Monday, December 19, 2016

Twice-Baked Potato Casserole

This recipe is an adaptation from a recipe at, 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>.


  • 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


  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!*

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Caramel Apple Pie Slab

Caramel Apple Pie Slab

Giving credit where it is due, I found this recipe online on a couple of different sites. It reminded me that I missed out on apple picking at the orchard this year. Gilcrease Orchard is my go-to happy place, even with all the muck, endless walking (which I secretly enjoy) and even with me slipping and falling on my .... dignity .... on our last visit. But apples mean fall and fall means apple pie. This is an awesome variation on that theme, so prepare, bake, dig in, indulge and enjoy. Warning: This recipe is HUGE and for the masses, so it's perfect for a holiday dinner or potluck!

  • 8 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 6 pie crusts
  • 1/4 cup dark Karo syrup
  • 4 oz. condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • Preheat oven to 425 °F.
  • In mixing bowl, combine apples, flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
  • Let apples sit for 15 minutes to soften and coat.
  • Line 11"x15" pan with 3 pie crusts.
  • Top with apple slices.
  • Cover with 3 additional pie crusts.
  • Bake at 425 °F for 45 minutes.
  • Over medium heat, stir Karo syrup, condensed milk, 1/4 cup sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and butter until thickened.
  • Cover baked apple slab with caramel, and let sit for 1 hour.
  • Slice it up any way you like it, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream if you like and enjoy every indulgent bite!

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.