Tag Archives: casserole

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

 

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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

Amish Cabbage Casserole

28 Jan

Amish Cabbage CasseroleOne day I wanted to make a spinach and cabbage salad, so I sent Joe to the store to buy a small cabbage. Alas, all they had was a large cabbage, so after I made the salad, I still had about three-quarters of the cabbage left. I didn’t want to make another slaw, and I didn’t want to just boil it up, although I do like plain, buttered boiled cabbage. I wasn’t in the mood for the old standby sweet-and-sour cabbage and tomato soup. So I looked online and found this recipe for a cabbage casserole, which turned out to be quintessential comfort food, perfect for a dreary winter day like today. It’s also very easy to make, though you’re left with a lot of pots to wash. If you don’t like the idea of using canned cream of mushroom soup, you can make your own sauce using fresh mushrooms and a very thick white sauce (you’ll want it to be as thick as canned cream of mushroom soup). The original recipe called for American cheese, but I think cheddar or Colby cheese gives a better flavor. This can be served as a side dish or as a main dish.

Ingredients:

1 medium head cabbage, shredded (about 12 cups)
1 can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 medium onion, chopped
5 Tbs. butter, divided
6 oz. cheese, shredded or cut in cubes
¼ cup dry breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Boil a large pot of water and cook the cabbage until it’s tender, about 10 minutes. Drain thoroughly.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet, sauté the onion in 4 Tbs. butter until soft and golden. Add the soup and cheese and heat, stirring frequently, until the cheese is melted. Place the cabbage in a greased 2-quart baking dish and pour the sauce over it; stir well. Add salt and pepper if you want to (most cheese is salty enough that you don’t have to add additional, but a little pepper is good.)

In a small skillet, melt the remaining 1 Tbs. butter and stir in the breadcrumbs. Continue stirring until the breadcrumbs are lightly browned. Sprinkle over the casserole.

Bake uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes, until the casserole bubbles and the breascrumbs are browned.

Serves 6

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.