A casserole for now or later

msnanApril 9, 2008

This is a casserole that you can make the filling ahead and freeze. I make a double or triple batch and freeze it in my vacume sealer for later on. I don't freeze it after it is all together.

Grandma's Casserole

1 pound ground beef

1/2 cup diced onions

1/4 cup diced green pepper

2 cups cooked tomatoes

1 cup water

1 T. garlic powder

1 T. oregano

2 cans mushrooms (optional)

about 2 ounces of UNCOOKED spaghetti

Shredded Cheddar cheese

Brown beef, onions & green peppers until cooked done. Drain grease off

and add the remaining ingredients EXCEPT spaghetti. Simmer 20 minutes.

Spoon enough meat mixture into a 2 quart casserole dish to cover the bottom,

break spaghetti into 3 or four pieces and spread over meat in dish, top

with remaining meat mixture. Sprinkle cheese evenly over the top, cover

and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Very good served with Texas toast and a salad.

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neesie

That sounds like comfort food! Let me get this straight, you freeze the ingredients that you simmered on the stove, but not the spaghetti noodles or cheese? When you take the frozen package out of the freezer, say a month later, do you thaw it overnight in the fridge and assemble it in a casserole dish (with spaghetti noodles and cheese) the next day?

Sorry I'm so ignorant! I've only frozen "whole" meats and browned ground beef. I have lots to learn!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 10:09AM
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msnan

neesie: yes, I freeze just the meat mixture. Even if I have had it just in the fridge, I heat the mixture a little before I put the casserole together. I usually fix a salad and garlic toast with it. A really good meal, for just the two of use we have left overs the next day.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 8:31PM
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yellowhair

Sounds good! I'm going to try this. thanks

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 9:00AM
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msnan

yellowhair, I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 11:04AM
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neesie

I have all the ingredients for this casserole. I may make it on Sunday. Will post my families reaction. I don't have enough to make a second one to freeze, darn it! Because I bet it's going to go over good! Thanks for posting, msnan!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 10:49PM
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neesie

I have the casserole in the oven as I post. Looks and smells nummy! My green pepper was huge so I was able to save over half of it, along with some of the onion I diced to marinate along with a sliced cucumeber (in Kraft Zesty Itallian dressing) for later.

I didn't have any mushrooms on hand so I wrote it on my grocery list. I didn't throw the cheese on top of the casserole yet; I thought 45 minutes in the oven might be too long for the cheese so I'll look in on it shortly.

I used a 15 oz can of diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings. Do you use store bought canned tomatoes or tomatoes you can yourself? I've never canned, except as a child when I helped my grandmother. I usually buy those staple items in bulk when they go on sale.

Now I'm going to assemble my garlic toast and wait to put the cheese on the casserole.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 2:37PM
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msnan

neeise: Well, how did you and your family like the casserole? I put my cheese on right when I put it in the oven and cover the dish. The cheese stays nice and blends through the casserole.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 7:23AM
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cynic

Much like the "hotdish" I grew up with and still enjoy to this day. No mushrooms for me though. Cheese is optional, I kind of prefer the cheese on the garlic bread. Sometimes I'll add kidney beans, any kind of sausage (a mix of "Jimmy Dean" and hamburger is good, sometimes bratwurst sliced or whatever I have around. Occasionally I'll put a small can of tomato sauce in there to add a little more tomato.

Easy, frugal and oh-so tasty!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 6:40PM
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neesie

The family really enjoyed the casserole! I had it in my Nesco roaster on the countertop and hubby and son kept lifting the lid to "check" on it! The three of us almost polished the entire dish off, but I was able to salvage enough for a late night snack for hubby. Cynic, I never thought of kidney beans or the sausage! My son does like to substitute sausage in some recipes, I bet he'd love that!

Thanks again, msnan for posting the recipe. Next time I'll definitely make enough to freeze for another go-round!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 9:46PM
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msnan

neesie: I'm so glad you liked it. I'll have to try cynic's suggestion of adding beans to.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 7:13PM
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cynic

And for a little more of a kick, toss in some pepperoni! Although I often microwave the pepperoni a bit first (for fry it off a bit) to render out some of the excess fat.

This was one of the first meals I really learned to cook when I first moved out. Although I did some basic cooking at home anyway so I wasn't a total newbie and could of course make burgers & hot dogs. And I remember trying Hamburger Helper one time. And when I saw it was just some elbow mac and some spices I knew I could just as well do that myself! Never bought it since and never will. Don't understand why anyone would.

Not to change the subject, but my biggest problem is that I don't use that many green peppers so when i want to make something I have to make a special trip, which I hate to do, or go without. I've tried the frozen green pepper, but it doesn't seem to have the flavor and it's larger chunks than I like. I'm thinking about chopping some up and freezing them myself and see how that goes. If anyone has any experience or similar issue solved, let me know!

Now I have a hankering for a tater tot hotdish. My variation on that is on occasion I'll use a can or jar of gravy instead of cream soup. And I like my veggies on the side rather than mixed in.

Oh, and FWIW, I like to use a variety of meats when I make chili. Burger, sausage (hot & spicy or mild or a mix), pepperoni, sliced bratwurst, polish or again, whatever I have around. Makes for a unique dish and is always good.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 5:17AM
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marilyn_sue

I am wondering why you can't put the spaghetti and the cheese in and freeze it. I freeze extra pasta and cheese all the time and they come out fine. Has anyone else tried doing this? Sometimes I grate my cheese first and bag it and freeze it and other times I freeze the half pound package as it comes from the grocery.

Sue

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 5:50AM
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neesie

I have never frozen cheese or cooked pasta. Interesting to hear that you do!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 12:54AM
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RuthieG__TX

I know this is an old thread but for anyone who is interested, cheese and pasta freezes just fine.. If I know I am freezing pasta, I will make sure that I drain it just before it is completely done...al dente. I have 4 pans of a very similar recipe in my freezer at this very moment. If I don't happen to have pork I just use all beef.

Lasagna

1 lb. lean hamburger

1 lb. ground pork

1 medium onion

1 T minced garlic

12/15 Sweet Basil leaves

Italian seasoning ( I just dump it in)

Salt

Pepper

1 can HuntÂs Traditional Spaghetti sauce

1 can Diced Tomatoes

1 ½ lbs Mushrooms

1 lb Provolone Cheese (sliced on 2)

Large package grated Mozzarella

16 oz lasagna noodles

Brown meat, onions, and seasonings; add tomatoes & sauce let simmer 20 minutes; add mushrooms. Let mixture set while cooking noodles.

Layer: noodles, sauce mixture, cheese (alternate Provolone and Mozzarella).

Put in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 or 40 minutes until hot and bubbly.

I use 3 8 X 8 pans because there is only 2 of us.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2008 at 1:19PM
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cynic

Yes you can freeze pasta. I think I'd try freezing it without cooking it much if any. Then let it cook in the casserole while it's baking or cooking in a pan if that's how you do it. Let it simmer, I'd think it would be fine wouldn't it? But definitely undercook the pasta or it'll become mush.

For most frozen pasta dishes I like to let them thaw before cooking. Otherwise I wind up with cold center and overcooked outside.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2008 at 6:03PM
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