Archive for the ‘Casserole’ Category

I’m trying out a new routine for three reasons.
One: yesterday was our first 100 degree day of the summer, and we have many summer days to go,
Two: I hate spending the evening cleaning up after making a big meal,
Three: hubby and I are lucky enough to both work at home every day.

The new routine? I am making lunch our big meal of the day (dinner, as my grandparents called it). I can use the oven or stove top as needed before the temps outside rise to the unbearable heat of the afternoon, and the cleanup after the big meal is done early in the day. We’ll have our lighter meal in the evening (what my grandparents called supper), consisting of big leafy salads filled with chopped veggies, hummus with pita bread and veggies, sandwiches, and anything else easy, fresh, and not requiring any heat preparation.
Corn Casserole
Corn casserole, Lemon Pepper Chicken, Tomatoes with Olive Oil

Today’s big noon-time meal was baked lemon pepper chicken (pre-seasoned and put in the oven straight from the freezer), fresh cherub tomatoes cut in half, seasoned with a tad of salt and drizzled with a good quality extra-virgin olive oil, and freshly baked corn casserole. I don’t know why I’ve never made corn casserole before. It was so creamy, gooey, and pure sweet deliciousness. I am giddy to have leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch, and that’s saying something since I haven’t been able to stomach leftover anything since being pregnant. All-in-all, today’s meal was a complete winner. Dessert was a nice helping of fresh cantaloupe and strawberries to finish the meal.

Adapted from Paula Deen’s recipe on foodnetwork.com
Downloadable PDF of Corn Casserole recipe

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix together the following:
    • One 15 1/4-ounce can whole kernel sweet corn, drained
    • One 14 3/4-can cream corn
    • 1/2 cup full fat sour cream
    • 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
    • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
    • 1/4 cup margarine, melted (I used Smart Balance Light with Flax Oil)
    • 1 8-ounce package Jiffy brand corn muffin mix
  • Mixture should be a creamy consistency
  • Pour evenly into a greased 9×13 baking dish
  • Place in oven and bake 45 minutes or until edges turn a golden brown
  • Remove from oven and sprinkle top with 3/4 to 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, just enough to lightly cover the top
  • Return to oven and bake an additional 5 minutes, until cheese is melted
  • Remove from oven and let sit 5 minutes before cutting to serve

I tried to lighten the recipe just a tad while maintaining the flavor, which is why I used nonfat Greek yogurt for half of the sour cream in the original recipe, as well as using half the butter, subbing in Smart Balance butter for the rest. I also didn’t put a ton of cheese on top – just enough to lightly cover the casserole. Trust me, there was no sacrifice in the flavor! It was so bright and fresh, gooey and delicious. The cheese didn’t overpower the rest of the dish in any way (because I hate it when cheese smothers the rest of the flavors). It was a perfect balance of flavors in an easy side dish to go along with the rest of the meal.

Corn Casserole

Downloadable PDF of Corn Casserole

And, in other news…we found out we’re having a boy! I’m so excited! With two stepdaughters, having a boy makes this experience a first for hubby, which is awesome. His name is Liam Edgar. I can’t wait to see his little face and hands and feet in about 18 weeks.

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~


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Deep Dish Cheeseburger Pizza with Toppings

Remember how E picked out a shrimp pasta recipe from my new Real Simple dinner tonight: done! recipe book? Well, It turned out soooo good that B was very excited to pick out a recipe for me to make for tonight’s dinner. Being the beef lover she is, she skipped directly over the poultry section and chose the Deep Dish Cheeseburger Pizza recipe from page 67. So, I added ground beef to the grocery list and dug out the pizza dough recipe that I got in an e-newsletter from Living on a Dime, that can be found here. I followed the recipe for Method 1, using whole wheat pastry flour instead of all-purpose flour.

(from Real Simple dinner tonight: done! spring/summer 2011 recipe collection, page 67)
(pizza dough recipe from Living on a Dime)

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Recipe calls for 1 pound pizza dough, thawed if frozen. I whipped up a whole wheat crust:
  • Warm 1 cup water to 120 degrees and pour into large mixing bowl.
  • Add 1 Tablespoon yeast and dissolve.
  • Add 1 Tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 Tablespoons olive oil and mix well.
  • Slowly add 2 1/2 – 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour until stiff dough forms (I added 2 1/2 in 1/2-cup intervals).
  • Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead 10 times or until dough is smooth. I used about an extra 1/2 cup while kneading.
  • Grease a 10-inch oven-proof skillet lightly with olive oil. I don’t own one, so I used an 11 x 8 inch 2.8 liter Corningware dish with excellent results.
  • Roll dough out to the size of the dish and line the dish with the dough.
  • Cook 1 pound ground beef until just browned, crumbling with a spoon.
  • (original recipe calls for 1/2 pound ground beef, but because the dish I used was deeper than a skillet, I used 1 pound ground beef).
  • Once meat is browned, add 1/4 cup barbecue sauce (I used Jack Daniel’s Original No. 7 BBQ Sauce) and stir to combine.
  • Spoon meat mixture on top of pizza dough.
  • Top with 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese.
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until cooked through and starting to brown on top.
  • Remove and let sit a few minutes before cutting and serving.
  • Top slices with finely diced red onion, thinly sliced Roma tomato, and arugula.

Baked Deep Dish Cheeseburger Pizza

Deep Dish Cheeseburger Pizza with Toppings

WOW! This was really yummy! And it was still a super-quick dinner even with making the homemade crust since you don’t have to let the dough rise before assembling. B had two helpings and I was impressed that she nearly finished the second helping, especially since she had a Caesar salad with the first helping! E wasn’t here; she was at her mom’s, so she didn’t get to try it. B and Hubby liked it without the toppings but for me, the toppings the recipe called for really made it over the top. Yum, yum, yum!

After a very HOT day in Central Texas planting my new herbs (cilantro, dill, sage, marjoram) and a new tomato plant, this dinner hit the spot, served with a Caesar salad on the side and pineapple sherbet in a waffle cone for dessert. Mmmm…mmm…

Summer is here!!

And if you haven’t picked up the Real Simple dinner tonight: done! recipe book, do so now! I highly recommend it after the two recipes we’ve had. Both received rave reviews in my household.

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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Chilequiles with sides

Last Monday, we went out for Tex-Mex with our neighbors to celebrate one of their birthdays. I had chilaquiles con rajas and was in heaven. I have been craving that dish since, but couldn’t bring myself to go to the restaurant for the super heavy and fattening meal for the sake of my waistline. Instead, I made my own version at home for lunch today, and it satisfied my craving. Plus, I have leftovers for lunch a couple more days this week! đŸ˜‰

Printer-Friendly Recipe: Chilaquiles con Rajas



  • Husk and rinse 8 tomatillos.
  • Place in medium saucepan with 1 Serrano chile and 1 teaspoon salt.
  • Cover with water and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 15 minutes.
  • Spoon tomatillos into food processor with about 1/4 cup of the liquid from the saucepan. Discard remaining liquid once no more is needed after the pureeing process.
  • Cut stem off Serrano chile and add to processor.
  • Add 2 large cloves garlic.
  • Puree until smooth.
  • Pour tomatillo sauce back into saucepan.
  • Add 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt and whisk to combine. Set aside.



  • In a medium skillet, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil.
  • Add 1/2 julienne-cut yellow onion and cook until it starts to caramelize.
  • Add 1 7.5-ounce can of poblano pepper strips and 3/4 cup frozen sweet corn, and continue to heat on low, stirring occasionally.
  • Add 1 large clove minced garlic and salt to taste. Set aside.


  • In a large, deep skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil.
  • Cut 20 white corn tortillas in half, then each half into about 5 strips.
  • Toss 1/3 of the strips in the oil and cook until brown and crisp, stirring frequently.
  • Remove to a plate and repeat with remaining strips, adding more oil as needed.


  • Ladle a thin layer of sauce in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
  • Top with 1/2 of the tortilla strips, 1/2 of the rajas mixture, a sprinkle of low-fat shredded Monterrey Jack cheese (your desired amount), and 1/2 of the sauce.
  • Repeat one more layer, ending with the sauce.
  • Place in broiler and cook until sauce is bubbly and tops of tortilla strips showing turn deep brown, about 8 – 10 minutes.


Serve with refried beans (I bought a can of nonfat refried beans and heated with a little added water to keep them smooth), and shredded iceberg lettuce salad topped with tomatoes.

Chilequiles with sides

Using the nonfat Greek yogurt in place of sour cream in the sauce reduces the fat in the recipe. I also use reduced-fat Monterrey Jack cheese, and less of it than the restaurant does. I also added sweet corn because I love the combination of poblano peppers and sweet corn.

Hubby had two helpings of this! I’m so happy I can make this lower fat version at home because I’m totally in love with it and will be making it any time the craving strikes.

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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Shepherds Pie

When I was reading a “Tasty Thursday” thread on a stepmom friend’s facebook page, I saw a post by a woman who had made mini shepherd’s pies in a muffin pan. Ingenious! I decided I would make that for St. Patrick’s Day because then I could tailor it to each person (some for the beef eaters in the family and some for the pescatarians in the family). Why hadn’t I thought of that before?

Hubby and younger B (age 9) love to eat meat, red or extra fatty meats especially. B has been know to say (frequently), “I have to have bacon.” The older E (age 11), however, has always leaned towards the vegetarian lifestyle. When I had to turn pescatarian for health reasons, she enthusiastically embraced it. She’ll still eat turkey and chicken, and an occasional cheeseburger, but she loves it when I cook pescatarian or vegetarian foods.

I quit making shepherd’s pie when I could no longer have beef. Mushroom versions just didn’t do it for me, maybe since I don’t care much for mushrooms. Determined to make a vegetarian shepherd’s pie I liked, I decided to make mine and E’s with crumbled tofu. I gave E the choice, as always, of the beef or tofu version, and as always, her response was, “yay tofu!” She loves the stuff.

The woman who made the mini pies used crescent roll dough, shaped it into the muffin tins, filled with meat, veggies, and mashed potatoes, and topped with cheese (if I remember correctly) and baked. I decided I wanted to make Irish soda bread, which led me to leave out the crescent roll portion. I made the bread first and while it baked, I made the fillings for the shepherd’s pies.

Wheat Irish Soda Bread


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Mix 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar in to 2 1/4 cups unsweetened soy milk, and set aside for a few minutes to allow to curdle.
  • In a large bowl, sift together 4 cups whole wheat flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt.
  • Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.
  • Pour in the curdled soy milk and 4 Tablespoons honey.
  • Using a wooden spoon, stir to combine all ingredients, adding more flour if necessary.
  • Once the dough forms a smooth ball, turn out onto the parchment paper, shaping into a round.
  • Bake for about 50 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and allow to sit on the counter for 30 – 40 minutes. The center will continue to cook through as it cools.


  • NOTE: for sake of ease, since I’m not a true vegetarian, I used beef broth for both the beef and tofu versions. If you want a truly vegetarian version, use a good quality low sodium vegetable broth. Fat free beef broth does not hurt my tummy – it’s the fat and heaviness of the meat itself that does.


  • In a medium saucepan, bring 2 1/2 cups low sodium, fat free beef broth to a boil.
  • In a liquid measuring cup, whisk 6 Tablespoons flour into 1/2 cup beef broth.
  • Pour the flour mixture into the boiling beef broth and whisk while the mixture returns to a boil and thickens. Cook for a couple of minutes, then reduce heat to low and simmer, whisking occasionally, while making the fillings.
  • To deepen the flavor, I added a few shakes of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos to the sauce, or you could add low sodium soy sauce. The liquid aminos add a rich, salty flavor without adding a ton of sodium. My grocer sells it near the vinegars.


Fillings for Shepherds Pies

  • In a medium, deep skillet, brown up to 1 pound ground beef seasoned with salt and pepper.
  • Add about 1/2 cup frozen sweet corn, or more if you like, and heat through.
  • Drain the grease, pour the beef/corn filling into a bowl and set aside.
  • Wipe the skillet and add 1 Tablespoon olive oil.
  • Crumble 8 ounces drained tofu (and squeezed of excess liquid) into hot skillet.
  • Season with steak seasoning mix (this adds a “meatier” flavor) and brown the tofu.
  • Add 1/2 cup frozen sweet corn, or more if you like, and heat through.


  • Mix desired amount of sauce into each filling.
  • Spoon fillings into ramekins. I used 7-ounce ramekins for the girls’ portions and 16-ounce Corningware bowls for the adult portions (though I could have used a 7-ounce portion since the other half of mine is in the refrigerator and will be tomorrow’s lunch). I got one extra ramekin of the beef filling that B will happily devour for lunch tomorrow.
  • You can either make your own mashed potatoes or do what I did – I heated two packages of Alexis brand mashed red potatoes, found in the frozen section of the grocery store – and pile them on top of the filling.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
  • Remove, top with shredded cheddar cheese or crumbled goat cheese and fresh chopped chives.
  • Serve with slices of wheat Irish soda bread.

Shepherds Pie with Goat Cheese

B devoured her portion, bread and all, as did Hubby. E and I both loved the tofu version! It was so full of flavor with the steak seasoning and the sauce (again, for a truly vegetarian version use vegetable broth to make the sauce). And the bread was perfect for dipping into the individual pies. The girls thought it looked fancy in their own ramekin dishes with slices of bread on the side. We’ll definitely be making this again! With the shamrock shortbread cookies for dessert, this was a perfect St. Patrick’s Day dinner.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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