Monday, September 5, 2011

Casserole Day

I have to admit - I love fall weather. Give me a crisp, cool day and I'm good to go. I will never complain about the scorching heat and humidity, but that's only because I will complain bitterly about the snow. But at the end of the day, I love turtleneck and jeans weather.

After a kind of humid start this morning, today turned into a nice, crispy day. Hence the double casseroles! Actually, I made one for a meal train (celebrating the birth of a sweet baby boy), and the other for us.

First - the meal train dish. No nutritionals, but I can't imagine this is at all particularly healthy.

Ranch Medley Casserole
Source: Pillsbury Casseroles & Slow Cooker (Jan/Feb 2007) - another one of those grocery aisle books

  • 1 bag frozen broccoli, carrots & cauliflower
  • 2 c diced cooked ham (I used chicken)
  • 2 c. refrigerated diced potatoes with onions (used plain)
  • 1-10oz container Alfredo pasta sauce
  • 1/2 c. ranch dressing (used light)
  • 24 round, butter crackers, crushed
  • 2 tbsp butter or margarine, melted
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix frozen veggies, ham, potatoes, Alfredo sauce and ranch dressing. Spread evenly in an ungreased 13x9-inch baking dish.
  • In a small bowl, mix crackers and melted butter. Sprinkle over top of casserole.
  • Bake 40-45 mins or until bubbly and topping is golden brown.
Next up - our dinner. I am cooking almost every night this week, so I opted for a Meatless Monday selection. I actually ripped this recipe from an ad out of Cooking Light - you just never know where you'll find something interesting.

Mediterranean Brown Rice Vegetable Bake
Source: Carolina Rice/Cooking Light Tested & Recommended

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped (used minced)
  • 1 c. chopped fennel (skip)
  • 2 c. finely chopped mushrooms
  • 1/2 c. sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 c. low-fat ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh basil (used dried)
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley (skip)
  • 2 c. brown rice, cooked
  • 1/2 c. roasted almonds, chopped (used unsalted)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (skip)
  • 1/2 tsp pepper (skip)
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 c. shredded Parm cheese (used grated)
  • Heat large skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan, swirl to coat. Add onions, garlic and fennel; saute 6 minutes. Add mushrooms and tomatoes. Cook until all of the liquid has evaporated from the pan. Set aside and cool completely.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix together ricotta and eggs. Add cooled, cooked veggie mixture and the remaining ingredients, including the brown rice. Mix well.
  • Lightly coat a 1.5-quart baking dish with oil (used cooking spray). Place mixture in dish and cover with foil. Bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees.
Yield: 8 servings
Per serving: 226 cals; 14.1g fat (5.1 sat; 1.7 poly; 6.3 mono); 364mg sodium; 18.2 carb; 13.7 protein

I don't know how the Ranch Medley Casserole tasted because I've never made it before, and I delivered it to be cooked (which is also why there is no picture). I can tell you it was super fast to prepare and looked like it made a ton. I included a salad, garlic bread and (store-bought) dessert for the fam. Howevs, my guess is, even if they hated it and threw it away (!) they are way too nice to tell me!

As far as the rice bake, a couple of notes. First of all, the recipe and websites didn't include any nutritionals, which I find super annoying, particularly for "healthy" recipes. So, I used Sparkpeople to figure it out. The nutritionals are based on my version of the recipe (i.e., grated parm, no fennel, etc.). We also had rolls and broccoli.

The recipe itself took a bit of time to prep and then bake. So, probs not the best choice for a busy weeknight. Howevs, it turned out really well, and I liked it a lot. The hubs finished every last bite, and the kid deemed it "so-so" and ate about half. Winner, winner, non-chicken dinner.

Meatless Monday


  1. Speaking of chicken, if you added a little chicken to the veggie-rice casserole it would have been out of this world.

  2. We made the Rice Bake with canned tomatoes and cottage cheese replacing the s-d tom and ricotta, plus lemon pepper. Skipped fennel, parsley, as you did. Loved it. Made it in a meatloaf pan. Leftover slices freeze well.