Monday, December 19, 2016

Twice-Baked Potato Casserole

This recipe is an adaptation from a recipe at allrecipes.com, one of my favorite go-to sites. It is perfect for potlucks, family dinners and with a bit of tweaking (see below), is just right for large gatherings (2 pans). This is the perfect dish to prepare the night before and bake the following day. And yes, I had to taste it for "quality control" <koff koff>.





Ingredients

  • 2 large baking potatoes (or 6 regular)
  • 1/2 pound lean bacon (or Real Bacon Bits)
  • 3/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted


  • 1 teaspoon dried chives
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
  • 3/4 cup shredded mild Cheddar cheese

Directions



  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease a 9x13-inch casserole dish.
  2. Poke a few holes into each potato using a toothpick.
  3. Bake potatoes in the preheated oven until fully cooked, about 1 hour. Cool for about 15 minutes.
  4. Place the bacon in a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Drain the bacon slices on paper towels and crumble.
  5. Cut a thin slice from one side of each potato; carefully scoop out the flesh and transfer to a bowl. Discard skins. Mix 3/4 cup Cheddar cheese, sour cream, milk, butter, chives, salt, black pepper, and garlic powder with potatoes. Spread potato mixture into the prepared casserole dish; top with 3/4 cup Cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven until just bubbling, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.

*Let the 'tweaking' begin. I baked 5 lbs of potatoes and, after letting them cool slightly, I scraped the contents into a big bowl and chopped them up with my spoon. I added a full bag (8 oz) of sharp cheddar, 1 1/2 c of sour cream, 2 tbsp of dried chives, half bag of Kroger 'real bacon bits', ground pepper and salt (didn't measure, just poured some on my hand and then into the bowl). I didn't use garlic salt because the chives provided sufficient seasoning). I used about a cup of milk and about 4 tbsp of butter. The potatoes were still hot enough to melt the butter when mixed in. I folded everything together, put it in one larger foil lasagna pan and one smaller, more shallow aluminum foil cake pan (about 8.5" by 12.5") for us. I used another half bag of shredded sharp cheddar to top the two pans and sprinkled liberally with dried chives and about half the pack of bacon bits. The casserole was moist, not wet, before baking and because I like my casseroles well cooked, the small one took about 25 minutes to warm through with bubbly cheese. I will probably cook the large one for about 30-40 minutes. Turned out tasty, slightly puffy and smelled delicious!*

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Little Cook's Enchilada Casserole

We went bulk grocery shopping, taking advantage of the case lot sales about a month ago, and the rest is history! This casserole may feature tortilla chips on top rather than actual rolled tortillas in the mix, but it's tasty, easy and above all, quick for those evenings when you just don't have time to fix. Plus it offers quite a bit of left-overs - always a bonus in our house.

Little Cook's Enchilada Casserole


  • 1/2 lb ground turkey (browned in a couple of tsp of canola or olive oil)
  • 2 c cooked rice, white or brown - a great way to use left-over rice!
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 14 oz can of corn (not creamed)
  • 1 14 oz of kidney or black beans 
  • 1/2 jar of your favorite chunky pasta sauce
  • 1 pkg of taco or chili seasoning
  • 1/2 to 2/3 pkg sharp cheddar cheese (approximate 1- 1 1/2 cup)
  • about 1 c of any flavor of broken tortilla chips (I used some awesome sweet chili chips)
  1. Mix together ingredients, from the browned turkey to the taco seasoning. If you like, you can stir half the cheese into the mix. Place in large casserole.
  2. Sprinkle with tortilla chips and the remainder of the cheese
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately half an hour, until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Note: It tastes even better the next day and the day after that, as the flavors mellow and blend!

Vintage '50s Hamburger Casserole

This is a recipe that can be dressed up or down, changed to use a variety of ingredients and still work out to be as tasty as you can imagine.


Vintage Hamburger Casserole

  • 8 oz large noodles (elbow, rotini or any other favorite)
  • 1 1/2 lb ground beef (if you prefer, use ground turkey or chicken)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 med. green pepper, chopped
  •  1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 lb sharp cheddar, grated or cut into small chunks
  • 1 large can cream-style corn (or use regular corn or peas and add a can of cream soup)
  • 1 can pitted black olives - optional (the sliced ones work well)
  • Dash of Tabasco sauce for flavor (some people prefer to use ketchup)
  1. Boil noodles according to package directions. Set aside.
  2. Brown meat, onion and green pepper. Add salt and black pepper.
  3. In large mixing bowl, add all ingredients and fold well. 
  4. Pour into 2-3 qt casserole.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour
Goes well with your favorite mixed green salad or a tomato, cucumber and onion salad.
Yields 12 servings.


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Fall Greetings from the Frantically Creative Little Cook

Finally, a new post. It's been just a bit busy the past while with canning, preparing crafts, cooking and baking and just loving every minute of it. But I figured it was finally time for an update. I wanted to share some of my projects with you, my friends, and celebrate the arrival of fall! 

I had a week off a while ago and frantically worked on jams, salsas, dog biscuits, ruffled scarves, glycerin/shea butter soaps and finished up my doilies. Here are the results (as you can see it's been just a wee bit of work and there's more happening):
 


Pardon the lousy photo editor!

 
                                                            The newest creations - new ruffled   scarves and soaps! I am also working on designer scarves in lovely fabrics with crocheted flowers. Stunning!
Mini birdhouses and a little crocheted 3D Christmas tree decoration. I also made ribbon angels.
 
 I finally blocked all the doilies and...


  What a difference it made!
The fairy garden votive jars were a labor of love. Gotta love those puffy birds! I finally found the battery operated LED lights so some will have those and some will have battery operated tea lights.

In all, I created 7 varieties of healthy, wholesome doggie treats/cookies/biscuits that will be sold in 3 different containers. There will be a 4-pce. "snack pack" for munching; a "Treat a Day" with each of the cookies; and a Max Pax (looks like a takeout container) with 12 biscuits inside. I am pretty excited about all these ventures! For more photos, etc, please visit:
https://www.facebook.com/HomespunTreatsandTreasuresforFolksandCritters/ and/or my Facebook Page.

I promise that season recipes and more will be posted as soon as I finish all these projects for the upcoming craft shows! Thanks for keeping reading, even when I have been unforgivably lax. Love and hugs and HAPPY FALL!!