by JEANNE BRIGGS
Once a haven for lonely leftovers, casseroles have been updated and modernized, and have staged a comeback in the past few years. Many recipes are now built on fresh foods with good nutrition in mind. These recipes are easy to make and simple to serve. The bonus is they’re time-savers that don’t require last-minute preparation. Need a dish to pass at a potluck? Try one of these and get raves. Bon appetit!
Glazed Chicken Bake
You won’t believe the combination of ingredients-cranberry sauce, French dressing, and onion soup mix-that makes this dish so delicious.
1-1/2 cups converted rice
2 cups boiling water
3 scallions, chopped
1 (16 oz.) can whole berry cranberry sauce
1 (8 oz.) bottle French dressing
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
6 bone-in chicken breast halves, skinned
1 (10 oz.) package frozen mixed vegetables
Preheat oven to 350F. In bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish, combine rice, boiling water and scallions. Mix well. In bowl, combine cranberry sauce, dressing and dry soup. Mix to blend well. Using about one third of mixture, place several spoonfuls evenly over rice mixture. Arrange chicken breasts evenly on top. Spoon remaining cranberry mixture over and around chicken breasts, spreading evenly. Cover with foil. Bake 1-1/4 hours. Remove foil, sprinkle vegetables all around chicken, and carefully mix into rice. Bake 15 minutes longer, or until vegetables are hot and cooked through. Serves 6.
Chicken Enchilada Casserole
9 (8-inch) corn tortillas
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes with added liquid
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
4 scallions, chopped
1 (7 oz.) can diced green chiles
1 (2.2 oz.) can sliced ripe olives, drained
1-1/2 cups sour cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 350F. In a 12×8-inch baking dish, place 3 tortillas, overlapping slightly, as necessary. Layer one third of tomatoes, chicken, scallions, chiles, olives, sour cream and cheese over tortillas. Cover with another 3 tortillas and layer half of remaining tomatoes, chicken, scallions, chiles, olives, sour cream and cheese. Then repeat layers again, ending with tomatoes and cheese. Bake uncovered about 35 minutes, or until bubbly and heated through. Serve with guacamole and shredded lettuce. Serves 6.
Baked Reuben Casserole
6 slices rye bread, preferably with dill
1/2 cup Russian or Thousand Island dressing
8 ounces sliced corned beef
1-1/2 cups rinsed and well-drained sauerkraut
2 dill pickles, chopped
1 teaspoon caraway seeds (optional)
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded Swiss cheese
1-1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Butter an 11×7-inch baking dish. Line bottom of dish with 3 bread slices, cutting as necessary to fit. Spread half the dressing over bread. Cover with half the corned beef, and then top with half the sauerkraut, half the pickles, and half the caraway seeds. Sprinkle evenly with half the cheese. Cover with remaining bread slices (cut to fit dish), and spread with remaining dressing. Repeat layers as above. With a whisk, beat eggs, milk and mustard. Pour over casserole. Let stand while oven is heating. Preheat oven to 350F. Bake casserole 40 minutes, or until light golden and set in center. Test with a knife. Serves 6.
Salmon and Potato Scallop
1 (10 oz.) package frozen, chopped spinach, thawed, drained, squeezed dry
1 box sour cream and chive scalloped potato mix
1 package dry ranch-style dressing mix (don’t use the liquid dressing)
2 cups boiling water
1 cup milk
1 can pink salmon, drained and picked over
Preheat oven to 400F. In a 2-quart baking dish, layer half of each of the following: spinach, potatoes, seasoning from potato mix, and dry salad dressing mix. Pour on 1 cup boiling water and 1/2 cup milk. Top with all of the salmon, distributing evenly. Repeat layers with remaining ingredients in same order, ending with milk. Cover with foil and bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until hot and bubbling. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serves 4.
Crazy Vegetable Pie
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup chopped zucchini
1 cup chopped yellow squash
1 cup (packed) chopped fresh spinach
2 scallions, sliced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1-1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup Bisquick
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Preheat oven to 400F. Scatter tomatoes, zucchini, squash, spinach, scallions and cheese over bottom of a greased 10-inch quiche dish or pie plate. In a bowl, whisk together milk, Bisquick, eggs, Worcestershire and mustard until smooth. Pour over vegetables. Bake about 30 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let pie stand 5 minutes before serving. (For interest, add baby shrimp, cooked ham cubes, or cooked chicken or turkey that has been diced.) Serves 6.
Super Cheese Strata
You can improvise on this basic dish. Add ham, cooked chicken, turkey, sausage or crispy bacon. Any way you make it, it’s ideal brunch or supper fare.
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
6 slices white or sourdough bread, crusts removed
1/2 to 3/4 pound cheddar cheese, shredded, about 3 cups
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard, or 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chiles
Butter bread on both sides and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Turn half of the bread cubes and then half of cheese into a buttered 7×11-inch baking dish. Add remaining bread cubes and remaining cheese. Beat eggs, milk, salt, mustard, and chiles until well-blended. Pour over cheese and bread in dish. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Preheat oven to 350F. Remove strata from refrigerator and uncover. Bake for 45 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Serve immediately. Serves 5-6.