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Casseroles ......... bring 'em on!

I'm looking for something new in casseroles. New takes on old standards and classics too good to be forgotten also welcome! Casserole me up! I want a fridge full.

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  1. Rainey do you mean a freezer full, or actually a fridge full?

    This makes a firmish casserole, can be cut into moist squares, not spooned like a stew. I vary the ratio of eggs to cottage cheese if I have a surplus or shortage.

    Break 1# spaghetti (regular or the thin "angel hair" kind) into fourths, boil to "al dente" in salted water, drain. Add a little oil or butter to keep it from sticking to itself while you...

    Mix:

    4 eggs

    2 cups cottage cheese

    1 cup fresh grated Parmesan

    Thin sliced pepperoni -- I use packaged Hormel -- about 30 1" rounds, more or less.

    Garlic salt to taste

    Black pepper to taste

    Stir the egg/cheese mixture into the spaghetti. Pour into a 9 x 13 buttered pan and bake at 350ยบ for 30 minutes.

    It's very good, (more than the sum of its parts,) not fancy, and I've frozen it successfully.

    5 Replies
    1. re: blue room

      I'm looking for a metaphorical fridge full.

      My husband, daughter and s-i-l all work long, irregular hours. It's been donkey ages since we've been able to sit down together for a weeknight meal. But if there are yummy casseroles in the fridge they can help themselves at 8pm or 10:30 or whenever. And I can even feed the baby from them or pack food for the office from them.

      Three or four at at time means variety and everyone can find something to their liking.

      Most recent offerings have been chili, lasagna, chicken pot pie and braised short ribs given new life in a hardy soup.

      Maybe I"ll break out some more of the short ribs for a cottage pie.

      1. re: rainey

        Here's a one dish meal with the vegetables already *in*.

        http://www.globalgourmet.com/food/egg... It's great.

        I admire your ambitious 3 or 4 at-a-time plan, I'd stagger them so I wouldn't end up with 4 casserole dishes at once to clean!
        And try frankfurters/sausage over scalloped corn. Anything chicken-y over waffles.

      2. re: blue room

        My son might actually eat that. I'll probably have to grind the cottage cheese up to remove the curd factor, but I will give this a try. Thanks

          1. re: Jay F

            My son hates ricotta. He'd know in an instant if I used it. But cottage cheese would be new to him, so he might try it.

      3. I love nothing more than Lasagne Bolognese, but I don't always feel like making my own pasta (and boxed lasagne is just not for me). Instead, I make bechamel with plenty of parmigiano-reggiano, and a full pot of Bolognese, and use a pound of cavatappi for a baked Cavatapi Bolognese casserole.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Jay F

          Jay F I had to look up cavatappi, new to me and neat looking!

          1. re: blue room

            It's my favorite shape of box pasta -- well, it and capellini. I buy them both 5 boxes at a time from Amazon. It's around $2 a pound that way instead of $3 at the store.

            http://www.amazon.com/Cecco-Cavatappi...

            http://www.amazon.com/Cecco-Capellini...

            1. re: Jay F

              Jay, I don't know where you are, but Kroger and Marsh here in Indiana often have both for 1.29 per pound. Kroger has their Private Selection house brand and I believe Marsh is De cecco. And it seems like Kroger has a version of itself everywhere.

              1. re: silvergirl

                I'm in Pittsburgh, SG, and we don't have either of those stores. We used to have Kroger, but no longer. Thanks, though.

          2. re: Jay F

            Hey Jay F,

            care to share your recipe for Bolognese?

            1. re: Barbarella

              It's basically Marcella Hazan's recipe, only I often use ground turkey (7% fat--DO NOT USE FAT FREE) instead of my usual combo of 1/2 ground pork and 1/2 ground beef.

              I'm kind of guessing at amounts here:

              For 2# of ground meat, I saute a chopped onion, 2 diced carrots and 2 diced celery stalks, and when the onion is translucent, I add the meat and break it into chunks. I do this in a 5.5 qt Le Creuset French oven, btw.

              When the meat is kind of gray all the way through, I add white wine, about a cup, and let that evaporate slowly, cooking on low. When the wine is absorbed into the meat, I do the same with milk or cream, about 1/2 cup.

              When the meat mixture has absorbed all the liquid, I grate a little nutmeg, and maybe add a few sage leaves. I add a little S&P at this point, too. Then I add in a 28-oz. can of tomatoes, and let it all cook on low, covered, for an hour. I check it every 15 minutes or so. You may find after doing it this way that you prefer more tomato. Fine. I like it a little more meaty than tomato-y, but I know others like it with more tomato.

              When the vegetables are nice and soft, I take off the lid and let the sauce simmer at the lowest possible temperature--just the slightest bubbling--for a few hours. Six hours is supposedly how long you should let it simmer, but I have a hard time waiting six hours sometimes.

              If it dries out too much, you can add water and keep cooking. I don't often have that problem, but sometimes it's hard for people to get their burner to go low enough, and I suppose you could burn the sauce if that's an issue for you.

              You can make the pasta and the besciamella for lasagne while you're making the Bolognese. I use Marcella's recipe for besciamella, but I prefer Giuliano Bugialli's pasta recipe, which uses a little olive oil, which I think makes the dough easier to roll through the hand-crank machine.

          3. Tuna noodle casserole. Usually I get the idea to make this during Lent. So easy!

            6 Replies
            1. re: monavano

              I make what I call Disgusting Tuna Noodle Casserole. It's noodles, mushroom soup mixed with cream and Worcestershire, deli-sliced swiss cheese, tuna packed in oil, and potato chips of choice.

              1. re: Jay F

                Every once and a while I HAVE to have this. And it HAS to have the crunched up potato chips! What can I say? It's my childhood and I like it!

                1. re: Jay F

                  Tuna casserole is so fun to "doctor" up and one of the classic ways to use cream soup. Gotta have peas!

                  1. re: monavano

                    Beware the 1975 "Joy of Cooking" tuna casserole. It calls for 1 cup of condensed mushroom soup, and *no* other liquid. It's been discussed before on Chowhound, it's not a correct recipe.

                    1. re: blue room

                      Why do you think that recipe is incorrect? I think that is how it is (or was) made. Adding liquid to already cooked pasta and tuna would turn into soup.

                  2. I made Homesick Texan's fancified King Ranch Chicken casserole last winter and both H and I loved it. It looks pretty barfy, but tastes wonderful. I'm sure I'll make it again this winter.

                    http://homesicktexan.blogspot.com/200...

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: agoodbite

                      Thanks. Copying the recipe into my database.

                      1. re: agoodbite

                        Thanks for this! I can't tell you how many batches of King Ranch Casserole I have made in my life. My first taste of this was after my third child was born. A neighbor brought it to me and I had to have the recipe! I was so shocked by the soups. I never used soups as an ingredient. But I loved it so much, I made it anyways, many times. My grown sons still mention King Ranch Casserole from time to time. I think what is so addictive is the sharp pepper flavor with the starchy sauce. My King Ranch always looked like glop! And yet we loved it. Thanks for linking to an updated recipe.

                        1. re: sueatmo

                          You're welcome! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. I agree that the contrast between the green chiles and the starchy sauce is what makes sets it apart. Oddly enough, my husband thought it had no chance of tasting good, but he loved it even more than the ones he'd eaten made with creamed canned soup.

                        2. re: agoodbite

                          Don't know if I did it "wrong" or not -- I *suck* at following directions -- but mine was not soupy and doesn't look "barfy" in the least. It looks like lasagna. In fact, I dearly wanted to add a queso blanco & egg layer and go all the way to lasagna.

                          I anticipated that the sauce would be tomato-y. In fact, it's brown and piquant from the fond from browning the chicken. Looks wonderful!

                          Alas! I'm waiting for the family to try it and give me their verdict as I don't eat things with dairy or grains anymore.

                          1. re: rainey

                            I'm glad you had success with it! I also suck at following directions and I'm sure my proportions were off since I was using what I had on hand. Can't wait to hear what your family has to say about it.

                            1. re: rainey

                              They're loving it!

                              I've put the recipe in my database with the note that next time I add a layer of queso blanco stirred together with a couple eggs in between the two chicken/tortilla layers. I'm also going to add sliced ripe olives to the melty cheddar on top as soon as it comes from the oven.