Showing posts with label casserole. Show all posts
Showing posts with label casserole. Show all posts

Monday, November 4, 2019

Dairy Free Corn Casserole (Small Batch Thanksgiving)

This recipe makes a light (and dairy free) corn casserole. Skip the boxed mix and control your own ingredients!

close up of a Thanksgiving plate laden with side dishes including dairy free corn pudding casserole

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I am all about inclusion. Is that because I have a disabled kid? Because I love people who are LGBTQ? Because I share meals with folks who have different eating styles? Because I have lived in a country where I was a minority? I dunno. The result is that I strive to make everyone feel welcome at my table.

close up of a spoonful of dairy free corn pudding casserole

That doesn't mean I choose the lowest common denominator. My octogenarian house is accessible for my son but not for his sled hockey teammates. I won't plan an entirely meatless Thanksgiving meal for the lone vegetarian at the table--but I will choose vegetable stock over chicken stock in stuffing or in my Silken Turnip and Potato Soup so that more of the dishes on offer are appropriate for the folks who come together to share the meal.

This recipe combines roasted corn and caramelized onions in a light (and dairy free) corn pudding. Perfect for Thanksgiving or holiday dinners.

This recipe came about because of two things:  my conflicting desires to have a lot of side dishes and a small batch Thanksgiving, coupled with my neighbor hosting her extended family for the holiday and having less control over the food on her table. Her son has a severe dairy and nut allergy, and even well-meaning relatives don't always think it through.
"There's no milk or nuts in these Rice Krispie Treats!"  "Did you butter the pan?"
"Yes! Oh . . . I didn't think of that." 
Since I was thinking it through, and wanted the challenge of re-imagining a corn pudding without using a box of corn muffin mix, I offered to bring over a dairy free corn casserole for her table.

I figured I could divvy the mixture between 2 dishes so that we'd get variety in our side dishes while she'd get another dish that she knew was safe for her son.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Cabin Casserole (I know! How cute is this name?) aka Pork Chops Baked with Curried Green Tomatoes

Pork chops baked with curry-seasoned green tomatoes and onions in this homey casserole from a vintage cookbook.

A new green tomato recipe! Pork chops baked with curry-seasoned green tomatoes and onions in this homey casserole from a vintage cookbook.

Each time I make this dish, I add a few tweaks on the seasonings but keep the main elements of pork chops, green tomatoes, and onions. I'm happy to report that this casserole is delicious over rice and my family still ate it all up! I used lemon pepper seasoning with the pork chops and hot curry instead of sweet curry on the vegetables--and they were very flavorful.

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Right now the seasons are a bit topsy turvy. The temperature swings from shorts to sweater weather. I'm excited to turn on the oven but still using the grill. The trees have started to change colors and I foresee leaf raking in the not to distant future. Yet the tomato plants are still plugging away, producing plenty of tomatoes. Once the night temperature dips far enough, there's no amount of sunny days that will bring me red tomatoes. I need to bring them in to ripen--or learn to love green tomatoes. This recipe is one of the ways I've embraced green tomatoes, and I'm glad to re-share it with you.

Pork chops baked with curry-seasoned green tomatoes and onions served over rice.

I love to read cookbooks.  I may be terrible at actually following the recipes, but I never come away from a visit with a cookbook without inspiration.  The other day was no exception.  I was looking through the index of my mom's OK it's mine now 1950 1st edition Betty Crocker's Picture Cookbook for something in the Cs, and I came across this recipe name:  Cabin Casserole.  I flipped to the page and saw this:

A heart-warming dish for a cold day.
Place in alternate layers in buttered casserole sliced onions
and sliced tomatoes (green preferred) . . . using in all 1/2
cup of each for each chop and sprinkling each layer with 
salt and curry powder.  On top, lay browned seasoned pork 
chops. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees (mod. oven) 45 min.
Then cover, and continue baking until tender
 (30-45 min more). Serve hot.

A new green tomato recipe! Pork chops baked with curry-seasoned green tomatoes and onions served over rice. Recipe  from a vintage cookbook.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Small Batch Sweet Potato Casserole (Small Batch Thanksgiving)

Topped with crunchy pecans and mini marshmallows, this lightened up small batch sweet potato casserole makes a tasty side dish for a small Thanksgiving gathering.

a plate of Thanksgiving foods, including lightened up sweet potato casserole

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an image of small batch lightened up sweet potato casserole

Our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farmers over the years have some things in common. One is growing amazing sweet potatoes. It seems every year the size, shape, and sheer number of sweet potatoes in the farm share box increases. No complaints here--just compliments! We went from a family who would occasionally eat sweet potatoes at Outback Steakhouse and Boston Market's Sweet Potato Casserole to a family who enjoys Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Chili and Roasted Sweet Potato Nachos at home.

Since Thanksgiving is all about the side dishes for me, when I planned our Small Batch Thanksgiving I knew I'd be including a version of sweet potato casserole (alongside a full size batch of MA's Make Ahead Mashed Potato Casserole because 5 pounds of mashed potatoes for 3 people sounds about right). I like the Boston Market sweet potato casserole, so I searched Copykat Recipes for a similar one. I changed up the recipe--reducing the butter and sugar, replacing the oatmeal cookie crust with just marshmallows and nuts, shrinking it to fit in a 3 cup baking dish--and made it my own. This was a keeper last year, and will return to the Thanksgiving table this year. Our sweet potatoes in the Strategic Winter Squash Reserve (which accommodates potatoes, onions, and garlic as well as winter squash) are ready to be of service.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Tuna Broccoli Casserole with Potato Chip Topping

Full of broccoli and tuna, with a creamy sauce and the crunch of potato chips, this noodle-less tuna casserole is a family-friendly 5 ingredient dinner ready in under 30 minutes.

Full of broccoli and tuna, with a creamy sauce and the crunch of potato chips, this noodle-less tuna casserole is a family-friendly 5 ingredient dinner ready in under 30 minutes.

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Full of broccoli and tuna, with a creamy sauce and the crunch of potato chips, this noodle-less tuna casserole is a family-friendly 5 ingredient dinner ready in under 30 minutes.

This is the tuna casserole of my youth. Other folks grew up on Tuna Noodle. Not us. My mom left the pasta for other dishes and fed us this simple 5 ingredient dinner.

After years of fixing my spouse's favorite Tuna Noodle Casserole, from his mom's recipe, I realized how much I missed the one I grew up with--so I made it for my kids. It's important not to lose sight of your childhood favorites when you join your life with someone else.

I'm using locally grown broccoli from my Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share in my version. Growing up, mom always used boxes of broccoli spears and arranged them across the bottom of the dish with the 'tree tops' to the outside of the dish and the 'tree trunks' in a line down the middle of a 9x13 inch pan.

Full of broccoli and tuna, with a creamy sauce and the crunch of potato chips, this noodle-less tuna casserole is a family-friendly 5 ingredient dinner ready in under 30 minutes.

The combination of tuna, broccoli, creamy sauce and crunchy chips is an addictive one--and a terrific way to use up those chips at the bottom of the bag. If you've got bigger chips, I recommend making up a batch of Spiced Cottage Cheese Chip Dip and making quick work of those. I'll help.

This casserole is fairly dry when you first serve it. That means it just begs to be smushed around on your plate. I fixed this for lunch one day and my daughter had a rare second helping, then the kids fought over the leftovers.

Full of broccoli and tuna, with a creamy sauce and the crunch of potato chips, this noodle-less tuna casserole is a family-friendly 5 ingredient dinner ready in under 30 minutes.

For more recipes using broccoli, please see my Broccoli Recipes Collection. It's part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient, a resource for folks like me poking in the farm share box and wondering what to do with all the vegetables that have appeared all at once in my home. I'm pinning more casserole recipes to my Pinterest boards, follow me there to check them out. I'm sharing recipes and articles that catch my eye on my FB page, follow me there. And for what's up in the kitchen or with the dogs, check out my Instagram feed. Want to know How To Use This Blog?

Monday, October 12, 2015

Roasted Sweet Potato and Onion Enchiladas

A vegetarian enchilada casserole of corn tortillas stuffed with spicy sweet potatoes and onion, covered in roasted tomato sauce and plenty of cheese.

Recipe for a vegetarian enchilada casserole of corn tortillas stuffed with spicy sweet potatoes and onion

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Welcome back to your normal How To Use the Vegetables from your Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share box programming. Did you enjoy the week of desserts? I won't lie, it was loads of fun making them--especially the Killer S'mores Blondie!

Recipe for a vegetarian enchilada casserole of corn tortillas stuffed with spicy sweet potatoes and onion

I thought I'd settle back into a routine with a vegetarian enchilada recipe. I've been sitting on this one since the ladies at the Thrift shop raved about it last winter, and now that I'm getting sweet potatoes in the farm share--blue ones, too--it's time to put it up on the blog.

Recipe for a vegetarian enchilada casserole of corn tortillas stuffed with spicy sweet potatoes and onion

I can't tell you why I veered away from the standard "sweet potato and black bean" combo, other than everyone else is doing that, so why should I? Instead, I used a filling of roasted sweet potatoes and sautéed onions, spiced up with some salsa verde. Yum! We get plenty of protein in our diets, we sure don't need a can of black beans to make or break things. [Heck, yesterday at the Ohio Renaissance Festival I ate not one but 2 Scotch eggs--one for my honey since he couldn't be there. That's a hard cooked egg covered in sausage and deep fried. Yeah, some protein. And oh so good.]

Recipe for a vegetarian enchilada casserole of corn tortillas stuffed with spicy sweet potatoes and onion

I've shared plenty of enchilada recipes on this blog, vegetarian and otherwise. Some you can find on my Clickable Collages of Recipe Suggestions page. Since that was published I've added Turnip Enchiladas, Cranberry, Chicken and Leek Enchiladas, Easy Cheesy Vegetable Rice Enchiladas, and Beef Tongue Enchiladas. You could say I have a thing for enchiladas--they are a terrific vehicle for getting dinner on the table.

Recipe for a vegetarian enchilada casserole of corn tortillas stuffed with spicy sweet potatoes and onion

For other recipes using sweet potatoes, blue or otherwise (I still don't know what to make with them, good thing potatoes store for a long time in the Strategic Winter Squash Reserve) please see my Sweet Potato Recipes Collection, part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient, a resource for folks like me eating seasonally from the farm share, the farmer's market, and whatever's plentiful and cheap at the store.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Eggplant Feta Casserole

Slices of crisp baked eggplant chips layered with feta cheese and smothered under tomato sauce. Served on a bed of spaghetti, this is a vegetarian casserole that will please the whole family.

Sometimes I've got a lot on my mind. Sometimes I don't have much to say.

This is one of the latter times. If you've been getting a lot of eggplant in your Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share like I have, then you may be ready for a new idea without scrolling through a story. If the weather is turning a touch cooler in the evenings like it has been here, you may even be willing to turn on the oven.

If you've got eggplant and you're willing to turn on the oven, this Baked Eggplant Chip recipe from our old CSA farmers of Blenheim Organic Gardens is a must try. I took it one step further and added a layer of feta cheese, because while living in Richmond, Virginia the Greek spaghetti from Texas Wisconsin Border Cafe was one of my favorite take out meals. I often throw a layer of feta between the noodles and the sauce on my plate when our family eats spaghetti just to recreate this memory.

For other recipes using eggplant, please see my Eggplant Recipes Collection, part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient, a resource for folks like me eating from the farm share.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Mac & Cheese with Roasted Winter Squash

Classic comfort food--with the addition of a seasonal vegetable. Long-storing winter squash is cubed, roasted, and tossed into macaroni and cheese flavored with Italian sausage.

Long-storing winter squash are one of the ways that I feed my family from the farm share during the off season when we're not getting weekly boxes of fresh vegetables. For today's recipe I chose one of the squash that came from my compost pile. I'm thinking it's a cross between a butternut and a pumpkin or maybe it's an albino pumpkin like all the albino squirrels in my town. Who knows? Either way, it was a pale fleshed winter squash, part of the Strategic Winter Squash Reserve in my cold basement, and worked just as well as a pumpkin or butternut squash would in this recipe.

I don't combine this stuff on a whim, you know. [That's not exactly accurate. On Monday I posted a recipe that evolved as I was preheating the skillet and my daughter was throwing out ideas, which turned into Mardi Gras Fried Rice. Whims were involved.] Last year I took a sugar pie pumpkin from our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share and baked mac and cheese in it. I got the recipe from the versatile cookbook, Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese (Amazon affiliate link). I first made that recipe before my spouse returned from a deployment. I was thinking that I had to make it again for him as the recipe is such a good one and because I crave comfort foods like mac & cheese when it's cold out. You can find that recipe here, or, if you're local to me, I donated a copy of the cookbook to my local library.

The thing is, I rarely re-make a recipe without tweaking it somehow.  [Heck, even my morning oatmeal is currently undergoing revisions.] When I was spooning that mac & cheese into the pumpkin, I wondered about skipping the adorable container/serving dish concept and instead stirring pumpkin into the mac and cheese and then baking it. I kept the rest of the elements the same because the flavors are so good together (I have made 4 or 5 recipes from MELT and each time was successful). Because the baking time is 1½ hours total, this is not a weeknight meal. However, it feeds 8 to 10 people and the leftovers reheat well, so it's a weekend meal making leftovers that could become lunches or fast dinners on hockey busy nights during the week.

For another mac and cheese recipe, please check out Macaroni and Cheese with Beet Greens, Ham and Manchego. For other recipes using winter squash, please see my Winter Squash Recipe Collection, part of my Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Turkey and Kale Divan

Has Kale Gone Mainstream?

If I'm combining kale and a can of cream of chicken soup in a casserole kale has surely gone mainstream.

This combination was not my idea--I credit my spouse for it. You see, his favorite casserole is Rice Casserole, or as it's known outside our family, JEN's Divine Turkey Divan. Our kids now make it, following the instructions on this blog, as one of their stock entrees.
When you first learned to read, re-reading beloved books helped you to develop reading fluency. In a similar way, making the same familiar recipe again and again can help beginning cooks to be comfortable in the kitchen.

With this thought in mind (that the kids could make dinner) I picked up all that was needed for Turkey Divan. I intended for the kids to make this while I was out of town, but instead I returned with a giant bag of kale from my Dad's garden only to find all the ingredients untouched and plenty of take out containers in the fridge. Harrumph. When I offered my spouse a choice between Fast CSA Greens and Pasta--to use up some kale--or Turkey Divan, he ask if it would work to substitute kale for the broccoli. He's a smart man.

Thus far there are 356 recipes posted on this blog. This is the 3rd one to use a can of cream of chicken soup but the 13th one using kale. Everything in moderation. For more recipes featuring kale, please see my Kale Recipe Collection.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Roasted Sweet Potato & Turkey Sausage Breakfast Casserole (Welcome Costco!)

A gluten free breakfast casserole full of hearty roasted sweet potatoes and turkey sausage topped with gouda cheese. No need to assemble the night before and take up space in the fridge--this throws together fast and goes straight into the oven.

I get so much mileage out of having roasted vegetables on hand. Each week as I empty the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share box into various locations around the house--the refrigerator for the greens and most vegetables, tomatoes on the counter, and potatoes, onions, and winter squash in the Strategic Winter Squash Reserve--I plan a time to roast some veggies just to have them standing by.  Usually I'm roasting beets, knowing that eventually I'll find a way to use them. I hope. This time, however, I knew I wanted to have blobs of color [note to self that will be left in the post--really, blobs? maybe something more appetizing?] in a breakfast casserole so I roasted a mess of sweet potatoes as well.
I roast my sweet potatoes by peeling, cubing, tossing with a teaspoon or so of olive oil and spreading them in an even layer on a piece of parchment paper on a rimmed baking sheet. I put them into the oven, turn it on to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and let them go about 20 minutes. After that I stir them, then roast in 10 minute increments (usually just one increment) stirring each time the timer dings until they are tender. Depending on the size of the cubes, they are done in 30 to 40 minutes. These keep overnight in the fridge.
This breakfast casserole is not really a 'make ahead' type.  I have a hard time finding room in my fridge for those pans anyway. There is no bread to soak--it is naturally gluten free. I didn't want to wake up, peel, and roast sweet potatoes and then assemble the casserole before my book group arrived. It was easier to get the sweet potatoes prepped while dinner was in the oven and pop them in to roast since I already had the oven on. Using precooked sausage links meant that it was simple to dump everything in the baking pan, top with cheese, pour the eggs over top, and slide into the oven. The pan, not me. I'm too big for my oven.

I've got a vegetarian (and also gluten free) version of this casserole coming up later. I'm sharing this recipe now because a Costco store is opening up in my neck o' the woods this week (I bought both the turkey sausage and the gouda cheese at Costco) and because I think it would be great to serve guests over the holidays.
How do I shop at Costco if there hasn't been one near me for the past 3.5 yrs we've lived in Ohio? Sled hockey! October through March my son has hockey practice Monday nights an hour away from our home. One of the things you just deal with in disabled sports, I suppose. I find ways to enjoy the outing--like shopping at the Costco or Cincinnati Asian Market that are located a few minutes from the rink. I'm glad to have a closer source for my Costco staples April through September though.
For other recipes using sweet potatoes, please see my Sweet Potato Recipe Collection.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Macaroni and Cheese with Beet Greens and Ham

Classic comfort food with a colorful boost from beet greens and ham.

Last week on my FB page I posted a photo of the greens that were overwhelming me. My friends came to my rescue with great ideas that helped me come up with A Plan. I'm happy to report that there are no mustard greens left--except in leftovers that will be eaten at lunch. I also gave away lettuce, peppers and a kohlrabi to 3 neighbors, freeing space in my fridge for marked down milk and the box of #FreakyFruits that arrived from Melissa's Produce [more on that as I play with it--but I'll tell you that finger limes work nicely in a mustard greens kheema]. I'm feeling a lot better about using all the wonderful produce from the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share.

Sometimes it is hard to be inspired  by the contents of the fridge, freezer, and pantry as a base for dinner. It's easier to grab something at the store than to remember to thaw a package of meat or a bag of pizza dough. It's easier to nuke a prepared entree than to boil noodles.  I know how I sound--because it's October, the month where sled hockey, marching band, and sewing converge to keep my family hopping in ways we are not during the other 11 months of the year. This too shall pass!

As the weeks speed by I find myself  craving comfort foods but lacking time to prepare them. As a result, sometimes for a weekend lunch we sit down to a homey baked mac 'n cheese casserole only because I finally had time to make what I'd been hankering. Cooking a few casseroles on the weekends provides leftovers for us to eat on the fly.

The inspiration for this mac and cheese came from the wonderful cookbook MELT (link to the authors' website). I first raved about this cookbook when I received a free copy and made Mac and Cheese in a Pumpkin last year. Then I made a Pasta Salad with Grilled Fruits and Goat Cheese in the spring. This book really gave me the tools to make macaroni and cheese. Now I've been schooled in the The Art of Macaroni and Cheese (Amazon affiliate link) enough to spread my wings and try a creation of my own, using the ingredients I've got on hand.

I had beet greens from our CSA farm share and I want my family to love them like I do [I'm really not content to hog them all to myself]. I had Manchego cheese left from the Swiss Chard tart and thought that the pink beet stems and ham cubes would be pretty. I'm not pink washing--I'd use beets to make the whole thing pink if I were going in that direction. I suspect you could leave out the ham or substitute sautéed mushroom chunks of chopped ripe olives if you are leaning in a vegetarian direction. [I'm feeding kids who have not yet developed a taste for olives or mushrooms so I stuck with ham.]

For other recipes using Beet Greens, please check out my Beet Recipe Collection here.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Mac and Cheese in a Pumpkin from MELT

Creamy macaroni and cheese with bits of Italian sausage baked in a pie pumpkin from the new cookbook MELT:  The Art of Macaroni and Cheese by Stephanie Stiavetti and Garrett McCord

Mac and Cheese in a Pumpkin from MELT

I'm going to talk about this recipe first, then the cookbook where I got it.  Before I get too wordy, some notes:
MELT will be on sale on 22 October 2013.  You can preorder a copy from a variety of vendors, check here for a list of links (link to website).
If you preorder a copy, or even if you don't, you can participate in a $500 Le Creuset cookware giveaway!  Click here for details on the giveaway (link to website). 
I received a review copy* of MELT and chose to post my experience making this recipe from the book because it's tasty and uses seasonal vegetables from my CSA farm share.  I am not involved in the cookware giveaway (just passing the info along to you), I do not benefit from the links posted above, nor was I compensated for this post.  I do get to keep the cookbook, though, which rocks.
Mac and Cheese in a Pumpkin from MELT

What's all the fuss about baking in pumpkins? 

When I see photos of things baked in pumpkins I tend to think it's a gimmick, more for the presentation aspect than the actual taste.  I mean, how often do you see photos of the food actually being served? [Yeah, I went there.  Seems only sporting to share reality.]  As it turns out, while the mac and cheese in this recipe is delicious, it's even better baked inside the pumpkin!  How do I know this?  The recipe calls for a 5 pound pumpkin and the largest one I'd gotten from my farm share was only 2 pounds.  So I baked the rest of the mac and cheese in a pretty Polish pottery bowl alongside the pumpkin.  The pumpkin adds a creamy sweet vegetable base to the mac and cheese which is truly amazing.

What if I don't have access to little pumpkins?

Since I've lived around the world where seasonal, traditional American plant items are pretty pricey (I'm talking pumpkins and Christmas trees) I've given this situation a bit of thought.  I would suggest using a can of pumpkin puree (not the pie filling, just the puree) and spreading a layer of canned pumpkin along the bottom and up the sides of a 2-3 quart casserole dish, then adding the filling, covering, and baking as directed below.  No access to canned pumpkin?  Roast whatever winter squash is local to you, and spread that inside a casserole dish, cover and bake.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Quadruple Roasted Vegetable Mock Florentine Mock Lasagna

I've been tweaking the blog a bit.  If you look over that way ----> you'll see a clickable Recipe Index.  Thanks to Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes for the code to make that work.  Moving the recipe index off the top bar gave me room for some essays (recipe-free ramblings, really) I wrote way back in the fall :) when I started this blog in case you just feel like reading a bit.
Let me know (comments or on my FB page) what you think!  On to the food.

This, probably more than anything else, illustrates how I feed my family from our CSA farm share all year 'round.

This dish contains 4 roasted veggies:  garlic, roasted after I harvested it and frozen in early summer, eggplant and bell peppers, marinated in a vinaigrette and roasted and frozen when I was overwhelmed with veggies in late summer, and sweet potato, roasted for another use and left over in the fridge.

The mock florentine refers to the liberal use of Swiss chard in lieu of spinach.  I used a bunch of fresh chard (stems in the sauce, leaves with the noodles) in addition to incorporating leftover Creamed Swiss Chard.  (If you're keeping track, the Leftover Score is now at 2).

The mock lasagna refers to the fact that, although I have a well-stocked pantry, I didn't have any lasagna noodles.  Yes,  I could go out and buy some, I'd rather use up what I already got.

Hence the crazy convoluted name.

I walked in the door after an afternoon wheelchair basketball exhibition game with the idea that I wanted "something good" for dinner but having no clue what that would be.  Seventy-five minutes later I was putting this dish in the oven.  It's not a 'quick take', but to go from cluelessly scratching my head in the middle of the kitchen to completed, ready-to-bake Quadruple Roasted Mock Palooza impresses me.  Then again, I'm easily impressed.

Having the roasted veggies and the prepared pesto put up, and a freezer full of potential pizza toppings, means that making this truly does illustrate my goal of feeding my family from our farm share--all year long.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

JEN's Divine Turkey Divan aka Rice Casserole--Thanksgiving Leftover Remake

Why yes, I did take this.  While snorkeling at Hanauma Bay. Thank you.  I think it rocks, too.

It's not that difficult, once you get into it, to eat seasonally when you live in a place that has actual seasons.  And, I suppose, it's not that difficult when you eat from the farm share all year 'round, even though you're only picking up goodies from mid-May through Thanksgiving (if you're lucky!).

But what happens when you don't live in a place that has real seasons?  How can you look forward to the comforting soups and stews of winter, to heating up the kitchen baking bread, to enjoying your favorite casseroles when it's paradise all year 'round?

I lived in Hawaii for more than 3 years.  I lived there long enough to notice the subtle changes in season--the times when the mango tree next to my daughter's preschool littered the parking lot with ripe fruit, the times when it was a little hotter than usual because the trade winds had slowed down, the times when the surf on the North Shore was so awe-inspiring we'd drive up just to watch it.  (And eat garlicky shrimp from the shrimp truck, but that's another post).

It was hard for me to get in the mood to cook heavy 'winter' dishes.  Frankly, it was more fun to go out for a big holiday meal, because roasting a turkey and all the trimmings when it's in the 80s is just . . . wrong.

Don't misunderstand--I loved living in Hawaii and loved raising my little kids there.  Even though my spouse considers it a honeymoon [Me:  I want to go on a honeymoon.  We never went on a honeymoon.  Spouse:  I took you to Hawaii for 3.5 years.  Me:  I was changing diapers for most of that time.  If you're changing diapers it's not a honeymoon. Spouse:   (the sound of crickets, cuz he knows he's got no response)] it was a great experience and one I will treasure forever.

There is one fall/winter casserole type meal that I did cook during our time in Hawaii--this dish.  The official name of this recipe is Turkey Divan, but my family just calls it Rice Casserole (if you've had little kids, you can see how it got it's name).  My friend JEN brought it to a gathering long ago, and I got the recipe and made it soon after.  When the kids were little, I'd blend up the cooked casserole and mix it with rice, hence our family nickname for it, but now they are old enough to eat it as is.
It's a great way to turn leftover turkey into a totally different dish!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Enchilada Casserole

Could have called it enchilada-lasagna, or enchi-sanga, but in the end I went with a straightforward name. This dish takes all the ingredients of enchiladas, but instead of rolling each tortilla up individually, I stacked them in the dish and spread the stuffing over the whole mess.

I know, food porn, right?  This was a particularly photogenic dish, if you're into melty-cheesy goodness.  It ought to be-I made it twice before I was happy with it, so there are photos from each preparation.  My fault, not the recipe--my homemade salsa-not-quite-verde wasn't the right sauce. I repeated it with canned enchilada sauce and it was just right.

My first time trying real, homemade, enchiladas was at a baby shower of all places.  Our hostess made cheese and onion enchiladas and I was amazed how soft and flexible the corn tortilla became in the warm sauce.  Up until that point, I'd assumed that corn tortillas were good for tortilla chips and that's about it.  Not anymore!  I loved the combination of cheese and onion then, and it's still my favorite kind of enchiladas by far.

Because I eat seasonally, I've got butternut squash from my farm share.  The farmers at the weekly pick up said there'd been some insect damage to the squash, and to eat them up this week.  Normally I'd be holding off on the squash until later in the fall and focusing on the greens now, but needs must.  I decided to roast the squash because I've been roasting anything I haven't pickled lately (and pickling anything that hasn't moved). I've revamped my Visual Recipe Index! For more ideas on what to do with your butternut squash, click here.
The pig is very concerned he's going to get pickled too.