Category Archives: Casseroles

Poblano Potato and Sausage Casserole

Poblano Potato and Sausage  Casserole. A couple times a year my husband will bring home this 2 1/2 pound block of extra sharp cheese which happens to be made right here in New York. He forgets that there are only two of us and that he does not really like cheddar cheese, lol! It’s perfectly fine with me. The cheese comes in handy when I am cooking for a large group or need a dish to pass. Once a week, I volunteer to prepare a meal for a group of generous people that give their time to the community. Since I cannot be there in person to volunteer, I do it from my kitchen. I know that the meals are appreciated and I really enjoy the challenge of coming up with a new recipe every week. I do not prepare many casseroles, but they are a tasty, easy and convenient way to share a meal.

Poblano Sausage and Potato Casserole
Poblano Sausage and Potato Casserole
Any sandwich bread will work for this recipe, but try some french bread or bolillos for a heartier casserole.
Any sandwich bread will work for this recipe, but try some french bread or bolillos for a heartier casserole.
With just a little oil, you can brown the potatoes. Cover with lid while cooking and this will help steam and cook quicker.
With just a little oil, you can brown the potatoes. Cover with lid while cooking and this will help steam and cook quicker.

Ingredients

6 slices of sandwich bread (I used wheat), sliced into cubes
2 cups spicy italian sausage (I added turkey, diced
Olive oil
3 cups russet potato
1 sweet onion, diced

1 large poblano, sliced thin or diced
1 jalapeño, seeded, minced
2 1/2 cups extra sharp cheese, shredded
5 large eggs
2 1/4 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, plus more for topping
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/3  teaspoon pepper
Crushed oregano, optional

Poblano Potato and Sausage Casserole
Poblano Potato and Sausage Casserole
Poblano Potato and Sausage Casserole
Poblano Potato and Sausage Casserole. I had a small piece of red onion that I also added in just to use it up.
Poblano Potato and Sausage Casserole
Poblano Potato and Sausage Casserole

 

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread out sliced bread cubes onto baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 13 minutes or until crispy and dried out. Remove from oven and set aside.

2. Add the sausage to a pan with 1/4 cup water. Cover and heat to medium/low. Once the water evaporates, ad 1 tablespoon of olive oil and contniue cooking until browned and cooked through. Remove from heat to cool. Dice when cooled.

2. In a large skillet, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and heat to medium. Add the potatoes. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cover and continue to cook, stirring often, until potatoes are brown on most sides. Drain onto a large plate lined with paper towels. To that same skillet, ad 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the poblanos, onions and jalapeño. Cook for another 5  to 7 minutes or until the peppers/onions are soft. Remove from heat.

3. Add the toasted bread to the bottom of baking pan in an even layer. Add the sausage, potato mixture and 1 1/2 cups of cheese. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs milk, paprika, salt and pepper. Pour mixture into baking dish. Top with remaining cheese and a little crush oregano and smoked parpika. Bake loosely covered with foil paper for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with your favorite salsa. Yields 8 to 10 servings.

Poblano Potato and Sausage Casserole
Poblano Potato and Sausage Casserole. If cooking for a smaller crowd, I like to bake individual casseroles for that special brunch.

Iron Skillet Bacon Chipotle Mac n Cheese

Iron Skillet Bacon Chipotle Mac n Cheese. Preparing homemade mac n cheese in my house is a rare, but tasty occurence! Any recipe that involves more than one cup of cheese, according to my husband, is way too much cheese, LOl!  You have to understand that Richard has worked in a large cheese producing factory for the past 33 years. He threatens to tell me the truth behind the cheese  someday, but for now I will enjoy  what I can, ha ha ha!! Recently, he was taking some time off of work and I asked him for a few suggestions on dinner ideas. I was shocked when I heard the words “mac n cheese” come out of his mouth! But, there was a catch. The catch was that he would love to try it, only if I added thick cut bacon and chipotle peppers. These are two of his favorite foods. Before he could even finish talking, I was pulling ingredients out of the pantry. It just so happened that I found this awesome Mexican Chihuahua cheese at the market a few days before. It was a win, win situation!! Let’s just say, that Richard enjoyed 4 out of the 6 servings from the Bacon Chipotle Mac n Cheese recipe. Cheese lovers unite!! LOl!

 

Bacon Chipotle Mac n Cheese Prepared with Whole Grain Penne Pasta
Bacon Chipotle Mac n  Cheese Prepared with Whole Grain Penne Pasta


8 strips of thick cut bacon, chopped
5 cups penne pasta, cooked according to package
*I used whole grain pasta
1 large sweet onion, sliced thin
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1 to 2 chipotles in adobo, minced
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons hot sauce (Texas Pete or Franks)
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon annatto powder, optional (used mostly for color)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups Chihuahua cheese or Monterey jack, shredded
1 1/2 cups mozzarella, shredded
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon crushed Mexican oregano

 

Smoky Bacon, Caramelized Onions, Chihuahua & Mozzarella Cheese with Spicy Smoky Chipotle
Smoky Bacon, Caramelized Onions, Chihuahua & Mozzarella Cheese with Spicy Smoky Chipotle
A classic bechamel sauce preperation with a mexican twist! Tha addition of the annatto powder adds a great color.
A classic bechamel sauce preperation with a mexican twist! Tha addition of the annatto powder adds a great color.
Bacon Chipotle Mac n Cheese Before Adding Breadcrumbs
Bacon Chipotle Mac n Cheese Before Adding Breadcrumbs

 

Directions 
*Just a quick, but important note. I prepared this recipe using one cast iron skillet, besides the pot I cooked the pasta in. 

1. In a the skillet, cook the bacon until crispy. Drain onto a plate lined with paper towels. Drain all of the grease leaving just 1 tablespoon. Reserve the bacon grease. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and all of the sliced onions. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

2. Turn the heat to medium/low on onions and continue cooking until caramelized. This could take up to 30 minutes and you need to stir often. While doing this, you could cook your pasta according to package directions, drain, rinse in cold water and drizzle with a little olive oil so it does not stick.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove onions from skillet onto a plate, set aside. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to skillet and 1 tablespoon of bacon grease. Whisk in 2 1/2 tablesppons of flour and cook for a few minutes.

4. Whisk in the milk until there are no more lumps. To the milk, you are going to add all of the ingredients in the order listed minus the cheese. Cook on medium/low until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat, add 1 cup mozzarella and 1 cup Chihuahua cheese and stir just until melted.

5. Fold in the cooked pasta, half of the bacon and half of the caramelized onions. Top with remaining cheese, bacon and onions. In a bowl, mix panko with 1 1/2 tablespoons of bacon grease and oregano. Spread the breadcrumbs evenly over mac n cheese. Loosely cover with foil paper and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and cook under the broiler just until breadcrumbs turn golden brown. Remove from oven and let mac n cheese rest for 15 minutes before serving. Yields 6 servings.

Cast Iron Skillet Bacon Chipotle Mac n Cheese
Iron Skillet Bacon Chipotle Mac n Cheese
Cast Iron Skillet Bacon Chipotle Mac n Cheese
Iron Skillet Bacon Chipotle Mac n Cheese
Bacon Chipotle Mac n Cheese
Bacon Chipotle Mac n Cheese

Beef Enchilada Pasta Bake with Zucchini

I have to admit, I am not one who prepares casseroles very often. My style of cooking is more traditional Mexican cooking, low and slow and braised for hours. This was the style I learned from my Mom, but when lived in Texas learning to prepare a casserole was a must. My first real experience with enjoying a warm dish out of the oven was in junior high home economics. I took a cooking class one semester and the first thing I learned to prepare was lasagna. I remember recreating this lasagna recipe for my parents and could not wait for them to try it. They loved it! Then my Dad turns to me as says, “That was a nice snack.” LOL!  That’s pretty much how Dad felt about pizza too. You have to understand that my Dad was used getting a full plate of foods like rice, frijoles, carne guisada all served with warm tortillas and maybe a side of guacamole, ha, ha, ha…

After a few years, my Mom did experiment with a few casserole recipes, but my family’s favorite was the Papas Gratinadas (Au Gratin Potatoes) that she used to prepare. Of all things, my Tia from Mexico shared the recipe with her and it was an instant hit! For this beef enchilada pasta recipe, I used some leftover enchilada sauce and just a few simple pantry staples. Instead of using corn tortillas in the recipe, I decided to use some fideo (vermicelli) pasta that I had as one of the layers. Goya makes their fideo and packages it in these little convenient coils, so it was easy to add into the recipe. And no need to cook the pasta ahead of time, that the beauty of this dish. It bakes for an hour and the sauce and extra water are just enough to cook the fideo just the way we like it. I would imagine any small or thin pasta would work for this recipe. And as with any casserole, it taste so much better the next day!

Beef Enchilada Bake with Zucchini
Ingredients

3 cups enchilada sauce, homemade or store bought
1/2 cup water
1 pound ground chuck
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, plus more to top cheese
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano, plus more to top cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup diced onion
1 serrano, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounce bag of Goya Fideo
1 medium zucchini, sliced into thing rounds
6 to 8 ounces shredded cheese (I mixed jack with mozzarella)
Red pepper flakes
Cilantro, chopped

Beef Enchilada Bake with Zucchini

Directions

1. Mix the enchilada sauce and water, set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Cook the ground beef at medium heat. Season with garlic powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Drain off any excess grease. Add in the onions, serrano and garlic and cook for another 5 minutes. Add in the enchilada sauce and stir well to combine, remove from heat.

3. In a 13X9 baking dish add 1 cup of enchilada sauce and spread out evenly. Add the fideo(vermicelli) pasta, cover with remaining sauce. Layer the zucchini slices on top, spread cheese out evenly. Sprinkle with oregano, red pepper flakes and garlic powder.

4. Cover loosely with foil paper and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 10 minutes. During the last 5 minutes brown the cheese under the broiler. All ovens vary, so don’t leave it unattended. Yields up to 8 servings. Garnish with cilantro before serving.

Tips and Variations~ Replace the enchilada sauce with marinara for the Italian version. If you want to leave out the meat, just add a couple more layers of really thin sliced veggies, like mushrooms, tomatoes, eggplant or sweet peppers. The idea is to layer them so they cover the surface completely. Some added Parmesan cheese would be a tasty bonus!