Cowboy Casserole

Here is a recipe that we’ve been testing for our hot lunch program. This is the kids version. I think I would throw in some chopped green chilis!I hope they like it!


Cowboy Casserole

Serves 12

1 lb of ground beef
1 small onion, minced
3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs flat leaf parsley
10¾ oz can of tomato soup
15 oz can of corn
3 Tbs dried mustard
32 oz package of tater tots
salt & pepper, to taste
4 cups mozzarella cheese, grated

Brown ground beef with the onions – drain. Then add the Worcestershire sauce, parsley, tomato soup, corn, dried mustard and simmer for about 10 minutes.

In a greased 9×13 baking dish, arrange tater tots in single layer. Cover with 2 cups of cheese. Pour ground beef mixture over top and cover with remaining cheese.

Bake in a 350F oven for 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Cheesy Cauliflower Gratin

As you may have guessed, I love cauliflower. I think I have posted about 14 other cauliflower recipes. This one is wonderfully creamy and cheesy. You can also top this with 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan mixed with 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs instead of Saltines.

Cheesy Cauliflower  Gratin

Serves 8

3 lb cauliflower (1 large head), cut into 1 1/2- to 2-inch florets
4 Tbs butter
2 Tbs flour
1 1/2 cups milk
8 oz sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
1/2 cup scallion greens, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
20 (2-inch square) saltine crackers

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Cook cauliflower in a 5- to 6-quart pot of boiling salted water until just tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain cauliflower well in a colander and transfer to a buttered 2-quart baking dish.

While cauliflower is cooking, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a 3- to 4-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat and whisk in flour. Cook roux over low heat, whisking, 3 minutes. Add milk in a slow stream, whisking, and bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Reduce heat and simmer sauce, whisking occasionally, 8 minutes. Remove from heat and add cheese, scallion greens, salt, and pepper, whisking until cheese is melted. Pour cheese sauce over cauliflower and stir gently to combine.

Coarsely crumble crackers into a bowl. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan, pour over crumbs and toss to coat.

Sprinkle crumb topping evenly over cauliflower.

Bake gratin in middle of oven until topping is golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Super Easy Mac & Cheese

One of the things I am passionate about is getting kids interested in cooking. Over the years, I have taught many kids how to make simple meals. They can learn math skills, practice fine-motor coordination, make choices about nutrition, and practice basic cooking techniques. They can learn about different countries and traditions by making foods from around the world. It’s also a great way to get families together in the kitchen. If you get kids cooking at an early age, chances are they will continue this good habit as they grow.

I happen to collect Macaroni & Cheese recipes. I ran across this one and thought it would be perfect for kids to make. Just make sure you are there to help or supervise the pasta boiling part!


Super Easy Mac & Cheese

Serves 10

16 oz pasta
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
8 oz monterey jack cheese, shredded
4 oz parmesan cheese, grated
2 cups heavy cream
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Prepare pasta according to package directions, but add a good bit of salt to the water. Once cooked, drain but do not rinse the pasta.

Transfer pasta to a large mixing bowl. Add half the cheddar, monterey jack and parmesan cheeses, as well as the heavy cream. Stir well to combine, season with pepper to taste.

Transfer the mixture to a 9″x13″ casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheeses on top and bake for 30 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

This is one of our family’s Mexican comfort food recipes. I made it easier by cutting up the tortillas instead of rolling them. I also soften the tortillas in the microwave to avoid frying them in oil.

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 onion, chopped
12 corn tortillas
28 oz can green enchilada sauce
4 oz can diced chiles
4 oz can sliced black olives
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Sauté the onion in a little bit of canola oil. Once the onions are softened, mix them with the green chiles, 3/4 of a can of black olives (I chop them up), and the shredded chicken.

Next place the tortillas in the microwave for about 1 minute. Remove and cut the tortillas into 1″ squares.

Pour 1/4 of the enchilada sauce into the bottom of a 9″x13′ pyrex casserole dish. Then top with 1/2 the onion, chile, olive, chicken mixture, then top with some of the grated cheese. Repeat the layers. Top with remaining cheese and the rest of the slice olives.

Refrigerate until ready to bake. Bake 375 F for about 30 – 40 minutes.

Huevos con Papas Rancheros Casserole

Over the weekend, I made a big breakfast for visiting family. This is one of the recipes. Yes, tater tots are involved! I think next time I might add a 4 oz can of diced green chilis to the eggs.




Huevos con Papas Rancheros Casserole

Serves 12

Nonstick cooking spray
32 oz package frozen fried potato nuggets
12 eggs
1 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano, crushed
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
8 oz Mexican cheese blend, shredded
16 oz jar thick and chunky salsa
8 oz sour cream
fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat a 3-quart rectangular baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange potato nuggets in dish.

In a large mixing bowl combine eggs, milk, oregano, cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder. Beat with a rotary beater or wire whisk until combined. Pour egg mixture over potato nuggets.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean. Sprinkle cheese evenly over egg mixture. Bake about 3 minutes more or until cheese melts. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Top with salsa, sour cream, and cilantro.

Classic Baked Macaroni & Cheese

Every Monday, I make Macaroni & Cheese for a school, for 10 years. I can only image how much macaroni I’ve boiled – 10 lbs per week. I guess you could say that I’m fairly good at it. However, this recipe is NOT the school recipe. That one is done on the stove top and this recipe is baked with breadcrumbs. Let’s face it, there is nothing better than mac n’ cheese.



Classic Baked Macaroni & Cheese

Serves 6-8

Kosher salt
6 Tbs unsalted butter
6 Tbs all-purpose flour
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 qt whole milk
1 bay leaf
3 cups grated extra-sharp white Cheddar
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce
Freshly ground white pepper
1 lb elbow macaroni or other small pasta
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 lightly packed cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the oven to 400°F and put a large pot of well-salted water on to boil over high heat.

Meanwhile, in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add flour and ½ tsp salt and cook, stirring, until slightly darker, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the mustard.Switch to a whisk and gradually add the milk, whisking constantly. Discard the bay leaf. Add the cheese, stirring until melted, and then add the Worcestershire and Tabasco. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm, stirring occasionally.

Cook the pasta in the boiling water until al dente. Pour into a colander and shake it a few times to drain really well. Add the pasta to the cheese sauce, and stir until well combined. Generously season to taste with salt and pepper. Lightly oil a 9×13-inch baking dish and spread the pasta in the dish.

In a medium bowl, toss the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil. Scatter the crumbs evenly over the pasta.

Bake in the center of the oven until the crumb topping is golden, about 15 minutes. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Southwest Breakfast Strata

We’re having a big party for my mother-in-law’s 85 birthday tonight. There is a house full of relatives and I needed an easy breakfast option. Usually, I would make this with corn tortillas, but I liked the flour tortilla option. I have slightly tweeked this recipe. I made this the night before, which makes it so easy in the morning. All I have to do is stumble to the coffee maker and take it out of the fridge. (actually my husband does the stumbling)

Recipe from – Lindsay Powell Fooshee, Johnson City, Tennessee, Southern Living Magazine, MAY 2005



Southwest Breakfast Strata

Serves 8

1 lb mild ground pork sausage
1 small onion, chopped
½ green or red pepper, chopped
2 (10 oz) cans diced tomatoes and green chilies
8 flour tortillas, torn into bite-size pieces
3 cups (12 oz) shredded Colby-Jack cheese blend
6 eggs
1½ cups milk or half and half
1 tsp salt
½ tsp garlic pepper

Cook sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring until it crumbles and is no longer pink. Drain and return to skillet.

Add chopped onion and bell pepper to sausage in skillet, and sauté over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in tomatoes and green chiles; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.

Layer half each of tortilla pieces, sausage mixture, and cheese in a lightly greased 13- x – 9 inch baking dish. Repeat layers.

Whisk together eggs, milk or half and half, salt and pepper; pour over layers in baking dish. Cover and chill up to 8 hours, if desired.

Bake, lightly covered with aluminum foil, at 375° for 30 minutes to one hour or until golden and bubbly.

Johnny Marzetti Casserole

I love recipes with a story. I have to say I have never heard of this casserole recipe. The dish originated in Columbus, Ohio, at Marzetti’s, an Italian restaurant established in 1896 on Broad St. by an Italian immigrant named Teresa Marzetti. One of the dishes Marzetti offered her customers was a baked casserole of ground beef, cheddar cheese, tomato sauce, and noodles that she named for her brother-in-law Johnny. It was very popular during WWII. The original restaurant closed in 1942, but a second location, opened in 1919 remained in operation until Teresa Marzetti died in 1972. She was also popular for her salad dressings, which you can still buy today. This recipe is very similar to Sour Cream Noodle Bake that I posted recently, minus the sour cream.


Johnny Marzetti Casserole

Serves 6

10 Tbs olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 medium yellow onions, roughly chopped
8 oz white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1½ lb ground beef
2 Tbs finely chopped parsley
10 oz wide egg noodles
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
3 oz mozzarella, shredded
3 Tbs bread crumbs

Heat 3 Tbs oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onions; cook until soft, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Return skillet to heat with 3 Tbs oil; add mushrooms; cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Add to bowl with onions; return skillet to heat with 2 Tbs oil. Add beef; cook until browned, about 8 minutes. Return onions and mushrooms to skillet along with oregano and tomatoes; boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook until thickened, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper, and stir in parsley; let sauce cool.

Heat oven to 325°. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat, and add noodles; cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain and toss with butter in a bowl; set aside. Spread 2 cups sauce on bottom of a 9″× 13″ baking dish; cover with noodles. Spread ⅔ cheddar over noodles; top with remaining sauce. Sprinkle remaining cheddar, mozzarella, and breadcrumbs over sauce; drizzle with remaining oil. Bake until browned
on top, about 25 minutes.

Beef and Vegetable Pot Pie

This pot pie is from Cooking Light magazine and is low in fat and calories. It’s easy and relatively fast to make, which makes it a perfect weeknight meal.



Beef and Vegetable Pot Pie

Serves 6

1 Tbs olive oil, divided
1 lb ground beef
2 cups zucchini, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup carrot, chopped
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
14 oz can fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
2 Tbs cornstarch
2 Tbs water
Cooking spray
11 oz can refrigerated soft breadstick dough

Preheat oven to 400°.

Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef; cook 3 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Drain. Wipe drippings from pan with a paper towel. Heat remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in pan. Add zucchini and next 6 ingredients (through garlic); sauté 7 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Return beef to pan. Stir in wine, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, and broth. Bring to a boil; cook 3 minutes. Combine cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Add the cornstarch mixture to the pan; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Spoon beef mixture into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Separate breadstick dough into strips. Arrange strips in a lattice fashion over beef mixture. Bake at 400° for 12 minutes or until browned.

Creamy Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

Got this recipe from the Pioneer Woman. I’ve been needing a little comfort food. This fits the bill – creamy and delicious. I bought chicken that was already cut up. You could even use a rotisserie chicken.


Creamy Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

Serves 8

1 whole cut up fryer chicken
1 stick 1/2 cup butter
16 oz white mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup dry white wine
Kosher salt & pepper
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth (reserved from chicken or canned)
1-1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup (additional) dry white wine
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 cup whole black olives, Chopped
1 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
freshly ground black pepper
Extra cheese, for sprinkling
1 lb thin spaghetti

Place chicken in a pot of water and boil on medium-low heat for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and allow to cool slightly. Keep broth in pot.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet. Throw in mushrooms, add 1/4 cup white wine, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, or until liquid has totally evaporated. Remove mushrooms from skillet. Set aside.

Bring broth to a boil. Break spaghetti into thirds (shorter pieces). Add spaghetti pieces to boiling broth and cook. Drain when al dente. Remove meat from bones and shred until you have 2-plus cups of shredded chicken.

Return large skillet to medium-low heat. Add 6 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle flour over butter, whisking to combine. Cook for 1 or 2 minutes. Pour in 2 cups broth and whisk to combine. Pour in milk, additional 1/4 cup wine, salt and pepper to taste, then cook and bubble until thick. Turn off heat, add Parmesan cheese, and stir.

Add mushrooms, chicken, and chopped olives. Stir to combine and check seasonings. Add cooked spaghetti and stir.

Turn into a 9 x 13 casserole pan. Bake at 350 degrees or until golden brown and bubbly. Serve with salad and warm, crusty bread.