Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole

 

 

Tater Tot Casserole

My favorite cooking shows to watch when I was growing up were “30 Minute Meals with Rachael Ray” and “Semi Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee.”  These ladies taught me to cook meals quicker and to use ready made help to make recipes easier. To this day I still like to incorporate concepts I learned from these cooks.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound of lean ground beef
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 16 ounces of nacho cheese sauce
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas, defrosted if frozen
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels, defrosted if frozen
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend or cheddar cheese
  • 1 28 ounce bag Ore Ida frozen mini tater tots

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Prepare 13″X 9″ baking dish by greasing with cooking spray. Set aside baking dish. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 F degrees.
  2. In a skillet, cook ground beef over medium heat 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink; drain fat. Add onions and cook an additional 2 minutes.  Stir in cheese sauce.
  3. Place meat and cheese mixture in prepared baking dish.  Tater Tot Casserole 1
  4. Layer peas and corn on top of meat mixture. Tater Tot Casserole 2
  5. Layer shredded cheese on top of peas and corn. Tater Tot Casserole 3
  6. Lastly, layer evenly tater tots on top of casserole.
  7. Tater Tot Casserole 4
  8. Baked uncovered 50 minutes or until tater tots are crispy and golden brown and mixture is bubbling.

 

Tater Tot Casserole 6

Easy Chicken and Rice Bake

No peak chicken

After weeks of health issues and doctor and specialists appointments, I just want to think about something else. ANYTHING else. These days, I have been making easy recipes. Some are so embarrassingly easy I just can’t get the nerve to post them on this blog. This recipe is probably one of them. Don’t be too hard on me. Remember, I’ve not been well lately.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups long grain rice
  • 1 can cream of chicken
  • 1 can cream of mushroom
  • 1 empty soup can of water
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pack Lipton onion soup mix

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
  2. Prepare a  9″ x 13″ baking dish by greasing with cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, mix rice, cream of chicken, cream of mushroom, water, Italian seasoning and garlic powder.
  4. Pour rice mixture in prepared baking dish.
  5. Place chicken breasts on top of rice mixture.
  6. Salt and pepper each chicken breast.
  7. Spoon equal amounts of dry onion soup mix on top of each chicken breast. No peak chicken 1
  8. Cover dish with foil.
  9. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes. No peaking!
  10. Garnish with chopped parsley. (Optional)No peak chicken 2

Mexican Cornbread Casserole

Mexican Cornbread Casserole platedHappy Cinco de Mayo! This recipe is like a mash up of my Mexican Casserole and a tamale pie recipe I’ve tried in the past. And for my fellow home cooks who like quick recipes, the 35 minutes baking time is the longest you have to wait.  I love shortcuts, so if you do not have all the required spices in your cupboards you can also use a packet of taco seasoning. Since there is only two of us at home to eat this, I used half the meat and only one box of the Jiffy cornbread mix and an 8×8 baking pan. Otherwise I used the same amount of all the other ingredients. For my vegetarian friends, omit the ground beef and add pinto beans.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 (8.5 ounce) boxes Jiffy cornbread mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Mexican cheese blend; separated into 1/2 cup and 1 cup
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can black beans (15 ounce)
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1 can (2.25 ounces) sliced black olives
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 can (10 ounce) Ro-Tel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles
  • 1 1/2 cup chunky salsa

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Meanwhile in a large bowl, prepare Jiffy cornbread mix by combining mix, eggs and milk. Stir well then add 1/2 cup grated Mexican cheese blend. Set aside. (If you like some extra spice, add a small can of diced green chilies to the cornbread mixture.)
  2. In a skillet add olive oil and cook ground beef over medium high heat until cooked through. Drain any grease. Add onions and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes until onions are tender.
  3. Add remaining ingredients to the meat mixture in skillet. Mix well and remove from heat.
  4. In a 9X13 baking pan, add meat and vegetable mixture. Top with 1 cup grated Mexican blend cheese.
  5. Add prepared cornbread mixture on top of cheese layer. Be sure to spread out evenly.
  6. Bake in oven for 33-35 minutes or until cornbread turns golden.  Enjoy with your favorite beverage.

Mexican Cornbread Casserole

Quinoa Fiesta Casserole

Quinoa Fiesta Casserole PlatedI must admit it is hard to make (somewhat) vegetarian meals with a meat and potatoes loving son in my house. And I’m pretty sure I cannot give up chicken. But in my efforts to try to eat healthier, I decided to give quinoa a try. Yes, I know I am late to the quinoa party and there is probably some other grain that is more popular now.

This casserole came out pretty tasty and I didn’t miss having any meat in it, well not too much. And I know, it’s not truly a vegetarian dish since I used cheese in it. But will you give me a pass on this? This would make a great Meatless Monday meal for those of you that participate in that.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped (reserve 1 tablespoon for garnish)
  • 1 cup corn kernels (I used defrosted frozen ones, but you can use canned or fresh)
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can black beans
  • 1 (2.25 ounce) can sliced black olives
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 (10 ounce) can Ro*Tel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies
  • 1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided in half
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided in half
  • 1 avocado, diced for garnish
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 3 quart baking dish with cooking spray or oil.
  2. Cook 1 cup quinoa in 2 cups water according to package directions. Set aside
  3. In a large bowl, combine cooked quinoa, onion, bell pepper, 2 tablespoons cilantro, corn, black beans, sliced olives, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, can of Ro*Tel, and 1/2 cup of both cheeses. Reserve the other 1/2 cup of cheeses for top.
  4. Add quinoa mixture to prepared baking dish. Smooth out into even an even layer.
  5. Add enchilada sauce to cover the quinoa mixture.
  6. Add the other half cup of cheddar and mozzarella cheese to the top of casserole.
  7. Cover casserole with foil. Bake in oven for 30 minutes.
  8. Uncover casserole and garnish with avocado, reserved cilantro and tomatoes.

 

Don’t let the cheesy goodness fool you. There’s healthy stuff hidden under the cheese layer!

Quinoa Fiesta Casserole

 

 

Loaded Mexican Chicken and Potato Casserole

Mexican Chicken and Potatoes Casserole PlatedBrrr! It’s getting chilly outside. I love this time of year because making casseroles in a hot oven not only gives you a belly full of goodness, but the heat from the oven helps make the house nice and toasty. This recipe is yet another,”What can I make with the ingredients I have on hand?”  I really need to go grocery shopping soon.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces
  • 5 medium russet potatoes, diced into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika (or regular)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies (14.5 ounce)
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican Blend cheese
  • 1/2 cup cooked, chopped bacon
  • 2 green onions, sliced thin
  • sour cream for topping (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Grease 9 X 13 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
  3. In a large plastic container with lid (or 1 gallon Ziploc bag) add paprika, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper and olive oil. Mix well.
  4. Add diced chicken and potatoes. Seal container. Shake well so all the seasoning cover the chicken and potato pieces.
  5. Add seasoned chicken and potato pieces to baking dish in an even layer.
  6. Bake uncovered for 50 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and add diced tomatoes over casserole. Sprinkle cheese, bacon and green onions over casserole.
  8. Bake another 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  9. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
  10. Serve with sour cream if desired.

Mexican Chicken and Potatoes Casserole

Baked Penne Casserole

Baked PenneI was really in the mood for lasagna tonight. Then I checked my cupboard and refrigerator and soon discovered I was lacking lasagna noodles and a few ingredients. I also discovered that I was too lazy to go to the grocery store. So, I decided to make do with what I had and came up with this baked penne casserole. Don’t laugh, but I had to use provolone and mozzarella cheese slices that I normally would use in my sandwiches. I told you, I was too lazy to go to the grocery store. In the end it still worked out nicely.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 8 ounces sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 3 1/4 cup your favorite marinara or one 24 ounce jar pasta sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pound uncooked penne pasta
  • 1 container low fat cottage cheese (32 ounces)
  • 6 ounces provolone cheese slices (about 10 slices or enough to cover casserole)
  • 6 ounces mozzarella cheese slices (about 10 slices or enough to cover casserole)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, coat your 13 x 9 casserole dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a large skillet, brown your ground beef and mince it down to your desired size.
  3. Add diced onions and mushrooms to the ground beef and cook for 3-5 minutes until onions are tender.
  4. Next add the wine, sauce, sugar, Italian seasoning, garlic powder and pepper. Stir to mix well. Sauce should be a little watery, not thick.
  5. Once the sauce is mixed and comes to a boil, turn off the heat.
  6. Add a layer of sauce to the bottom of casserole dish.
  7. Then add half your uncooked pasta to layer the casserole dish. (Yes, uncooked. Let the meat mixture you just made do the work for you.)
  8. Next layer the cottage cheese over the noodles.
  9. Now add the provolone cheese slices to cover the casserole dish.
  10. Add the rest of the penne noodles. Be sure to make an even layer.
  11. Add the rest of the sauce mixture over the penne noodles.
  12. Finally, arrange the mozzarella slices over the top of the sauce layer.
  13. Cover loosely with foil. (Tip: spray foil side that will be in direct contact with casserole with cooking spray, so the cheese does not stick.)
  14. Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Baked Penne plated

Meatloaf and Cheesy Mashed Potatoes Casserole (Or Cowboy Meatloaf version 3.0)

Cowboy Meatloaf With Cheesy Mashed PotatoesSo I was reading What’s For Dinner Moms? blog recently. And she had created a version of Cowboy Meatloaf from the Ore-Ida recipe. And suddenly a mishmash of both recipes plus a little change-up came to my mind. Thus, Cowboy Meatloaf Version 3.0 came about.  In my version, I added spicy Italian sausage to the ground beef and like What’s For Dinner Moms?  I made my own mashed potatoes. Here is a link to What’s For Dinner Mom’s? recipe: Cowboy Meatloaf With Cheesy Mashed Potato Casserole. And here is the Ore-Ida recipe: Cowboy Meatloaf and Potato Casserole. Both are great recipes. Be sure to check them out.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound spicy Italian sausage
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 2/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup Sweet Baby Ray’s Original Barbecue Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 3 cups potatoes, boiled and mashed
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 cup cooked bacon bits
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican Blend cheese

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Meanwhile, coat a 13 X 9 baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine: ground beef, Italian sausage, diced onions, Panko bread crumbs, barbecue sauce, Worcestershire sauce, eggs and chili powder until well mixed.
  3. Gently press meat mixture to the bottom of the baking dish. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes or until cooked through.
  4. Meanwhile, mix the hot, boiled and mashed potatoes with butter, milk, garlic powder, bacon bits and 1/2 cup of Mexican blend cheese.
  5. When meatloaf is finished cooking, drain any excess grease from baking dish.
  6. Spread the mashed potatoes mixture over the meatloaf evenly. Add the remaining 1 cup of Mexican blend cheese over the potatoes.
  7. Place baking dish back in oven for 5 minutes or until cheese has melted.  I like my cheese just melted, but if you want your cheese browned, you can turn up the oven to broil and place the casserole under burners for 2-3 minutes instead.
  8. Remove the casserole from oven and let sit 3-5 minutes before serving.