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Cheap & Healthy Casserole Recipes

Hello all. I make casseroles for local homeless/women's shelters and am searching for some new recipes. I have done Baked Ziti Parm. & Tuna Noodle w/mushroom soup, and everyone else does pork and beans pretty frequently.

The casseroles are assembled and then frozen, later cooked. They can be either pre-cooked or not. I try to have a combination of protein and carbs with veges. Vegetarian is especially good as some people are diet restricted due to religious beliefs. Cost effective is wonderful.

I know that you Chowhounds can come through with some great recipes. Thanks!

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  1. PS: I normally make a very large batch as they have to feed many people.

    1. I'm not sure what kinds of foods your shelters will like, but Indian and Middle Eastern foods use a lot of vegetarian ingredients (chickpeas, lentils, beans) but with spices to make them interesting. I can look up some recipes at home, but these may not be to everyone's tastes.

      1. Here's a link to a black bean casserole that can probably be multipied easily:


        1. Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie is an inexpensive easy to multiply one...

          4 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
          1/2 cup potato water
          1/4 tsp. salt
          1/4 tsp. onion powder
          8 oz black beans OR 1 1/2 cups garbanzo beans, cooked
          1 cup frozen corn, thawed
          1 cup frozen peas, thawed
          1/3 cup peanut butter
          1/2 cup water

          Preheat oven to 350.
          Place potatoes in a large saucepan, and add just enough water to cover.
          Boil for 15-20 minutes, or until tender. Drain potatoes, reserving
          Mash cooked potatoes with hot water, salt, and onion powder. Add
          additional liquid if desired. Set aside. Combine beans,
          corn, and peas in a 9 in pie pan. In a separate bowl, whisk together
          peanut butter and water, until smooth. Pour sauce evenly over
          vegetables. Top with mounds of mashed potatoes. Sprinkle with paprika.
          Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until potatoes start to brown.
          Serve hot or at room temperature.

          here is another good variation

          1. I like my mother's recipe for Bean Stroganoff. It's just ground beef sauteed with lots of onions and garlic, then mixed with kidney beans and sour cream and cooked (below boiling). I've used yoghurt as a more healthy sub and it works fine. I also used "Low Fat" sour cream (which may be an oxymoron) Season with s & p. Easy and very good.

            1. a vegetarian chili would work. I don't have a recipe but I'm sure others would.

              1. My mom used to make a Chicken Tortilla casserole similar to this one that I liked :http://southernfood.about.com/od/chic...

                I also used to like Chicken Divan made with a low-fat condensed soup and low-fat mayo..

                Another good listing, http://www.dianaskitchen.com/page/cas...

                1. My mom made a lot of casseroles when I was a kid. Mac n Cheese is one of my favs, but probably not that healthy or cost effective so how about Chicken Divan as mentioned above or chicken noodle casserole.

                  My mom's chicken divan is pretty simple and can be made fairly healthy. She just cooks the rice (could substitute brown) and puts it in a casserole dish. Then she steams some broccoli and put that in as well. Breaks up pieces of boiled chicken (can get whole birds kinda cheap) and tosses that in. I'm almost positive that she uses a low fat cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup and pours it over the rice and broccoli. Mix it a little and bake.

                  1. Following up from BrooklynMassala I have a good vegetarian chili that might work, very easy, healthy and tasty. Its my dad's recipe from his deli, its easy to do in large quantities, and there were frequently lines out the door on chili day. I've never measured the quantities though, so this is a little vague. Saute diced onions and bell peppers in equal quantities in a small amount of oil. When soft coat with chili powder, a bit of cumin, and a good dash of worstishire sauce. Next add diced canned tomatoes with their juice and drained canned beans (any mix of chick peans, kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans works well), I would say 28oz of tomatoes and 16 oz of beans per onion and bell pepper pair. Allow the whole mixture to simmer for 30 minutes and then taste for seasoning. Add salt, sugar, cumin, or chili powder to taste. When its done (you'll know its done when you need to have another without doing anything just to make sure) add a 1/4 bag frozen corn per onion and bell pepper pair. Simmer until corn is heated through and serve. A little sour cream and green onion on top makes it extra good. Tortillas, corn bread (jiffy mix is easy and cheap), or tortilla chips are good carbs to go along side.

                    Stratas are also a good casserole type of dish. Basically a savory bread pudding. The following is a sample recipe copied out of epicurious, but any combination of cheeses or vegetables layered between slices of slightly stale bread will work with this egg mixture and baking temperature.

                    Cheese and Spinach Strata
                    1 (10-oz) package frozen spinach, thawed
                    1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion (1 large)
                    3 tablespoons unsalted butter
                    1 teaspoon salt
                    1/2 teaspoon black pepper
                    1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
                    8 cups cubed (1 inch) French or Italian bread (1/2 lb)
                    6 oz coarsely grated Gruyère (2 cups)
                    2 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1 cup)
                    2 3/4 cups milk
                    9 large eggs
                    2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

                    Squeeze handfuls of spinach to remove as much liquid as possible, then finely chop.

                    Cook onion in butter in a large heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in spinach, then remove from heat.

                    Spread one third of bread cubes in a buttered 3-quart gratin dish or other shallow ceramic baking dish and top evenly with one third of spinach mixture. Sprinkle with one third of each cheese. Repeat layering twice (ending with cheeses).

                    Whisk together milk, eggs, mustard, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl and pour evenly over strata. Chill strata, covered with plastic wrap, at least 8 hours (for bread to absorb custard).

                    Preheat oven to 350°F. Let strata stand at room temperature 30 minutes.

                    Bake strata, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed, golden brown, and cooked through, 45 to 55 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

                    Cooks' note:
                    • Strata can be chilled up to 1 day. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before baking.

                    1. Fabulous ideas! People are going to love them. As I normally make the casseroles every week or so, as many ideas/recipes as possible is great. Keep them coming. Thanks everyone!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Main Line Tracey

                        How about stuffed shells? Stuff the pasta shells with a mixture of ricotta, shredded mozz cheese, egg, and chopped spinach (frozen is fine, thawed & squeezed dry). Top with tomato sauce and a sprinkling of cheese on top. Really not too much work since the filling isn't cooked. You just have to boil up the shells & fill. Freezes well and is a nice change from the usual sort of casseroles.

                        I like turkey tetrazzini, too. Boil thin spaghetti, brown ground turkey, or cut up cubes of cooked turkey. Cut up a pound of button mushrooms, saute with garlic, onion, then make a white sauce with some chicken stock added (or use cream of chicken soup if you want). Mix 2/3 sauce, mushroom saute mixture, and turkey bits together. Mix reserved sauce with pasta, put into a casserole, then spread the sauce/meat/mushroom mixture on top. Sprinkle with cheese. I'm leaving out all the spicing, etc, but recipes for tetrazzini abound on the web, check 'em out.

                        New Orleans style red beans and rice freezes well (not the rice), and you can make vats of it for very little dough.

                        I know you've asked for casseroles, but soup is good-n-filling-n-inexpensive, too. Or does another committee do the soups?

                      2. Main Line Tracey-
                        Is this volunteer? I live in philly area & would like to help out if it is something I can be involved in. please contact me separately with info. thanks otrgary@msn.com

                        1. This is something I make for my (19 yr old) son, he really likes it. It's kind of like Tuna Noodle Casserole...

                          Cheesy Chicken Casserole
                          4 oz curly noodles
                          1 cup chopped, cooked chicken
                          1-10 oz can cream of chicken soup (I use cream of mushroom)
                          2/3 cup part-skin shredded cheddar Cheese
                          3⁄4 cup milk (you can use 2% to make it healthier)
                          1⁄2 tsp crushed tarragon
                          2/3 cup cream-style light cottage cheese (ditto, 2%)

                          Cook noodles according to package directions, drain. Combine soup & milk, stir in cottage cheese, chicken, half of the cheese, & tarragon; mix in noodles. Pour into a casserole dish, cover & bake at 350F for 10-15 min. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top, bake for 5 min more til cheese is melted.

                          1. I make this a lot and you could always either add refried beans to it to make it even more substantial or substitute them for the beef for a vegetarian version.

                            Taco Casserole
                            1 lb. ground beef
                            1 small onion, chopped
                            1 cup water
                            1/2 cup taco sauce
                            1 can (4 oz.) diced green chiles
                            1 pkg. (1.25 oz.) taco seasoning mix
                            1 pkg. (12) taco shells or white corn taco shells, broken, divided
                            2 cups (8 oz.) shredded mild cheddar cheese, divided
                            toppings: chopped tomatoes, sliced green onions, sliced olives, sour cream

                            Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 11 X 7-inch baking dish. Cook beef and onion until beef is browned; drain. Stir in water, taco sauce, chiles and seasoning mix. Cook over low heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Layer half of broken shells on bottom of prepared baking dish. Cover with half of meat mixture; sprinkle with 1 cup cheese. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted. Top with tomatoes, green onions, olives, and sour cream.