Froggy Girl Designs

A glimpse into my daily life of crafting, frugal living, and being a mom!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Massive Cooking Session/Patchwork Casserole

I had a 5 pound chub of ground beef I needed to use up today, so I decided to make some things for my wonderful fiancee to put in the freezer for his work lunches. I've made Hamburger Helper (ew, but he loves it), this casserole, swedish meatballs, and regular meatballs. The Hamburger Helper is something I only make about once every 3 months or so, because I really can't stand eating it, although he and the kids think it's great. I do buy it when I can get it for .50 or less a box, mostly because I haven't figure out how to make the seasonings myself yet.

This casserole is from my Slow Cooker, Casseroles & More cookbook, which is a huge 370+ page book which has over 500 recipes in it. The first time I made it, my fiancee literally ate on it every day for a week, exclaiming every time how great it was. Personally, I'm not a huge fan, so this batch was made specifically for him for the freezer.

As usual, my notes and substitutions are at the bottom.

Patchwork Casserole

2 lbs. ground beef
2 C. chopped green bell peppers
1C. chopped onion
2 lbs. frozen Southern-style hashbrown potatoes, thawed
2 cans (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 C. water
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
1 t. salt
1/2 t. dried basil
1/4 t. black pepper
1 lb. pastuerized process American cheese, thinly sliced

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Brown beef in large skillet over medium heat about 10 minutes, drain off fat.
3. Add bell peppers and onion; cook and stir until tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in potatoes, tomato sauce, water, tomato paste, salt, basil and black pepper.
4. Spoon half of mixture into 9 x 13 pan or 3 quart baking dish; top with half of cheese. Spoon remaining meat mixture evenly on top of cheese. Cover pan with foil. Bake 45 minutes.
5. Cut remaining cheese into decorative shapes; plac eon top of casserol. Let stand loosely covered until cheese melts, about 5 minutes.

My notes: I made this with half ground beef and half ground sausage, gave it a much better depth of flavor than hamburger alone. I also used Italian seasoning in place of the basil. Added in one can of chopped Portabella mushrooms. Turned out good!


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