Casseroles & Quick Skillet Dinners

Here are old classics and new favorites – many have an extra twist or two to make them outstanding. Casseroles have a bad rep, sometimes deserved, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Keep them fresh, use lots of vegetables and very little carbohydrate ridden filler, and don’t over-cook.

Although I’ve tried to categorize by main types, of course some are good with any protein and can be easily switched out.

Beef

GoulashGoulash: Sometimes called Chili Mac, this simple, down home version of ground beef, tomatoes, aromatics and noodles has won the hearts of many American families. Simple, easy, fast & cheap!

Classic Shepherd's Pie (Cottage Pie)Shepherd’s Pie: Lovely mashed potatoes (with or without cheese) blanket a casserole of beef and vegetables. This one has a few touches that make it outstanding. Technically a “cottage” pie…

Skillet LasagnaSkillet Lasagna: When layering is just too much and you need dinner on the table in under 30 minutes, but don’t want to compromise on flavor, this is your save! All the flavor, none of the mess!

Sloppy Joe CasseroleSloppy Joe Casserole: Good from a mix, really, really good made from scratch with a great cornbread base and excellent Sloppy Joe topping! And of course, a little cheese doesn’t hurt, either!

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls xStuffed Cabbage Rolls with Sweet & Sour Sauce: Every family with an Eastern European heritage and southward probably has their own recipe – this one is particularly good!

Taco Night Casserole xTaco Night Casserole: Simple, easy and good! So why not just have tacos? This is a dish to throw on the counter and is more filling and less messy than tacos, yet still has the familiar flavor.

Vera Heinman's Noodle Dish xVera Hinman’s Noodle Dish: This simple dish is our family’s answer to hamburger helper. Seriously so good you might not want to stop eating it – and it’s ready in about 25 minutes using pantry ingredients.

Chicken & Turkey

artichoke chicken casserole xArtichoke Chicken or Turkey Casserole: A lovely casserole for brunch or dinner, family or company. Fresh, vibrant, cheesy and just a bit sophisticated. Easily doubles for a crowd.

Cheesy Chicken3Cheesy Chicken or Turkey Casserole: I’ve been making this for over 35 years and it has always been a family favorite It’s a down home casserole but has a surprising number of veggies.

Cordon Bleu1Chicken Cordon Bleu, Deconstructed: All the flavor of the Classic, but none of the hassle. This is a baked dish, layered chicken & ham smothered with a Swiss Mornay. Change up the cheese for fun.

Chicken Enchiladas xChicken or Turkey Enchiladas: A family favorite, these are napped in an easy Ranchero sauce. Check out the little understood method of prefrying and dipping the tortillas.

DSCN8352xChicken Pot Pie Like You Wish Your Grandma Would Have Made!: The name says it all. A bit of work – no strange short cuts here like cream cheese or soup, but it is all so worth it.

Turkey B'SteeyaTurkey B’Steeya: A Casserole doesn’t really begin to describe this masterpiece of a Moraccan dish. Turkey layered with a gorgeous mixture of egg and spices, all wrapped up in Phyllo.

Turkey Tetrazzini1 xTurkey Tetrazzini: What more can I say? This is an “oldie” but a “goodie,” a classic for using left over Turkey from Thanksgiving or Christmas. Chicken works just as well in this dish.

Uncle Ben's Wild Rice Casserole xUncle Ben’s Wild Rice and Turkey Casserole: This is the best version of this after Thanksgiving casserole. I think it’s the wine that makes it – or maybe the pecans. All others will be pale pretenders!

Meatless (or not)

Baked Ziti xBaked Ziti or Penne: Generally vegetarian and very cheap this ubiquitous little casserole can run the gamut from excellent to bleh. A few hints can make sure yours shines!

Creamy Cauliflower Mac & Cheese xCreamy Cauliflower Mac’n’Cheese: A Mark Bittman work over, the Cauliflower has a naturally sharp taste that mimics the sharpness of a white Vermont Cheddar. Talk about “stealth” veggies!

ultimate-macaroni-cheese-3The Ultimate Macaroni & Cheese with Herbed Topping: This is one amazing Mac & Cheese – after decades of “hit” and “misses” this one earns a place in my recipe box!

Vibrant Vegetarian Casserole xVibrant Vegetarian Casserole: One of my favorites, the vegetables are done to a crisp/tender perfection and the whisper of cheese sprinkled over the top only enhances, and doesn’t “drown.”

Ham, Pork or Sausage

Cheesy Pasta BakeCheesy Pasta Bake: While my Baked Ziti is an absolute perfection of a Pasta Dish, this one takes it up one more level. Spicy, cheesy and a little decadent, it still won’t break the bank!

Easy One Dish Ham xEasy One Dish Ham or Turkey Bake: So easy a child can make using canned soup, but there are directions for making a home-made sauce. The topping is a Bisquick fake out.

potato-cheese-breakfast-bake-with-bacon-or-hamPotato Cheese Strata: A welcome change from bread based strata, this breakfast bake is based on hash browns, cheese and eggs. Make the night before and to pop in the oven in the morning.

Scalloped PotatoesScalloped Potatoes, Like the Ones your Grandma made!: These REALLY are. This recipe is from my 1950’s era Betty Crocker Cookbook. This is our go to after a ham dish!

Three Cheese Enchiladas7Three Cheese Enchiladas with Braised Pork and Ranchero Sauce: Whether you make them leaner or oooey gooey cheesy, these are a world-class dish! Tangy Ranchero, gorgeous cheese!

Tuna or Salmon

meta1 xMeta Given’s Tuna Noodle Supreme: The Original Tuna Noodle Casserole from the early 50’s. Had my Mom made hers this way, it wouldn’t have taken me 40 years to try it again! Optional Potato Chip topping.

Cheesy Tuna Casserole xCheesy Tuna Casserole with Green Olives: I would have left out the olives had my daughter not made this for me. It’s become one of our favorites with its cheese & crunchy veggies.

Miscellaneous Helps

Bread Crumb1 xBread Crumbs – Is a recipe necessary? These include variations with a copy cat recipe for Progresso and a Panko crumb. No food processor? Bread crumbs can be grated or done in the blender.

DSCN8313xButtermilk Biscuit Topping for Casseroles: Perfect amount to top a casserole dish or six individual ramekins. Beautiful homemade topping made with buttermilk, butter, flour.

Cream of Anything Soup300px-Campbells_cream_of_mushroomDirections for making just the right amount of white sauce to use in any casserole or recipe calling for a canned cream soup. This will free you from canned.

bisquick xBisquick Substitute: Save time, lower the cost, avoid additives and make as lean or as rich as you’d like. Simple to make & easy to use – make a cup or two or a larger quantity to keep in the fridge or freezer.

grandma xMake Your Own Casserole: A few  instructions, guidelines & tips to develop your own using ingredients you & your family love. The sky’s the limit once you “get” the formula.

Comments and discussion always welcome - tell me what you think.

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Recipes so Good no-one will know you're Cheap!

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