutes.
Done.
I made this yesterday and it was so delicious. It makes a lot, but we’re looking forward to the leftovers.

Skillet Sausage & Polenta Parmesan

INGREDIENTS
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 17-ounce tube prepared polenta, sliced into 8 rounds
8 ounces sweet or hot Italian sausage, casings removed
6 ounces cremini mushrooms, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes, crushed by hand
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, plus more for topping
8 ounces sliced mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
DIRECTIONS
    Preheat the broiler. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the polenta and fry until golden, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
    Add the sausage to the skillet and cook, stirring and breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until just browned, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley.
  • Deb's Version

    I made my version of the Skillet Sausage & Polenta with our garden grown yellow tomatoes, which I peeled and squished fresh, and white corn meal (grits) which I cooked and let harden in the fridge, cut then fried. The result included a few extra polenta cakes in the pan since I'm always doubling recipes, but it was as pretty and delicious as the original!

  • Original Version

    The original skillet sausage and polenta is made with canned tomatoes & yellow corn meal. This also makes a lovely presentation.
    Both are an example of how you can adapt to what you have in the house. There is no reason this dish cannot be made with ground beef, boneless chicken or even pork. So experiment, you'll enjoy it!

Tomato Potato Pie Casserole, serves 4 - 6

     When fresh vine-ripened tomatoes are in season, you must make this tomato pie. The wonderful smell of the potato crust as it bakes will set your taste buds alive and bring the whole family to the table
 
Potato Crust (see recipe below)
3 or 4 medium tomatoes, sliced(approximately 1/8-inch thick), drained, and patted dry
Coarse salt and pepperto taste
8 bacon slices, cooked crisp and crumbled
4 tablespoons coarsely-chopped fresh basil, divided
3/4 cup freshly-grated parmesan cheese
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup crushed saltine crackers
Make Potato Crust and bake while you are preparing tomatoes and cheese mixture.
POTATO CRUST:
2 firmly-packed cups grated raw potatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup grated onion
Vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Oil a 9-inch pie pan. Place raw potatoes in a colander. Salt potatoes and let set for 10 minutes. Squeeze out the excess water.
In a medium bowl, combine potatoes, egg, and onion. Pat potato mixture into prepared pie pan, building up the sides of the crust with lightly floured fingers. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown (after the first 20 minutes brush the crust with vegetable oil to crisp it). Remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
 
Layer half of the tomato slices onto the bottom of the baked Potato Crust; lightly season tomatoes with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with half of the bacon and 3 tablespoons basil. Repeat layer, using remaining tomato slices, salt, pepper, bacon, and basil.
In a small bowl, combine parmesan cheese and mayonnaise; carefully spread over tomato mixture. Sprinkle with crushed crackers and 1 tablespoon basil. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes or until crumbs begin to brown. Remove from oven and serve immediately

Lobster Noodle Casserole

Individual Servings of Lobster Noodle Casserole.

     It seems the old tuna-noodle casserole has evolved.  This grown-up lobster-noodle version is quite elegant. Perfect for summer entertaining, it can be baked in individual casseroles or in one large dish and served buffet style for casual gatherings. Replace cooked lobster with grilled shrimp for a quick and easy weeknight family dinner.  Either way, its a simple and easy dish that will draw raves from your guests (and me too!)
 
2 (1 1/2-pound) fresh lobsters
   (they can be steamed at the market if you don't want to cook them yourself)
3 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoon butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons garlic, minced & smashed (or paste)
1/4 cup(s) brandy (I used bourbon)
1/2 cup(s) heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon(s) fresh-ground black pepper
1/2 pound(s) (medium) egg noodles, cooked and drained
1 tablespoon(s) fresh lemon juice
6 sprig(s) thyme
 
Preparation:
1.Cook the lobsters, if you didn't buy them steamed already, as follows:
Fill a large bowl halfway with ice and water and set aside. Bring a large pot of water and 3 tablespoons of the salt to a boil and plunge the lobsters, headfirst, into the water with long-handled tongs. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for 4 minutes. Drain the lobsters and place in the prepared ice bath to cool. Crack the shells and remove the tail and claw meat. Reserve the shells. Cut the tail meat into 1/2-inch-thick medallions and the claw meat into large pieces and set aside.
2.Bake the casseroles:
     Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat four 1-cup-capacity baking dishes or one 9-inch square or round baking dish with 1 tablespoon butter and set aside.
     Melt the remaining butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook until soft. Add some of the reserved shells, tomato paste, and garlic and cook, stirring continuously, for 5 minutes. Move the pan away from the heat and add the brandy. Return to the heat and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking continuously until the brandy is fully incorporated into the mixture.
     Reduce heat to medium low, add 1 1/2 cups water, and simmer until thickened slightly -- about 15 minutes. 
     Strain the mixture to remove any shells from the broth and stir in the cream, remaining salt, and pepper. Add the egg noodles, lobster meat, and lemon juice and toss to coat. Pour into your baking dish, or divide the mixture evenly among the prepared baking dishes, cover with foil, and bake until the lobster is cooked through and the noodles are hot -- about 20 minutes.
     Garnish with thyme sprigs and serve immediately.

CRAB & SHRIMP CASSEROLE, Serves 6

Can you believe this Crab & Shrimp Casserole is so good and good for you too!

     Seafood is a staple for Maryland in the Summer time, but I have a feeling this Crab and Shrimp Casserole Recipe is just the right meal all year round - even perfect for Christmas Eve. With a few revisions, I made it even lighter, but still creamy and very quick and easy to make. Your family will really enjoy this meal.

INGRIDIENTS:
1 pound backfin crabmeat
4 eggs  (or 2 eggs & 1/2 c. eggbeaters)
1 1/2 cups light mayonnaise
1 pound shrimp, deveined and cooked
1 cup celery, diced
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 teaspoon onion salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons sherry
1 teaspoon lemon rind, grated
1 cup low fat sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup bread crumbs mixed w/ 1 tbsp olive oil 
DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl beat eggs well then blend in
mayonnaise. Once blended add all the other ingredients except the bread
crumbs. Pour mixture into a 2 quart casserole dish sprayed with Pam and top with
bread crumbs. Bake for 40 minutes.

CAJUN SHRIMP CASSEROLE, Serves 6

     This hearty seafood casserole is filled with shrimp, cheese and rice and gets its Cajun flair from the addition of okra, bell peppers, and cayenne pepper. It's a great choice for a special occasion meal. If you're not a fan of okra, you can leave it out of this dish.

DIRECTIONS
2 pounds peeled and deveined, large fresh shrimp
1/4 cup butter (you may use olive oil as a substitute for butter)
1 small red onion, chopped*
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper*
1/2 cup chopped yellow bell pepper*
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper*
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups fresh or frozen sliced okra
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of shrimp soup**
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste or you can use cajun seasoning)
3 cups cooked long-grain rice
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Garnishes: quartered lemon slices, fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs

PREPARATION
     Melt 1/4 cup butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and
next 3 ingredients; sauté 7 minutes or until tender. Add garlic, and sauté 1
minute. Stir in okra, lemon juice, and salt; sauté 5 minutes. Add shrimp,
and cook 3 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Stir in soup and next 4
ingredients until blended. Pour into a lightly greased 11- x 7-inch baking
dish. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese.
Bake at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes or until casserole is bubbly and cheese is
lightly browned. Garnish, if desired.
*1 (10-ounce) package frozen onions and peppers may be substituted for fresh
onion and bell peppers.
**1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup may be substituted for cream
of shrimp soup.
Note: Unbaked casserole may be made one day in advance. Cover and
refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before baking as
directed. To freeze unbaked casserole, prepare as directed, omitting
Parmesan cheese. Cover tightly, and freeze. Let stand at room temperature 30
minutes before baking. Bake, covered, at 350° for 50 minutes. Uncover;
sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese, and bake 10 more minutes or until
cheese is lightly browned.

 Southern Living, October, 2005

SHRIMP & TUNA SPINACH CASSEROLE

     This dish may seem a little complicated at first glance, but the steps are easy and the end result is not only delicious, but makes a beautiful presentation.  In my version, we will lighten up the recipe wherever we can, so you can eat it guilt free.

16 frozen phyllo pastry sheets, thawed
2 1/2 pounds peeled, devenied, medium-size fresh shrimp
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed
5 tablespoons butter, divided (you can substitute oil if you prefer)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound fresh bay scallops
1 (8-ounce) package Philadelphia Light cream cheese, softened
1 (8-ounce) container sour cream (Daisy Light)
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup half-and-half & 1 c. 1% milk

PREPARATION

     Cut phyllo sheets into 13- x 9-inch rectangles; reserve half of phyllo
sheets, keeping covered with a damp towel to prevent drying out. Stack
remaining 8 sheets in a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish, lightly
coating each sheet with vegetable cooking spray.
Bake on lowest oven rack at 400° for 5 minutes or until lightly browned, and
set aside.  Don't overcook.
     Drain spinach well, pressing between paper towels.  Rinse shrimp & scallops and pat dry.  Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add garlic,
and sauté 2 minutes. Add shrimp and scallops; cook 5 minutes or just until
shrimp turn pink. Stir in cream cheese and next 4 ingredients until blended;
remove from heat. Stir in spinach.
     Melt remaining 1/4 cup butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add
flour, whisking constantly; cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute until completely blended and you have a light roux. Gradually add half-and-half & milk a bit at a time; cook, whisking constantly, 3 minutes or until mixture is thickened. Stir flour mixture into shrimp mixture. Spoon into prepared baking dish.
     Stack reserved phyllo sheets, coating each sheet with cooking spray. Roll
up, jellyroll fashion, starting at long end, and cut into 1/4-inch slices.
Unroll each piece, and gently twist; arrange twists in a diamond pattern
over casserole (refer to photo).
     Bake at 400° for 14 minutes or until golden. Let stand 10 minute

BAKED COD CASSEROLE* Serves 4

     Dry white wine and Gruyère cheese give this fish casserole a rich flavor that hides its virtue. Before baking, we top the dish with seasoned whole-wheat breadcrumbs, which add a wholesome, nutty flavor and dietary fiber.  *For variety (or if you don't like cod), you can substitute almost any mild white fish.
     INGREDIENTS
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 medium onions, very thinly sliced
1 cup dry white wine
1 1/4 pounds cod (see Tip), cut into 4 pieces
2 teaspoons chopped thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups finely chopped whole-wheat country bread, (about 2 slices)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup finely shredded Gruyere, or Swiss cheese
     DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 400°F.
    Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large deep ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until just starting to soften, 5 to 10
minutes. Add wine, increase heat to high and cook, stirring often, until the
wine is slightly reduced, 2 to 7 minutes.
     Place cod on the onions and sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper. Cover the
pan with a tight fitting lid if you have one, of cover tightly with foil; transfer to the oven and bake for 12 minutes.
     Toss bread with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, paprika and garlic powder in
a medium bowl. Spread the bread mixture over the fish and top with cheese.
     Bake, uncovered, until the fish is opaque in the center, about 10 minutes
more.  

*Enjoy, and Note:  If you are using a good cast iron pan, this dish takes so little time you can even do it on the grill.  With some grilled corn on the cob on the side, you have a complete meal. 

CHICKEN & RICE WITH ZUCCHINI CASSEROLE, Serves 8 - 12

Light Zucchini Rice Casserole

     With lots of extra vegetables in this light cheesy baked rice casserole, its a treat for your taste buts, and good for your waistline!  By substituting brown rice for white, reducing the cheese by half and swap cooked chicken breast for pork sausage, you have an instant low calorie meal that comes together quickly and reheats well. 

1 1/2 cups long-grain brown rice
3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
4 cups diced zucchini , and/or summer squash (about 1 pound)
1 pkg frozen pepper strips (or 2 red or green bell peppers, chopped)
1 pkg frozen chopped onion (or 1 large onion, diced)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups low-fat milk
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups 2% or reduced fat shredded Mexican or Cheddar cheese, divided
1 bag frozen (thawed) corn kernels
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces chopped white chicken meat (or 2 bags purdue shortcuts)
4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese , (or Neufchâtel)
1/4 cup chopped pickled jalapeños (to taste)

Preheat oven to 375°F.
     Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with Pam.  In a large skillet, bring broth to a simmer in and stir in rice, reduce to heat to low and simmer until liquid is partially absorbed.  Stir in zucchini and/or yellow squash, peppers, onion and salt, and simmer until the rice is tender and most of the liqid is absorbed, about 30 minutes total.  Pour rice mixture into greased casserole dish. (you will need pan for the last step)
     Meanwhile, whisk milk and flour in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat
until bubbling and thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add 1 1/2
cups Jack cheese and corn and cook, stirring, until the cheese is melted.
Set aside.
     Heat oil in that large skillet over medium heat and add the chicken (even though its cooked, just for a couple of minutes to heat through and brown a bit, about 2 - 4 minutes. Add the chicken to the cheese sauce, then add the cheese mixture to the rice in the casserole dish and stir/mix lightly until combined.  
     Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup Jack cheese on top and dollop cream cheese by the teaspoonful over the casserole. Top with jalapeños, to taste.
     Return the casserole to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and reheated throughout, about 10-20 minutes. Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving.

CHICKEN DIVAN CASSEROLE (light version)

     If you're cooking for company on the holidays, go for it and use the full
fat versions of these ingredients.  But even with the lighter ingredients, you are going to love this one. Its healthy, full of broccoli and chicken, and full of flavor.

DIRECTIONS

2 Bunches of Fresh Broccoli (or 2 large bags Steamfresh)
2 cans of Light/Healthy Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup (or Cream of
Mushroom if you don’t have)
2-4 tsp. Curry Powder (to taste)
1/2 cup Italian Bread Crumbs
1 tbsp. Butter
4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (2 Cups cooked & cut in small chunks)
1 cup Light Mayo
1 tsp. Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
1/2 Cup 2% Shredded Cheddar Cheese (or omit the cheese, its  not necessary)
Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper to taste.

DIRECTIONS
Preheat Oven 350 

Steam Broccoli in pot (or microwave if you bought Steamfresh).
Sprinkle Chicken with a bit of the Curry Powder, salt and pepper. Cook in saute pan. Cut in small cubes.  If you got your chicken already cooked, all you need to do is cook a minute or 2 with spices to warm it.
Spray a 9×13 baking dish with Pam. Arrange Broccoli on bottom then put
chicken on top.
In separate bowl, combine soup, mayo, lemon juice & curry powder.
Pour evenly over Chicken.
Sprinkle Cheese over top.
Combine bread Crumbs & Butter (or olive oil) & Sprinkle on top.
Bake for 25-30 min.

Mushroom Gruyere Casserole, Serves 6 to 8

courtesy Whole Foods Market

      This casserole would make a hearty breakfast meal, but would be and excellent meal along with a salad any time of day.  Full of fresh tomatoes and mushrooms, gets much of its terrific flavor and texture from the English muffins that line the bottom of the dish.

4 whole wheat English muffins, split
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 pound button or cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
8 eggs
1/2 cup low-fat milk
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 cup grated Gruyère

Method

     Arrange English muffin halves in the bottom of a greased 9- x 13-inch baking dish, cutting them to fit, if necessary; set aside.
     Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add tomatoes, mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and liquid is thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. Spoon tomato mixture over the top of the English muffins, distributing it evenly; set aside to let cool.
     In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Pour evenly over tomato mixture, then sprinkle with basil. Cover and chill overnight.
     Set dish aside at room temperature for 1 hour and preheat oven to 350°F. Sprinkle casserole with cheese and bake, uncovered, until puffed, cooked through and cheese is golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes. Serve immediately

Savory Spinach, Artichoke & Brie Casserole

Use a nice deep white casserole, and you will have a beautiful presentation.

     I have found that this has become a family favorite, and everyone who tastes it loves it.  The flavors meld together purposely, so that you almost don't know exactly what you are eating.  It graces our Thanksgiving table almost every year, and its one of the first things to go.  Its great for a family get together, and perfect for a buffet.  Don't be disuaded by the list of ingredients, that's Emeril!  I have made a few adaptations, so its easier than you think. 

  • INGREDIENTS
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 pounds spinach, washed (3 cups cooked and roughly chopped) ( used washed baby spinach, fresh)
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions (I used one bag frozen chopped onions)
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Emeril's Italian Essence, or other Italian seasoning blend
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 (8 1/2-ounce) cans quartered artichoke hearts, any tough outer leaves removed (DRAINED)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream (I used half n half)
  • 2 cups chicken stock (I used the fat free organic in a box)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 12 to 14 cups cubed (1-inch) day-old French bread (at least 1 loaf)
  • 1 pound Brie, rind removed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (I found I needed to buy extra brie, and be sure its very gold before you cut off the rinds, then use a cheese knife [the one with the holes in it] to cut the brie)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with deep sides (at least 3 inches) with Pam.

  • DIRECTIONS

  • Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the spinach and cook until just wilted, about 30 seconds. Drain and rinse with cold water. Once cool, squeeze as much water from spinach as possible, then roughly chop, and reserve.

  • Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until golden brown and tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, 2 teaspoons of Italian Essence, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the drained artichokes and cook, stirring, another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and reserve.

  • In a very large bowl combine the eggs, cream, chicken stock, lemon juice, remaining 1 tablespoon Italian Essence, remaining 2 teaspoons salt, and remaining 1 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the bread, spinach, artichoke mixture, brie, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and parsley and stir to combine. If bread does not absorb all of liquid immediately then let rest until this happens, about 20 minutes.

  • Pour the bread pudding mixture into the prepared dish. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan over the top and drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Bake until firm in the center and golden brown, about 1 hour. Serve warm.  (also good at room temperature for a buffet.  I'll even eat it cold)

Buffalo Chicken Casserole, Serves 8

They say this Buffalo Chicken Casserole is a kids dish. Is it....?

     When you take the classic flavors of Buffalo wings—hot sauce, blue cheese, carrots and celery, put them all in a baking dish and bake—you create a finger-licking-good casserole. Although my kids love this all year round, you can serve this dish during football season to a hungry crowd and it’s sure to be a hit.  Here, I agree with the original recipe and recommend Frank’s RedHot Sauce if you can get it. It has the perfect balance of spice and
tang for this casserole. However, there are many suitable alternatives if you can’t find Frank’s.

12 ounces whole-wheat elbow noodles
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 bag frozen sliced carrots (or 3 medium carrots, sliced)
3 medium stalks celery, sliced
1 pkg frozen chopped onion (or 1 large onion, chopped)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (I use garlic paste)
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch
cubes (use rotisserie chicken or shortcuts)
1/3 cup cornstarch
4 cups low-fat milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons hot sauce, preferably Frank’s RedHot
3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (about 4 ounces)

Preheat oven to 400°F.
     Bring a Dutch oven of water to a boil. Cook noodles until barely tender,
about 2 minutes less than package directions. Drain, rinse and set aside.
     Heat oil in the pot over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, onion and garlic
and cook until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add chicken and cook
until no longer pink on the outside, 5 to 7 minutes (unless you are using pre-cooked, then only a minute or 2). Whisk cornstarch and milk in a medium bowl; add to the pot along with salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often, until bubbling and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in hot sauce.
     Spread the noodles in a 9-by-13-inch (or similar 3-quart) baking dish. Top
with the chicken mixture; sprinkle with blue cheese.
     Bake the casserole until it is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Let stand for 10
minutes before serving.

Mushroom Spinach Strata

Ingredients

  • 3/4 to 1 pound Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 12 slices white bread, crusts removed
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, trimmed, sliced
  • 2 cups yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 (9 ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed, drained
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven 350°F.
  2. Soften 3 tablespoons butter, spread on bread, set aside.
  3. Melt 1/2 cup butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Sauté mushrooms, onions and spinach 5 to 8 minutes or until tender. Remove from skillet, season with salt and pepper, set aside.
  4. In a greased 9x13-inch baking dish, layer 1/2 bread-mushroom mixture, and cheese. Repeat layers in the same order.
  5. Mix eggs, milk, mustard, nutmeg, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Pour over layers, refrigerate overnight.
  6. Bake uncovered 1 hour or until bubbly. Sprinkle with parsley, serve immediately.

 

Tuna Lasagna, with crumb topping

Tuna Lasagna a/k/a tuna nookle casserole

This wonderful casserole was added to my recipe collection recently. The tuna and three-cheese blend wins over doubters who say they aren't fond of canned tuna .

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 (12 ounce) can tuna, drained and flaked  (you can use fresh tuna)
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
  • 1/2 - 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 9 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups small curd cottage cheese (I prefer part skim ricotta)
  • 1 egg
  • 8 ounces sliced mozzarella cheese (or shredded)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. In a large saucepan, saute onion in butter until tender. Stir in the tuna, soup, milk, garlic salt, oregano and pepper until combined. Spread 3/4 cupful into a greased 11-in. x 7-in. x 2-in. baking dish.
  2. In separate bowl mix ricotta, egg and mozzarella. I would also add a handful of parsley here.
  3. Layer with three noodles (trimming if necessary), 3/4 cup tuna mixture, half of the cottage cheese and a third of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers. Top with remaining noodles, tuna mixture and mozzarella. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly. Uncover, sprinkle with panko crumbs and parmesan. Cook 10 more minutes until brown. Let stand for 10-15 minutes before serving.

The recipe pictured was doubled, serving 8 - 12.

Pumpkin Lasagna

Pumpkin Lasagna, sliced


Pumpkin Lasagna
adapted from Prevention Magazine, which was adapted from Taste of Home. I suppose we all have our own way of making this one. But I made it this past holiday season, and it was a hit. Don't go light on the mushrooms and onions because they provide a boost of flavor in contrast to the mild pumpkin and cheeses. Enjoy. (oh, and you can do it all part skim or fat free if you like).
If you're able, use a white casserole dish with high sides. It makes a lovely presentation that way, all puffy and hot, and its such a surprise when you cut into it!

1 1/2 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
1 lg onion, chopped (I used 1 pkg chopped frozen)
1 teaspoon salt, divided
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups solid-pack pumpkin
2 cups half-and-half cream
1 1/2 teaspoon dried sage leaves
1 tbsp fresh ground pepper
1 boxes no-cook lasagna noodles
3-4 cups reduced-fat ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

In a medium skillet, saute the mushrooms until they begin to brown, add onion and 1/4 teaspoon salt in the oil and saute until tender; set aside. In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin, half-and-half, sage, pepper, and remaining salt.

Spread 1/2 cup pumpkin sauce in a 9in x 13in baking dish with high sides, coated with cooking spray. Top with about 6 noodles crosswise (snip off whatever you need of each noodle so they fit in the dish). Spread about 1 cup pumpkin sauce to edges of noodles. Top with half of mushroom mixture, 3/4 cup ricotta, 1/2 cup mozzarella and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers. Top with remaining noodles and sauce.

Cover and bake at 375° for 45 - 50 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake 10-15 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand for at least 10-15 minutes before cutting.Yield: 10 - 12 servings.

Chicken Pot Pie, serves about 6

Sliced Chicken Pot Pie

You can't make it easier than this recipe, given to me by a good friend. Everybody loves it.

1 pkg roll-up frozed pie crust
1 lg can chicken, or 2 c. shortcuts or rotisserie chicken
1 pkg frozen mixed vegetables, thawed and drained (abt 2 c.)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Put crust on bottom of deep pie dish.
Spread 1 can soup over the crust, 1/2 mixed vegetables, all of the chicken, 1 can of soup, 1/2 mixed vegetables.
Place second crust on top and crimp edges with your fingers (or a fork)
Cut vents in the top to allow steam to escape, and bake 45 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving, and enjoy!

Duck Cassoulet

     This is one of my favorite casseroles, rich and full of flavor, like it baked all day, which it will. Normally you would use dried white beans, and the bean mixture of this French-style casserole bakes twice so start working earlier in the day because the bean mixture bakes twice.  You do not have to start working a day ahead unless you choose to use dried beans (they need to soak 8 hours, then bake 2 hours).  I've found that to be unnecessary.  I've used caned Progresso Cannellini beans (just rinse & drain, no soaking), so I can be done in just a few hours.  You really do need a large Dutch oven for this dish, so if you don't have one, borrow one. 

6 cans Progresso cannellini beans
1 (1-pound) boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 1/2 cups finely chopped onion (about 2 medium)
1 cup thinly sliced carrot (about 1/2 pound)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (14-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
2 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
1 celery stalk
1 thyme sprig
1 bay leaf
8 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth, divided
2 cups fat free chicken broth
5 duck confit legs (about 2 1/2 pounds)
Cooking spray
3/4 pound chicken thighs or sausage
1 (1-ounce) slice white bread

Preparation
     1. Rinse and drain beans.
     2. Sprinkle pork pieces with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add pork to pan; cook 6 minutes or until browned, turning occasionally. Remove pork from pan; reduce heat to medium. Add onion and carrot to pan; cook 8 minutes or until lightly
browned, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and tomatoes; cook 2 minutes,
stirring occasionally. Tie twine around parsley, celery, thyme, and bay leaf
to secure. Add pork, beans, 4 cups broth, 2 cups water, and herb bundle to
pan. Bring to a simmer; cook, covered, for 2 hours or until beans are
tender. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
Cool bean mixture to room temperature.
3. Preheat oven to 400°.
     4. Arrange duck confit legs in a 13 x 9–inch baking dish. Bake at 400° for
15 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove skin and meat from bones;
shred meat into large pieces. Discard skin and bones.
     5. Reduce oven temperature to 325°.
     6. Bring bean mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat; stir in duck. Bring
remaining 4 cups broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan; pour evenly over
bean mixture. Bake at 325° for 2 hours. Reduce oven to temperature to 275°.
     7. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray.
Add sausage to pan; cook 6 minutes or until browned, turning occasionally.
Cool slightly; cut into 1-inch pieces. Stir bean mixture; add sausage
pieces. Place bread in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until coarse
crumbs measure 1/2 cup. Sprinkle breadcrumbs evenly over cassoulet. Bake at
275° for 1 1/2 hours. Let stand 20 minutes before serving.

Molly O'Neill, Cooking Light
DECEMBER 2009

Pineapple Bread Pudding Casserole

 Here's one that was absolutely delicious, a perfect accompaniment to ham or pork. Or you can even use it as dessert.

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 (20 ounce) cans crushed pineapple, drained
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 10 slices day-old white bread, cubed
  • In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. stir in the drained pineapple and lemon juice. Fold in the bread cubes. Do not over mix now, because you don't want the bread to dissolve. Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 325 degrees F for 35-40 minutes or until set.
  • I doubled the recipe, and it still came out perfect.

Christmas Casserole (Breakfast, or anytime!), Serves 10 - 12

photo credit: a taste of home.

     Spicy sausage, herbs and vegetables fill this egg casserole with hearty flavor.  Initially it was made as a breakfast dish, but it's delicious anytime of day.   I think if you substitute the sausage for shrimp, you even have a Christmas Eve casserole!

  • 1 pound bulk Johnsonville® Ground Sausage
  • 1 pkg frozen chopped onion
  • 1 jar (7 ounces) roasted red peppers (in oil), drained and chopped, divided
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained (squeezed dry)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded provolone cheese
  • Fresh rosemary sprigs, optional

Directions

  • In a skillet, saute onion until it begins to brown, add sausage and cook until sausage is no longer pink; drain. Transfer to a greased 3-qt. baking dish. Sprinkle with half of the red peppers and all of the spinach. In a bowl, combine flour, Parmesan cheese, basil and salt. Combine eggs and milk; add to dry ingredients and mix well. Pour over spinach. Bake at 425° for 20-25 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Sprinkle with provolone cheese and remaining red peppers. Bake 2 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting. Garnish with rosemary if desired. Yield: 10-12 servings.

Mushrooms & Grits

     This is a luscious combination of flavors and tastes.  Silky creamy mushrooms cover smooth buttery grits.  In this recipe, use yellow grits for the best presentation; white grits may look gray under the mushroom topping. Make-ahead tip: Cook the grits, spoon into the baking dish, and refrigerate overnight. Let the baking dish stand at room temperature while you prepare the mushroom topping; top the grits, and bake as directed.

5 cups water
1 1/4 cups stone-ground yellow grits
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded sharp provolone cheese, divided
1 teaspoon salt, divided
Cooking spray
1 1/2 teaspoons butter
3/4 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups thinly sliced portobello mushrooms (about 6 ounces)
3 cups thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps (about 4 1/2 ounces)
1 teaspoon dried herbes de Provence
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chopped prosciutto (about 3 ounces)
1/3 cup dry white wine
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

     Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan; gradually stir in grits.
Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently.
Remove from heat. Stir in 1/4 cup cheese and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Spoon grits
mixture into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Refrigerate until cooled and firm.

Preheat oven to 350°.
     Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and
garlic; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt,
mushrooms, herbes de Provence, and pepper; cook 6 minutes or until mushrooms
are tender, stirring frequently. Stir in prosciutto and wine; cook 5 minutes
or until liquid almost evaporates. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Stir in
eggs and egg whites. Spread mushroom mixture over grits mixture; sprinkle
with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until cheese
melts and grits are thoroughly heated, and let stand 5 minutes before
serving. Sprinkle with parsley.

Cooking Light,  NOVEMBER 2004

TOMATILLO ENCHILADA CASSEROLE, Serves 6

Tomatillo Enchillada Casserole

     We can always count on Martha Stewart to come up with something healthy and tasty, like this recipe adapted from Everyday Food.  The star here is Tomatillo.  One of those fascinating and underused ingredients. When you go get them you will understand why.  They are not green tomatoes.  They have an odd papery husk, they’re sticky as all get out, and are almost inedibly sour when served raw.  But when properly cooked, they are also incredibly delicious, tart, and a staple in Mexican cuisine. Like any good casserole, this one reheats beautifully and its simple to put together. The flavor is tangy and refreshing, a light casserole, perfect for a hot day.

INGREDIENTS
◦2 lbs. tomatillos, husks removed, washed, and chopped
◦1 Tbsp. light olive oil
◦1 onion, chopped (or 1/2 bag frozen chopped)
◦2 Tbsp. garlic, minced
◦Salt and pepper
◦12 6-inch yellow corn tortillas
◦2½ cups cooked, shredded chicken (rotisserie chicken is great here)
◦3 Tbsp. sour cream mixed with 2 Tbsp. water
◦½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

DIRECTIONS
1.) Preheat oven to 400 F, coat a 9×13″ baking dish with nonstick cooking
spray and set aside.
2.) Puree tomatillos in a food processor until smooth. Sauté onion and
garlic in oil until softened. Add tomatillo mixture to onions and bring to a
boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
3.) Wrap tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave 30 seconds. Fill each
tortilla with some chicken, fold in half, and arrange in baking dish. Top
with tomatillo mixture, cover with foil, and bake 25 minutes.
4.) Cool 5 minutes. Drizzle with sour cream mixture and sprinkle with
cilantro.

BLACK BEAN ENCHILADA CASSEROLE, Serves 12

     Easy and tasty! Filling casserole that's light on calories and fat but good
on protein for a casserole. Its a very saucy and wet casserole, so if you like it drier, and easier to cut rather than spoon, add less sauce.

DIRECTIONS
2 cans Goya Black Beans, (not soup), rinsed & drained
1 pkg 2% Shredded Cheddar Cheese - (1 1/2 c.)
1 can Chopped Green chilies
1 c. Morningstar "burger" crumbles (here I used 1 pkg shortcuts chicken chopped finely)
1 pkg frozen corn (no sauce or butter)
1 can Enchilada Sauce
1 jar Salsa Verde
Fresh Cilantro - half of a bunch
1 1/2 tsp Cumin
2 pkgs Whole Wheat Tortillas 96% Fat Free
Light Daisy Sour Cream for garnish (not factored in recipe)

DIRECTIONS:   Pre-Heat oven to 350 degrees.
     Combine black beans, corn, cilantro, green chilis, 1/4 jar of salsa verde and cumin in a bowl.  Heat chopped chicken in microwave until warmed through. Add to bowl.
     Pour a little of the enchilada sauce into a deep 9 x 13 baking dish just
enough to cover.
     Layer half of tortillas along bottom of dish.
     Add contents of bowl into baking dish.
     Pour 2/3 of enchilada sauce and 1/2 of remaining salsa verde over mixture in
dish.
     Add 1/2 of cheese on top.
     Layer with remaining tortillas.
     Add remainder of bowl contents.
     Spread remainder of cheese, then pour remaining sauces/salsas on top.
     Cover and cook for 30 minutes to set.  Serve with lite or fat free sour cream and/or green onions for garnish.