Tag: casserole

Our Favorite Cheesy Potatoes Recipe

I shared a lot of photos on Instagram since Christmas, but the one that received the most love featured potatoes.

Party potatoes, Funeral potatoes, Football potatoes, Pittsburgh potatoes, Crunchy potatoes, Corn Flake potatoes, and, my personal favorite, Cheesy Potatoes. This casserole goes by many names which really suggests that there is no bad time to make these potatoes.

This casserole makes an appearance at every one of our family’s Easter meals. My mom used to be the bearer of the party potatoes. I remember popping bags of frozen has browns and dumping them into our big, plastic popcorn bowl. The potatoes, sour cream, cheese, and cream of chicken soup created such a thick mass, that I always handed the spoon over to mom to finish mixing. My Godmother’s taken over the honors.

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Taste Test: Pizza Hot Dish In A Slow Cooker

Spending time browsing Pinterest makes me want to do strange things.

After avoiding Pinterest for quite some time, I logged back into my account and gazed in wonder and bewilderment at all of those frosted watermelon “cakes,” two or three ingredient [insert the name of any food imaginable] and recipe round-ups ad nasuem. Of course, nearly every image on Pinterest is vertical because someone’s research found people are more likely to pin them. Now, we have no other choice but to.

Last week my friend posted a nifty recipe for crock pot meatloaf. Between reading her post and seeing crock pot lasagna recipes, pizza hot dish got stuck in my head. I chose to try the Skinny Crock Pot Pizza Casserole recipe from the blog Six Sisters Stuff because it seemed to make slightly less food and contained less cheese and sausage than the other recipes (though I loathe the word skinny).

I did swap ground beef for ground turkey. My new favorite butcher grinds fresh beef and I drained the fat off anyway. Plus, the recipe calls for a cup of pepperoni, so why count calories? A friend commented that this type of pasta dish in the slow cooker can become dry and so I took her advice by adding more pasta sauce and water than the recipe called for. In the end, the pasta had still soaked up most of the sauce.

So, what does happen when you cook marinara sauce, rinsed (but not cooked) spiral noodles, chopped bell pepper and onion, black olives, ground beef, pepperoni, and mozzarella in a slow cooker on low for four-five hours?

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The recipe called for fresh garlic. My pasta sauce smelled garlicky, so I omitted it.

The instructions specifically say no peeking while the dish cooks. Five hours later. . .

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Honestly, the pizza hot dish in a crock post tasted pretty dang good. Since slow cooking is essentially steaming food, the cheese will melt instead of become golden brown. Also, the noodles at the bottom will feel mushier while the ones near the top will be chewier. Depending on how long you keep the meal on warm, some noodles may even become crunchy, but I didn’t even mind the varying noodle textures because they added textural contrast.

This isn’t the prettiest dish and it’s far from gourmet, but pizza hot dish in the crock pot is comfort food like our mom or school cafeteria might have made. We’re enjoying it enough to keep chipping away at the leftovers. Jake’s only complaint is that he did not like the addition of the green pepper. He likes raw green pepper but thought it got overcooked in the hot dish.

My best advice for anyone who wants to make this dish is to add lots of black pepper and change up the ratio of noodles and pasta sauce. Using about 2/3 box of pasta and 16 oz. of sauce + 1 cup of water might create more sauciness. Who knows, though. Cooking pasta in the slow cooker is wild, you guys.

Comfort Food After the Storms: That Swiss Chicken Casserole My Mom Made

Four evenings of storms passed and our refrigerator remained running for three, so I’m cooking again.

The tornado warnings occurred on Monday, followed by severe thunderstorm watches and flash flood warnings. Many farms, parks, homes and campgrounds in North Iowa are experiencing flooding. Our block is located near a creek and we’re thankful it’s remained dry this week.

I wanted the first meal I prepared after our post-storm fridge dump to be simple and comforting. For whatever reason, a casserole my mom used to make popped into my head. It combined chicken breasts, swiss cheese, white wine, and stuffing.

It turns out that this dish is called “Swiss Chicken” or the vague and partially misleading “Chicken with white wine sauce.”

Swiss Chicken casserole is not gourmet. It won’t win any beauty pageants and contains condensed cream of [pick your poison] soup, but it made me happy and it tasted like my mom’s. Comfort food after the storms.

Swiss Chicken
There are a million recipes for this dish and they are nearly identical. I worked from The Girl Who Ate Everything’s post.

Swiss Chicken

Ingredients:
4-6 chicken breasts (or enough to fit into a large baking dish).
1 slice of swiss cheese per chicken breast
1 can of cream of chicken/mushroom/celery soup
1 cup milk
1/4 cup white wine
Black pepper
1 box of stuffing
Melted butter, enough to lightly drizzle over the stuffing

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350℉.
  2. If you are using smaller chicken breasts, pound the thicker part so it’s more uniform in size. If you are using large chicken breasts, slice them in half so you have two thinner halves of equal size.
  3. In a lightly oiled baking dish, line-up the chicken breasts in a single layer.
  4. Top each piece of chicken with swiss cheese.
  5. Combine the soup, milk and wine. Sprinkle in some black pepper.
  6. Pour soup mixture over the chicken.
  7. Sprinkle the stuffing on top and drizzle with melted butter.
  8. Cover and bake for 40-minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and the stuffing is golden brown. You will need to adjust the length of time depending on how thick your chicken breasts are.

Discovering My Grandmother’s Recipes: Cheesy Ham & Sour Cream Casserole

My husband has begged me not to make any more of my grandmother’s recipes, so I’d say this experiment is going quite well.

Two weeks ago, I discovered eleven recipes my grandmother’s had submitted to their old church cookbooks and decided to embark on a journey to cook them all.

So far, I’ve prepared Ship Wreck Casserole (the one my mom hated), a creamy Apricot Jell-O Salad, and creamy Old Fashioned Cauliflower Slaw. Sunday supper involved making Grandmother Jane’s Ham and Sour Cream Casserole.

Ham and Cheese

What I liked about this recipe was that the ingredient list was minimal and seemed very simple to prepare. Plus, none of the ingredients seemed objectionable since they just included noodles, ham, eggs, sour cream, and cheese. How bad could this be?

Just like when I prepared the past few recipes, I had an I just can’t moment while I was attempting to grate the pound of cheese. I grated a half pound of cheese (a mix of sharp cheddar and swiss) and just had to stop. I stared at the looming mountain of cheese shreds and thought of grating twice that amount blew my mind.

Other adjustments I made included adding even less than the 1/2 pound of cheese I grated and diluting the sour cream with a little milk since it was too thick. When the casserole had finished baking, I broiled it for a few minutes to see if the top would brown. It didn’t.

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Concluding Thoughts
The casserole matched my initial prediction that it wouldn’t taste that bad because the ingredients were so basic.

My husband made a sad face and commented that it couldn’t be that healthy, so we ate small portions along with big bowls of our favorite kale.

We added plenty of black pepper, and, although he did not return for more casserole, admitted that it tasted decent. I brought it with me to work for lunch during the week.

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If you prepare this recipe as written and mix the eggs and noodles together in the baking dish after it’s sprayed, the egg layer will stick to the bottom of the dish. And yes, this layer does taste like scrambled eggs. You’ll find some hot ham water gathers in the bottom and the cheese will congeal into a chewy layer. I didn’t even use a half pound of grated cheese and the casserole was extremely cheesy and a little bit oily.

A whole pound of cheese would be obscene, so, if you must, proceed at your own risk.

I’m going to give Jake and I a break from these retrotastic casseroles and prepare healthier meals this week. Otherwise, I’m afraid he’ll quite literally run for the hills screaming should he catch sight of another mayo and cheese-based concoction. We live in Iowa, so he’ll have to run pretty far to find those hills and I don’t want to have to catch him.

Join me next as I tackle Old Fashioned Fruit Cake, Chicken Marengo, Cashew Salad made with fresh greens and homemade vinaigrette and Pilaf before I try each grandmother’s version of crab casseroles. These will give you the mayo shivers. With the predicted blizzard, who needs any more shivers? We can all afford to make these wait.

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