Food From Home

Cooking at home for fun, health and frugality!

Taco Casserole

This taco casserole recipe is based on a post on the Mothering message board from March 2007.  The topic of discussion was cheap meals. I actually found the thread even after all this time and there are lots of good ideas.  I’ve adapted the recipe a bit.

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Taco Casserole

1 can black beans, drained
1 cup frozen corn
1 can diced tomatoes
2 c cooked rice
1/4 c salsa
1/3 c taco seasoning
1/4 c water
1 c shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8″ x 8″ casserole dish. Dump all ingredients except cheese into dish and stir well. Sprinkle top with cheese.  Bake 25-30 minutes.

You can serve it with chips, salsa, sour cream, jalapenos, etc if you like.

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Classic Baked Macaroni And Cheese

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People have been eating macaroni and cheese for a long time. It first appeared in a modern cookbook in 1769.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macaroni_and_cheese
There are tons of recipes for this dish and people can have very strong feelings.
Growing up we never had boxed macaroni and cheese at my house. My mom added cubes of Velvetta cheese, milk and pepper to cooked macaroni. (I would steal cubes of cheese.) When I got older I started to dislike the taste of Velvetta cheese product so had to find a recipe for this classic comfort food that I could enjoy.
From the 1946 Fannie Farmer’s Boston Cooking School cookbook via http://www.food.com/recipe/fannie-farmers-classic-baked-macaroni-cheese-135350 comes my favorite mac and cheese. I use just 2 c of regular milk instead of milk and cream and add 1/2 tsp onion powder and 1/4 tsp dry ground mustard.

Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese

8 ounce dry macaroni
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp dry ground mustard
2 cups cheddar cheese
1/2 cup panko crumbs, buttered

Preheat oven to 400°F .Cook and drain macaroni according to package directions; set aside. In a pan melt butter over medium heat.Add flour mixed with salt, pepper, onion powder and mustard powder. Whisk until well blended. Pour milk in gradually while stirring. Bring to boiling and cook until thickened stirring constantly about10 minutes. Add shredded cheddar little by little and cook until cheese melts. Stir sauce and macaroni together and put in 8″ baking dish. Sprinkle top with buttered crumbs. Bake 20 minutes until the top is golden brown. 4-5 servings.

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Baked Spaghetti Olivetti

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I found this old recipe the other day for spaghetti olivetti. I remember it was one of the first things I cooked for Hagbard before we got married 16 years ago. We haven’t had it for years so I decided to make it and see if we still liked it.

I don’t know where I originally got the recipe but I found it on Food.com when I searched for it. http://www.food.com/recipe/baked-spaghetti-olivetti-63612 I made a few changes like reducing the cheese and skipping the oil and salt in the pasta water.

Baked Spaghetti Olivetti

6 oz dry spaghetti

6 oz. muenster cheese, shredded

6 oz. green olives, sliced

6 oz black olives, sliced

1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese

4 c spaghetti sauce

1/4 c dried parsley

Cook the spaghetti about 1/2 the time the package calls for. Drain. Mix with sauce. Mix cheeses and parsley together. In a greased baking dish layer 1/2 of spaghetti, 1/2 of cheese and 1/2 of olives. Layer the rest of spaghetti, olives and cheese. Bake 25-30 minutes.

Makes 5-6 servings

Verdict:

Hagbard- It was tasty.

Amethesto- It was okay. (She picked out the green olives)

Lounmoun- I think it was pretty good but in future I would probably just mix the olives with the spaghetti  and sauce and just put all of the cheese on top instead of trying to do layers. Everything got separated and mixed up when served anyway.

 

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Chicken Pot Pie With Biscuit Crust

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This was not the chicken biscuit recipe I had originally planned to make this month. The one I had planned to make had cheese and sour cream with chicken and vegetables. When I went to find my recipe it was missing. I found similar recipes online but they used things like canned soup and mayonnaise and I didn’t really want to use that stuff. So I found this chicken pot pie recipe on allrecipes.com that didn’t used canned ingredients except for canned biscuits.
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/216758/moms-fabulous-chicken-pot-pie-with-biscuit-crust/
I made a few small changes. I used regular whole milk instead of half and half cream and I added 1/4 tsp garlic powder. I left out 1/2 cup of the chicken and two biscuits for Amethesto because she didn’t want to try this mixture.

Verdict: It was not hard to make and was very tasty and filling. Hagbard had two servings but I was full with one. I wanted to eat more though!

From my home to yours,
Lounmoun

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Scalloped Potatoes And Ham

Tonight’s dinner was something we have had many times- scalloped potatoes and ham. Comfort food.
I pulled leftover ham from Easter out of the freezer for this dish and used my very last onion. I use onions a lot I guess. This is the recipe I used->  http://www.food.com/recipe/scalloped-potatoes-and-ham-5194
I followed the recipe exactly except I did not have green pepper so put in 2 cups of frozen cut green beans instead. It is tasty either way.
This took almost 2 hours total to prepare and cook. I made the full recipe for just 3 people so we have a bunch of leftovers to have for lunches or put in the freezer.

From my home to yours,
Lounmoun

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Pepperoni Pizza Casserole

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I had been looking at casserole recipes when I planned this month’s meals. My attention was caught by a pizza casserole recipe. It had pasta and all kinds of pizza toppings. We like pizza and Amethesto loves pasta. However, Amethesto only eats pepperoni pizza from a restaurant or a frozen pizza. She hasn’t eaten homemade pizza for about 7 years because ONE time I made a pizza she declared tasted like “vomit”. Thanks for that description kid. She ate my pizza happily before that incident but never again! That one time was it for her. She does not give food a second chance and is wary of new foods. Maybe some of you have a child or family member like this. I joked with Hagbard that I should get a job at the pizza restaurant and then a pizza factory so Amethesto wouldn’t eat pizza again because I might have made it. Sigh. Anyhoo, this is my inspiration recipe. http://tastesbetterfromscratch.com/2015/08/pizza-casserole.html
I decided to make my version a bit smaller, use only pepperoni and skip the parmesan cheese.  I didn’t want a ton of leftovers in case no one liked it.

Pepperoni Pizza Casserole
8 oz dry penne pasta
4 oz sliced pepperoni
1/2 tsp dry oregano
1 clove garlic, minced
24 oz jar spaghetti sauce or pizza sauce
1 c shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat oven to 350°F.
Cook penne pasta according to instructions on package. Drain and stir in sauce, pepperoni, garlic and oregano. Put in greased 8″ x 8″ baking dish. Top with mozzarella and bake 25-30 minutes.
Makes 3-5 servings.

The verdict:
Amethesto picked out the pepperoni in her serving and gave it to Hagbard. She really liked just the pasta with cheese though.
Hagbard went back for a second helping. He said he’d like to try it with lots of pizza toppings mixed in.
I thought it was pretty tasty and filling. I imagine the fuller combination pizza version would be really good too. I don’t think the parmesan cheese would be necessary so I’d still leave it out and save a few calories.
We had just 1 serving left so unless you serve a salad and garlic bread with it you probably won’t get 6 servings for most adults/teenagers.

From my home to yours,
Lounmoun

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Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole & Game Night

Several months ago I went looking for chicken casserole recipes on Pinterest. I found this great recipe for Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole. Since it uses pre-cooked chicken it is a great way to use leftover chicken.  On Monday I had cooked a bunch of chicken in the slow cooker to use in three planned dinners this week and this is the last one. The most time consuming part of the preparation is the sauce and then after that you pop it in the oven and go on your merry way for 45 minutes.  I used the time to exercise.

I did some math and made half of this recipe for about 4-6 servings. ( I do the most math when I cook it seems.) http://recipevan.com/recipe/chicken-cordon-bleu-casserole-2/

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

2 1/2-3 cups of cooked chicken, shredded or cubed
4 thin sliced deli-style honey ham, rough chopped
2 oz thin sliced baby Swiss cheese

For the sauce:
2 T  butter
2 T  flour
1 1/2 cups + 2 T milk
1 T lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp paprika
1/8 teaspoons pepper

For the topping:
3 T butter
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 tsp seasoning salt
3/4 teaspoon crushed dried parsley

1) Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter an  8″ x 8″ baking dish.
2) Layer cooked shredded or cubed chicken on the bottom of the baking dish. Chop the ham and put it on top of the chicken. Layer the Swiss cheese on top of the ham.
For the sauce:
3) Melt the butter in a  pot over medium heat. When butter is melted, quickly stir in the flour until smooth. Do not brown! Once smooth and bubbly, slowly pour in the cold milk while stirring briskly until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens. Stir in the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt, smoked paprika and white pepper. Bring sauce just back to a low boil and turn off heat. Pour sauce over the casserole and spread to edges.
For the topping:
4) Melt the butter. Stir in the panko bread crumbs, seasoning salt and crushed dried parsley. Sprinkle crumbs over the top of the casserole.
5) Bake casserole uncovered for 45 minutes until hot and bubbly throughout and topping has turned a light golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes prior to serving.

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It tastes great and is filling!

A handy site for converting all kinds of measurements- http://www.convertunits.com/

Tonight was game night at our house. We played Gears of War: the board game. It is a cooperative game (which we love) and can be played by 1-4 players. Our team emerged victorious (barely). It was the first time Amethesto and I had played this so Hagbard had to patiently explain everything to us. Neat game!

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Broccoli Cheddar Casserole

I found the recipe for this comforting broccoli cheddar casserole some time ago on the Budget Bytes blog. I was interested in a casserole with rice to switch things up from pasta or potatoes. I have made it as it was originally posted but also have added things like leftover ham or chicken. My family cleans their plates when we have this dish! http://www.budgetbytes.com/2015/03/broccoli-cheddar-casserole/
Budget Bytes is a great blog with budget conscious but tasty food. We have enjoyed many recipes so I feel confident recommending the site to anyone looking for great meal ideas. I love her baked oatmeal recipes! The author does not post nutrition information but I generally don’t have any trouble fitting the dishes into my calorie goal when I log them on My Fitness Pal.
Speaking of My Fitness Pal, before making dinner tonight I looked at my food diary and noticed I could use a bit more protein in my day. We had some turkey in the freezer so I pulled it out. I mixed 14 oz of cubed turkey with the casserole. That is my only change to the original recipe today.
This is totally something you could prep in advance and pop in the oven when you get home from work.

I was thinking about a tip for cooks trying to cut down on nibbling and tasting too much. I started chewing mint gum while cooking and it works really well for me. Give it a try!

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