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Don't fear the casserole
by Darlene Montague
Sep 03, 2012 | 892 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
People seem to have definite feelings about casseroles and just the word can evoke strong reactions. Some people cherish them and others don’t even consider them to be “real” food!

So what is a casserole exactly? Well, a casserole can have many definitions

• A casserole is a good thing to throw together when your brain just can’t think of anything else to fix for dinner.

• A casserole is a means to use up all those bits and pieces hiding in the fridge so your family won’t know they are eating leftovers.

• A casserole is a thing of comfort one takes to a shut-in or grieving family to show them how much you care, but just can’t express in words.

• A casserole is a way to feed lots of people like at a church potluck or family reunion.

• A casserole is a timesaving device for busy moms who are too rushed to put a meat and two sides on the table.

• A casserole is a good excuse to invite friends over at the last minute and share some quality time.

• A casserole is a thing that takes you back to your childhood and reminds you of your Mom.

So don’t be afraid of the casserole! I like a good casserole from time, but my Bil doesn’t like his food “all mixed up,” nor does he like any of the “extras” I put in, which causes him to spend a good deal of time picking out anything that might possibly resemble a vegetable!

But if you are in need of a good casserole for any of the reasons above, here are a few that I’ve been making over the years. Feel free to add any “extras” that you like because, as you know, a good casserole “grows” by whatever you like and want to put in it!

Hamburger “Lasagna”

Ingredients

1½-2 lbs. lean hamburger meat

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1-2 cloves garlic, chopped

salt/pepper to taste

1 jar spaghetti sauce

½ cup water

1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes

2 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp fennel seeds, optional

½ tsp red pepper flakes, optional

1 16-oz. bag wide noodles

1½ cups sour cream

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

8 oz. shredded Mozzarella cheese

8 oz. shredded Provolone cheese

Instructions

Brown off the hamburger meat with the onion, garlic and salt and pepper. Drain if there is too much fat and return to the saucepan.

To the meat, add the spaghetti sauce, diced tomatoes, brown sugar, and the fennel seed and pepper flakes, if using. Put the water in the spaghetti sauce jar and shake to get all the sauce out of the jar. Add to the meat. Simmer 10 minutes. If too thick, add a bit more water.

In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, garlic powder and parmesan cheese and set aside.

Boil the noodles until al dente. Drain and rinse. Return to the cooking pot.

Stir sour cream mixture into the noodles.

In a well-buttered 9x13 baking dish, layer half of the noodle mixture, half of the meat mixture, the shredded mozzarella cheese, another layer of noodles and the rest of the meat mixture. Top with provolone. This will fill you baking dish to the very top!(You may want to set the dish on a cookie sheet to prevent spill-overs) Bake at 375 degrees 25 minutes or until heated through. Let stand about 10 minutes before serving with a salad or vegetable and lots of garlic bread.

John Benghetti

Cook together

1 lb. hamburger meat, seasoned

1 medium onion, chopped

1 medium green pepper, chopped

Drain fat if necessary.

In a large bowl combine meat mixture with:

1 can tomato soup

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can petite peas, drained of some of the liquid

1/4-oz. jar sliced pimentos

1 medium can sliced mushrooms

1 12-oz. pkg. wide noodles, cooked

Instructions

Turn into a large casserole dish. Top with Velveeta slices.

Bake at 350 degrees 20-30 minutes until heated through. Serve with a nice salad and some garlic bread.

Mom’s Skillet Dish

Cook together

In an electric skillet, brown together:

1-1½ lbs. hamburger

1 small onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste

Drain fat.

Then add and stir together:

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can corn, drained

1 can cut green beans, drained

Heat through. Pat down, reduce heat to low.

Instructions

Prepare:

2 pkgs. instant mashed potatoes

Spread them over the meat mixture and sprinkle with paprika. Keep skillet on warm until ready to serve.
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