Posts Tagged ‘Casserole’

Taco Bake Casserole

I first made a variation of this recipe about nine months ago and since then it has become a family favorite. Casseroles are great for many reasons. First, they are most always comfort food and who doesn’t need some of that? Second, they are usually easy to put together and most can be made a bit ahead of time. Third, there are always leftovers!! This casserole has the added benefit of giving me a taste that I sometimes crave, tacos, without all the prep work and messiness of regular tacos. Yesterday was Cinco De Mayo and even though this is not anywhere near a traditional mexican recipe it was a nod to the holiday. It was also a nice way for me to get back into cooking with a meal I knew would be loved by all. I hope your family enjoys this as much as we do.
Not pretty but oh so yummy!!
Not so pretty but oh so yummy!!!

I like to mix mine up!
I like to mix mine up.

Taco Bake Casserole

1lb ground beef
2 packets of taco seasoning
1 15oz can of tomato sauce
1 15oz can of diced tomatoes – you could use plain or ones with green chilies or jalapenos if you like
1/2 cup of your favorite salsa – I’ve used Chevy’s and Chi Chi’s medium
6oz softened cream cheese
6oz sour cream
12oz cheddar cheese – I like to use the taco flavored kind
12oz cooked short pasta – you could easily make 16oz of pasta to stretch this a little further, just make sure to increase the cream cheese and sour cream to 8oz each

Brown ground beef in a large, deep skillet. Drain. Add taco seasoning, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and salsa. Allow to simmer for approx. 20 mins.

In a medium bowl combine cream cheese and sour cream and mix well.

Coat a 9×13 casserole dish with cooking spray. Add the pasta and cream cheese/sour cream mixture and combine thoroughly. Layer the ground beef mixture evenly over the pasta. Top with cheddar cheese.

Bake in a 375 degree oven till cheese is thoroughly melted, approx. 20 mins.


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Dinner tonight was a combination of potato, cream, and cheese with a few vegetables thrown in for good measure. I had been looking for something to do with some frozen gnocchi we had in the freezer when I came across this delicious looking dish from Food alla Puttanesca. It turns out the it was an adaptation of a recipe from Giada’s Everyday Pasta cookbook. I will post the original recipe here and put my changes in italics.
baked gnocchi

Baked Gnocchi
adapted from Everyday Pasta

2 (17 ounce) packages potato gnocchi – I used 2 14oz packages
* 1/2 med onion chopped
* 1 8oz package of sliced mushrooms
* 2 tbsps butter
3 cups heavy cream
1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth – I used mushroom broth
1/4 cup all purpose flour
* 2 tsp fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
12 ounces baby spinach – I used 1 10oz frozen package of chopped spinach
3 ounces fresh goat cheese – I used 2oz
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Place the gnocchi in a lightly greased 9x13x2 inch baking dish. Set aside.

3. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the cream, chicken broth, and flour over medium heat. Continue whisking until the sauce is simmering and thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, thyme, and nutmeg and stir to combine. Meanwhile melt the butter in another pan and saute the mushrooms and onion.Add the spinach, mushrooms, and onions and toss to coat in the cream. Pour the cream and spinach, mushroom, and onion mixture evenly over the gnocchi and gently spread the spinach out to cover.

4. Crumble the goat cheese over the spinach. Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese. Bake until the top is golden in places, about 30 minutes.
baked gnocchi 2


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Tuna Nuna Casserole

When I think back upon my childhood and food Tuna Nuna Casserole or ,as it’s more commonoly known, tuna noodle casserole holds center stage. I do remember other food like the liver that I refused to eat, the chili that was way to spicy for my delicate tongue, and how could I forget the Rocky Mountain Oysters I was tricked into eating. Nothing leaves a warm feeling in me like my Dad’s Tuna Nuna Casserole. I don’t remember the first time I had it but I can’t remember a time without it. Once I moved out whenever I would come over for dinner and my Dad would ask what I wanted it was always Tuna Nuna Casserole and I always took the leftovers home. Well since I’ve started making it myself I have changed it a little bit but it is still my go to comfort food and I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.

Tuna “Nuna” Casserole by Me

2 5oz cans of tuna fish
2 10.75oz cans of cream of mushroom soup
1 15.25oz can of corn or 3 medium cobs of fresh uncooked corn
8oz of fresh sliced mushrooms (larger pieces broken in half)
1/2 tbsp garlic salt
1/2 tbsp onion powder
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup shredded or grated parmesan
1lb wide or extra wide egg noodles
1 cup milk
1/2 sleeve of saltines
butter or margarine
***Please note that I never measure spices or the cheese so this is an approximation and please play around with it till it fits your tastes***

preheat oven to 375 degrees

Cook noodles per instructions on package.

In a 9×13 casserole dish place the first 8 ingredients and mix well. After you drain the pasta add it to the casserole dish and combine thoroughly. Pour milk evenly over top. Crush saltines evenly over top. Liberally dollop with butter or margarine.

Bake for 1hr
tunanuna 2


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Ed, who can commonly be referred to as my husband, and I decided to go pescetarian for Lent. Well actually I suggested that he should go pescetarian for Lent as I am not Catholic, though as a loving wife I would support his sacrifice 100%. This suggestion was not made completely selflessly as I have been wanting to try more vegetarian recipes. I now not only have an excuse to cook all vegetarian but Ed is actually on board. I don’t mean to say that he ever really complains about what I cook but he does like his meat and I sometimes feel a little guilty when I stray a little too far from meat and potatoes or, in his case, rice. Lent started last Wednesday and since then we’ve had salmon, scallops (at which I failed miserably), frozen cheese pizza, vegetarian Chipotle, and the sides at a dinner centered around ham. Not very exciting so far. Today I had 16oz of ricotta cheese in the fridge that had to get used so I started looking for a vegetarian lasagna to make. I was thinking a red sauce but Ed was thinking white and it just so happened that I had just finished looking at a blog update for Spinach Lasagna. Using that as a jumping off point the idea for a Mushroom, Brocolli, and Spinach Lasagna was born. It turned out mighty tasty if I do say so myself but it turns out that I don’t really have to as Ed and Gabriel, my 1 1/2yr old son, will very willingly tell you for me.   Ed did however say that he might of left the tomatoes off but I really liked them. You decide.

Mushroom, Broccoli, and Spinach Lasagna by Me

1 package no boil lasagna noodles
16 oz mushrooms
1 10 oz package frozen broccoli pieces -thawed
1 10oz package of frozen spinach – thawed
16oz ricotta cheese
12oz mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1tbsp minced garlic
1tsp + 1tsp thyme
1tsp rosemary
1 egg
1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
1 recipe of Béchamel sauce – recipe below

preheat oven to 400 degrees

In a large saute pan heat olive oil and add mushrooms, garlic, 1 tsp thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Saute untill mushrooms have lost all their moisture and have started to brown. When done mix in the broccoli and béchemal sauce. Combine well and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a medium sized bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, egg, spinach, thyme, rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste.

In a 9×13 baking dish put a small amount of the béchemal mixture on the bottom, then place 3 lasagna noodles side by side making sure that they don’t touch, cover with half the ricotta mixture, next layer a little less than half the béchemal mixture, spread half the can of tomatoes over, and finish off with 4oz of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat one more time starting with the noodles. When finished with this place 3 more noodles on top, cover with the remaining béchamel mixture, make sure to cover the noodles, and the remaining mozzarella.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 50 mins. Remove the foil and continue baking for 10 mins or until cheese is starting to brown.


Béchamel Sauce

source: Giada De Laurentiis, Everyday Pasta, page 225

5 tbsp butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups warm whole milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground white pepper
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg – I omitted this

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the warm milk, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thick, smooth, and creamy, about 10 minutes (do not allow the béchamel sauce to boil). Remove from the heat and stir in the salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

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