Archive for the 'Casseroles' Category

Recipe: It’s Ash Wednesday – already

|February 22, 2012|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

It's hard to believe that it is already Ash Wednesday.  It seems like this new year is going to fly by quite fast!  It's a no-meat day – actually – it's a day of fasting.  Then it's the Wednesday and Friday no meat days.  At least that is how it has been in my family.

It's still tax season – and yes, I do taxes – although I have cut it way down and I only do a few close friends now.  I don't want the headaches and I don't want to do taxes past April 15th.  I did taxes for so many years – and I am ready to retire from it completely – except for a handful of close friends.

I'm still trying to use up as much yarn as possible to get rid of it.  And it's that time of the year when my babies' school has their Chinese auction and theme baskets.

Princess is in 7th grade now and they no longer expect the 7th and 8th graders to participate.  Instead they use them the night of the auction to run around the gynmasium delivering the baskets that parents have won.  Some of those "baskets" weigh a ton!  I have seen some pretty large laundry baskets overflowing with goodies!

They even auction off a bike, Sabres jerseys, Buffalo Bills items, etc. and they do make a bundle on it each year.

Last year the kids classes both did "baking" baskets.  Well I wrote and donated a baking book which really was quite popular!  Everyone wanted it.  I did email copies to those that wanted it – and I am thinking of sending out to my members if they want it.

This year the little guy's class theme is MOVIE NIGHT.  So I am presently working on a Movie Munchies cookbook.  And I have decided that I will also make a movie basket of goodies, add another cookbook to it, and have him donate that as well to the school.  It will make him feel extra special. 

That sent me "dumpster diving" at WalMart.  You know – those wire bins they toss movies in for $5 each.  I'm going with classics – I found 20 Alfred Hitchcock movies in one DVD case, and 25 John Wayne movies in another case, and 200 classic cartoons (from the good ol' days) in another case.  I want to go back to pick up several more DVD's and possibly a DVD player as well as popcorn, popcorn salt, etc.  If the DVD players are a bit too pricy – then it's going to be a popcorn machine.  We'll see.  But I need to get it all together within the next week or so!

No pics – but some goodies I have made –

I made a scalloped cabbage dish to go with pork steaks – really easy and good!

Just chop your cabbage into 1-inch peices and par-boil for about 10 minutes; drain well.  Toss in your casserole with some medium/thick white sauce and a bit of ground black pepper.  I also added steamed sliced carrots.  Really perked up the flavor.  Topped with some plain bread crumbs and dotted with butter – 350* F. to heat through.  Additional white sauce drizzle over the pork steaks which I just skillet fried in olive oil, seasoned with the basics – Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, garlic, onion powder, parsley.

Quite easy to make – and a hit!


Since I had cabbage left over, a few days later I made some lazy cabbage rolls.  Couldn't make regular cabbage rolls because I had cut up the head of cabbage in such a way I couldn't.  but where there is a will there's a way –

While I was cooking my ground beef in the skillet (the basic seasonings and in olive oil), I was chopping and par-boiling my cabbage.  Before my meat was cooked, I added some grated onion and finely minced red bell pepper – not alot – just enough.   I also cheated because I had leftover rice from the night before from a different meal and I used that.  I drained my meat mixture and cabbage, added the rice and tossed in tomato soup (partially diluted) and transferred to my casserole.  Once again – 350* F. until heated through.  Fresh hot rye rolls and a salad of greens topped it off.

It's been such a mild winter but it's been a comfort food one as well.

I hope you give the recipes a try – just eyeball it all – you'll do just fine!

Stay warm!



Recipe: Lazy Eggplant Lasagna

|June 25, 2011|read comments (6)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

We've all heard about Lazy Pierogie – so why not try Lazy Eggplant Lasagna?

This didn't take long to make at all – it's so hot and humid that I took a jar of my homemade meat sauce out of the freezer the day before to thaw so that I could use it and not need to have a pot of sauce simmering on the stove! 

 This is a smaller eggplant than I would normally use because I made a smaller lasagna than normal. – – 


First, I combined my whole-milk ricotta with my chopped spinach.  You can wilt fresh spinach – but I chose to use frozen, cook and drain well and chop.  I used barely half the box – saved the remainder for another meal.  Allow to cool before adding to the cheese.  Seasoned with Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, fresh minced parsley (dried is fine to use) and mixed well.  Cover and refrigerate.



Wash and peel your eggplant.  Normally I would slice my eggplant – but this time I diced it instead.  I wasn't using lasagna noodles so why go for the slices?


Dip in beaten egg and dredge in seasoned bread crumbs – dry bread crumbs, Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, garlic, onion powder, fresh minced parsley (dried is fine to use).


Well – you know the routine – heat your skillet, add your olive oil, heat your oil, and THEN add your breaded eggplant.  Fry until tender/light golden.

Meanwhile, I placed my pot of water on the stove to boil to cook my macaroni.  While waiting, I transferred the cooked eggplant to a dish to cool for just a bit, sliced my brick of mozzarella (which could easily have been grated – I sliced by choice) and I spooned about a half a quart of my sauce into a bowl.

Once again – you know the routine – pot of water comes to a rolling boil, add your salt and wait for the water to return to a full rolling boil, add your macaroni and cook al dente.  Drain well and do not rinse.

I used a few handfuls of medium shells, rotini, and cut ziti – a great way to use up macaroni!  And since they all cook at the same time – it was easy.  Once thoroughly drained, I stirred the cooked macaroni into my bowl of sauce and coated well.


I placed a couple spoons of sauce into my baking dish and topped with half my macaroni; spread my ricotta/spinach mixture over the top.


Then top this with cooked and partially cooled eggplant.  At this point you can sprinkle with grated mozzarella if you want.  I didn't do it this time.  Top with remaining macaroni, added a bit more sauce to the top of that and spread sliced mozzarella around the top.


Even though it was so hot and humid – I still preheated my oven to 350* F. and placed the lasagna in for 20 minutes – because this is not a big casserole dish.  A larger dish would take longer.


Enjoyed with a nice salad of greens and some onion bread.

If you didn't read my post about Chinese Meatballs then you missed my onion bread recipe – it's right up there with garlic bread – if not better:

Combine softened butter, fresh minced parsley (dried is fine), a bit of Kosher salt, fresh cracked black pepper, a sprinkle of onion powder, and fresh grated onion.  Slather on thick-sliced Italian or French bread.  Placed on a baking tray (can be done in the broiler or toaster oven as well) and in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes while the lasagna was heating through.


and so simple – did not take long at all to make!

I hope you try this one!




Recipe: Zucchini Lasagna

|June 5, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

This recipe is something I've done for many years – and many of my friends are using it for their low-carb diets as well.

This is easy to make  as well.


We all have our own spaghetti/marinara sauce or white sauce type recipe (or Alfredo, or Carbonara, etc.) and I have several posted here as well.  So I won't post one now.  But you can use a can of tomato sauce added to your cooked ground beef or turkey or chicken and season with salt, pepper, garlic, parsley and Italian seasoning or basil – it's that simple.


I won't give any measurements – it's up to you and how much you are making.  This dish can be made for one, two, or dozens!


After browning your meat well, drain well, add tomato sauce; season.

Season to taste your ricotta cheeseusing salt, pepper and parsley.  If your cheese is dry, add an egg or two (once again – depending on how much you are making) and mix well.

Wash your zucchini (no need to peel unless it's a very large zucchini and the skins are tough) and slice into 1/8-inch rounds.  I place sauce in my casserole dish – just a thin layer on the bottom – some of my friends spray with non-stick cooking spray while some lightly coat with olive oil.  The choice is yours.

Then begin layering your lasagna – zucchini, ricotta, zucchini, ricotta, zucchini. 

Place a bit of sauce between the layers you want and also sprinkle between the layers a bit of grated Italian cheese of choice.  Top with sauce and more grated cheese and pop into a preheated 350* F. oven for 30  minutes or until heated through.


Recipe: Using leftover chicken for a casserole –

|February 24, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

We've all enjoyed leftovers – face it.  Many of us were raised not to waste anything.  Generation buddies – remember your mom and gram always telling you to eat what was on your plate – "there are children all over the world that are starving" – and that was that. 

But leftovers can really be something to look forward to, 

I roasted a bird (chicken) – almost 3 pounds and served with sour cream mashed potatoes, gravy, corn on the cob, steamed carrots, and homemade biscuits.

Having chicken leftover, I just placed it in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day, I felt like some comfort food – just gearing up for the pleasant months coming.

I removed the meat from the bones, cleaning well and removing any "yuck" and skin. Dice. Meanwhile – preheat oven to 350* F.

Using a family-size can of cream of chicken soup – I placed half the can in my casserole dish and placed my diced chicken on top, and topped that with a can (14 -15 oz.) mixed vegetables. At the same time I was cooking my egg noodles.

When the noodles were done – added to my baking dish with the remaining condensed soup and less than a half can of milk; mixed well. Topped with dry bread crumbs and drizzled with melted butter.
350* F. for 20 to 25 minutes to heat through –

Served with a basic salad of lettuce and tomatoes with homemade croutons. Easy to make – since the oven was already on I cut thick slices of Italian bread and placed in a single layer on a baking sheet; placed in the oven for about 15 minutes to toast lightly, turning twice.

This is so simple to make, and you can use leftover veggies of choice.  Also –  try leftover turkey, ham, sausage, pork, beef, fish or seafood,  and any cream soup, white sauce or cheese sauce!