Tag Archives: casserole

Squash Casserole

Yellow squash is one of those vegetables I have loved since I was a kid. My mom would saute the squash with plenty of onions and bacon fat to make a simple side dish. I still like making yellow squash this way although I have cut down on the bacon fat and salt pork my mom used.

The other day I saw someone making a squash casserole on a cooking show which involved crackers, mayonnaise and sour cream. I liked the idea of a casserole but using such rich and high calorie ingredients was too much for me. Instead, I decided on ingredients that were a bit lower in fat content yet tasty and surprised even me.

The real surprised was my taste tester son who said “This is good mom”. I wasn’t sure he would like the squash since he was giving me the side eye while I was slicing it up. When he asked what was for dinner and I said Squash Casserole T did not have an excited look on his face. The only response was humph.

I am going to categorize this as a quick an easy dish. The hardest part of the recipe is waiting for the casserole to finish cooking in the oven. Before and after that piece of the process is easy peasy. With summer upon us and the bounty of squash at the local grocers and farmer’s markets, Squash Casserole is a repeat dish in our house!

Squash Casserole


2 yellow squash sliced

2 zucchini squash sliced

2 eggs beaten

½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

¼ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

¼ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

½ small red onion diced

3 tbsp butter

1 tbsp grape seed oil or olive oil

1 tbsp Kosher salt

½ tbsp ground black pepper

½ tbsp dried oregano

½ tbsp dried basil

½ tsp onion powder

Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Melt butter and grape seed oil in a large no-stick frying over medium heat. Add red onion and saute for approximately 1 minute. Add squash and season with salt, ground black pepper and onion powder. Stir and saute until squash slightly softens. Set aside.

In a large bowl mix together eggs, oregano, basil and cheeses (reserve some cheese to sprinkle on top of casserole). Add squash and onions then stir until well mixed. Pour into a casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray. Top with remaining cheese and sprinkle with paprika.

Bake for 30 – 35 minutes until the center is set and topping has turned light golden brown.

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Rice and Spinach Casserole

Some days are harder than others to come up with side dish ideas. Potatoes, pasta and rice in various forms usually come to mind but can become boring or routine.

The other day I was trying to figure out what to do with the leftover rice in the fridge because I had made too much. Chicken and rice soup was one idea but we were still eating the Lentil and Carrot Ginger Soup I had made two days before. So, soup was out. Then I thought about making a casserole and maybe making it similar to my Macaroni and Cheese recipe. The idea morphed into a Rice and Spinach Casserole.

This recipe was so simple and quick to make because the rice was already cooked which meant it did not take long to pull the recipe together. I must say the Rice and Spinach Casserole did not come out exactly like my macaroni and cheese but it was doggone tasty. I think because rice and pasta have two different consistencies the rice did not come out as creamy as macaroni and cheese. Still the rice dish had a certain level of creaminess. It’s kind of hard to explain so I will just say you will have to try the recipe to see what I mean.

As always, I use my family as a guide to whether or not a recipe is blog worthy. Both my youngest son and hubby enjoyed my “new” side dish and happily had seconds of the Rice and Spinach Casserole. I will say a side dish tastes even better when the entire meal is good so that folks want to get just a little bit more of everything.

Rice and Spinach Casserole


2 cups cooked rice (leftover rice works well)

1 ½ cups fresh baby spinach

1 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese

½ cup shredded pepper jack cheese

½ cup half and half milk

1 can 2% evaporated milk

2 tbsp butter

cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spray a medium sized casserole dish with cooking spray. Set aside ¼ cup cheddar cheese.

Place cooked rice into the casserole dish. Pour evaporated milk and half and half over the rice. Add spinach, cheese and butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix well then top with remaining ¼ cup of shredded cheddar cheese.

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the liquid is evaporated and a knife comes out clean when placed in the middle of the casserole.

Remove from oven and serve with your favorite dish.

Mixed Baked Beans


Summertime is usually the time when folks make baked beans for every picnic, bar-b-que (yes, there is a difference between the two) or outdoor kids birthday party. But, we like to have baked beans year round because they taste so darn good. Plus, baked beans pair well with a lot of different meats like hot dogs, kielbasa, hot sausages and burgers. The list goes on and on.


Now that I have said how wonderful baked beans can be I think I should add that they sometimes need to be “doctored up”. I came up with Mixed Baked Beans because I wanted to make a slightly different side dish to go with some oven baked spare ribs I was fixing for dinner. I had a shelf full of a variety of beans so I decided to mix them all together to see how it would taste. If I do say so myself, they tasted absolutely delicious. The flavors of the cannellini, black beans and the homestyle baked beans blended together very well and were fantastic with the ribs.


The next time I tried making Mixed Baked Beans  I added some kielbasa and andouille sausage to the beans to kick up the flavors even more. Imagine all those wonderful flavors mixing together all in one simple dish. Hmmm…. I think I know what we are having for dinner tonight. Mixed Baked Beans with a few added surprises. Excellent!


Mixed Baked Beans

1 15 oz can cannellini beans drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can black beans drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can homestyle baked beans
1 14 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
½ cup diced onion
½ cup diced green pepper
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp butter
½ tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp black pepper
½ diced jalapeno pepper

2 slices of bacon diced
kielbalsa sausage
andouille sausage

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Spray casserole dish with cooking spray. Combine all ingredients into the casserole dish. Stir to mix well. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes until hot and bubbly.

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Eggplant Casserole


I am an eggplant lover. Back in my single days I use to make eggplant parmesan and it became one of my specialties. Over the years I have forgotten my original recipe so I decided to just make a simple eggplant casserole recipe. Although I love eggplant, I was not too sure how my family would like it. They like fried eggplant but a casserole? I was imagining that I would be eating the casserole the entire week for lunch and dinner.


I love it when I am wrong about how one of my recipes will be received by my test team. I was the first one to try it out. Usually, I don’t brag a whole lot about the dishes I make but I had to say out loud “this tastes good!”. My exclamation of how good the eggplant tasted made my hubby curious so he was the next one to dive into the dish. Like I said in the beginning, I love it when I am wrong about how one of my recipes will be received. Hubby was delighted and said he loved the different flavors.


Eggplant casserole is a wonderful side dish or you can make it into a meal. It is filling and I am sure once you taste it you will go for seconds.


Eggplant Casserole

2 small eggplants sliced thin
2 shallots sliced thin
1 14 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
½ cup fontina cheese shredded or sliced thin
½ stick butter sliced
2 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp seasoned salt
1 tbsp black pepper
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spray a rimmed cookie sheet with cooking spray. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil and spread around the cookie sheet. Place the sliced eggplant on the cookie sheet. Season with salt and black pepper on both sides. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes on each side until lightly browned.

Melt 1 tbsp of butter in a small frying pan then add shallots. Season with a little salt and pepper. Saute shallots until softened and slightly browned. Set aside.

Spray a small casserole dish with cooking spray. Put a large spoonful of fire roasted tomatoes on the bottom of the casserole dish. Layer the bottom with the eggplant overlapping each ring. Sprinkle a little oregano over the eggplant. Spoon some of the fire roasted tomatoes over the eggplant then add a layer of mozzarella cheese. Place another layer of eggplant and sprinkle with the seasonings then layer the shallots over the eggplant. Place fontina cheese over the shallots then add another layer of eggplant. Sprinkle with seasonings then spoon on more tomatoes. Layer more mozzarella cheese. Finish with a layer of eggplant, seasonings, tomatoes and mozzarella cheese.

Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees. Bake eggplant casserole for 25 to 30 minutes until cheese is melted and slightly browned. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 – 10 minutes before serving.


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Green Bean Casserole


Green bean casserole has been around for many, many years and I must admit I have never been a fan of this dish. However, when I was thinking about new side dishes for the holidays green bean casserole kept popping up in my head. Probably because it is such a traditional dish and the holidays are all about tradition and family.


I did not want to necessarily make the “traditional” green bean casserole so I went in search of something a little different. I was inspired by a recipe I saw made by Alton Brown. Instead of using a can of mushroom soup he made a mushroom sauce to compliment the beans. He also used fresh onions as a topping rather than the traditional fried onions in a can. Nothing against canned ingredients but fresh is always better if possible to make.


I added just a few little twists to Mr. Brown’s recipe to come up with my own version of green bean casserole. After tasting this dish I had to give myself a thumbs up. Who knew I could become a new fan of green been casserole? I sure didn’t!


Green Bean Casserole

2 packages mixed mushrooms
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup ½ and ½
1 large onion sliced thin
1 shallot sliced thin
2 garlic cloves minced
3 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp and ¼ cup flour
2 tbsp panko bread crumbs
1 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp black pepper
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
Juice from 1 lemon
cooking spray
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Mix onions, shallots and panko bread crumbs in a bowl. Sprinkle with a little salt and olive oil. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray. Spread onion mixture on cookie sheet and place in oven. Cook for approximately 20 – 25 minutes until onions and panko bread crumbs are browned. Set aside.  Reduce heat to 350 degrees.

Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Add mushrooms ½ tbsp salt and pepper. Saute for 5 minutes then add garlic and lemon juice. Cook for 1-2 minutes until mushrooms are soft. Stir in 2 tbsp of flour then add chicken broth. Mix well and cook for 1 – 2 minutes. Slowly stir in half and half milk. Reduce heat and simmer on low heat to let mixture thicken.

In a large pot bring 4 cups of water and 1 tbsp salt to a boil. Add string beans and blanch for 3 minutes. Move green beans to an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Drain water from the beans then place in a large bowl. Season beans with a ½ tbsp salt and pepper. Add 1 tbsp of butter and half of the onion mixture and toss. Place beans in a greased casserole dish. Pour mushroom mixture over beans and gently stir to mix. Top with remaining onion mixture and sprinkle parmesan cheese over onions. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes.

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