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Sweet Potato Breakfast Casserole

26 Sep

IMG_3143

Here’s another breakfast recipe that was a big hit during our summer as hosts at the Everett Jewish Life Center at Chautauqua Institution. It would be a great break-the-fast dish after Yom Kippur!

You can mix it up the night before and leave it covered in the fridge. Take it out at least 20 minutes before you want to bake it.

I made it several times. Once I used a package of Morningstar Farms Chipotle Black Bean Crumbles instead of the veggie sausage, and that was also good.  It was even easier because I didn’t have to thaw and crumble the sausage, just dump in the contents of the package.

Ingredients:

4 cups shredded sweet potatoes
4 oz. butter, melted
8 eggs
8 oz. vegetarian sausages (links or patties), thawed and crumbled
12 oz. shredded cheese (Cheddar, Mexican blend, Italian blend are all good)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup finely sliced fresh spinach (or 1 10-oz. package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry)
2 cups small curd cottage cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Mix the sweet potatoes and butter together and press into the pan, covering the bottom.

In a large bowl, blend the eggs well and mix in the sausage crumbles, cheese, onion, spinach and cottage cheese. Spoon over the sweet potato layer.

Bake about an hour until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 8 to 12

 

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Farmer cheese casserole

5 May

farmer cheese casserole

I bought a package of farmer cheese for Passover because I like to make a matzo-cheese-leek pie. Farmer cheese is kind of like a smooth and dry cottage cheese, a little like feta cheese but not as crumbly and with a less tart taste. Unfortunately, I forgot that my recipe called for half a pound of farmer cheese, and I bought the larger, one-pound package.

After Passover, I had to figure out what to do with the rest of the farmer cheese, so I took a look at what was in my fridge and came up with this recipe.

If you don’t have farmer cheese, you can substitute small-curd cottage cheese (drain it before adding to the rest of the ingredients) or finely crumbled feta cheese.

I had leftover rice so I used a little of that to add starch and thickening, in place of the flour I would normally use. Don’t make rice just for this recipe; use flour instead.

Ingredients:

3 Tbs. butter or olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
half a bell pepper (I used yellow), diced
1 small tomato, chopped
1 10-oz. box frozen spinach, thawed and drained
3 eggs
1 cup farmer cheese
1 oz. cheddar or Monterrey Jack cheese, cubed
1/4 cup cooked rice or 3 Tbs. flour
salt and black pepper to taste (the cheese may be salty enough that you don’t need to add any)
1/2 tsp. dried oregano or basil

Directions:

Heat half the butter or oil in a medium skillet and saute the onions and peppers until soft. Add the chopped tomato and spinach, and continue cooking until any liquid is evaporated. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put the remaining butter or oil in an 8-inch square baking dish (or use a glass pie plate) and put it in the oven for a few minutes until the butter melts or the oil is heated.

Beat the eggs and add in the farmer cheese and cubed cheese, then the cooked and cooled vegetables, rice or flour, and spices. Mix well.

Pour the melted butter or hot oil into the mixture, and then put everything into the greased baking dish or pie plate.

Bake for about 40 minutes or until firm and slightly browned.

Serves 4

 

Fresh Corn Casserole

18 Aug

Corn pudding

Fresh corn is everywhere these days, from farmers’ markets to your local supermarket. In many states, including Michigan, it’s local produce — fresh and delicious — and a great buy at this time of year.

Here’s a good recipe for fresh corn if you want to do something besides eat it off the cob (which, honestly, I think is the best possible thing you can do with fresh corn).

Save the recipe to use again when corn season is over; it’s also fine with frozen corn.

Serve it as a main dish with a nice salad for a luncheon or light supper, or as a side dish with grilled fish or (if you’re not a kosher-keeper) chicken.

Ingredients:

2 cups fresh corn kernels (4 or 5 ears)
1 stick butter, melted
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 cup diced Monterey Jack cheese
½ cup cornmeal
1 small can diced green chilies
1½ tsp. salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter a 2-quart casserole dish.

Puree 1 cup corn with melted butter and eggs in a blender or food processor, or use an immersion blender.

Mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl. Add the pureed mixture and blend well.

Pour into casserole and bake, uncovered, for 50 to 60 minutes until puffed and golden.

Cut into squares or wedges to serve.

Serves 8

Eggplant and Mushroom Polenta Bake

7 Jan

Eggplant Mushroom Polenta 2I love the Internet! I found myself with an aging eggplant and some aging mushrooms that had to be used quickly. So I googled “eggplant mushroom recipe” and found more than a dozen possibilities, including this one, originally posted by Amy Wisniewski on chow.com. It was described as an “Italian take on a vegetarian shepherd’s pie.” It’s a little time-consuming to make because there are a lot of steps, but it’s not difficult, and it’s delicious.

You can easily halve the recipe to serve 3 or 4. If you do that, you can use a smaller skillet, but for the first step, you may want to roast the eggplant on a baking sheet because a smaller skillet may not be big enough to hold the eggplant before it’s cooked. I made half the recipe. I roasted the eggplant in a 10-inch skillet before I realized it would be too large, then used an 8-inch skillet for the rest of the process, and it was perfect.

You can use regular cornmeal, like I did. If you don’t have fontina cheese, substitute Swiss, Monterrey jack or cheddar.

Half the recipe made four good sized servings. There are only two of us so we had leftovers, and it was good reheated too.

Eggplant and Mushroom PolentaIngredients:

3 Tbs. olive oil
1½ lb. Japanese eggplant, cut in large dice (I used a medium-sized regular eggplant for half the recipe)
1 lb. white or cremini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
⅓ cup dry red wine
Small onion, diced fine
1 tsp. dried oregano
¾ tsp. red pepper flakes (if you like extra zing, use a little more red pepper)
Kosher salt
5 medium cloves garlic, minced
½ cup green olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
1 (14-15 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 cup water
Freshly ground black pepper
3 cups water
2 cups milk
2 tsp. kosher salt
1½ cups polenta or coarsely ground cornmeal
½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 1½ oz.)
1½ cups grated fontina cheese (about 5 oz.) (I used Swiss cheese)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place a rack in the middle. Place a large, well-seasoned cast iron or enameled skillet in the oven while it is heating.

When the oven is hot, drizzle 1 Tbs. of oil into the skillet and let it heat for a few minutes. Add the eggplant and arrange in an even layer. Roast until tender and starting to brown, about 25 to 30 minutes, stirring once.

Remove the skillet from the oven to the cooktop. Transfer the eggplant to a large bowl and set aside.

Add 1 Tbs. oil to the skillet and place over high heat for a minute. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to the bowl with the eggplant.

Add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil to the skillet and heat for a minute. Add the onion, oregano and red pepper flakes and season with salt to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, another minute.

Add the olives, the reserved vegetables (along with any juice in the bowl), the tomatoes and water, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens slightly, about 20 minutes. As the stew cooks, start making the polenta.

Place 3 cups of water and the milk in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat and slowly pour in the polenta or cornmeal while whisking or stirring, until all the polenta is incorporated and there are no lumps.

Cook, stirring frequently, about 15 or 20 minutes, until the polenta pulls out from the sides of the pan and the grains have softened (if it gets too thick before it is soft, add a little hot water, ¼ cup at a time). Stir in the Parmesan cheese.

Heat the oven to broil; keep the rack in the middle.

Pour the polenta over the eggplant and mushroom mixture and spread it into a smooth, even layer. Evenly sprinkle the fontina cheese over the polenta.

Place the skillet in the oven and broil until the cheese is browned and bubbling, about 4 or 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 6 to 8

Michigan Baked Oatmeal

20 Jan

ImageWe had a great breakfast today! I don’t make this too often because it takes about an hour (most of it for baking), but it’s just the thing for a lazy winter Sunday.

I first saw this recipe for Michigan Baked Oatmeal in a newspaper. I cut it out and tried it, and then lost the clipping, so I searched online for it. The same recipe appears on many recipe sites – probably because it’s so good! With oats, apple, nuts and dried cherries and lots of milk, it’s very healthy and may be a good way to get picky kids to eat a healthy breakfast!

Since there are only two of us at home most of the time, I usually halve the recipe; the only tricky part is finding a small apple or using only half of a large apple. If you don’t have dried cherries handy, you can easily substitute Craisins or any other dried cranberries. And you can vary the recipe by using vanilla or cinnamon instead of almond flavoring and use different dried fruits or nuts.

This recipe is quite sweet, so you can cut back on the brown sugar if you like it less sweet. Michigan Baked Oatmeal keeps well for a few days in the refrigerator and can be reheated in the microwave with a little additional milk.

Ingredients:

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
½ tsp. almond flavoring
½ cup sliced or slivered almonds
1 large apple, unpeeled and grated
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup dried cherries
Pinch of salt

4 cups milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 3-quart baking dish or casserole with cooking spray. Combine all the ingredients in the baking dish (add the milk last) and stir well. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes and serve hot.

Serves 6 – 8

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

1 Jan

Mac n' cheese I got this recipe from the New York Times, and loved it because it’s so easy – no need to cook the mac or make a cheese sauce. The original recipe said not to use skim milk or lowfat cottage cheese, but that’s what we usually have on hand and so that’s what I usually use – and it comes out great. The recipe uses so much cheese that I figured I’d save calories where I could! I use an immersion blender to mix the milk, cheeses and spices.

Ingredients:

2 Tbs butter or margarine
1 cup cottage cheese
2 cups milk
1 tsp dry mustard
Pinch cayenne
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 pound sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
½ pound elbow pasta, uncooked
¼ tsp paprika

Directions:

Heat oven to 375 degrees and position an oven rack in upper third of oven. Grease a 9-inch round or square baking pan with 1 tablespoon of butter or margarine (or use cooking spray).

In a blender, or with an immersion blender, purée the cottage cheese, all the cheese except for ¼ cup,the  milk, mustard, cayenne, nutmeg, salt and pepper together. You’ll use the reserved ¼ cup grated cheese for topping. In a large bowl, combine the milk-cheese mixture and uncooked pasta (or you can combine them right in the baking pan). Pour into prepared pan, cover tightly with foil and bake 30 minutes.

Uncover the pan, stir gently, sprinkle with reserved cheese and paprika and dot with remaining tablespoon butter. Bake uncovered 30 minutes more, until browned. Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Serves 6 to 8.