Casseroles

Easy Homemade Lasagna

Easy-homemade-lasagna-plate-the-cheap-gourmetLet's face it. Making traditional homemade lasagna can be a lengthy process. This meal is often made on weekends when we have more time in the kitchen.

However, sometimes we just crave it, so here's an option that will satisfy your tastebuds and fit into busy schedules.

The key to this easy homemade lasagna is the noodles. You'll want to use extra wide, such as traditional German egg pasta noodles from Bechtle or Homestyle egg noodles from Amish Kitchens. 

EASY HOMEMADE LASAGNA
Yield: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 20-25 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 bag wide noodles, cooked al dente
1/2 to 1 pound hamburger or Italian sausage, cooked (depends on how much meat you like)
1/2 medium Onion, diced
1/2 medium Green Pepper, diced
1 medium Tomato, seeds removed, diced
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1 (14-oz) jar Spaghetti Sauce
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried Oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried Basil
1/2 teaspoon dried Parsley
1 cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Lightly grease 9 x 11 glass baking dish with cooking spray or olive oil.
  3. Cook noodles according to package directions.
  4. In skillet, cook hamburger or sausage. Remove from skillet and place on plate lined with paper towels to absorb grease or drain in colander and rinse with cold water.
  5. Over medium heat, cook onion and green pepper in skillet until onion becomes translucent; about 5 minutes.
  6. Pour noodles into baking dish. Add remaining ingredients except for cheeses.
  7. Gently combine until ingredients are incorporated. Evenly spread pasta.
  8.  Top with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes until bubbly and golden brown.
  10. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Transfer to plates and serve immediately.

  Easy-homemade-lasagna-pan-the-cheap-gourmet

 

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Italian Sausage, Bacon, and White Beans Casserole

This Italian sausage, bacon, and white beans casserole is a hearty meal that will keep you warm on chilly winter nights. It's packed with amazing flavor and topped with refrigerated biscuits for a complete one-dish meal.


Italian-sausage-white-bean-bacon-casserole-with-biscuits

ITALIAN SAUSAGE, BACON, AND WHITE BEANS CASSEROLE
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Servings: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 20 to 25 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

6 slices thick Bacon, chopped
1 pound bulk Italian Sausage
1 medium Onion, chopped
3 large cloves Garlic, finely chopped
1 can (15 ounces) Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
2 medium Tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon dried Basil
1 teaspoon dried Oregano
1 teaspoon dried Parsley
1 can (12 ounces) refrigerated Buttermilk biscuits

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray.

2. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, cook chopped bacon over medium-high heat until crispy. Transfer bacon to a small bowl lined with a paper towel to absorb grease.

3. Add Italian sausage to skillet and cook until no longer pink inside; about 8 minutes.

4. Add onions and garlic and cook until translucent; about 2-3 minutes.

5. Stir in beans, tomatoes, and herbs. Heat to boiling over high heat; about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to casserole dish.

6. Separate refrigerated biscuits and arrange over casserole.

7. Bake 20-25 minutes or until casserole is thoroughly heated and biscuits are golden brown. Let sit for 5 minutes and transfer to serving plates.

Italian-sausage-white-bean-casserole-with-biscuits
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Vegetarian Tamale Pie Recipe

Vegetarian-tamale-pieIt is believed tamale pie dates back to the early 1900s, when women were encouraged to conserve meat. Nearly all tamale pies contain corn, cornmeal, tomatoes and beans. Some add beef, pork or chicken to the pie mixture, while others include cheese or olives.

The spiciness of tamale pies can be controlled through the use of peppers. The Jalapeno is relatively mild, whereas Habaneras boast the highest level of heat. The pepper rule of thumb is the smaller the pepper, the higher the heat.

When working with hot chili peppers, it's best to wear gloves. If this is not an option, be certain to thoroughly wash hands with soap and water after removing seeds and chopping.

The following Vegetarian Tamale Pie recipe was developed by me when I worked at a health food store. This turned out to be one of the most requested dishes on the menu. I have since altered it with the addition of chile pepper and red pepper flakes. Feel free to adjust the heat by adding more or less of these ingredients.

VEGETARIAN TAMALE PIE

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Serves 6
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Bake Time: 30 to 40 minutes

Ingredients:

3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium Onion, chopped
2-3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 fresh Jalapeno Pepper, seeds removed and minced
1 15-ounce can Black Beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can Refried Beans
1 15-ounce can Corn
1 15-ounce can diced Tomatoes, with juice
1 Tablespoon Chili powder
1 teaspoon crushed Red Pepper flakes (or Cayenne Pepper)
1 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
Sour Cream, optional

Topping:

3 cups Cornmeal
2 Tablespoons Honey
1 Tablespoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 cups Water

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2) In a small skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and jalapeno pepper. Saute until crisp tender.

3) In medium mixing bowl, combine black beans, refried beans, corn, tomatoes, spices and sautéed vegetables. Mix well.

4) In separate medium mixing bowl, combine cornmeal, honey, salt, olive oil and water. Mix until smooth.

5) Pour bean mixture into lightly greased 8-inch glass baking dish.

6) Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top of bean mixture.

7) Using a large spoon, place dollops of topping on bean mixture. Spread mixture across bean mixture as if icing a cake.

8) Place inside oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until a knife or toothpick inserted into the cornmeal topping comes out clean.

9) Remove from oven and serve immediately.

10) Top with sour cream, if desired.


Baked Spicy Macaroni and Cheese with Ground Beef and Bacon Casserole

Baked spicy macaroni and cheese with ground beef and bacon casserole is one of our family favorite recipes. This one-dish meal is a cheap gourmet version of America's all-time favorite comfort food. It pairs well with a fresh salad and piping hot dinner rolls.

Baked spicy macaroni and cheese with ground beef and bacon casserole is a great dish to take to pitch-in parties and cook-outs. It can be served for lunch or dinner, as an entrée or side dish, and makes a great leftover meal that can be taken to work and reheated in the microwave.

This Mac' and Cheese casserole can be transformed into a healthier version by using whole wheat pasta, substituting ground beef with ground chicken or turkey, and using turkey bacon instead of pork. I have used low-fat cheddar cheese in the past, but found it to be a bit too rubbery in this particular recipe. I hope you, your family and friends enjoy this macaroni and cheese recipe as much as we do!

BAKED SPICY MACARONI AND CHEESE WITH GROUND BEEF AND BACON CASSEROLE

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Serves: 6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 10 – 12 minutes

INGREDIENTS:
1 to 2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 pound lean Ground Beef, Chicken or Turkey
6 slices Bacon, (Pork or Turkey)
1 16-ounce box Corkscrew Pasta (or Elbow Macaroni, Penne or Bowtie)
1 or 2 Jalapeno Peppers, seeds removed and diced
2 medium cloves Garlic, minced
1 16-ounce jar Ragu Cheddar Cheese Sauce
1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 teaspoon dried Oregano
1 teaspoon dried Basil
Salt and pepper, as desired

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Place bacon strips in large skillet and cook over medium heat approximately 4 to 5 minutes per side. Bacon should be crisp on both sides for ease in breaking into smaller pieces.
3. Transfer cooked bacon to a plate lined with paper towels to soak up grease.
4. Crumble ground beef into skillet, allowing it to cook in the remaining bacon grease. Stir frequently and break up any large pieces using a spatula. 

Spicy hamburger bacon mixture

5. Using a 3-quart pot, add 2 quarts of water, pinch of salt and a splash of olive oil. Bring to a boil, add pasta and cook as per package instructions.

Spicy hamburger bacon mixture and cooked pasta

6. While ground beef and pasta are cooking, wash jalapeno peppers, remove seeds and dice. If you prefer super spicy, chop entire pepper including the seeds.
7. Remove skin from garlic cloves and mince.
8. Break bacon into bite-size pieces and add along with jalapeno peppers and garlic cloves to ground beef during the last 3 to 4 minutes of cooking.
9. Lightly grease a 9x12 baking dish with olive oil.
10. Drain pasta using a colander and transfer to baking dish.

Corkscrew macaroni

11. Drain hamburger mixture in colander and rinse with water to remove excess grease.
12. Add hamburger mixture and Ragu Cheddar Cheese Sauce to pasta. Gently stir to incorporate ingredients.

Mac and cheese casserole

13. Top casserole with shredded Cheddar Cheese. Evenly sprinkle with dried Oregano and Basil.

Spicy hamburger bacon mac and cheese

14. Place Mac' and Cheese in the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until cheese melts and begins to turn brown on top. 

Baked spicy hamburger bacon mac and cheese

15. Using oven mitts, remove casserole from oven. Allow to sit for 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to dinner plates and serve immediately.

Baked spicy hamburger bacon mac and cheese on plate