Mind Harp Loves Casseroles!

Yes, it is true. I love casseroles. In fact, my husband asked me to marry him after eating one! I love them because they can be made ahead of time, everything goes into one dish, they can be made to look fancy or plain, are great for leftovers, and they all taste GOOD! Here are our favorites:

Asparagus Cheese and Almond Pie

1 15-oz. can asparagus spears, drained (or 1 lb. fresh, cooked)
1/4 C margarine
1 slice wheatberry bread (soft), torn into small cubes
2 TBS flour
1 C non-fat milk
1 C shredded medium Tillamook cheddar cheese
1/2 C sliced almonds

1. Arrange asparagus spears in 9" glass pie pan
2. Put bread cubes in a mixing bowl and set aside
3. Melt margarine in a saucepan
4. Add 2 TBS of the melted margarine to bread cubes, mix to coat
5. Blend flour into remaining margarine in saucepan
6. Add milk to saucepan and cook, stirring until thick and smooth
7. Stir in cheese and almonds
8. When cheese is incorporated, pour all over asparagus
9. Sprinkle top with bread cubes and bake at 350 deg. for 20 min.

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Baked Spaghetti

From Janet Clark, my mother-in-law. She always knows what to feed us when we visit Borrego Springs and watch the desert nighttime sky.

7 oz. (1/2 box) spaghetti noodles (uncooked)
1 lb. ground beef
1 onion (sliced thin and chopped)
1 26-oz. jar spaghetti sauce
2 C water
1 pkg. (2 C) shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Brown beef and onion in a large skillet or stewing pot (pot gives more room to mix!)
2. Mix in spaghetti sauce and water
3. Break up spaghetti noodles into 1" - 2" pieces and mix in
4. Pour all into a greased rectangle casserole dish
5. Top with the shredded cheese
6. Cover tightly with foil and bake 325 deg. for 90 min.

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Broccoli and Puffed Cheese Casserole (with Beer Bread)

We recently unearthed my hubby's recipe collection from his college days! I was particularly happy to find this one as he made it for me on our second date. A man who wanted to cook for me? A match made in heaven.

2 10-oz. packages chopped broccoli, cooked
1/4 C onion (sliced thin and chopped)
6 TBS butter
2 TBS flour
3 eggs (well beaten)
1/2 C water
1 8-oz. jar Cheez Whiz
1/2 C fine soda cracker crumbs (Krispy Crackers are best!)

1. Saute onion in 4 TBS of the butter until soft
2. Stir in flour and water
3. Cook, stirring over low heat until mixture thickens and comes to a boil
4. Blend in Cheese Whiz
5. Take off heat and combine sauce and cooked broccoli in a mixing bowl
6. Add beaten eggs and mix gently until blended
7. Turn into a greased 1-1/2 qt. casserole and cover with cracker crumbs
8. Dot with remaining 2 TBS butter and bake 325 degrees for 30 minutes

1. If you make this ahead of time and refrigerate before baking, allow 5 more minutes baking time
2. Tastes particularly good with roast beef or chicken
3. Serve with Beer Bread

Beer Bread

3 C self-rising flour
3 TBS sugar
1 can of beer

Hubby's Instructions:
1. Mix all ingredients
2. Put in baking pan
3. Smooth out top with back of large spoon
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes

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Chicken and Biscuits

Meat from 3 half chicken breast filets, chopped
8 oz. package BirdsEye frozen vegetable mix (broccoli, cauliflower carrots)
2 cans cream of chicken soup
Skim milk
1 can Hungry Jack biscuits (5 biscuit size)

1. Put soup and chicken pieces in casserole dish and mix together
2. Add frozen vegetables and mix well
3. Add enough skim milk to cover
4. Mix a little bit more and then smooth out top of casserole with back of a tablespoon
5. Cook, covered, 350 deg. for 45 min.
6. Take out of oven and place unbaked muffins on top
7. Return to oven, uncovered, and bake casserole 15 min. more
8. Let stand 5 minutes before serving

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Chinese Cashew and Tuna

2 6-oz. cans solid pack tuna
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 C water
1 TBS soy sauce
1 C whole cashews
1 4-oz. can sliced mushrooms, drained
2 C chow mein noodles
1/4 C minced onion or chopped green onion tops
1 C celery, chopped

1. Drain tuna and break into bite size chunks
2. Mix together mushroom soup, water, and soy sauce
3. Combine tuna, mushroom soup mixture, and all remaining ingredients, EXCEPT 1 C of the noodles
4. Turn into rectangle casserole dish and refrigerate
5. When ready to bake, sprinkle remaining 1 C of noodles on top
6. Bake 375 deg. for 40 min. Serves 6

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Curried Chicken and Broccoli

Got this off the radio from "Steve from Inglewood" one year before I got married. WOW!! Steve, where are you? Do you have any more?

1 10 oz. box broccoli spears, cooked
2 C cooked sliced/shredded chicken breast meat
3 oz. chow mein noodles (1-1/4 C)
1/4 C butter
1 4-oz. can sliced mushrooms
1/4 C thin sliced onion
1/4 C flour
1 tsp salt
dash pepper
1 tsp curry powder
1 large (12 oz.) can PET evaporated milk
1 small (5 oz.) can PET evaporated milk
1 C cheddar cheese, shredded

1. Layer cooked broccoli in bottom of a 2 qt. buttered casserole dish
2. Mix chicken and noodles in a large heat-resistant mixing bowl, set aside

3. Melt butter in skillet
4. Drain mushrooms, reserve liquid (add water to make 1/2 C liquid)
5. Add mushrooms and onions to skillet and cook until onion is softened
6. Add flour, salt, pepper, curry and blend with a fork
7. Stir in mushroom liquid and all the evaporated milk
8. Cook and stir gently until thickened, do not let it get too hot

9. Take skillet off stove and pour mixture into the chicken/noodle bowl
10. Mix well and then pour all over broccoli in the casserole dish
11. Top with the grated cheese and cook uncovered at 350 deg. for 30 min.

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Ham and Broccoli Quiche

1 C shredded cheddar cheese (very loosely packed)
1 C shredded Monterey Jack cheese (very loosely packed)
5 oz. thawed frozen broccoli pieces, drained (I cook a 10-oz. box 6 min. in the microwave and save half the box for later)
6 oz. cooked smoked ham steak, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
5 eggs
1-1/4 C milk (divided) (We use non-fat Lactaid 100. It works great!)

1/2 box  (1-1/3 C) Betty Crocker Pie Crust mix
2 TBS plus 2 tsp cold water

1. Stir pie crust mix with cold water until pastry forms a ball. Flatten into a round and roll out on floured surface. Roll 1-1/2 inches larger than upside-down 9-inch quiche dish. Fold in quarters, place in quiche dish, unfold, press into sides and bottom and crimp edge.
2. Layer first four ingredients in order given
3. Whisk 1 C milk with 4 eggs and pour slowly over quiche, let settle
4. Whisk remaining 1/4 C milk with 1 remaining egg and pour over all of quiche
5. Bake 350 deg. for 1 hour or until eggs are set
(Note: mine takes exactly 63 minutes. 60 minutes and it's underdone and runny. 65 minutes and it's overdone, curdled, and watery. 63 minutes and it's just right! So this may take some experimentation with your own oven, but once you figure out the time you're set for life!)

 Quiche Notes:
1. Substitute meat from 2 or 3 chicken breast filets to make a Chicken and Broccoli Quiche
2. Can mix any cheese(s) to make up the 2 cups needed

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Italian Chicken Pie

My hubbie groans whenever I make this dish. It is his new favorite. It smells wonderful cooking, so get the table ready with a Chianti bottle candlestick and red checkered cloth. This recipe will get you in the mood.

1 /3 C grated parmesan cheese

1-1/2 C chicken, pre-cooked, cut up into small pieces
1-1/4 C shredded mozzarella cheese (divided)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 can tomato paste (6 oz.)

1/2 C Bisquick
1 C milk (non-fat works great! We use Lactaid 100)
1/4 tsp pepper
2 eggs

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees, grease 9 x 1-1/4 inch pie plate, sprinkle parmesan cheese on bottom
2. Mix together chicken, 1/2 C mozzarella cheese, oregano, basil, garlic powder, and tomato paste, and then spread mixture over parmesan cheese in pie plate
3. Stir Bisquick, milk, pepper, and eggs until blended. Pour over chicken mixture
4. Bake uncovered 35 minutes. Sprinkle remaining 3/4 C mozzarella cheese on top.
5. Bake uncovered 5 minutes more or until inserted knife comes out clean

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Magic Mushroom Casserole

From Linda Katz, Port Moody, British Columbia. She made this for us after an evening of listening to loons at the lake under a full moon.

2 medium size onions, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
4 oz. bread crumbs
7 oz. grated cheese (cook's choice)
3 eggs
1 oz. butter
Herbs and seasonings to taste (cook's choice)

 Instructions from Linda:
1. Gentle fry onion and green pepper until almost cooked
2. Add mushrooms and cook together a few minutes
3. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients except for the cheese and herbs
4. Press mixture into a greased pie or casserole dish and sprinkle top with cheese and herbs
5. Bake on middle shelf of a 350 deg. oven for 45 min.
6. Casserole is done when inserted knife can cut it nicely

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Nacho Chicken Bake

Got this off the radio from "Steve from Inglewood" a year before I got married. Thank you, Steve! Please give us some more!!

Shredded white meat from 3 cooked half chicken breasts
1 8-oz. bag regular Doritos (yellow corn tortilla chips)
1 lb. cheddar cheese, shredded
1/3 lb. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can Campbell's chicken broth
1 4-oz. can Ortega diced green chilies

1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl
2. Pour all into a 2 qt. casserole dish
3. Bake uncovered at 375 deg. for 30 min. or until bubbly

Spoon leftover casserole into unbaked crescent rolls. Roll them up and tuck in edges. Bake rolls 10 min. at 375 deg.

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Pork Chops with Apple Stuffing

Serves 4, so not really a casserole, but anything that gets tossed into one casserole dish qualifies for me! Serve with Martinelli's apple or cranberry cider.

4 pork chops, 1" thick
Salt and pepper to taste
5 TBS melted butter
1-1/2 C Herbed Season stuffing (dry)
1 large apple cut into chunks (leave peel on)
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 small onion, thinly sliced

1. Trim all fat off chops, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and set aside
2. In a large mixing bowl, add melted butter to stuffing and toss
3. Add apple, celery, and onion to stuffing and toss
4. Spoon a layer of stuffing onto bottom of a buttered 2 qt. casserole dish
5. Stand chops on edge on top of stuffing layer, fat side up
6. Spoon rest of stuffing around, between and over chops
7. Fit on casserole lid tightly and bake 375 deg. for 90 min.

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Ravioli Lasagna

This is so much fun to make, tastes good, and assembles much more quickly than regular lasagna. Play around with different combinations of frozen raviolis and spaghetti sauce flavors until you find the one that suits you best!

40 frozen cheese raviolis (my favorite combination is 20 Rosetto cheese raviolis and 20 Rosetto italian sausage raviolis)
1 28-oz. jar spaghetti sauce (add water to make 3 cups) (I use Classico Italian Sausage with Pepper and Onion)
1 lb. ground beef, browned in skillet
1-1/2 C shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2. Spoon 1 C sauce into bottom of greased 11x9x2 inch baking dish
3. Layer 20 frozen raviolis face down into sauce (4 x 5 rows = 20) (alternate raviolis if using a combination)
4. Cover with half the ground beef
5. Sprinkle on 3/4 C mozzarella cheese
6. Cover with 1 C sauce
7. Repeat layers of raviolis and ground beef
8. Top with remaining 1 C sauce, making sure sauce covers raviolis
9. Cover tightly with foil and bake 35 minutes
10. Uncover and sprinkle on remaining mozzarella. Bake uncovered 5 minutes more

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Swiss Chicken

Not really a casserole, but it all goes in one dish! This tastes absolutely ELEGANT, like you slaved all day, but it's probably one of the easiest dishes to make.

4 half chicken breast filets (no skin or bones)
6 slices swiss cheese
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 C cooking sherry
1 C croutons
1/4 C butter, melted

1. Place chicken in a square or rectangle casserole dish
2. Cover with cheese
3. Combine soup with sherry and pour over the cheese
4. Coat croutons with melted butter and spinkle on top
5. Bake at 325 deg. for 75 min.

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Walnut Broccoli Casserole

From my dad's cousin, Marion Wilson, a painter and wildflower artist. First time I ever had wine was at her house. For dessert we had orange sherbet with homemade chocolate sauce. Uh-oh, now I'll have to start a dessert page!

10 oz. box broccoli spears, cooked
1/2 C butter
6 TBS butter
4 TBS flour
1-1/2 TBS powdered chicken stock base
2 C milk
2/3 C water
6 oz. box StoveTop stuffing mix
2/3 C chopped walnuts

1. Layout broccoli in a greased rectangle casserole dish
2. In saucepan with low flame, melt 1/2 C butter
3. Blend in flour and chicken base, stir to a smooth paste
4. Add milk gradually and stir until smooth and thick
5. Pour milk mixture all over broccoli
6. Pour stuffing mix into a bowl
7. Melt 6TBS butter and 2/3 C water in a saucepan
8. Pour butter and water over stuffing mix and mix well
9. Layer stuffing on top of casserole and sprinkle top with walnuts
10. Bake uncovered 400 deg. for 20 min.

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