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Okay worst casseroles have been discussed, how abour the best?

  • Candy Jul 6, 2009 06:03 PM
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My mom made a great tamale pie. It was firm,meaty, loaded with cheese and black olives. Never soupy but spoonable. Her mac and cheese was totally form scratch. There was a cheese crust applied to the casserole dish, same with souffles. She taught schooklduring the week and cooked mostly weekends and came form a long ling of southern cooks. Yeah there was pot roast and after that pot roast soup, fried chickens on Sunday and makeovers after that. Green bean casserole was a mystery until my sister decided to marry a Connecticut Yankee. Her spaghetti sauce was long cooked, loved sneaking bites on saltines. A big treat was waffleson Sundays, I still have her Sunbeam waffle baker with well seasoned cast iton grids.I dare you ro find a waffle that crispy today. Oh yeah meat loaf was looked forward to and sandwiches

Lets knock off breating out moms and start celebratring whar they did very well.

CKG

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  1. I'm not sure whether you want to compare quality casseroles or offer accolades to the good cooking that mothers do (or did) ...
    What's the point here?

    1. Mom (-in-law) was justifiably proud of her broccoli casserole. We raved, and scraped every vestige from the serving bowl.

      A true classic of the era: boiled then drained frozen broccoli cuts, grated cheddar (with hot sauce added in the day when sharp cheddar was less available), beaten eggs and mayo, and crumbled Ritz crackers both for body within and as the brownable topping (with added cheddar).

      5 Replies
      1. re: FoodFuser

        I have consulted my records (mom-in-law's handwritten recipe), and was remiss in not including the binding ingredient of "one can cream of mushroom soup".

        The addition of this canned soup ingredient further bolsters the casserole's classic integrity as a product of the era where recipe sources were mainly the Campbell's sponsored ad pages in Parade magazine.

        It was the "Bon Appetite" of broccoli in its time.

        1. re: FoodFuser

          As courts often write, it is "well settled" that casseroles have cream of mushroom soup in them.

          I have a classic chick'n 'n mushroom from a high school sorority in the 1930's (believe it or not). Without the recipe to hand, but a good memory, it is simply go steal a chicken and boil it up in water withi a good dose of sherry (nothing fancy) and some onion and celery,, whatever else you care for(I have even used curry--again, don;t go gussy-like and make the powder yourself..just get that green tin that came from India and has been on the shelf at you Exotic Food store since 1968...freshness guaranteed by that little sliver of tin across the opening). When the yard bird is done, pull it out and let cool. Meanwhile, strain your broth and use enough of it to cook a package of Uncle Ben's Wild Rice/Converted Rice with Seasaonings. Put about half the seasoning pack in--or none, as you wish, but reserve some of it. When the rice is done, mix it and the now-chopped chicken in a bowl, add cream-of-mushroom soup. Sautee a pack of mushrooms, sliced, reserving a few for decor and add the rest to the glop. Taste for seasoning (you can add water chestnuts for some crunch if you like). Dump in a pint of sour cream and mix up real good. Into the casserole, put your breadcrumbs on with the butter drizzle and decorate with reserved mushroom slices. Bake as you would any casserole.

          Serve and enjoy tonight's episode of "Bonanza."

          1. re: hazelhurst

            I'm wiping the remnants of my cocktail off of the screen now. Best post ever!
            adam

          2. re: FoodFuser

            To chicken/mushroom recipe, forgot to say, add the seasoning pack when you add the sour cream.

            1. re: FoodFuser

              Paula Deen makes this broccoli casserole (recipe available on foodnetwork.com), and I have made it many times, mostly for Pot Lucks where it has been wildly successful. This, also, works well, as you would guess, with cauliflower, summer squash (including zucchini). I've thought of trying Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and asparagus. The addition of macaroni (not too much) and chopped ham might be interesting, also.

          3. Cooked pasta, a fairly large-size type, drained well but still hot

            Toss with shredded mozzarella and grated parmesan, chopped fresh parsley if you wish, and a very light sprinkle of mixed Italian seasoning

            Layer in casserole with sauce (a little or a lot, as you prefer), and top with more mozzarella

            Bake at 325' till it melts (maybe 15 minutes), but does not brown

            1 Reply
            1. re: wayne keyser

              mmm My mom used to make something similar- was always a favorite with her fantastic garlic bread mmmmm

            2. Does lasagne count as a casserole? My Mum used leftover bolognese sauce, but instead of bechamel, made a white sauce out of yoghurt and sour cream. Cut the richness nicely.

              I also like fish bake with meaty fish on a bed of sauteed veg, topped with mashed potato and cheese or breadcrumbs.

              Not my cooking, but I work with a sustainable food dining project. They do amazing loaves and fishes work, feeding a lot of people for very little. Green bean bake with butternut chunks and a breadcrumb crust, shepherd's pie but with savoury lentils, eggplant bake with blue cheese crumbled on top. All hearty, flavourful, pretty healthy and greatly appreciated on a winter's day with a fresh green salad along side.

              1. This tuna casserole from CHOW is fabulous and has glowing reviews...love the jalapenos in it!
                http://www.chow.com/recipes/10889

                1. A decadent, cheesy spaghetti casserole that comes from my ex-mother-in-law's English mum. We always called it English Baked Spaghetti. It calls for 6 ingredients, and will render your cheese lovers weak in the knees.

                  8 oz. cooked spaghetti or linguine
                  1 28-oz can plain crushed tomatoes
                  1 to 1 1/2 pounds good extra sharp cheddar cheese
                  Goodly amount of butter, salt & pepper

                  In a smallish casserole, spread a layer of the crushed tomatoes. Top with half the spaghetti, salt/pepper, half the remaining tomatoes and half the cheese, cut in slabs. Next, the remaining spaghetti, the remaining tomatoes, salt/pepper, dot generously with butter (up to a stick), and the remaining cheese overall. Bake at 375 until bubbly and starting to brown on top. Let it cool for a few minutes before serving. It was always served with bangers, but I find it's wonderful with a nice green salad or steamed veggies.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: katcraig

                    My mother made that and she had an English MIL. Ours had sausage, not butter. We called it The Casserole. It was really good. Oh and ours was made with cooked elbows. Spaghetti came out of a can.

                  2. A post-Thanksgiving leftovers casserole consisting of layers of stuffing, gravy, sliced turkey, sweet potatoes, creamed onion, and a little cranberry sauce, liberally topped with bechamel or supreme sauce and buttered cracker crumbs and baked till golden brown. I suppose you could use the leftover green bean dish in there, too.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: greygarious

                      Wow! I am SO trying this next month! It's like a one-up on the whole "put everything between 2 pieces of bread" Turkey Day leftovers.

                    2. I have quite a few casserole recipes that I use. Since my Mom didn't make too many casseroles, most of the recipes are my own.

                      The favorite is Val's Slumgolian, a nice take on goulash without any canned soup.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: chef chicklet

                        So I googled to see what a Slumgolian is, and what did I find but your previous posting of the recipe: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6055...

                        1. re: GretchenS

                          Yes that'd be me. Thanks for doing that Gretchen I am so lazy. I hate looking for stuff because most of time it's so time consuming and I come up empty handed.

                          Another thing is I usually only provide my suggestion, and then if asked I'll give the recipe (yup guilty again) : )

                          With that let me say, it's a great recipe, and nice for the whole family. I've used it for many many years now.

                          Recipe for the Slumgolian
                          1 lb of ground turkey or beef
                          1 large onion
                          2 garlic cloves smooshed with salt and oil
                          1/2 bell pepper, diced
                          4 lg cans if tomato sauce
                          tomato paste
                          1 cup frozen white corn
                          1 small can sliced black olives
                          1/2 cup romano cheese
                          fresh parsley
                          fresh basil
                          dried oregano
                          1 pk of wide egg noodles
                          In a large saute/deep pan, brown the meat with the 2 T dried oregano or dried basil, onion, garlic and the green pepper, drain the fat.
                          add mushrooms and corn, dried herbs and salt and pepper
                          Seperately cook the noodles al dente, drain the water off and reserve

                          Toss the tomato and meat mixture, add a little sauce to the noodles, and then pour it into a large casserole. Add cheese and olives to the top
                          bake at 350 for 30 minutes with a lid or foil add the fresh basil and romano cheese prior to serving, or you can take the lid off, add mozerrella put it back in the over until the cheese melts.

                          Hope you enjoy this dish, this has been one of my dishes in rotation for many years. I think it's very similar to Goulash but perhaps gussied up a bit.

                          1. re: chef chicklet

                            Sounds like the "Oriental Hash" of my childhood. I'll dig out the recipe --that is also in teh Southern Cookbook of UNC fame referred to elsewhere

                            1. re: chef chicklet

                              Tried this...worked around the inconsistencies in the recipe (how much mushrooms, too much tomato sauce?) and turned out ok, but not great. Needs some more flavoring. Paprika?

                              1. re: DonShirer

                                You had too much tomato sauce? What kind of pasta did you use? Sometimes pasta can change the liquid and either be dry or too wet. Mine is not dry, it's saucey and clearly bubbling when I make it.

                                I add red pepper flakes to my personal portion, but would love to add it to the entire casserole if I didn't have to feed a 4 yr old. Also to answer the paprika? Paprika would work, but I don't know about the paprika and romano cheese. Maybe you just don't like it? I almost forgot! I have made this with hot Italian sausage or a mix of sweet Italian, an Hot Italian, both were good. My hubby prefers this made with the sausages.

                            2. re: GretchenS

                              The Slumgolian sounds great. How much mozzerella do you use? Is there a difference between Romano and Parm reg? I'm asking because I try to have Parm reggiano all the time but I never have romano at home. TIA!

                              1. re: odatlynn

                                I cannot speak for chef chicklet, of course, but whenever we ade the similar item we just put enough cheese to cover the top without making it too "gloppy"....this is a technical term from the vanished 1950's /1960's. I argue that one should not over-gussify such an item. (we did not have frozen corn--we had canned corn. the whole point of the goddamn thing was to brown meat, add Hunter's Sauce with tomato and other items and bake in time to have dinner or, if really advanced (like our neighbors) sit down and watch "Gunsmoke" while chowing.

                                1. re: odatlynn

                                  I hate to sound stupid, but really I just use enough to creat a nice coat of cheesy goodness to plunge the serving spoon into. So it's about an inch thick, and melty and stringy...

                                  Romano cheese for me is not as salty, nor as pungent, although I love them both, I use the romano for the family. Either would be nice and I'm certain that during the last 15 years I've used them both. Kids love this dish by the way.

                            3. My Sainted Mother™ made the best:
                              Baked Ziti

                              INGREDIENTS:
                              1 lb. ground beef
                              1 lg. onion, chopped
                              1 green pepper, chopped
                              1 can (16 oz) tomatoes, hand-crushed
                              1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
                              1 tsp. Italian seasoning
                              1-1/2 tsp. salt
                              1/2 tsp. pepper
                              1 lb ziti pasta, cooked and drained
                              1 lb mozzarella cheese, sliced

                              METHOD:
                              Preheat oven to 350°F. Sauté beef, onion, and green pepper in a large
                              skillet until onion is transparent and meat is lightly browned. Drain off significant portion of fat.

                              Add in tomatoes, crushing them by hand before allowing to cook, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Stir to mix. Add ziti and half the cheese, stir well. Spoon into 2 1/2 quart casserole and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly and top is lightly browned.

                              (The dreaded and much maligned) Tuna Casserole

                              INGREDIENTS:
                              1 lb. egg noodles
                              Boiling water
                              2-1/4 tsp. salt
                              2 TBS butter
                              1/4 cup onion, chopped
                              1/4 cup green pepper, chopped
                              1-1/2 cups milk, whole preferred
                              1 tsp. flour
                              1/2 cup mushrooms, fresh, chopped
                              pepper, to taste
                              1 lg. can tuna, flaked and drained
                              1/4 cup green olives with pimento, chopped
                              1 TBS mustard
                              1/2 cup potato chips, crushed

                              METHOD:
                              Cook egg noodles in boiling water; drain and set into deep dish casserole.

                              Melt butter in large skillet and sauté onions and peppers until tender. In sauce pan, start cream of mushroom soup to cooking (see cream soup recipe). When cream of mushroom soup finished cooking, combine onions, peppers, tuna, olives, mustard, and salt to casserole and mix together with noodles. Bake at 375°F for 25-30 minutes or until bubbling throughout. Add crushed chips last five minutes of cooking and serve.

                              My Father-unit made the BEST:
                              Tamale Pie

                              INGREDIENTS:
                              1/2 cup onion, sliced
                              2 TBS bacon fat
                              2 cups ground beef
                              1 lg can, stewed tomatoes, chopped
                              1/2 cup black olives
                              1-1/4 tsp. salt
                              3/4 tsp. chili powder
                              1/3 cup corn meal
                              1-1/4 cups water

                              METHOD:
                              Preheat oven to 350°F.

                              Sauté onion in skillet with bacon fat until tender. Add meat, tomatoes, olives, salt and chili powder. Simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Pour mixture into deep casserole.

                              Combine corn meal, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 cup water in small bowl. Use remaining water to cook corn. Add corn meal to corn, stirring constantly, until thickened. Reduce heat, cover and cook for another 10 minutes. Add to casserole by spreading across the top. Cover entire center. Sprinkle with more chili powder. Bake for 30 minutes. NOTE: Add Hatch Chiles if available.

                              Quiche Loraine

                              INGREDIENTS:
                              Pie pastry shell
                              1/2 lb bacon
                              1 cup Swiss cheese, shredded
                              3 eggs
                              2/3 cup cream
                              1-1/3 cup milk, whole
                              1 tsp. salt
                              1/4 tsp pepper
                              dash cayenne pepper

                              METHOD:
                              Preheat oven to 400°F.

                              Fry bacon until crisp; drain fat, reserve for later use. Crumble bacon into pie pastry shell. Layer shredded cheese over bacon. Beat eggs with milk and spices until all mixed together. Add to pie pastry, pouring over cheese and bacon. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until knife inserted into middle slides out clean. Beware over baking. Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve slices.

                              My Mother-in-Law is also gifted in the casserole arena! She makes:

                              Chicken and Artichoke Heart casserole

                              INGREDIENTS:
                              2-3 lb chicken, roasted ahead of time
                              1 lg onion, chopped
                              2 boxes Cara Mia artichoke hearts
                              1 clove garlic
                              2-3 TBS curry powder
                              1 can cream of chicken
                              1 cup Mayonnaise
                              2 cups cheddar cheese (mild)
                              2 cups seasoned croutons, crushed
                              4 TBS butter, melted

                              METHOD:
                              Preheat oven to 350°F

                              Pull roasted chicken apart and into manageable pieces. Set into 10"X13"X2" baking dish.

                              Boil artichoke hearts with clove of garlic. Drain artichoke hearts and layer atop chicken. Crush garlic clove, mince fine, and add to casserole.

                              In a large mixing bowl, add mayonnaise, cream of chicken soup, and curry; stir together. Add shredded cheese and layer atop casserole.

                              Melt butter and crush croutons. Mix together to cover croutons evenly. Top casserole and put into oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: The Ranger

                                Love these offerings! You have your full family history here, in casseroles.

                              2. My family can't get enough of this chicken & rice casserole. I've simplified it a bit, using a large dutch oven and baking it in the same pot I cook all the individual stages in, I've used yogurt and milk instead of sour cream and cream, with no appreciable difference in taste. But here's the original recipe.

                                http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/chic...

                                1. I wanted to make a Tamale Pie using masa dough instead of cornbread, for something that was more like actual tamales (just easier since there's no individual wrapping required). You could easily substitute pulled pork or shredded beef for the ground beef I used. Here's what I came up with:

                                  OPERAGIRL'S TAMALE PIE

                                  For the masa:

                                  1 1/3 cups lard
                                  4 cups masa para tamales
                                  2 tsp. baking powder
                                  1 tsp. salt
                                  4 cups warm water
                                  1 bag (12oz) frozen corn

                                  In a medium bowl, whip the lard until fluffy.

                                  In a separate large bowl, mix the masa, baking powder and salt. Add the water, mixing with fingers to form dough. Fold in frozen corn, and chill masa dough for an hour.

                                  For the filling:

                                  2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
                                  1/2 yellow onion, diced
                                  2 cloves garlic, minced
                                  2 1/2 pounds ground beef
                                  3 Tbsp. chili powder
                                  2 Tbsp. ground cumin
                                  1 tsp. salt
                                  1 Tbsp. tomato paste

                                  In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, cooking until softened. Add the ground beef, chili powder, cumin, and salt, and stir until meat is thoroughly cooked. Add the tomato paste, stirring to distribute throughout, until most of the liquid has evaporated.

                                  Also need:

                                  12oz. grated colby jack cheese

                                  To assemble the pie:

                                  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

                                  Grease a 9"x13" casserole, and pat in half of the masa dough in an even layer.

                                  Pour in the filling, spreading evenly. Sprinkle 2/3rds of the cheese over the filling.

                                  Pat in the final layer of masa dough, and cover casserole with aluminum foil.

                                  Bake for 1 hour, then remove foil, sprinkle on remaining cheese, and bake for another 20 minutes.

                                  Let cool before slicing.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: operagirl

                                    this sounds awesome!

                                    1. re: ChristinaMason

                                      Thanks, Christina! It ain't low fat, but it sure was delicious!

                                    2. re: operagirl

                                      operagirl; that is just what I was thinking about! I am so happy to have a template to follow :-) I'll be making it in 2 - 8X8 pans as I have green chile chicken and some shredded beef/pork. Do you think they might do well in a cupcake pan?

                                      1. re: just_M

                                        Hmm, I'm not sure! If you covered them with foil just like the big casserole, and perhaps cooked them at 325 instead of 350F, that'd probably keep them from drying out and allow the masa to steam a bit. Worth a try -- I'm curious to know how your 8x8 ones turn out =)

                                        1. re: operagirl

                                          Thanks operagirl, I'm going to give it a go tomorrow and if I have enough fillings I might try a couple of the cupcake version too. I'll let you know how it goes :-) M

                                    3. This one isn't Mom's--I found it online and just tried it last night. We loved it--it's definitely going in the "keeper" file. The "Slightly Fancy-Pants" version replaces the cream-of-whatever soup with non-prefab ingredients.

                                      Slightly Fancy-Pants King Ranch Chicken Casserole
                                      http://homesicktexan.blogspot.com/200...

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: MsMaryMc

                                        I'm sure the "slightly Fancy-Pants" version is delicious but, for me, the fun of casseroles is opening cans of things and making it work. It's like Spinach Madeline...gotta use frozen spinach and gotta use the Kraft cheese...gussied up it just ain't rigiht.

                                        1. re: hazelhurst

                                          Ah, Spinach Madeline. That will be on our Thanksgiving menu. But I'll be using home frozen spinach because I have quite a lot I put up early in the growing season. The original Kraft cheese called for in the recipe isn't made any more, but John Folse has modifications listed on his site explaining how to make it with the products available now.

                                          1. re: decolady

                                            I am told--but never looked--that the BR Junior League has a "patch" on the cheese problem on their website..or available somewhere, anyway. Since the BR League is the entity that introduced that classic to the world, I would go with their "fix" but I rigged my own using the garlic cheese and hotsauce. Works fine to my taste

                                            1. re: hazelhurst

                                              Decolady and hazelhurst - this is the first I read about the Spinach Madeline - quite a history! I copied the recipes after I googled it . It seems that you both feel it is quite a hit? On the recipe's site it mentions a possibility of serving it as an appetizer with crackers - would you suggest this?

                                        2. re: MsMaryMc

                                          Oh thank you for this link. I haven't made King Ranch in ages. My version always looked alarming, but it always tasted so good. I'll give this version a try. I think the starch in the cream soup was so good with the bite of the chiles. My family used to eat this quite happily. I'll be glad for a better version. Thanks again.

                                        3. A good lasagne is a perfect casserole. It is however time-consuming to make. For years I have baked chicken thighs over a seasoned rice mix with onion, mushrooms and green peppers. I always thought it delicious.

                                          1. Barley Casserole by James Beard
                                            House & Garden, January 1965

                                            http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                            A classic since the 60s. And no cream of mushroom soup...

                                            1. My mom used to make a casserole that called for layered corn tortillas, hamburger, canned cream of chicken soup, sour cream and canned mild green chiles. Not bad. We thought we were being cosmopolitan, eating all that "ethnic" food. : )
                                              Myself, I really enjoy and appreciate classic Chicken Divan: Breast of chicken, broccoli, mornay, breadcrumbs. And the cubed hashbrown/cheez whiz/mushroom soup/onion ring combo.

                                              1. Plof with lamb

                                                My tajik friend at work makes it. YUM Have no idea what the spice is and she doesnt know the english name. her mom sends it to her.

                                                1. My folks were just in for a weekend visit couple weeks ago. Dinner Monday (they stayed over and it was nice to get home to M&D cooked meal after work) was a cabbage and pork chop casserole. Cabbage cut as for kraut. Cover pork chops with cabbage in a 9x13 and top with can of Cream of Celery. Layer thinly sliced potatoes over all. Cover with foil and bake. Don't remember times/temps. When pork is done uncover and continue baking until potatoes brown. The cabbage turns into almost a sauce of it's own... very little texture left, but amazing flavor. Kids couldn't get enough, a full 9x13 barely made it to leftovers with only 6 of us.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Scott D

                                                    That sounds completely delicious.

                                                    1. re: Scott D

                                                      Any spices we should know about? That does sound good. How thick were the chops? Bone-in?

                                                    2. Did this one the other night and boys scarfed it down:
                                                      Ground beef and lots of fresh veggies - celery, onion, mushrooms, green beans (saute); then the sinful can of mushroom soup, ziti and some of the pasta water with fresh ground pepper. Oh, yeah, and some mushroom paste/stock base that I got addicted to when I was chasing chefs around the commercial kitchens in my younger days... Let it meld for about 45 minutes. omg

                                                      1. Just posted this on the "what to do with so much cheese?" thread, but since my Mom made it and I love it (so does my family)... this is my vote for a "best" casserole (and no canned soup required!):

                                                        Chile Relleno Casserole
                                                        1 lb jack cheese
                                                        1 lb cheddar cheese
                                                        2 small cans whole green chiles
                                                        1 can (12 - 14 oz) chilled, whipped evaporated milk
                                                        2 eggs
                                                        1/2 cup all-purpose flour

                                                        Oven 350°. Drain/rinse/de-seed chiles. Grate cheeses and combine. Spray 9 x 13 casserole dish. Cover bottom of dish with a layer of peppers. Sprinkle a layer of cheese on top. Layer remaining peppers and remaining cheese. Add eggs to whipped milk, whisk in flour and pour mixture over top of pepper/cheese layers. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve with one or all: salsa, sour cream, cilantro, black olives.

                                                        I've added grilled chicken and corn to this and subbed fresh chiles when my garden was cooperating (roast them first), and tried some other variations to use fridge/freezer stashes. I also routinely cut the amount of cheese in half and/or sub reduced fat cheese or fat-free milk. It's a very forgiving recipe and seems to go over well with my family (thanks, Mom!).

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: CapreseStacy

                                                          Thanks for reminding me of this great casserole. I remember having it a friends house in high school their recipe was on the back of a powdered milk box and it was delicious.

                                                        2. TWO SQUASH CASSEROLES

                                                          These are not my mom's recipes, but I have made both *for* my mom, and she adores them.

                                                          Spaghetti squash casserole from the original moosewood -- slice the squash in half and roast, and meanwhile sautee onions and mushrooms, adding in a couple of chopped tomatoes, some fresh herbs, and mix with ricotta and Parmesan. Cool the squash so you can handle it, and scoop out the strands of roasted squash. Combine it all, top with more Parmesan, and bake in a glass dish until hot and bubbly.

                                                          Creamy autumn casserole with squash, rosemary, shallots, and bacon

                                                          Roast 3 cups butternut squash in 1-inch cubes with 1TBSP fresh rosemary, a few good grinds of salt and pepper, and a swish or two of olive oil at 425 for about 35 minutes or until tender. Use a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Check so they don't burn.

                                                          Meanwhile, cook 6 slices bacon, remove from pan and set aside. Save the bacon grease for later in this recipe. In a little of the bacon grease, sautee one cup (about 2/3 pound) shallot, very thinly sliced. Cook 1/2 pound of small pasta (I used smallish, but not tiny, shells) to al dente. Make a roux with 4 TBSP bacon grease and 4 TBSP flour, and whisking constantly add in 2 cups milk. Bring to boil, and whisk another minute or two until the sauce has thickened. Stir in three ounces shredded SHARP provolone cheese. Combine it all (sauce, pasta, squash, bacon, shallot) and put in an 8 x 8 or 9 x 11 casserole. Top with freshly grated Parmesan.

                                                          This is PERFECT FOR FALL for a potluck or a cozy dinner, and the balance is sublime. Everyone will ooh and ahh and lap it up. In fact, that is true of both of these squash casseroles.

                                                          9 Replies
                                                          1. re: twilight goddess

                                                            #2 sounds pretty sinful!

                                                            1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                              I can't stop eating it. Can't. Stop.

                                                              1. re: twilight goddess

                                                                #2 sounds A-MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-ZING. Truly. It might make my cut for Thanksgiving!

                                                            2. re: twilight goddess

                                                              Next time I see a butternut squash I am going to snap it up and make that casserole!
                                                              Sauce, pasta, squash, bacon, shallot...omgosh!

                                                              1. re: twilight goddess

                                                                I know! Yum, right? I may add spinach the next time I try it. I may bring it to Thanksgiving too! Double the entire recipe for guests or a potluck, by the way, and it will nicely fill a 9 x 13 pan. You may want to add a little Aleppo to the sauce for kick. Or a dash of nutmeg.

                                                                Reading over my instructions, I see that I omitted one step -- don't forget to crumble the bacon before adding it into the squash and shallot mixture.

                                                                1. re: twilight goddess

                                                                  Just made #2 for some lunch guests - the guests fell through but the casserole is astounding!

                                                                  1. re: twilight goddess

                                                                    Made squash casserole #2 again (for my mom!) tonight, third time this fall, but a variation this time with *orzo and spinach* --

                                                                    Doubled the recipe, made with 1 pound of orzo and 1 package baby spinach instead of the bacon, but I used bacon grease for the roux still. Wilted the spinach by sticking it in the colander and then pouring the orzo and its boiling water over. Then mixed roasted squash, sauteed shallots, sauce, orzo/spinach, and popped all in a casserole, topped with Romano, and baked for the ten minutes at 450 as before. Interesting -- really different with orzo. Now that I've made this a few times, it's easier and easier, and it works as a weeknight dinner.

                                                                    My mom noticed that this is soooo pretty with the spinach- the contrasting bright pops of orange and green color!

                                                                    Note: I cut squash in bite-sized pieces now, and it takes only about 20 minutes at 425. Watch for burning! I added cayenne to the sauce, a few pinches. My mom stopped me before I got too zingy with the cayenne.

                                                                    1. re: twilight goddess

                                                                      I have always wondered about this - and it sounds like such a stupid question ..."instead of the bacon, but I used bacon grease for the roux still." how do you get the bacon grease?

                                                                      1. re: smilingal

                                                                        ;-) I had saved the bacon grease from the last time I cooked bacon, which was the last time I made this casserole, actually! Any time I make bacon, I pour the extra grease in a clean can or mug, and store it in the fridge -- my mother's trick. The smokiness of the bacon flavor did permeate the dish this time, too, even without the bacon.

                                                                  2. Some old favorites that always made dinner time a good thing:
                                                                    Tamale Pie -made with ground beef and lots of olives. So comforting. SHe makes it now with ground turkey and it's still good.
                                                                    Chicken and corn tortilla casserole -this still makes my mouth water. Layers of corn tortillas with shredded chicken, with green chile and chedder cheese on top.
                                                                    These are such simple recipes, but somehow she made them taste so special.

                                                                    1. A good Reuben casserole never hurt anybody: layers of rye croutons, pastrami or corned beef, kraut; sauced with cream of whatever and topped with swiss before baking. Good stuff. Also enjoy shredded cabbage/sliced potato/sausage casserole.

                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                      1. re: mamachef

                                                                        << Also enjoy shredded cabbage/sliced potato/sausage casserole. >>

                                                                        Beside chinese that is the only way my son will consume cabbage. I have to say it is delicious and so easy! :-) M

                                                                        1. re: just_M

                                                                          You can do something similar that he might like, by stewing shredded cabbage and onion in chicken broth (I use a crockpot and let it go all day), and serving it over noodles with some sour cream.

                                                                          1. re: mamachef

                                                                            Thanks mamachef; sounds like comfort in a bowl! I will give it a shot and even if its not his thing I'm sure I and the Mr. will love it :-) M

                                                                        2. re: mamachef

                                                                          oh wow, what a cool idea. This is going into my "cold day food" testeroos.

                                                                          1. re: CapreseStacy

                                                                            CS, it's definitely in the "cold day dinner" repertoire. It's incredibly comforting food (also see Haluska) and what's even more comforting is, you come into the house, it smells fabulous, and all you have to do is boil noodles. And I notice I forgot to mention that the sour cream is extra-good if mixed with a few Tb. of white wine and a heavy shake of paprika.

                                                                        3. Paula Deen's Baked Spaghetti http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/pa...

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: pamd

                                                                            I saw this recipe and it instantly brought me back to the Elementary school cafeteria in my small town. I loved this stuff. I especially liked edge-piece, with all the crispy pasta and browned cheese. Mighty good eatin'. I'm going to have to try Mrs. Deen's recipe, and induce some nostalgia of my very own!