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The Best Tuna Casserole Ever. I am so not kidding.

23 Sep

I adapted this recipe from one that I found on Food.com. We usually just do the stove top tuna and noodles, but lately I’ve found myself completely disinterested in eating it once I’ve made it. Enter this gem of a casserole, which I whole-heartedly assure you will be the best thing you put in your mouth today. Heh.

- 12 ounces wide egg noodles, cooked al-dente, drained and rinsed
- 1 can cream of golden mushroom soup (any cream of mushroom soup will do, but I find that the golden stuff adds nice color and flavor) – use the low fat stuff if you’re counting calories
- 3/4 cup evaporated milk
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise (low fat is ok)
- 1/4 cup sour cream (low fat is ok)
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 five-ounce cans of tuna, drained
- 1/2 packet of dry Lipton onion soup mix
- 1 1/2 cups freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese, separated
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire
- 1 tsp Tabasco
- 1/2 tsp celery salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- Optional – 1 cup of frozen baby peas or vegetable medley, thawed and drained

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl mix all ingredients, reserving 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese, and folding the cooked pasta in last after everything else has been mixed well. Pour everything into a greased casserole dish, and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake uncovered in the preheated oven for thirty minutes. Serve hot – serves up to six.

Stuffed Shells with Vodka Cream Sauce

4 Jun

- One 1 lb. box of jumbo pasta shells
- 2 tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
- One 16 oz. container of ricotta (whole or skim or fat free, whatever your choice)
- 6 oz shredded mozzerella cheese (separated)
- 2 tbsp dried or fresh parsley flakes
- 4 tbsp minced garlic (separated)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- One 28 oz can of CRUSHED tomatoes (or puree a 28 oz can of diced tomatoes in a blender until smooth)
- 1/2 cup vodka (either the cheap stuff or expensive, it doesn’t effect the taste)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp dried italian seasonings (blend, or oregano and basil)

For Pasta: FOLLOW PRECISELY so that shells do not stick to the pot or each other! In a large pot, pour 1 tbsp canola or vegetable oil. Tilt the pot so that the oil coats the bottom of the pot. Fill pot with water. Add another tbsp of oil to the water, along with a liberal amount of salt. Bring water to a boil, add the shells. Cook, boiling consistently, for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Drain, rinse, and drain again. Separate each shell (you should have about 30) and place on a foil lined baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray and allow to cool slightly.

For Filling: While pasta is cooking, in a large bowl mix together ricotta, half of the mozzerella, 2 tbsp garlic, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Spray a 9×13 casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Fill each pasta shell with about one tbsp of mixture, and place seam-side down into the dish. Cover filled pasta shells with damp paper towels while making the sauce.

For Sauce: In a large skillet or heavy saucepan, sautee 2 tbsp. garlic in olive oil. Add crushed tomatoes, vodka, red pepper flakes, and heavy cream. Stir together, and add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes until flavors have blended and sauce has thickened. Pour sauce over pasta shells (remove the paper towels first!) and ensure each shell is covered completely.

To Bake: At this point you can refrigerate the dish for up to one day (covered in plastic wrap), if you are making it ahead of time. Simply allow it to sit at room temperature for one hour before putting it in the oven. To cook, cover with foil and bake in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, remove foil, cover with remaining mozzerella and the italian spices, and return to oven for 5 or 10 more minutes, until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly.

Baked Enchiladas

25 Feb

- 3 cups cooked beef roast (use leftovers!) (-or- cooked chicken -or- cooked pork -or- a combination of any/all three -or- sauteed peppers, onions, spinach, or other vegetables for vegetarian enchiladas)
- 3/4 cup salsa of choice (we use a mild red)
- 1 sm. can (one to three oz) diced mild green chilis
- 1 32-oz can mild green enchilada sauce
- 1 16-oz can refried beans
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 cups cooked rice (we use instant rice)
- 6 large (burrito size, or 12 inch or larger) flour tortillas**
- Additional salsa
- Shredded cheese of choice (we use a cheddar/jack combo)
- Garnish recommendations: Sliced jalapenos, Sour cream, sliced black olives, chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×15 casserole dish with non-stick spray.

Shred the beef roast into a skillet. Add 3/4 cup salsa, green chilis, and 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce. Stir to combine and heat over medium-low heat. Meanwhile, combine refried beans and water in a bowl and stir to combine until smooth. Prepare rice.

Line six flour tortillas on the counter, assembly-line fashion. Place 1/4 cup (or two heaping spoonfuls) of refried bean mixture onto each tortilla and spread down the center, stopping about 2-inches from the edges. Place 1/4 cup of beef mixture on top of refried beans. Place 1/4 cup rice on top of beef. Sprinkle each with two tbsp of salsa and 1/4 cup shredded cheese (or to taste). Keep in mind to stay away from the edges of the tortilla throughout!

To roll the enchiladas, fold one side over the ingredients. Fold top and bottom over the inside, then roll lengthwise to create a closed-ended wrap. Place side-by-side in casserole dish.

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Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and pour remainder of enchilada sauce over all. Return to oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle generously with shredded cheese. Return to oven and bake for 5 minutes. Remove and serve with sour cream, jalapenos, additional salsa, additional cheese, black olives, shredded lettuce, or whatever garnish you desire.

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You will likely have leftover refried beans, rice, and roast mixture. Combine all in a large bowl and heat for an excellent dip served with tortilla chips, or for fast lunchtime burritos. Very versitile leftovers!

**For gluten free recipe, substitute flour tortillas with corn and roll taquito-style.

Chili Chicken

13 Feb

Four medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or eight b/s thighs)
1 can chili with beans
1 can diced or stewed tomatoes
1 cup (or more!) shredded cheese
Italian seasoning
Salt & pepper

Place chicken in an ungreased baking dish. Top with tomatoes. Season to taste with italian seasonings, salt and pepper. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

Remove from oven and carefully drain off the majority of the liquid using a spoon or ladel (this is what I do, anyway, it doesn’t hurt anything to leave the liquid in). Spoon chili over each chicken breast and return to the oven for 10 more minutes. Remove from oven, top with cheese, and return to oven for five more minutes.

Recommended served with rice.

Tomato, Leek and Potato Bake

25 Jan

1 1/2 lbs potatoes
2 leeks, sliced
3 tomatoes, sliced
3 fresh rosemary sprigs, crushed
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 1/4 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Grease a five cup shallow ovenproof dish.
- Scrub and thinly slice the potatoes, layer them with leeks and tomatoes in the dish, scattering some rosemary between the layers and ending with a layer of potatoes.
- Add the garlic to the stock, stir in the salt if needed and pepper to taste, then pour over the veggies.
- Brush the top layer of potatoes in olive oil.
- Bake for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours until the potatoes are tender and topping is golden and slightly crisp.

Chipolte Tamale Pie

25 Jan

(modified from the recipe from RecipeZaar)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb lean ground beef
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 (8 ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 chipotle chiles (found in the Mexican food area of the grocery store), chopped, *plus*
1 teaspoon adobo sauce, from canned chipotle in adobo
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 (8 1/2 ounce) package cornbread mix (such as Jiffy)**
1 egg
1/3 cup milk

- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Spray an 8-inch baking or casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray and set it aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, green peppers, and garlic and cook until transparent and softened.
- Add the ground beef and cook until it no longer pink and is cooked through. Drain off any excess fat and sprinkle the meat mixture with the cumin.
- Add the beans, tomatoes, chiles and adobo sauce to the skillet and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until heated through and slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
- Remove pan from the heat and stir in the cheese and cilantro.
- Spread the beef mixture in the prepared baking dish, pressing down on it with the back of a spoon or spatula to make an even, compact layer.
- Combine the cornbread mix with milk and egg (note: this will NOT be according to package directions) and spread the cornbread batter over the beef mixture.
- Bake until the cornbread is golden-brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let the tamale pie stand for 5 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.

I think I added too many chilis and too much adobo sauce, as this was SO HOT we could barely eat it.  And I love me some hot stuff.  So I think next time I’ll omit the chilis and adobo sauce and go for a milder version.

**To make this recipe gluten free, choose a gluten free cornbread mix – many store-bought mixes have gluten in them, so read the label carefully!

American Chop Suey (Goulash)

25 Jan

A lot of families have their own Goulash recipe. Mine is of the tradition of Cole Farms Restaurant in Maine – a dish going by the name of “American Chop Suey” in those climes.

1 16 oz box macaroni noodles
1.5 lbs lean hamburger meat
2 tbsp Worcestershire
1 can diced tomatoes
1 jar tomato sauce of choice
2 tbsp italian spices (oregano, basil, rosemary, etc.)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil noodles according to instructions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute bell pepper, onion, and garlic in the olive oil. Once vegetables are crisp-tender, transfer to a bowl and set aside. Using the same skillet, brown the hamburger meat, seasoned with salt, pepper, and Worcestershire. Drain and return to skillet, add sauteed vegetables. Add diced tomatoes (do not drain), tomato sauce, and italian spices – stir to combine. Set heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

When the noodles are cooked, pour tomato sauce/meat/vegetable combination over noodles and stir well to combine. Serve with fresh grated cheese, crusty bread, and a salad.

To make this a “One-Pot Wonder”, simply cook the noodles first and drain.  Use the pot to follow the remainder of the recipe, then add the noodles back into the pot and stir to combine.

Breakfast Casserole

25 Jan

1 lb pork sausage
1 8oz pkg refrigerated crescent roll dough
8 eggs, beaten
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 tsp. oregano

Cook sausage over medium-high heat until browned, drain, crumble, set aside. Preheat oven to 325 degrees, lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish. Line bottom of dish with crescent roll dough, sprinkle with crumbled sausage. In a large bowl, mix beaten eggs, both cheeses, and oregano. Pour mixture over sausage and dough. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Baked Ziti

25 Jan

One box (16 oz) Ziti noodles
One jar (20 oz? something like that) of tomato sauce
1/2 lb. hamburger
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
Two cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup green pepper, finely chopped
Two cups mozzarella
1/4 cup ricotta
Basil, onion powder, oregano, other spicy things, or “Italian Seasoning”

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cook Ziti according to directions. Meanwhile, heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Saute mushrooms, garlic, onion, and green pepper until tender (onions transparent) – about three minutes. Add hamburger to vegetables and brown. Drain. Add tomato sauce to meat mixture and heat thoroughly.

In a large bowl, combine ricotta with half the mozzarella, half the tomato sauce/meat mixture, and the italian seasoning. When Ziti noodles are done, drain and stir into the mixture. Pour noodles into a casserole dish (spray it with “Pam” first!), and top with remaining sauce mixture and cheese. Bake covered for 20 minutes and then uncovered for fifteen minutes. Serve with crusty bread and tossed salad.

Shepherd’s Pie

25 Jan

- 1.5 lbs ground beef
- 5 potatoes, peeled and diced -or- 2 packets instant potatoes (ala Betty Crocker)
- 1 can sweet corn, drained -or- 1/2 can corn and 1/2 can green beans -or- 1.5 cups frozen vegetable medley, thawed and drained
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 3 tbsp butter or margarine, divided
- 1/4 cup milk
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Instant/jarred beef gravy, or your favorite beef gravy recipe

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  1. Melt 1 tbsp. butter in medium skillet. Sautee garlic and onion until softened and slightly browned.
  2. Add ground beef to skillet, as well as Worcestershire, salt, and pepper. Cook until browned. Drain, removing as much grease as possible.
  3. Meanwhile, boil potatoes in medium pot with well salted water until tender, then drain. Place potatoes back in the pot and add milk and 1 tbsp. butter. Mash/mix until smooth. OR prepare instant potatoes according to package directions.
  4. Spray a large casserole dish (13×9 – ish) with non-stick spray. Put browned beef in the bottom of the casserole dish. Place vegetables of choice on top of beef. Finally, spread mashed potatoes evenly on top.
  5. Spread 1 tbsp butter over the top of the potatoes, and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
  6. Cover, and place in oven. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. If a browned top is desired, remove casserole from oven, uncover, and place under broiler for a SCANT few minutes, until potatoes are lightly browned.
  7. Heap onto plates and serve with gravy.

A good alteration/addition for this recipe is to add a layer of stuffing (like Stove Top) on top of the meat/veggies, under the mashed potatoes.