Tag Archives: Casserole

Lighter Three-Cheese Pasta Bake

Happy Friday everyone! Wow did this week go flying by, or is it just me? I’ve been so busy with back to school stuff that it just seems like it flew by! Can you believe it’s time for back to school already?! I managed to get all of the school supplies, sports physicals are done, we’re working on clothes, and more paperwork for the schools. It hardly leaves time for anything else it would seem.

However, if you are a planner like I am, you probably plan ahead your meals. Or at least your dinners. One thing I have been doing lately is planning budget friendly meals, mostly because of the expenses of back to school. With budget friendly meals, it always helps to have at least 1 meatless dish a week, and lets not forget to keep it healthy! Budget friendly doesn’t have to mean “bad for you”.

So, I’ve got a great meatless casserole for you today! Originally I found this casserole over on Krystin’s blog, Lil Luna. Her recipe is phenomenal! Don’t get me wrong! In fact I love it so much, I really wanted to make it a bit healthier so I can enjoy it more often. Plus I made a few other minor changes to make it more of a meal. By the way, if you don’t want this to be a meatless dish, you can always add some chopped cooked chicken, turkey or ham to it as well.

So here’s what I came up with to lighten it up, and twist it a smidge. First of all, you want to get your ziti pasta cooking. Cook that according to the package instructions until it’s al dente. While that’s boiling away, heat your broccoli cuts according to package directions. Now I bought frozen steamable broccoli cuts, so I just had to plop the package down in the microwave and nuke it according to what the package said. Drain  your pasta, put it back in the same pot, add your broccoli.

Now, take your Alfredo sauce and sour cream and mix that together real good.

Then dump that sauce into the pot with your ziti and broccoli. Toss that together until it’s all evenly coated.

Spread half of the noodle mixture into a lightly greased 13×9 dish.

Now combine together your ricotta, eggs, Parmesan, salt & pepper.

Spread that evenly over the pasta mixture in the baking dish. Spoon the remaining pasta mixture on top of the ricotta mixture.

Sprinkle the top with mozzarella cheese.

Bake it at 350 degrees F. until bubbly and the cheese has melted.

Just look at that cheese! Using light roasted garlic Alfredo sauce, light sour cream, ricotta cheese made with part skim, and reduced fat mozzarella cheese, you’re still left with a rich, creamy, delicious pasta casserole. By the way, no one in this house had a clue I used light or reduced fat anything in this recipe. Now I can enjoy this casserole more often with reduced guilt!

One last note, to make it a bit more healthier, and if you wish, you can replace regular ziti pasta with whole grain or whole wheat ziti. We are just not fans of whole wheat pasta, but that doesn’t mean  you aren’t! Enjoy!

 

Print Recipe
Lighter Three-Cheese Pasta Bake Yum
Recipe by Christine Titus
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Prepare ziti according to package directions until al dente; drain and return to pot.
  2. While ziti is cooking, heat broccoli cuts according to package directions. I used steamable, so just used my microwave.
  3. Once ziti is drained and returned to the pot, add the broccoli
  4. Stir together Alfredo sauce and sour cream; toss with ziti and broccoli until evenly coated. Spoon half of mixture into a lightly greased 13x9-inch baking dish.
  5. Stir together ricotta cheese, eggs, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Spread evenly over pasta mixture in baking dish. Spoon remaining pasta mixture evenly over ricotta cheese layer; sprinkle evenly with mozzarella cheese.
  6. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbly.
Recipe Notes

Feel free to add meat to this dish if you want! Just throw in some chopped cooked chicken, turkey or ham with your pasta and broccoli.

Substitute whole grain or whole wheat pasta if you like.

Adapted from lilluna.com

Share this Recipe

Penne Marinara Casserole with Brown Sugar Bourbon Smoked Sausage

Ever find yourself without a plan for dinner? I’m a planner, it’s what I do. I have to have a plan for just about everything and that includes dinner. Sometimes though, plans fall through, or I forgot a minor detail that turns out to be a huge big deal! This is how this Penne Marinara Casserole with Brown Sugar Bourbon Smoked Sausage was born. My plan for dinner fell through because of a few forgotten ingredients and so I found myself at the last minute digging into my freezer and cabinets saying to myself “Now what?!” Since I live way out in the countryside, just jumping in the car and going to the store for forgotten items just isn’t all that feasible, or appealing. 😂

This turned out to be great though! It wasn’t a disaster at all. My kids gobbled this casserole up, and I gotta say, I enjoyed it too. You can use any variety of sausages in this casserole, but the Brown Sugar Bourbon Smoked Sausage is what I had on hand. I really liked the subtle sweetness it gave the dish. It’s not overpowering at all, just a background sweetness. You’ve just got to try it! Here’s how to make it! It’s easy peasy!

First you want to get your water going for your pasta, and cook your pasta according to the directions on the package. Just until al dente (cooked, but firm to the bite). While that’s doing it’s thing, you can brown up your ground beef (or turkey if you prefer) along with your onion and garlic. Once the beef is cooked, then just slice your sausages into coins, like above. Toss that in the skillet with the beef.

Toss your pasta sauce and seasonings in along with your sausage and stir it up to combine. Then just let it simmer and heat through while your pasta finishes cooking. Once the pasta is done, drain it and return it to the pot.

Take your meat mixture, and dump that in with your pasta and give it a good stir.

Transfer the pasta to your prepared casserole dish, and top with the cheeses. It is now ready for the oven!

Pop that in a 350 degree oven, and in about 10-15 minutes (or until the cheese is melted and the casserole is heated through) you have a delicious dinner.

Full of two different kinds of meat and cheesy goodness, what more do you need?! Perhaps a fresh, crisp green salad to go along side it wouldn’t hurt. 😉

 

 

Print Recipe
Penne Marinara Casserole with Brown Sugar Bourbon Smoked Sausage Yum
Recipe by Christine Titus
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 2 1/2 – 3 quart baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions, until al dente.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef with onion and garlic until beef is no longer pink and vegetables are tender.
  4. Slice sausages into coins, and add to the skillet along with pasta sauce and seasonings. Stir to combine, and let simmer to heat through while pasta finishes cooking.
  5. When pasta is cooked, drain thoroughly and return to pot.
  6. Stir meat mixture into pasta and transfer to prepared baking dish.
  7. Top with Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.
  8. Bake for 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, or until cheese melts and heated through.
Share this Recipe

Mashed Potato Hot Dish

This casserole is the perfect dish to serve your family on busy weekdays. You probably have all of the ingredients already in your pantry. This dish has a lot going on for it. It’s budget friendly for one, it’s easy to put together, and it tastes fantastic! All you need to round it out is a simple salad to serve on the side. Easy Peasy! Oh, and one other thing I love about this recipe, it’s topped with my favorite mashed potatoes. I make double the mashed potatoes for what I actually need in this recipe, so there are leftovers that I can serve as a side dish the next day. I mean, if I already have to make them, I might as well double up. That makes for an easy dinner the next day, since I don’t have to worry about a side. The potatoes go with anything, meatloaf, chicken, steak, pork chops. Oh I can name a million things that go with mashed potatoes, and trust me, after you taste these, you’re going to want more.

So lets get cooking!

There’s nothing to it really.  You’re just gonna take your ground beef, garlic and onion, and toss that in a large pan. Brown  up that hamburger and drain the fat if necessary. Then add your green beans, cream of chicken soup, and salt and pepper. Next layer!

Cheese! Oh yea. You’ve got to have cheese. If you’re worried about the fat content in this recipe, don’t be worried! I’ll let you in on a little secret. I used low fat cream of chicken soup, reduced fat cheese, 1/3 less fat Neufchatel cheese (instead of full fat cream cheese), and light sour cream. No one noticed! Just as I suspected. If you’re worried about the beef, switch it out for ground turkey. It’ll work out just the same and be fabulous, just the same. In fact next time I’m going to use ground turkey. So there go, don’t be scared, now put that cheese layer on. Next layer!

The mashed potato layer. These potatoes are easy to make, and this is also where the cream cheese, sour cream, butter and ranch dressing mix comes into play. But like I said above, you can lighten it up. I did! So spread that deliciousness over the cheese.

No, I’m not kidding. More cheese. That’s your final layer. Now plop that in the oven at 350 and bake it until it’s bubbly and the cheese is melted. About 20-25 minutes, which was the perfect amount of time for me to clean up those pans I used, and toss together a crisp green salad.

Enjoy!


Print Recipe
Mashed Potato Hot Dish Yum
Recipe by Christine Titus
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Place potatoes in a large pot. Cover with water, and bring to a boil. Boil potatoes for 15-20 minutes or until fork tender; drain well.
  2. Return potatoes to large pot and add cream cheese, ranch dressing mix, sour cream and butter. With an electric hand held mixer on low speed, blend ingredients together. Once combined, turn to faster setting and whip potatoes until smooth. Cover and set aside.
  3. In a large skillet, cook beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until no longer pink and onion is soft. Drain if necessary.
  4. Stir in soup, green beans, and salt and pepper to taste
  5. Transfer beef mixture to a greased 2-qt. baking dish. Top with 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese. Top cheese with mashed potatoes. Sprinkle top of potatoes with remaining cheese.
  6. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted.
Recipe Notes

This recipe makes double Mashed potatoes than what you will need for this casserole. I like to make extra and then eat the left over potatoes as a side dish the next day. If you don't wish to do that, then just cut the mashed potato recipe in half.

Share this Recipe

Simple Ravioli Casserole

Happy Friday everyone!

I don’t know about you guys, but my whole week was full of frustration and technical difficulties, so I’m really really happy it’s Friday. Have you ever heard that song from Brad Paisley called Crushin’ It? Yea, that’s my theme song currently! LOL!

So enough with things being difficult! Lets do something simple! I love simple. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m all about simplicity. Keeping things simple, means you don’t have to rush. It means more time with those you love, less stress, and maybe even make space to relax with your feet up while enjoying your favorite wine. So lets keep it simple.

We’ll start with this Simple Ravioli Casserole.  All you need to round out this delicious dish, is a nice crisp green salad, and some crunchy garlic bread. In fact, that’s what I did. I tossed together a quick Caesar salad and baked up some of that garlic Texas toast you find in the freezer section at the store. Talk about simple eh?

First of all, you want to take that frozen ravioli and cook it in a big pot. Which takes almost no time. I mean, seriously. Takes longer to boil the water than to cook these suckers.

Now, spread a little bit of your pasta sauce on the bottom of your 13×9 dish.

Then we simply start layering. Start with half of your ravioli.

Then the rest of the pasta sauce from the first jar, and then sprinkle with some Italian seasoning. Just sprinkle to your own taste.

Spread on the cottage cheese. Oh yea, did I mention that this dish is loaded with cheese? You got the cheese filled ravioli, the cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese and some Parmesan cheese. Cheese cheese everywhere cheese!!! YUM!

Here comes more cheese. Put some of your mozzarella on, and then some of your Parmesan. Now… are you ready for this? Repeat the layers one more time. The rest of your ravioli, all of the pasta sauce from jar #2, Italian seasoning, cottage cheese, mozzarella and Parmesan. Now you’re ready for the oven!

Isn’t she a beauty?! Just about half hour in the oven, uncovered, at 350 and there she is! Let her rest for about 5-10 minutes while you toss together a salad and warm up some bread.

I hope you all enjoy and have a marvelous weekend!

 

Print Recipe
Simple Ravioli Casserole Yum
Recipe by Christine Titus
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Spread 1/2 cup of pasta sauce in an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish.
  2. Layer half of the ravioli on top of the pasta sauce. Then spread remainder of first jar of pasta sauce evenly over the ravioli. Sprinkle pasta sauce with Italian seasoning, to taste. Next spread 1 cup cottage cheese, and 2 cups mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle 1/4 cup Parmesan over mozzarella.
  3. Repeat the layers 1 more time. Ravioli, all of pasta sauce from jar #2, Italian Seasoning, cottage cheese, mozzarella and Parmesan.
  4. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 30-40 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.
  5. Yield: 8
Recipe Notes
  • This dish makes a lot and is perfect for potlucks or big families. You can also split it up between two smaller casseroles to bake one now, and freeze the other. To freeze, just assembled casserole up to baking. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and then add a layer of heavy duty aluminum foil. Mark and date it, and freeze. When you're ready to eat it, thaw in the fridge, bake as directed.
  • This also reheats really well for lunches the next day.

Adapted from Taste of Home

Share this Recipe

Meatless Chili Pasta Bake

Hello everyone!

It’s a beautiful Tuesday afternoon here in my little corner of the world in the southern half of Indiana. A bit humid though. I love the sunshine, but the humidity I can do without. I am very grateful for my air conditioning. My kids, however, are enjoying playing in the sprinkler. When they are done, they like to towel off and dry in the sun while eating a Fun Pop. Once spring hits, I always make sure I have a package of those in the freezer.

Enough about my day, lets talk about menu planning for just a minute. Do any of you menu plan? I always work out a menu plan before I make my shopping list, and I work by the week. I also only do dinners. I don’t plan breakfast and lunch. Each individual is on their own for that one. I always have everyone’s favorite things on hand though, so it’s easy for them to find breakfast and lunch.

Do any of you do themed menu planning? I absolutely love doing my planning that way, because I get so bored doing it. I mean lets face it, menu planning and grocery shopping are not really the most enjoyable thing to do. They are tasks and they must be done. But why not have fun with it? If I start getting bored I just change up my theme. I do have some constants though that always seem to make it into the plan somewhere. One of those is a meatless night.

I have discovered that lots of people do “Meatless Monday”. My meatless meal may not fall on a Monday, but it’s the same concept. I’ve also discovered that having at least one meatless meal a week, will save money in groceries. One last thing I’ve noticed, when I make a meatless dish, no one seems to notice or even miss it. How cool is that?!

So that’s what I have for you today, a meatless dish that you’re going to want to add to your menu to try. It’s incredibly budget friendly, and so yummy! My son wolfed it down, and then the kids polished off what was left of it the next day for lunch. I served it alongside some corn bread and a tossed crisp green salad. Easy, quick, cheap, and yummy! What could be better?! Let me show you how easy this is…

First you’re going to cook the pasta according to the package directions. Then drain it, and add it back to the pot. Then mix in your chili, salsa and corn.

Transfer that to a 13×9 casserole dish.

Now sprinkle on the cheese.

All that’s left is to pop it in a 400 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, or until it’s bubbly and the cheese is melted.

I hope you and your family enjoy this delicious dish together! We sure did!

A few of my favorite things in this recipe:

  • Pyrex glass 13×9 baking dish – Mine’s blue, and also probably older, but these Pyrex dishes are perfect for just about anything. They don’t absorb food smells or stains, they are dishwasher, refrigerator, microwave & oven safe, and the lid makes taking a dish to a potluck a lot easier!
  • Oxo Good Grips nylon spoon – These are safe for non-stick cookware and also heat resistant up to 400 degrees.
  • Paula Deen cookware – I absolutely love my cookware set. I have had these for quite awhile and still don’t need to replace them. They are very reasonably priced for great cookware.


Print Recipe
Meatless Chili Pasta Bake Yum
Recipe by Christine Titus
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large pot, cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Return pasta to pot and add in the chili, salsa and corn. Mix well to combine.
  3. Transfer to a greased 13x9 baking dish and sprinkle with cheese.
  4. Bake, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly.
Recipe Notes

Adapted from Taste of Home

Share this Recipe

Chicken, Veggie & Rice Casserole

After this long weekend and returning to every day life, you’re probably going to be looking for an easy weeknight meal. Well, surprise surprise, I have what you are looking for! Today I’m sharing with you my Chicken, Veggie and Rice casserole. It’s so simple, and just perfect for busy weeknights, or for when you’re just tired and don’t want to spend forever in the kitchen. I mean, you need time to put your feet up and have a glass of wine. I’m just saying.

This recipe calls for cooked chicken, which increases the ease of it. If you already have cooked chicken in your freezer (which I like to keep stocked up on), or if you have leftovers from the night before, great! If you don’t have any already cooked chicken, to keep this recipe simple, you can grab a rotisserie chicken from your grocery store deli. That will do just fine.

All you need to round out this meal is a tossed salad. So lets just jump right in so you can get to relaxing!

A few of my favorite things I used in this recipe:

  • Pyrex 4 qt. glass mixing bowl – I love this giant bowl. I use it to mix casseroles together before putting them in the casserole dish, and I also love it because I can make a huge batch of salads to take to potlucks or to have at any party. Lots of space in this one. Plus Pyrex is non-porous so it won’t absorb food odors, flavors or stains, and it’s oven, microwave, refrigerator, freezer and dishwasher safe.
  • Paula Deen Cookware – I absolutely love my cookware set. Paula Deen has many different sets, but this is the one I have and I love it. Always cooks evenly, washes easily, never stains.
  • Pioneer Woman Ceramic Bakeware Set – I just got this set and I adore them! They’re so pretty, not to mention easy to wash.


Print Recipe
Chicken, Veggie & Rice Casserole Yum
Recipe by Christine Titus
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Prepare your rice according to the package directions.
  3. In a very large bowl, combine rice, chicken, soup, milk, carrots, green beans, and tarragon. Season with salt and pepper to your taste. Spoon into a 2 1/2 - 3 qt. casserole dish. Top with bread crumbs.
  4. Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes or until heated through.
  5. Flip on the broiler, and broil for a minute or two, just to brown the bread crumbs. Watch closely so you don't burn it.
  6. Serve & enjoy!
Recipe Notes

Adapted from Del Monte.

Share this Recipe

Enchilada Bubble Bake

Mmmm Enchiladas. I can’t get enough of them! It’s one of my favorite flavors, that red enchilada sauce, therefore, one of my favorite Mexican dishes. Enchiladas are easy to make too, in fact I posted my take on some easy enchiladas which I named Awesome Beef Enchiladas. If you missed that, be sure to check it out.

But speaking of simplicity and my obsession with enchiladas, this dish I bring you today is even easier than my Awesome Beef Enchiladas! So if you don’t feel like rolling up tortillas with delicious enchilada fillings, and just wish you could have enchiladas you can just throw in a 13×9 and be done with it, well… your wish is my command!  This is exactly that easy. There is  just one little thing I would like to point out. I used to have a horrible time with dishes like this because it seemed like it would take FOREVER to get the biscuits to cook all the way through and even still, you might find one or two still a little raw in the center. Used to make me NUTS! The secret, make sure your meat mixture is piping hot when you add your biscuit dough to it. This will help those biscuits cook on time, evenly, and completely through.

So now, I bring to you….

I hope you enjoy!

Print Recipe
Enchilada Bubble Bake Yum
Recipe by Christine Titus
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a large skillet, cook beef over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink. Drain, if necessary.
  3. Meanwhile, separate each can of dough into 10 biscuits. With a knife, or I like to use a pizza cutter, cut each biscuit into quarters.
  4. In large bowl, stir together beef, beans, and enchilada sauce. Add biscuit pieces and toss gently to coat. Spread mixture evenly in baking dish. Sprinkle cheese over top.
  5. Bake 25 to 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Recipe Notes
  • You will want to make sure your meat mixture is piping hot when you add your biscuit dough to it. This will help those biscuits cook on time, evenly, and completely through.
  • You can top this delicious casserole with any of your favorite toppings like sour cream and/or guacamole.
  • You could also use ground turkey in this recipe.

Slightly adapted from Betty Crocker

Share this Recipe