Dinner: Casserole

Tuna Casserole

It’s a little untraditional, but a lot better than the tuna casserole I grew up with.

Ingredients

1 lb. pasta (you can use curly, bow tie, shells, radiator, whatever your favorite is)
3-4 cans tuna (solid white is the best, chunk white is the next best, only use chunk light if that’s all you have–it adds a fishy flavor that I don’t like)
1 can cream of celery soup
1 c. frozen peas (optional)
3-4 slices fresh bread
1-2 c. shredded cheddar cheese (mild or medium work well depending on your preference)

Instructions

Cook pasta according to package directions. DO NOT overcook!
While pasta is cooking, get out a 9×13 casserole dish. Open tuna and drain well. Add to pan. Add can of soup and peas and stir until it is mixed up.
Slice bread into small cubes. Set aside.
When pasta is done, drain in a colander and rinse well. Add to casserole dish and mix to coat. Sprinkle cheese on top and add bread cubes. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes. Remove foil for last 5-10 minutes to toast the bread cubes.
Let sit for about 5 minutes. Serve hot.




Ham and Potato Casserole


This dish is modified from the dish commonly referred to as “funeral potatoes”. I don’t like funeral potatoes. They’re way too fatty and make me ill. This has been adapted to be much healthier, and a main dish as well.



 

 Ingredients

1 bag frozen hash browns or potato dices
1 can cream of chicken soup (I use reduced fat but regular works)
1 c. sour cream (can use light or fat free)
diced ham cubes
sprinkle of onion powder (more or less to taste)
sprinkle of garlic powder
lots of salt (I use sea salt)
pepper (fresh ground is best)
cheddar cheese, grated
corn flakes, potato chips, or Ritz crackers (or other butter crackers)
In a large bowl, mix together sour cream, soup, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Add potatoes and ham and stir.
Spray a 9×13 casserole dish. Add potato mixture and flatten. Top with cheese. Top with crackers or corn flakes. Cover with foil.
Bake at 375 for about 1 1/2 hours (I’m serious! They take forever!).
Serve hot.
Make ahead tips: When you have left over ham, chop it in cubes, bag it, label it and freeze it. When you make this dish, just add the frozen ham and you’re done.
Another make ahead tip: When you make this, make two or three of them. Cover with heavy duty foil, label, and freeze. Make sure to leave at least 3 hours to cook from frozen though.

Cheesy Chicken & Rice Bake

Ingredients

1 Tlb. oil or butter
1/2 onion diced
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
dash cayenne
1/4 c. unbleached flour or 1 Tlb. clear jel
6 c. chicken broth or 6 c. water and 6 bouillion cubes
1 c. heavy cream or half and half
2 lb. trimmed boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 c. long-grain white rice
1 lb. frozen peas and carrots or 2 diced carrots and 1 c. peas
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese shredded (can use medium or mild also)
2 Tlb. fresh lemon juice
ground black pepper
bread crumb topping:
4 slices white bread toasted
2 Tlb. melted butter

Instructions

For bread crumb topping: quarter toast, add to blender. Drizzle in melted butter. Pulse until it forms coarse crumbs. Set aside.
For the casserole, dice onion, set aside. Mince garlic and set aside.
If using bouillion, crush and mix with part of the water. Measure out cream or half and half. Put water, cream, garlic, and cayenne near stove.
Heat a frying pan with oil or butter. Saute onion for about 5 minutes or until translucent. Add garlic and cayenne and cook for about 30 seconds. If using flour, add and cook, stirring constantly, until golden; about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the broth and cream.
If using clear gel, skip the flour step just add the clear gel to part of the water or broth in advance, whisk in, and then add the broth and cream or half and half.
Add the chicken breasts and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook about 10-15 minutes or until cooked all the way through. Remove and set aside.
Stir rice into the pot, cover and continue to cook over low heat, stirring often until the rice has absorbed much of the liquid and is just tender, 20-25 minutes. If you are using raw carrots, cook them with the rice.
When the chicken is cooled, dice.
When the rice is done, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the chicken, peas, carrots, cheese, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour the mixture into a 9×13 casserole dish or 2 8×8 pans and sprinkle with crumb topping.
Bake the casserole at 400 degrees uncovered until the sauce is bubbling and the crumbs are crisp, 25-30 minutes.
Make ahead tips: Make two and freeze one. Bake at 350 for about an hour. Finish at 400 for the last 10 minutes.
Add broth or water, and cream.

 

Chicken Casserole


You will need:

1 box stove top stuffing
3-4 chicken breasts (or 2 cans cooked chicken chunks)
1can cream of chicken soup
Frozen peas or broccoli

Instructions:

Boil chicken breasts
Cube or shred chicken breasts
Mix with 1 can cream of chicken soup (2 if not creamy enough)
Add some frozen peas

Mix 2 boxes stuffing in a bowl with slightly less than the amount of water called for on the box. Set aside.

In 9x13 casserole dish mix chicken soup with the peas or broccoli, and chicken.

Top with stuffing.

Cover with foil. Can freeze at this point.

Bake at 375. 40-45 minutes or 1 ½ (approx.) hours if frozen. Remove foil for last 10 minutes.

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