Better Than Lasagna Casserole

For about 6 years of my life, I worked for domestic violence agencies. I had the pleasure of meeting some of the most amazing women who are life long friends. I was also blessed to meet so many amazing survivors. I was lucky enough that they allowed me to help them share their stories with other to help people better understand the issue of domestic violence. For about a year of my life, I also volunteered with women who were domestic violence survivors that were incarcerated. You may not know that 89% of women who are incarcerated for substance abuse issues have also experienced domestic violence. I still think about these women – especially in times like this. As we are all quarantined at home, how many women (and yes, some men) and children are scared for their lives? May you continue to support your local domestic violence shelters as your budgets allow. Their critical services will be used significantly in the weeks and months ahead.

IMG_1004Although I didn’t have the opportunity to work with SAFEHOME Chef Sarah, I have had the pleasure of working with many incredible chefs at SAFEHOME and Hope House. Trust me, their work is so much harder that it seems. They have to prepare two meals everyday, plus also help prepare food ahead for the weekend staff to heat up between answering the hotline and assisting shelter residents. Our chef was out for a while once and some of us offered to take turns cooking. Just making a casserole, salad, and dessert for 39 people was quite the undertaking.

SAFEHOME shared this recipe on their Instagram page recently. It doesn’t feed 39 people but it does make one hearty dish. May you enjoy this easier than lasagna recipe.

If you or someone you know needs help, please call the Kansas City metro-wide crisis hotline at 816-HOTLINE. The phone number is answered 24 hours a day by trained professionals who can help you safety plan and access resources to help keep you safe.

Better Than Lasagna Casserole by SAFEHOME Chef Sarah
IMG_10054 c. cooked egg noddles (8 oz. dry)
1/3 c. minced onion
1 lb. ground beef
1/4 c. diced green pepper (optional)
16 oz. tomato sauce
1 tsp. oregano, dry
1 c. cottage cheese
1 tsp. basil, dry
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp/ garlic, granulated
8 oz. sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

Cook noddles. Cook onion and ground beef. Mix together tomato sauce, ground beef mixture, garlic, basil, and oregano. Mix together cheeses. Spray a 2 quart baking dish. Put half the noodles on bottom. Top with cheese mixture. Place remaining noddles in dish. Top with meat mixture. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.

Notes:

  • I did not use the peppers.
  • I did not refrigerate it before baking.
  • You can use any kind of pasta – broken spaghetti, rotini, or elbow macaroni. 
  • I would have liked a little more sauce. I think maybe using a 24 oz. would have allowed me to put a little on the bottom of the dish or over the cheese.
  • I added fresh basil and oregano to this recipe from my indoor herb garden. 

Slow Cooker Taco Soup

My cousin Jeanna is my artistic and fashionista cousin. She helps people design their homes and I wish she was helping me to do so. Why can’t you have a piece of software that shows you what all the things you picked will look like together with your furniture in my new home?

When Jeanna married her husband Jon a few years ago, I jokingly said, “I guess you can’t join this family unless your name starts with a ‘J’.” You see, all my cousins in the Bourek side’s names start with the letter J – Jenny (aka Jen or Jennifer now), Jill, Jeanna, Jodi, and Jackson. Did I mention I also have an aunt Joyce and an uncle Jerry? Little did I know, my then boyfriend Jeremiah would become my husband.

Slow Cooker Taco Soup by Jon and Jeanna Moore
IMG_0112
1 lb. group beef, cooked
1 onion, chopped
1 – 16 oz. can chili beans with liquid
1 – 15 oz. can kidney beans with liquid
1 – 15 oz. can whole kernel corn
1 – 8 oz. can tomato sauce
2 c. water
2 – 14 oz. cans diced tomatoes
1 – 4 oz. can diced green chili peppers
1 package of taco seasoning

Place beef, onion, chili beans, kidney beans, corn, tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, green peppers, and taco seasoning in Crockpot. Cook on low for 8 hours. Pair with tortilla chips for a crunchy finish.

Notes:

  • Jeremiah and I use no salted canned goods and tortilla chip from the health food section. This left our dish a little bland. We topped our soup with a little cheese and fresh cilantro. I think also cooking the meat with the taco seasoning could have made it more flavorful.
  • I also wondered about maybe adding some black beans to the dish.

 

Doritos x 4

Yes, this is another Doritos recipe. Apparently, I have so many on my blog that my coworkers bought Doritos to celebrate my b-day. But I have to tell you, it is my favorite of the casserole versions I’ve made. You can’t go wrong with crescent rolls as a base.

Doritos_Crescent BakeTaco Bake from Pinterest
1 lb. hamburger
1 package of taco seasoning
8 oz. sour cream
1 package of crescent rolls
1 (8 oz.) can of tomato sauce
1 c. diced tomatoes (optional)
1 c. shredded cheese
¾ package of crushed Doritos

Brown hamburger and drain. Add taco seasoning, tomato sauce, and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer. Line a 13 x 9 pan with crescent rolls. Top with hamburger mixture, sour cream, cheese, and Doritos. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Notes:

  • I used Wildtree taco seasoning.
  • I used reduced fat crescent rolls, fat free sour cream, no-salt added tomato sauce, and 2% cheese. You could use 93% fat-free ground beef or ground turkey to make it healthier.
  • I accidently add the whole can of Red Gold diced tomatoes (14.5 oz.). It still turned out fine.
  • I used a ½ bag of Doritos and it was more than enough. Another option would be to use Baked Doritos.
  • I baked the crescents for 7 minutes before adding ingredients. I do this to prevent a doughy crust.

Creamy Spaghetti Sauce

I think recipe came from an issue of Kraft Foods. It incorporates cream cheese into the sauce. It’s a nice quick dinner recipe.

Spaghetti a la PhillySpaghetti a la Philly
1/2 lb. spaghetti, uncooked

1 lb. extra-lean ground beef
1 jar (24 oz.) spaghetti sauce
4 oz. cream cheese
2 tsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Cook spaghetti according to package. Meanwhile, brown hamburger. Add sauce and cream cheese. Cook on low for 3-5 minutes until sauce is heated. Add drained spaghetti to sauce. Top with Parmesan cheese and serve. Makes four servings.

Notes:

  • I used 1/3 less fat cream cheese. Fat free would probably work OK as well in this recipe.
  • I made my sauce using a can of tomatoes and Wildtree seasoning. I still added the meat and cream cheese. It was a little healthier but took longer to taste the favors. I might add some fresh basil, spinich, or zucchini the next time I make it.

With a Flare

I once dated someone whose parents were Hondurans. He was born in the U.S. while his father was attending graduate school. P wasn’t much of a cook before we met but I have to say we really enjoyed cooking dinner together. Although, I did eat a lot of marinated chicken breast and black beans and rice back then.

This is a recipe his mother cooked but he didn’t think it was a Honduran dish. They lived in the Dominican Republic for a few years so he thought that might be where this recipe came from. It isn’t an exact recipe so feel free to tweak to your liking.

1# of ground beef
1/2 onion, diced finely
1 or 2 potatoes, diced
1 can of tomato sauce
Louisiana’s Pure Crystal Hot Sauce (just a drop or two)
cooked rice

Cook rice according to package instructions. In deep pan, sauté onion and potatoes til cooked.  In a separate pan, cook ground beef. Add ground beef, tomato sauce, and hot sauce to the sauté pan. Once hot, serve over cooked rice.

Notes:

  • We used Minute Rice but you could use a whole grain rice if you wanted to be healthier.
  • P was particular about using Louisiana’s Pure Crystal Hot Sauce. At first it seemed a little ridiculous but I realized it is the best hot sauce because it isn’t too hot. They sell it at Price Chopper, Hen House, Hy-Vee, and Wal-Mart in Kansas City.
  • I modified this recipe a little bit. I make a cilantro lime rice (fresh cilantro, half a lime squeezed, a touch of oil, and Minute Rice) for the base. For the top, I used taco seasoned meat and mixed it with salsa. I think my version is a little more flavorful and a great way to use leftovers.

Bronco Buster

Anything with the word “buster” isn’t good. But I’m fairly certain the Bronco Buster recipe was one of the worst meals my elementary cafeteria ever concocted. For those of you who didn’t attend Wisner Pilger Elementary School, this recipe was a slice of white bread topped with cold cheddar cheese and kidney beans. It was truly nasty. Perhaps this was one of the reasons I have avoided chili my enter life.

A couple of weeks ago, I was at my sister’s house. Her friend Susan brought chili. I remember Steph (also not a chili fan) saying that Susan made great chili. In an effort to incorporate more veggies into my diet, I thought I would give it a try. Kidney beans are really high in fiber and low in fat. Plus, my vegetarian friends swear if I start eating more beans I’ll be less hungry eating more veggies and less sugar/fat. I have to say, Susan’s chili was pretty good –  I even had seconds. So it got me thinking, maybe I should make a chili recipe.

As someone who has never saved a chili recipe, I decided to pull out one of my home-cooking recipe books. I decided to turn to the Perfect 10 Cookbook as this lady assembled only her best recipes. Although I have to say this recipe isn’t bad, it did make me realize one other thing, chili has a very Mexican food taste. I’m not a huge fan of Mexican restaurants and I think it is because I like sweet over bitter taste. It makes total sense because I love fruit but don’t love the taste of veggies.

So for those of you who love chili, I hope you enjoy this recipe. Although I think I liked the leftovers better after they sat in the fridge for a few days, I think I’m does cooking chili for a really long time.

Cook-Off Chili by Debbie Kraft
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 an onion chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 can Bush’s Chili Beans (medium)
1/2 can Ro-Tel tomatoes
1/2 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. beef broth
1 small can tomato sauce
2-3 T. chili powder (I used Wildtree)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
dash of seasoned salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
3 oz. shredded Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese

In a large Dutch oven pot, brown beef, onion, and garlic. Drain grease. Sprinkle meat with all seasonings. Add chili beans, Ro-tel, tomato sauce, and broths. Stir well and simmer for 30 minutes. Add cheese and simmer another 5 minutes. Serve with crackers or Frito’s.