WELCOME TO SEPTEMBER PROJECT!! i’m going to make a few more of these throughout the month of october, just for funsies.
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER PROJECT IS OVER!!!
because casseroles are lotta, i’m not going to be making one-a-day like many of my other food-based monthly projects. i will TRY to do more than one a week, in order to maximize my cookbook-exploration, but it means the folks in my life are going to have to help me out by putting their bibs on and chowing down beside me at the old casserole trough.
LAYERED SMOKED SAUSAGE AND RICE CASSEROLE
the recipe actually calls for brown rice, but sean of the house made too many barfy noises for that to happen, and he’s going to be eating more of these things than i am, so i thoughtfully went with yellow. i also used jalapeño sassage because he requested it be spicy. other than that, i was obedient to the recipe. no, wait – i also used more cheese than it said because 1 cup of cheese? might was well not even bother.
it was a little bland and probably could have used more salt, but otherwise, it was fine, if not revelatory. i thought the jalapeño would have given it some ZING, but the cabbage and plain-jane marinara were working hard against ZING. better luck next casserole! (adding sriracha the next day made it much more rock and roll)
GRILLED CHEESE AND TOMATO SOUP CASSEROLE
looks like i’m not going to follow directions on any of these; extra garlic, extra cheese, double stacking the sandwiches, etc. i more than doubled the sauce component, and when i poured it on top of sandwich town, it looked like a disaster, like it was going to just be a weird mess of soggy bread swimming in soup, but once it cooked, the sauce all went schmooooop and got sucked into the bread, and when i cut it open, it actually looked like it might be too dry but strangely – it was JUST RIGHT!
this is really, really good. ‘course i also doubled all of the cheese elements, including the cream cheese. i did forget to lightly toast the bread before assembling the sandwiches, but i’ll do that next time, because there will be a next time for this one. everyone who tried it loved it and independently of each other called it “a savory bread pudding.” also, this one is meatless, marjorie!
BEEF NOODLE PAPPARDELLE CASSEROLE
you will notice that even though this recipe is clearly called BEEF NOODLE PAPPARDELLE CASSEROLE, i went and used egg noodles, not to be a casserole renegade, but because the pasta selection in my neighborhood is pretty weak. oh, and if anyone of youse has a degree in pasta, please explain to me why “extra-wide” egg noodles are narrower than “homestyle” egg noodles. and why they aren’t even particularly wide. anyway, this.
this is a casserole. there’s not much more to be said; it’s the most basic that a casserole can be. i was seduced by its introduction, If you’re picturing tongs pulling out the long noodles, sauce splattering, and family members smiling, you’re on the right track. With big buttery noodles, beef, carrots, celery, and seasoned tomato sauce, this casserole will leave smiles on everyone’s faces. i am always picturing big buttery noodles in the back of my mind – it’s on a big buttery loop. the large number of ingredients made me think this would be more flashy, but it’s really just pasta, sauce, cheese. delicious, but nothing new here. maybe it would have been different if i’d used pappardelle. thanks a lot, woodside.
i’m worried i have picked boring recipes. i know casseroles are casseroles are casseroles, but this project needs an infusion of ZAZZ. off to find some zazz.
PHILLY CHEESESTEAK CASSEROLE
this one was pretty zazzy, although i do take issue with it being called a casserole if the instructions are to put it in a toasted hoagie roll. i’m pretty sure that just makes it a philly cheesesteak. without the mayo & hot peppers. i didn’t serve mine on a roll, AND i threw a yellow pepper in the mix, because if you’re gonna buy green, red, and orange, you might as well complete the rainbow.
pretty pepper rainbow:
this is what happens under the cheese:
and then once the ‘much more than the recipe called for’ cheese melts all over town:
it tasted great, but it was very…soupy. if i had put this on a roll, it would have sogged through it pretty darn quick. actually – if i had baked the toasted hoagie roll INSIDE the casserole like that grilled cheese one, it probably would have been perfect. hashtag things we know for next time.
PUMPKIN RICOTTA PASTA CASSEROLE
i made this one, but i made it badly, and i didn’t have a chance to dismantle/reconstruct it until this morning. i hope i fixed it! <—okay, that was a while ago. this casserole basically broke the project by refusing to be good.
i went to several different places for fresh sage with no luck. the little family organic market i’ve been going to since i moved here closed recently (boooo) and now i don’t know where to go for my fresh herb n spice needs. so i had to buy this.
to quote myself from twitter: now i’m a goddamn sage farmer.
recipe turned out dry and gross
part of this was my fault. 1 pound of pasta is nothing. and the sauce seemed so…saucy. i figured it would make sense to toss another box of pasta in there, so i did and it STILL seemed really saucy. i knew baking it would reduce the sauce a bit as the pasta sucked it all up LGM, but i wasn’t prepared for how much it would suck. BY WHICH I MEAN TWO DIFFERENT THINGS, YEAH? i thought it was gross, sean thought it was gross, and there was a lot of it. so i dumped it all out and added more ricotta and more yogurt and tried again but then it was just bland and boring punishment food. and there was still a lot of it. so then i steamed some broccoli and that helped a little bit, but sean’s one of those “once bitten, twice shy” folks, so there’s still some of this in my fridge. who wants some?
DELIGHTFUL DONUT CASSEROLE
i used 50 dunkin munchkins. the recipe calls for one 15-oz box, so i tried to find out how many ounces in a munchkin (or how many munchkins in an ounce), but all i was seeing was nutritional information that seemed to be implying that eating 50 munchkins might not be healthful, so i bailed on internet’s fake news shenanigans. this is a perfect dish that anyone can make. it’s a bowl of donuts.
it’s a bowl of donuts covered in sugar.
it’s a bowl of donuts covered in sugar and butter and baked into a diabetes party.
four people tried this. four people loved this. no regrets.
SKINNY CHEESEBURGER CASSEROLE
i didn’t make this right. meaning, i didn’t make this “skinny.” i didn’t use wheat pasta, i didn’t use ground turkey, i didn’t use reduced-fat cheddar cheese. the first two because sean of the house would have shriveled up like a salted slug, the last because gross. i’m a full-fat girl. i mean, i just ate a bowl full of donuts; reducing my cheese-fat isn’t gonna do jack. this is a very colorful, mustardy meal.
that turns into this:
and is then covered in cheese and more tomatoes and yum.
you guys can make it yourself the correct, healthy way. me, i needed some comfort food.
CHOCOLATE CHIP BUTTERMILK PANCAKE CASSEROLE
special thanks to greg for letting me borrow his vanilla bean paste! i went a little off-road again, using not only mini buttermilk pancakes, but also mini chocolate waffles. then i decided this was a good excuse to use up all the half-bags of various flavored chips in my cupboard, so i added some white chocolate and butterscotch chips. it’s prettier this way.
after marinating, before baking
after baking. you can tell because the chips are mooshier.
sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar. hey, i don’t make the rules here. on a related note, i have never had a cavity. how can this be?
glop slop yum
might as well add some whipped cream, too. okay, that rule i did make.
this was delicious and sweet and should in no way be in the “breakfast” chapter of this book. if you eat this for breakfast you are probably a fly. or a clown. or a stoner. or an unsupervised child. or someone who lives close enough to me that you are going to have this presented to you in little tupperware containers with ill-fitting lids. because i have a LOT of it. in retrospect, it probably didn’t need the butterscotch chips.
FRENCH ONION SOUP CASSEROLE
this one is perfection. i used so much cheese. here is cheese in different lighting:
and different stretchiness:
the best part?? all the extra cheese that stuck to the foil.
this is known as “chef’s cheese”
this is my favorite casserole so far.
ITALIAN LAYER BAKE
golden brown deliciousness
this recipe calls for 2 tbsp dijon mustard, but only tells you when to add one of them, so i had to wing it. it was a toss-up between adding it on top of the meat or flinging it against the wall. i hope i did it right.
here is a fun game i played called HOW LONG WILL THIS CHEESE STRETCH?
conclusion: a lot.
EASY MEATBALL PARTY SUB CASSEROLE
i wasn’t wild about this one. probably because of the premade meatballs, even though they were omaha steaks meatballs, not dollar-store meatballs. it also photographed ugly, so it’s a double fail. but sean loved this one, so it got gobbled, just not by me.
CLASSIC SHEPHERD’S PIE CASSEROLE
i’m quickly running out of room here so i’m having to limit my commentary, but AS YOU CAN SEE, the goddamn sage farming is still going strong and i will be saving some $$ come thanksgiving.
this is fine. it’s not the shepherd’s pie i grew up on/the way i still make it now, but it’s not icky or anything, despite the unfortunate way it photographs. it’s meat and potatoes, some perfunctory vegetables; you know what you’re signing up for.
MAKE-AHEAD NUTTY COOKIE LASAGNA
you may notice something strange about the mise this time. yes, it is only four ingredients! oh yeah, and ALSO, i took the mise-photo when my memory card was out of the camera without noticing until it was too late to reshoot, so i had to reconstruct it as art.
fun fact: i went to eight different stores to find nutter butters with no luck. eight. eventually i had to have connor bring them here from a whole ‘nother borough. of course, yesterday i was at target and they had heaps of them for super-cheap. too late, target, but thanks! anyway, casserole:
the nutter butters didn’t get soggy the way refrigerator cakes usually do so it’s basically sitting down and eating a bowl of cookies covered in whipped topping. but no one’s complaining. i think next time i will make more melted peanut butter sauce than it calls for to enliven it some.
will i have time for one more casserole? let’s find out!
there are for sure noodles in this, but they get completely overwhelmed by the potatoes, and it’s like sitting down and just eating a giant sloppy bowl of mashed potatoes, or scraping the insides out of the potato skins at a sports bar. but a high-end sports bar because these are tasty. and if you’ve just had oral surgery – bonus!
what a fun time we have had here together!!! thanks for hanging out with me!
these are the ones i want to make the most, and
we’ll see what can be managed i never got to make them, but that’s okay!:
SCRUMPTIOUS SLOPPY JOE CASSEROLE
PERFECT PIZZA CASSEROLE
COUNTRY COMFORT CHICKEN CASSEROLE
MOM’S CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP CASSEROLE
STRAWBERRY ICEBOX CASSEROLE
CAPRESE QUINOA CASSEROLE
SCALLOPED POTATO AND BEEF CASSEROLE
LOADED PULLED PORK AND POTATO CASSEROLE
SWEET POTATO AND SAUSAGE CASSEROLE