Category Archives: Casseroles/Bakes

Super Bowl 46 – Some Appetizers!

I just love the Super Bowl because it is all about football food! It is a great “holiday” to make lots of fun little bites for. Especially out here on the West Coast, where festivities begin at noon, there are many hours of eating that happen. Growing up we always had snacks, but being that in the East the game doesn’t start until dinner time, we focused mostly on a big pot of chili and cornbread muffins. So, I really enjoy this new world of an appetizer “holiday’! In honor of the big game, I came up with these appetizers for this year’s party at a friend’s house. I know I am posting this past the big day, but these are versatile enough for any party.

Buffalo Chicken Cups. Makes 32 mini cups. (Recently I have seen similar recipes around, however, I thought this up on my very own before seeing any others.)


8 large egg roll wrappers

1 12.5 oz can of chicken breast meat, drained

1/4 C Frank Red Hot Sauce, or your favorite wing sauce

4 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese, room temperature

2 oz blue cheese crumbles

3 green onions

blue cheese dressing

celery sticks


Preheat oven to 350.

Combine chicken, hot sauce, cream cheese and blue cheese crumbles in a bowl. Cut egg roll wrappers into quarters. Using a mini cupcake tray, grease cups (I use coconut oil, but you can use cooking spray) and line each one with one of the wrapper quarters. Fill each cup with a scoop of chicken mixture. Bake for 15 minutes. sprinkle with green onions. Serve with celery and blue cheese dressing.

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Dip. (Recipe inspired by Healthy Food for Living)


8 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 C Greek yogurt

4 T turbinado sugar

1/2 t vanilla extract

1/4 t kosher salt

1/2 C mini chocolate chips


With a hand mixer, combine cream cheese, yogurt, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Using a spatula, fold in chocolate chips. Put mixture in a serving dish and serve with dippers of choice, I like to use apple slices and graham crackers.

Go team!

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Filed under Appetizer, Casseroles/Bakes, Cheese, Chicken, Dip, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Holiday, Vegetarian

Baked Eggs in Portobello Mushrooms.

This is a great, quickly prepared, but elegant looking breakfast and the best part, it is low in sodium (about 11% of our daily allowance) and heart healthy. It is also full of protein and vegetables to get you off on the right foot in the morning. We paired it with grapefruit and seed bread toast for a well rounded, wonderful way to start our Saturday.

Baked Eggs in Portobello Mushrooms. Serves 4.


4 large portobello caps

2 T coconut oil

1/2 lb turkey sausage (I used country sage from the butcher counter), cooked

1 oz fresh goat cheese, crumbled

1 large clove of garlic (or two medium/small), finely chopped

1 handful of organic arugula, rough chopped

4 free range eggs

fresh cracked black pepper


Preheat oven to 375.

Carefully remove stems from the portobellos and clean away the gills with a spoon. Take care not to break the edges of the mushroom so the egg will stay in the cap. Heat coconut to liquid (about 45 seconds in the microwave) and brush the edges and bottoms of each cap.

Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper. Place each cap on the baking sheet. Fill each cap with 1/4 of the sausage, cheese, arugula and garlic. Create a well in the center of each cap and crack an egg on top of each one. Sprinkle with pepper.

Bake the caps for 23-25 minutes or until the egg has set, but the yolk still moves (i.e. it is still going to be runny when you cut into it). Remove from the oven and serve immediately with your favorite accompaniments.



Filed under Breakfast, Casseroles/Bakes, Gluten Free, Grain Free

Quinoa & Veggie Stuffed Winter Squash.

To make up for my Stromboli post so close to all of those New Year’s resolutions to be healthier, workout, and eat with more thought, I have made you this awesome protein and veggie rich dish. I still have so many winter squash kicking around from the garden this past summer and we are on a squash cooking rampage, so what better than filling it with more veg and the best whole grain around, quinoa. This dish is vegan and dairy free, though I give some suggestions below for dressing up should you want to.

Quinoa & Veggie Stuffed Winter Squash. Makes 2-3 whole squash.


2-3 roasted winter squash (cooking instructions below, this varies slightly from my standard recipe)

1/2 C uncooked quinoa (cooking instructions below, I do this the day before to make for faster preparation the night of)

1 1/4 – 1 3/4 C water

1-2 T olive or coconut oil

4 oz broccoli, broken into small florets (you can use the stalks too, I freeze mine to use in soup later)

1 small red onion, diced

6 crimini or white mushrooms, diced

1 large carrot, quartered the long way and diced

1/4 t kosher salt

1/4 t fresh cracked black pepper

1/2 t dried thyme, crushed

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 T butter or non-dairy replacement, optional

Roast Squash Process

Preheat oven to 425. Cut squash in half and clean them. Place all squash cut side down on a baking sheet with sides. Fill sheet with water and place in the oven for 35 minutes. Start to work on the quinoa while this cooks, unless it is precooked, then get to work on the veggies.

Quinoa Process

Place quinoa and 1 1/4 cup water in a pan and bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes adding more water, a little at a time, if the grain gets too dry. Stir frequently while cooking. Cover and remove from heat. Allow to sit for 20 minutes or more. If making this ahead of time, refrigerate in an air tight container. Now get started on your veggies!

Stuffing Process

Preheat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add all of the veggies and spices expect the garlic. Sauté for 8 minutes (12-15 if you like your veg on the very soft side, I prefer mine to have some tooth to them), stirring frequently. Turn off heat and add garlic. Toss to mix and allow to sit for two minutes, stirring once. Toss with the quinoa.

When the squash is done, remove it from the oven and discard the cooking water. Place the squash cut side up, add 1/4 tablespoon of butter to each squash if you want, and fill with quinoa mixture. Reduce the oven to 350 degrees, put the squash back in the oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes, just to get everything good and warm (unless you added cheese, then go 15-20). Remove and serve.

Variations: Goat cheese, or any other cheese mixed in with quinoa and sprinkled on top. Served with your favorite pan gravy (this is how we had it…yum!).



Filed under Casseroles/Bakes, Dairy Free, Edible Plants, From the Garden, Grains/Rice, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Simple Roasted Winter Squash.

Roasting winter squash often involves the time consuming task of peeling and cubing the squash. It also cannot help but add calories to the dish because you are covering the squash with oil and butter during the roasting process. A long time ago I developed a method for roasting the squash without any of these added measures. It is easy, quick, and allows you to control how much added calorie you put on the squash.This is the same method I used when roasting the squash for these crazy “shepherd’s pies” last winter. But I wanted to share it again here as we enter into squash season.

Simply cut the squash in half and place cut side down on a baking dish or in a cookie pan with edges. Fill the pan with 1/2-1 inch of water. Bake squash in an oven preheated to 425 for 40-60 minutes, or until the back is soft when presses with the flat of a butter knife (the type and thickness of squash will vary the time). Using a spatula, remove squash from the pan and place cut side up on a plate or cutting board. Add butter or olive oil…whatever you want really, and salt or sprinkle with other desired herbs.


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Filed under Casseroles/Bakes, Edible Plants, From the Garden, Side Dish, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

A-Photo-A-Day: Breakfast Pockets.

Pizza dough stuffed with scrambled eggs, sausage, and cheese. Coat with egg wash and add cheese to the top of each pocket. Bake for 10 minutes (or until golden brown) on a pizza stone in an oven preheated to 500 (reduce heat to 450 to bake). Serve with a white pan gravy.

Corresponding recipes:

Spelt & Whole Wheat Pizza Dough.

Scrambled Eggs.

Basic White Gravy.



Filed under Bread, Breakfast, Casseroles/Bakes, Cheese, Eggs

A Loaf of Meatloaf.

This is my first loaf of meatloaf. I have made muffin cup meatloaves before, somehow they seem less intimidating. But I have never made the loaf. The hubs says the only thing that can go wrong with a meatloaf is that it could be dry, so I was determined not to let that happen with this one. Besides, it needed to be moist enough to make yummy leftovers, and possibly meatloaf panini sandwiches (stay tuned). So I thought for a second about looking up some recipes, then I abandoned that and came up with this instead. It has some fresh veg in it that you might not have on hand and that is totally ok. If you don’t have kohlrabi sub in a little turnip (two small) or other veg that has a decent amount of moisture in it, you could also try just using the carrot, it will likely turn out just fine. I used the veg to keep the loaf moist.

A Loaf of Meatloaf (and a side of glaze). Serves 6-10.

Meatloaf Ingredients

1 T olive oil

1 small onion, finely diced

2 crimini mushrooms, finely diced

1/4 t kosher salt

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

1 lb 5% fat ground beef

1 lb 20% fat ground pork

1/4 C bread crumbs (I used Italian style)

1 large egg, beaten

2 T Worcestershire sauce

1/2 t fresh rosemary, minced

1/2 t fresh thyme, minced

1/2 t kosher salt

1/2 t fresh cracked black pepper

1 large carrot, shred

1 medium kohlrabi, shred

Meatloaf Procedure

Preheat oven to 375.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil and sauté onions and mushrooms with 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt, until soft and the onions are transparent. Add garlic, stir, cook for 30 seconds and remove from heat. Set aside to cool slightly.

Grease a metal or oven-safe glass 9×5 loaf pan. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl with your hands. Push mixture together in a loaf shape about the size of the pan and transfer to the loaf pan. Bake in the oven, uncovered for one hour and 15 minutes (if this seems long remember how much moisture you have added with all the veg). Remove from oven and allow to cool while you make the glaze. Remove the loaf from the cooking pan as the loaf will have likely let out quite a bit of moisture (you might avoid this by cooking the shredded veg, but I like it to maintain its form and not be mushy) Plate on a platter or in another dish and top with glaze. Cut and serve.

Glaze Ingredients

1 T honey

2 T BBQ sauce (your favorite one)

1 T water

1 t tomato paste

1/2 t granulated garlic

pinch of kosher salt

Glaze Procedure

Combine ingredients in a small sauce pan and heat over medium. Stir constantly to avoid scorching. When mixture is heated through and all ingredients are melted and combined the glaze is ready to be drizzled over the meatloaf, about 5 minutes.


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Filed under Beef, Casseroles/Bakes, Dairy Free, Midwest Inspired, Pork

The Best Thanksgiving Stuffing.

A long time ago a very good friend of our started having Thanksgiving dinner with us. From the beginning his contribution was stuffing. It was the recipe his mother always made at home and she provided him with the recipe to continue the tradition. I am not sure of the origins of this recipe outside of that as I only ever received a typed version that she did in Word herself.

But anyway, we simply fell in love with this stuffing and over the years, as our friend as moved on to having other Thanksgiving plans and commitments, we have started making the stuffing ourselves.  I have altered the recipe, as is my habit of doing, to it my cooking style, but the flavors and nostalgia of the stuffing have remained the same.

The Best Thanksgiving Stuffing. Serves 8.


14 oz bag cubed stuffing mix (the original recipe calls for Pepperidge Farms but you could use anything, probably even make your own cubes with the equivalent weight, dried in the oven–I am going to try this soon!)

1 unsalted stick butter

12 oz bulk pork sausage (I use sage breakfast)

2 1/2 C chicken stock

1 t kosher salt

8 oz mushrooms ( I use crimini and chanterelle)

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup fresh cranberries, cut in half

Melt a stick of butter (less one tablespoon) in a big pot over medium heat. Add broth and salt to butter and warm. Remove from heat. Brown sausage until cooked in a large skillet over medium heat, remove from pan and put in the big pot.

Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the sausage fat and add mushrooms, onions and celery. Sauté until onions are soft and starting to turn translucent. About 3-5 minutes.

Add vegetables and cranberries to the big pot. Slowly add stuffing mix, toss gently until the crumbs are moist.

Put the entire mixture into greased 9×13.

Cover with foil and bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 15 minutes more to get a good crust on it.



Filed under Bread, Casseroles/Bakes, Dairy Free, Holiday, Side Dish

Mexican Style Baked Eggs.

I get bored with breakfast, even though it is my favorite meal of the day. I get into ruts where I make the same thing over and over. It usually consists of potatoes, bacon and eggs. I feel like the sky is the limit, but I cannot seem to think out of the box. This is precisely why I got so excited when I saw this delicious looking dish on Pinterest. I headed over to check the recipe out at Closet Cooking. Though I have made baked eggs before, it was on potatoes. I had never made a Mexican inspired breakfast.

I modified this recipe slightly and slimmed down the method to make it a one dish meal. It ended up being really quick and easy to make and did not disappoint!

Mexican Style Baked Eggs. Serves 2-4.


1 T olive oil

1 small red onion, diced

2 fire roasted jalapeños, diced (can sub fresh here)

1 small bell pepper, diced

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1/2 C frozen corn (fresh/canned is fine)

1 t kosher salt

1 t ancho chili powder

1 t cumin

1 t Mexican oregano

1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes

1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed

3 T chopped cilantro

1/2 C shredded cheese of choice

4 eggs

Using a 10 inch cast iron skillet, or other oven safe skillet, preheat oil over medium heat. Add onions and jalapeño and sauté 3-5 minutes or until onions are starting to soften. Add bell pepper, garlic, corn and spices and sauté for 3 minutes longer.

Preheat oven to 375.

Add tomatoes and black beans to vegetable mixture and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Remove skillet from heat and stir in cilantro and cheese. Flatten mixture and crack the eggs over the top. Place skillet in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, or until eggs are set.

Serve with heated corn tortillas, sour cream, avacado, or any of your other favorite toppings.



Filed under Beans, Breakfast, Casseroles/Bakes, Cheese, Fast & Easy, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Mexican Inspired, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Weeknight Quick & Easy Enchilada Casserole.

While weekends are mine in the kitchen, as of late it has taken some mental effort to get home from work and want to cook. This is not a normal thing for me. Usually I have no problem coming home after working for nine or ten hours and spending oodles of time in the kitchen, chopping, stewing, baking, sautéing. But for whatever reason, as of late this has been a daunting task. I get home and dig around for left overs, quick snacks, anything that doesn’t take too much effort. That is sort of why I started making all of the quick weeknight dinner posts you have been seeing. I know they are not gourmet or detailed, but they are real life, they are really what people make when they are busy or just plain don’t want to cook and they are, for the most part, not processed. Sure there was a waffle mix (made with whole grains), and store bought chorizo (organic and locally raised), but they are not full of corn by-product.

This is a dish that I grew up eating. It epitomizes the speedy weeknight one dish meal in my head. It can be made with a number of on hand ingredients and takes little effort to prepare. As children, my sister and I loved this dish. We would ask for it by name and devour it when it was placed on the table. For me, it is home.

Interestingly enough I was unable to get the recipe that my family uses for this dish, perhaps there isn’t one, that is exists only proverbially. So what you get below is my rendition, made with on hand ingredients. It is waiting to be modified by you!

Quick & Easy Enchilada Casserole.


6 corn tortillas, chopped up

5 oz red chile sauce (or other enchilada sauce)

1 C cooked chicken, chopped

1/2 C sliced black olives

1 small green pepper, diced

1 small red onion, diced

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 1/2 C shredded cheese

1 green onion, sliced

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine all ingredients except 1/2 cup of cheese in a large mixing bowl. Transfer to a 9×13 baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Top with reserved cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is melted and golden brown! Top with green onions and serve with lettuce and sour cream.


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Filed under Casseroles/Bakes, Cheese, Fast & Easy, Mexican Inspired

Skillet Macaroni & Cheese.

I have still got the itch to cook with the skillet we picked up while on vacation. I really don’t know why either. There is just something about it that makes me feel warm inside. With all of the comfort food rolling around the internet these days and my own uncontrollable urge to wrap myself in warm, gooey foods, I thought the next natural dish for the skillet would be mac and cheese!

This came together really quickly and I think the original recipe was written in a way that any home cook can replicate it. It uses one 11 inch skillet and one pasta pot. How simple is that! I found it over at Serious Eats, who credited Jennifer Hess of Last Night’s dinner. You can read the original here. The result was a beautiful dish that made my heart sing and I just had to share it.

Skillet Macaroni & Cheese.


1 pound dry pasta (I used tri-colored veggie shells)

1/4 C unsalted butter 

1/4 C flour

2 C whole milk

1 C heavy cream

dash of hot sauce (I used Frank’s)

1 t dried mustard

1 t kosher salt

2 C sharp farmhouse cheddar, shredded

1 C Gruyere, shredded

1 C fresh parmesan, grated (1/2 C reserved for topping and not put into sauce)

2 C panko bread crumbs

1/2 t dried thyme

1/2 t dried oregano

Get pasta boiling in a large stock pot, season water with salt if you like. Remove and drain when the pasta is al dente. (If you are using shells it is okay if the centers still have quite a bit of tooth.)

Preheat oven to 400.

Heat skillet over medium heat and melt butter. Add flour and whisk to ensure the mixture is smooth and silky. Slowly add milk and cream, whisking continuously. Add hot sauce, mustard, and salt and continue whisking.

Begin adding cheese a little bit at a time (like 1/2 handful) whisking until all of the cheese is melted before adding more. When all of the cheese is melted add pasta and mix to combine.

In a medium bowl mix reserved parmesan, bread crumbs, and herbs together and sprinkle over the top of the pasta and cheese.

Place in oven over a cookie sheet (in case anything drips while cooking) and bake for 20 minutes. Remove and allow to cool slightly before serving because it is going to be hot!


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Filed under Casseroles/Bakes, Cheese, Midwest Inspired, Pasta