8 Inviting Casseroles: Recipes for Dinner Success

School is back in full swing, which means hectic schedules are now even busier. Between practices, sporting events, recitals, work, and any other activity filling your calendar, penciling in a dinner time is next to impossible. Setting a standard dinner time might not be possible, but creating a casserole people can dig into as a home-cooked dinner while they come and go is. Thanks to large baking dishes, casseroles make plenty of food and store easily, making these 8 recipes your go-to dinner solutions during a frantic week.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

1. Chicken Enchilada Casserole

When your schedule is preventing you from getting home on time to prep dinner and get it in the oven, make the overnight chicken enchilada bake from Pillsbury. It makes 8 servings, and solves your dinner dilemma.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut into thin bite-sized pieces
  • 1 (10¾ ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
  • 1 (4.5 ounce) can chopped green chiles
  • 2 (10 ounce) cans enchilada sauce
  • 12 (6 inch) corn tortillas, quartered
  • 8 ounces (2 cups) shredded cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup sliced green onions

Directions: Spray 13 by 9-inch (3 quart) glass baking dish and 16 by 12-inch sheet of foil with nonstick cooking spray. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add chicken; cook 3 to 4 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in soup, sour cream, and chiles.

Spread ¼ cup of the enchilada sauce in sprayed baking dish. Arrange half of the tortilla pieces over sauce, overlapping as necessary. Spoon and spread 1 cup enchilada sauce evenly over tortillas. Spread half of chicken mixture over sauce. Top with 1 cup of the cheese. Repeat layers, starting with tortilla pieces. Cover tightly with sprayed foil. Refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake covered 30 minutes. Uncover baking dish; bake an additional 20 to 25 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and cheese begins to brown. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with onions.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

2. King Ranch Casserole

Texas Monthly declared that King Ranch casserole would be the state casserole should Texas ever adopt one. In their estimation, a dish with such merit for the state deserved an all-star treatment, meaning no cans, and plenty of fresh ingredients went into this recipe that serves 10 to 12.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3½ cups chicken stock
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 3 mild green chiles, roasted, peeled (stems and seeds discarded), and diced
  • 1 (10 ounce) can Ro-Tel
  • 18 corn tortillas
  • 1 cooked chicken (poached or roasted), meat shredded
  • 1 cup shredded Jack cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar

Directions: Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the vegetables and sauté on medium-low about 7 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper and cook for 1 minute. Sprinkle in flour, ½ cup at a time, and stir until the white is no longer visible. Whisk in 3 cups of the stock, 1 cup at a time, until smooth. Whisk in cream and stir in chiles and tomatoes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with butter. Pour remaining ½ cup of stock into a bowl. Stack the tortillas in the bowl, 6 at a time, to moisten, then line the bottom of the pan with the tortillas, making sure they overlap each other by about one third. Cover the tortillas with half the sauce. Add half the chicken and sprinkle with a third of the cheese. Add a second layer of soaked tortillas, the remaining sauce and chicken, and another third of the cheese. Top with the remaining tortillas and cheese.

Bake for about an hour, until bubbling and lightly browned on top. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

3. Pastitsio

Put a Greek spin on your pasta bake by making AllRecipes.com’s pastitsio. You can also make the casserole with ground lamb, or a combination of ground lamb and ground beef.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dry ziti pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 dash ground nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1½ pounds lean ground beef
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • ½ cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and return to pan. Melt butter until golden brown and pour over ziti, add ¼ cup of the Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and toss well; allow to cool. Add eggs and toss again; set aside.

To make the meat sauce, gently fry onion and garlic in butter in a skillet until onion is soft. Increase heat and add ground beef; stir well. Cook until meat begins to brown. Add tomato paste, wine, broth, parsley, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

For the cream sauce, melt butter in saucepan, stir in flour, and cook gently for 2 minutes. Pour in milk all at once and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil gently for 1 minute. Add nutmeg, salt, pepper, and cool slightly before stirring in beaten egg. Transfer ½ cup of this sauce to the meat sauce.

When ready to assemble, grease a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Spoon half of the prepared ziti evenly in the bottom and top with meat sauce. Top that with remaining ziti. Pour on cream sauce and spread to completely cover ziti. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake in a preheated oven for 50 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting into squares to serve.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

4. Shrimp and Wild Rice Casserole

Instead of chicken or beef in your casserole, follow Paula Deen’s Food Network recipe and bake a satisfying seafood dish. The simple shrimp casserole requires minimal prep work, and yields 6 to 8 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8 ounce) package wild rice
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 1 (10¾ ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 cups grated sharp Cheddar
  • Salt and pepper

Directions: Cook the rice according to package directions minus ¼ cup water. Drain and cool. Bring 2 cups water and ½ tablespoon salt to a boil in a medium saucepan and cook the shrimp for 1 minute. Drain immediately and set aside.

Heat the butter in saucepan and sauté the pepper and onion until soft, about 5 minutes. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, combine the rice, soup, 1½ cups of cheese, shrimp, and vegetables. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Mix well. Spray a 9-inch square aluminum cake pan or an 11 by 7-inch glass casserole dish with vegetable spray. Place the mixture in the pan and top with remaining ½ cup cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, until bubbly.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

5. Pizza Casserole

Just because you need a convenient dinner doesn’t mean you have to order a pizza — especially not when you can make a pizza casserole with Southern Living’s recipe. It will make 10 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (1 pound) package ground mild Italian sausage
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 (26 ounce) jar marinara sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • ½ medium-size red onion, chopped
  • ½ medium-size red bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ medium-size green bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ (8 ounce) package sliced baby portobello mushrooms
  • 1 cup sliced black olives
  • ½ cup pepperoni slices, chopped
  • 1 (16 ounce) package rigatoni pasta
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups half-and-half
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, shredded (2 cups)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (8 ounce) package shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 8 to 10 pepperoni slices

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook sausage and garlic in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes or until sausage crumbles and is no longer pink. Remove with a slotted spoon, reserving drippings in skillet. Drain sausage mixture on paper towels, and transfer to a medium bowl. Stir marinara sauce and ½ teaspoon salt into sausage mixture.

Sauté onion and next 3 ingredients in hot drippings 5 minutes or until tender; stir in olives and chopped pepperoni. Reserve ¼ cup onion mixture. Prepare pasta according to package directions in a large Dutch oven.

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat; whisk in flour until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in half-and-half; cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, 7 to 10 minutes or until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Stir in fresh mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, pepper, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Pour sauce over pasta in Dutch oven, stirring to coat. Stir in onion mixture.

Transfer pasta mixture to a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking dish, and top with sausage mixture, packaged mozzarella cheese, reserved ¼ cup onion mixture, and pepperoni slices. Bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and lightly browned. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

6. Butternut Squash Bake

For a rich and creamy casserole, make the butternut squash bake from Midwest Living. If you don’t have mascarpone cheese, substitute cream cheese when making this dinner that serves 8.

Ingredients:

  • 1½ pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut in 1-inch cubes (3 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces dried extra-wide noodles
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 6 shallots, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 (8 ounce) carton mascarpone cheese
  • ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, snipped
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese-style) bread crumbs or soft bread crumbs

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. In bowl toss squash in oil; place in oiled 15 by 10 by 1-inch baking pan. Roast, uncovered, 30 minutes, until lightly browned and tender, stirring twice.

Meanwhile, in Dutch oven, cook noodles according to package directions. Drain; set aside. In same Dutch oven melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add shallots; cook and stir over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, until shallots are tender and butter just begins to brown. Stir in lemon juice.

Add noodles and squash to shallot mixture. Stir in mascarpone, ½ cup of the Parmesan, ¼ cup parsley, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and black pepper. Transfer to greased 2-quart oval gratin dish or baking dish.

In small saucepan, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter; stir in bread crumbs, remaining Parmesan, and parsley. Sprinkle on noodle mixture. Bake, uncovered, 10 minutes, until crumbs are golden.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

7. Creamy Chicken Quinoa and Broccoli Casserole

Casseroles fall into the realm of comfort food, and Pinch of Yum has updated the classic dish by using quinoa and skipping the canned soup. There is still plenty left to delight in, and the dish won’t disappoint. It yields 6 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2 cups water, divided
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • ¼ cup cooked, crumbled bacon
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 teaspoons seasoning (like Emeril’s Essence, or any basic blend)
  • ¼ cup shredded Gruyère cheese (any kind will work)
  • 3 cups fresh broccoli florets

Directions: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and generously grease a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. For the sauce, bring the chicken broth and ½ cup milk to a low boil in a saucepan. Whisk the other ½ cup milk with the poultry seasoning and flour; add the mixture to the boiling liquid and whisk until a smooth creamy sauce forms.

To assemble, in a large bowl, mix the sauce, one cup water, quinoa, and bacon and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Slice the chicken breasts into thin strips and lay the chicken breasts strips over the top of the quinoa mixture. Sprinkle with the seasoning. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. While the casserole is in the oven, place the broccoli in boiling water for 1 minute until it turns bright green and then run under cold water. Set aside.

Remove the casserole from the oven, check the mixture by stirring it around in the pan, and if needed, bake for an additional 10-15 minutes to get the right consistency. When the quinoa and chicken are cooked and the sauce is thickened, add the broccoli and a little bit of water (up to one cup) until the consistency is creamy and smooth and you can stir it up easily in the pan. Top with the cheese and bake for 5 minutes, or just long enough to melt the cheese.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

8. Meatball Sub Casserole

Pizza isn’t the only flavor you can bake in a casserole dish. The Country Cook has this handy recipe that puts a meatball sub into 9 by 13-inch form. Have a salad ready as a go-to side to round out the meal.

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf Italian bread, cut into 1-inch thick slices
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 (1 pound) package frozen meatballs, thawed
  • 1 (28 ounce) jar pasta sauce

Directions: Arrange bread slices in a single layer in an ungreased 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Fill in any gaps with smaller bits of bread. In a bowl, combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, and seasonings. Spread mixture over bread slices. Sprinkle with ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese.

Gently mix together spaghetti sauce and meatballs. Spoon over cheese. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes.

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