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Beef and Hashbrown Mexican Casserole

I’ve got another casserole recipe coming your way today. A Mexican casserole, to be exact!

A popular mis-conception about casseroles is that they aren’t healthy. This may, in fact, be true depending on the kinds of ingredients you plan to use. But here on Simply Writeous, I really strive to share good and healthy dishes you can serve your family without guilt. Doesn’t mean I always hit the mark – but this one surely does!

This particular recipe was adopted from a recipe posted by The Midnight Baker on her blog. In true Simply Writeous fashion, I changed it up a bit by adding and omitting ingredients from the original.

One of my favorite things is the cheesy, bell-peppery, hashbrown topping. My picture doesn’t reveal this bit of detail but it’s got just a bit of wonderful crunch. A texture I’m never mad at when it comes to casseroles.

Let’s gather some ingredients and get the ball rolling!

Beef & Hashbrown Mexican Casserole: Ingredients

1.5-2 lbs ground beef or turkey
Small onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
Small can red enchilada sauce (or home-make your own, following this recipe by Skinny Taste, to avoid preservatives)
Small can diced tomatoes, drained (straight out of the pantry, home-canned from the garden)
1 can corn
1 can black beans
2 cups cheese, shredded (any variety cheddar, or Mexican blend will do)
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 bag frozen, shredded hashbrowns, thawed

Beef & Hashbrown Mexican Casserole: Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 375 and spray casserole dish with cooking spray
Brown hamburger (or turkey) with chopped onion and half of the chopped bell peppers (1/4 cup each, green & red)
In large bowl stir together hashbrowns, melted butter, remaining bell peppers, salt, garlic powder, black pepper and 1 cup cheese.
Add enchilada sauce, tomatoes, corn, black beans, and 1 cup shredded cheese to browned meat. Stir until it’s all mixed together
Pour meat, etc. mixture into casserole dish
Top with hashbrowns
Bake for 20-25’ish minutes at 375 degrees
Switch oven over to broil for 5 additional minutes to really brown and crisp up the top layer of hashbrowns
Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly and serve!

Serve alongside some chips and guac…and a nice margarita if you’re feeling especially saucy!

And, you guessed it! This dish can be made ahead and kept in the fridge until you’re ready to warm (you’ll want to tack on 5-10 more min to the warming time). It can also be prepped as a freezer meal.




Simple Chicken Noodle Casserole

In anticipation of J leaving town for a week on business a couple weeks ago, I got to work food prepping so I could more easily manage the single mom scene during his absence. I’ve mentioned that I’m crazy about casseroles right now. Mostly because of the simplicity, but also because cold weather just lends itself to these ‘stick to your ribs’ recipes. Another of my favorites, and part of my food prep prior to J’s departure, was this simple chicken noodle casserole.

A short list of ingredients come together to create this creamy and delicious dish. The cheesy/crunchy topping give it that little something extra that will have you reaching for seconds!

Chicken Noodle Casserole Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
    Note: I used shredded chicken from my freezer, but you could shred up a rotisserie chicken for simplicity sake if you don’t have time to cook and shred a couple chicken breasts at the time of making this recipe.
  • 2 cups homemade cream of mushroom soup
    Note: canned cream of mushroom soup is also an option (about 2 cans) and you’ll want to thin with a splash of milk.
  • 12 oz whole grain egg noodles, cooked according to package directions
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter
  • 1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Chicken Noodle Casserole Directions:

  1. Combine the chicken, egg noodles and cream of mushroom soup until the cream of mushroom soup evenly coats the chicken and noodles.
  2. Pour mixture into a greased casserole dish
  3. Mix the seasoned bread crumbs with the melted butter
  4. Fold the shredded cheese in to the bread crumbs
  5. Sprinkle bread crumb and cheese mixture on top off casserole
  6. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees until warmed through and bread crumbs/cheese are slightly browned on top, about 30 min

Veggies could most definitely be added to this dish. I’m not a fan of canned peas so those are an absolute no-go for me, but a possible option for those who like that sort of thing. The addition of some lightly steamed broccoli would definitely be complimented by these ingredients.

I prefer to skip the veggies inside and instead serve this simple chicken noodle casserole with a side salad or green beans canned from the 2017 garden. Sweet heaven, there just isn’t anything quite like home-canned green beans.

It’s so rewarding to get a good homemade meal on the table AND to get to spend quality time with the kids all in the same half hour.  A good casserole brings the best of all worlds together with a little planning and prep time on the front end. There’s no mommy-guilt when I can spend these extra 30 minutes playing, rather than slaving away in the kitchen.

Want to minimize clean-up? Food prep your casserole in these disposable casserole tins. Added bonus? These disposable tins also come with aluminum lids! A pack of 40 for just $15.99 (seriously, less than 50 cents each) – PLUS free shipping if you’re a Prime member – can’t be beat!


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Sausage and Potato Casserole: Your New Favorite Casserole

I am all about casseroles through the cold winter months. At this juncture of life I am REALLY all about casseroles. Anything to simplify the chaos of life with foster babies and I am all in! This Sausage and Potato Casserole is one of my absolute favs. Give it a go and I’m confident you will find it’s one of yours too!

The ticket to an amazing sausage and potato casserole is the homemade cream of mushroom soup. I’ve blogged about this recipe before. Find it by clicking here: Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup.

I’d encourage you to make a BIG batch of the homemade cream of mushroom soup so that you can put together this sausage and potato casserole for dinner immediately, one for the freezer, and a couple batches of this Comfort Food Casserole for the freezer as well.

I mean, if you’re going to make the mess in the kitchen anyway you may as well make it work for you in a handful of ways! Having a few dinners in the freezer is an excellent way of making it W-O-R-K!

If you’re not up for the task of homemade cream of mushroom soup, you can certainly use the canned variety. Your sausage and potato casserole will still be delicious – but I promise it will be missing the WOW factor.

Okay – so let’s get to work!

Sausage and Potato Casserole: Ingredients

Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup
Red potatoes scrubbed and sliced thin – skin on
Sausage – I use a combination of regular and spicy, but the choice is yours!
Shredded cheddar cheese

Did you notice I didn’t indicate any measurements? That was purposeful. This is such a simple recipe that you can’t go wrong with any amount of anything. So, consult your taste buds, use your best judgment and just let it flow!

Sausage and Potato Casserole: Instructions

  1. Start by making your large batch of Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup
  2. While the soup is thickening, begin browning the sausage
  3. Wash and slice the potatoes.
    Hint: I use the slicing disc of my food processor and it makes this task a cinch. This is one of my most favorite kitchen tools. I’d even call it an essential. Link here to get yours quickly off Amazon: Cuisinart Food Processor
  4. Set oven to warm on 350 degrees
  5. Grease casserole dish and layer in this order: potatoes, cream of mushroom soup, sausage.
  6. Repeat layers until your casserole dish is full. Some of my dishes fit 3 layers, others I can squeeze in 4
  7. Top with shredded cheese
  8. Bake, covered, for 2 hours. Remove foil the final 10 minutes to brown cheese

Freezing Sausage and Potato Casserole

This casserole makes for an amazing addition to your food-prep freezer cooking list. DO bake the casserole as instructed above before freezing though. Failure to do so will result in your potatoes turning black as the casserole thaws before cooking at a later date.  You can skip the browning of cheese step until re-heating.

After the casserole has cooled, remove foil and add a layer of plastic wrap. Then return foil to pan and pop in the freezer!

Re-heating can be done from frozen…but it takes a very long time. I’d suggest tossing this bad boy in the fridge the night before you intend to re-heat. Then, re-heat (covered — but don’t forget to remove the plastic wrap!) until the casserole is warmed through, removing the foil the last 10 min to brown cheese.

If the casserole is completely thawed at the time of re-warming, it will take about 30 min at 350 degrees. If it’s still a little frosty on the inside, you may need closer to 45 minutes. Give or take.

Sausage and Potato Casserole is a favorite at our house. It’s also versatile! It’s not uncommon for us to enjoy this dish for dinner and <if there are any leftovers> with a fried egg on top the following morning!

You can also make this ahead of time – but again – be sure to cook right after assembling so the potatoes don’t turn black! Fridge to oven makes for a quick re-heat when you’re ready!