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Stuffed Peppers

These came out well but they really needed more gravy.  I used this recipe and will use it again, adding another can of tomato bits or sauce to the casserole dish before it goes into the oven.  These three took a good hour at 350 to give me an internal temp of 160, they were on the large side for green peppers.Like I said, they really, really needed more gravy.  I may have cooked the veggies down a little too far.  I added about half of them into the meat/rice mixture and used the rest to top off the peppers.  Maybe I should have left it soupier and added that to the bottom of the dish.  Next time, I fix.

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Tex-Mex Lasagna

DSC_9787 (1600x1060)I may be in trouble for calling this lasagna because no pasta is involved, it uses corn tortillas between layers of refried beans, salsa, beef, and cheese.  Cook a pound of ground beef down with minced peppers and onions and season with taco spices and add a can of tomato bits with green chilies.  Add chicken stock to a couple of cans of rinsed pinto beans and mash them down over medium heat.  The beans play much the same role as ricotta in an Italian lasagna, spread the refried beans over warmed corn tacos, spoon on your favorite salsa, then spread the beef atop that, and then cheese.  I used cheddar but Monterey jack would work, or a combination.  Repeat the layering until you run out of room in your casserole.  Any kind of luck your makings will run out the same time as the room in the dish.

King’s Ranch Chicken Casserole

DSC_8545 (1600x1060)I’ve been seeing this dish around the web and it sounded good enough to give it a try.  There are scores of recipes for it but I’ve found the Allrecipes site is very good for placing reviews from real people who have modified the basic recipe to more suit their tastes and it’s worth your time to look at a few of them.  I followed the suggestions in the review that was rated the best positive review, the one that begins: “I grew up in Texas…”DSC_8542 (1600x1060)I didn’t have any bell peppers so I used a few of the green Anaheims from my patio garden.  The method of layering the ingredients and pouring the canned soups and tomato bits mixture over the top worked better than I was thinking it did when I pulled the casserole from the oven.  I was expecting the topping mixture to soak through more than it did, but I think it was the better for that.DSC_8546 (1600x1060)The veggies and chicken kept a lot of their own character rather than being a more homogeneous, undifferentiated, glop that would have been the result if the soup mix had been layered in as well.  I’d also note that the chili powder mixed in with the shredded cheddar added to the eye appeal.  I think adding different veggies to this same general recipe would be interesting.  I’m thinking beans or maybe corn.  Hominy?

Friday Recipe Exchange: Chili Relleno Casserole

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I went back and forth this week on what to do tonight. Finally settled on a quick and easy recipe that would be great for a blustery weeknight dinner, Chili Relleno Casserole. Then I just tossed in a few other ideas in the same flavor palate.

A nice side to the casserole, Guacamole Salad, recipe here.

JeffreyW does real Chiles Rellenos here.

And one of my favorite meals, Southwestern Taco Salad in Homemade Tortilla Bowls, recipes here.

I’m still recovering from the holidays and getting caught up with work. How about you? What’s on the menu for the weekend?

Tonight’s featured recipe:

Chili Rellenos Casserole

  • 2-7 oz cans whole green chilies
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 16 oz shredded 4-blend Mexican cheese
  • 4 to 6 corn tortillas, torn into wide strips
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 oz salsa
  • ¼ cup milk
  • salt & pepper
  •  ½ tsp crushed garlic
  •  ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup snipped fresh cilantro ( Italian parsley or fresh basil if you hate cilantro)

bowl, 8×8 glass baking dish, greased

Drain and seed peppers. Layer 1/3 of the peppers in the bottom of baking dish, top with 1/3 onions, 1/3 of the cheese and 1/3 tortilla strips. Repeat to make three layers. Beat together eggs, salsa, milk, spices and cilantro. Pour evenly over casserole. Bake uncovered at 350° for 35-40 minutes until fluffy and center is set.

That’s it for this week. If you missed it, this week’s full dinner menu with shopping list, Cajun Fish and Buttered Potato Pie is here. And bonus Christmas Kitteh is here.  Until next week….

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Breakfast Strata

I bought some brown mushrooms the other day and they weren’t getting any fresher so they needed to be cooked into something.  What the heck is a breakfast strata?  I didn’t have any idea there was such a thing until a Google search for “mushrooms + breakfast” landed me at this site.  The recipe was a guide for me this morning.

No bread in the house!  Ack!  Wait… I do have some nan in the freezer.

With just a little trim it fit right into my little round casserole dish.  I had a half stick of Andouille sausage left from my last gumbo so I diced that and cooked it with the mushrooms and a diced onion.

So, after drying nan loaves in a low oven for about a half hour one went into the bottom of the buttered casserole and was topped with half the mushroom sausage mixture and a half cup of shredded cheeses, then another layer the same way.

And then the half and half/egg mixture was poured in.  I didn’t bother to open a bottle of white wine but I did beat in some dried parsley flakes.

I covered the dish with plastic wrap and set a small dish atop that weighted with a jar of mayo and set it into the fridge to let the nan soak up all the eggy goodness.  Was telling myself how crafty I was when I went to get some cream for my coffee and saw that the custard was all over the shelf in the box.  Ack!  Ok, Ok, I should’ve held the mayo! [groan] Try the veal..

Anyway. I let it soak for an hour (more would be better) then added more cheese to the top and slid it into a 325 oven for just about an hour.  Ta Da!

All in all, this I will rate as a success.  Next time I will have some better bread and I’ll take the time to let the dish soak, maybe overnight in the fridge.

Men Who Cook: Joshua De Mers

I love opening up my email and finding that someone has sent me a recipe to post (that’s a hint, people) and it’s doubly nice when it’s one of my Men Who Cook.  From friend of blog, Joshua:

I got a good one! And I kept notes!

Yet Another Tuna Casserole

My opinion of comfort foods is you can never have too many variations of them. They make up childhood memories, start and keep traditions, and warm the soul like nothing else. Virtually every mother in the 60’s had a version of tuna casserole, usually from the back of a soup can. If you’re an ingredient control freak (like me!) you always appreciate making something familiar in a wholesome way. Every ingredient is readily available at any supermarket!

  • 1 pound pasta (any curvy shape like rotini or corkscrews will work, but even basic elbows is good too)
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 large shallot
  • 8-10 button mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp white wine
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 tbsp mascarpone cheese (sometimes sold as Italian cream cheese)
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 oz frozen green beans or peas (whichever you have on hand)
  • 2 6 oz cans or one 12 oz can tuna (any kind)
  • 1 sleeve Ritz crackers or 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • olive oil (to drizzle)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta cooks, mince shallots, cut mushrooms in half, then slice thinly. Saute in butter over medium heat with a pinch of salt and a small dose of pepper. When mushrooms start to release liquid, add in white wine. Cook until wine is almost but not quite gone. Add in flour and mix until paste coats bottom of the pan, about two minutes. Add milk and whisk vigorously. When sauce starts to thicken, mix in cheeses, vegetables, and drained tuna. Check sauce for seasoning and add more salt and pepper as necessary. By this point pasta should be done. Drain pasta and add to medium casserole dish. Pour sauce over noodles and mix thoroughly. Crush crackers in hands (you don’t want them too fine) and cover top of casserole. Drizzle olive oil over topping in thin stream until it coats most of top. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until casserole is bubbly and topping is golden brown. Only other thing you need is a glass of milk!!

Joshua De Mers

Looks great Joshua!  Thank you.  Look forward to more (hint, hint).  – TaMara

 

More Mornay

I love these dishes with mornay sauces.  A mornay sauce is just a classic white sauce of milk thickened with a roux that then has cheese melted into it.  Today the cheese was Swiss but any cheese that melts well will work.  I prefer the white cheeses but there is no reason a yellow cheese wouldn’t work-that is what mac ‘n cheese is all about!

I blanched some broccoli and some carrot slices along with some sweet corn and poured the sauce over the veggies and some shrimp in a buttered casserole.  Sprinkle on some bread crumbs and bake until the cheese bubbles and the breading toasts a bit then spoon the mixture over noodles.  These were egg noodles, most any pasta will work.

Enjoy!

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Baked Pasta

We’ve been eating sammiches and other like things for a while so I thought yesterday, early, that I would make a real meal.  It was going to have to be easy because I knew I would be tired.  Boy Howdy!  I had my truck guy drop two loads off as close to where I needed the rock as he could get.  That, unfortunately, was not all that close.  I have a little trail through the woods that I like to cruise in my quad, a  scenic route and nice to give the pups some exercise.  It crosses some gullies that were becoming difficult to cross with the quad, and getting the mower over them was right out.  Solution-drop in a couple of culverts.  Alas, they just didn’t handle the deluge we had last month.  Something like 5″ in one particular nght, and over 2 feet total for the month.  Washed away much of the rock.  Hell, one spot it washed away the culvert as well, had to drag it back from downstream a ways.  Anyway…

I got back in, tired and sweaty.  Put the rigatoni on to boil and fried some Italian sausage with a nice Vidalia onion.  Tossed in 2 pints of sauce from last years tomato harvest, and went out to the container farm on the patio and plucked some fresh basil, oregano, and thyme.

I can assure you that the dish turned out great!  Used plenty of mozzarella and provolone cheese, and went with a nice side of garlic bread.  Yum!

More Brief Notes from a Thanksgiving Dinner

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Broccoli-Feta Casserole

Dug up this gem of a recipe as a result of an ingredient search. By “ingredient search” I mean to say that you plug into a Google search some ingredients that you have on hand and peruse the results for inspiration.  We had some broccoli in the veggie crisper drawer in the fridge that really needed to be cooked, the crispness was all in the past for this bunch of greenery.  Also in the fridge was an unopened package of feta cheese.

It looked pretty good in the picture so I decided to give the recipe a shot.  We didn’t have any fresh mushrooms, but did have a can in the cupboard that would work.  Didn’t have fresh milk on hand and went with the dried milk from a box,  and no real chicken stock was handy but the powdered variety has been working very nicely for me for years and I had plenty.

You are looking hard in the recipe and don’t see the feta?  They misspelled it as “cheddar”.  LOL  Like I said, you peruse the results for “inspiration”!  I did add some shredded cheddar and jack cheeses along with the feta.  Instead of blanching the broccoli I steamed it for 3-4 minutes.

Mixed everything together in a bowl and then placed it into a greased dish, spread the bread crumbs and popped it into a 350 oven.

It came out great!  I was ready for a “meh” result-edible but nothing special, and was pleasantly surprised!

Enjoy!

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