Potluck Casseroles

It’s the holiday season. Usually this means holiday gatherings and covered dish dinners, but in 2020 … not so much. Yet I am always gathering ideas and recipes for easy, make-ahead meals for a crowd or a few.

Today I made one I call Philly-Cheese Casserole. You can modify this versatile dish in many ways to suit your tastes. Just follow the basics: Layer potatoes, ground meat, aromatic vegetables, and top with cheese. Bake covered at 350°F for 70-75 minutes.

Recipe

Philly-cheesesteak Casserole

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 pound potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4”
  • 1 pound ground Chuck*
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes and green chilies, drained
  • 8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional: parsley for garnish

*Don’t go too lean on the ground meat. The fat content works to flavor the casserole. There is no added fat or liquid in this dish.

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In a casserole dish layer potato slices on the bottom. Salt and pepper.
  • Add the ground Chuck. Salt and pepper.
  • Layer peppers and onions atop the meat. Salt and pepper.
  • Spread the canned diced tomatoes.
  • Top casserole with the shredded cheese.
  • Cover and bake for 75 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  • Remove casserole from oven, uncover, and allow it to cool 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.

Casseroles like this one can be made ahead a day or even frozen. Just give an extra 5 minutes baking time.

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Filed under casseroles, onions, potatoes, Recipes, sweet peppers, tomatoes

Hasty Tasty Breakfast Burrito

This breakfast qualifies as hasty and tasty! It’s also low carb and low fat. All you need to make two are:

  • 1 cup Egg Beaters Southwestern
  • 2 Olé Tortillas (Extreme Wellness)
  • 2 ounces Kraft 2% Milk Mexican Cheese
  • Cooking spray
  • (Optional) chopped cooked turkey sausage
  • Preheat 8” skillet over medium heat.
  • Warm each tortilla in dry skillet then transfer tortilla to plate.
  • Spray skillet with cooking spray.
  • Pour Egg Beaters into skillet and cover. Reduce heat.
  • When Egg Beaters apprear cooked, top with cheese.
  • Cover skillet and remove from heat. Allow cheese 2-3 minutes to melt.
Pictured Egg Beaters and Kraft 2% Milk Cheese with 1 chopped Jimmy Dean fully cooked turkey sausage patty.
  • Divide cooked Egg Beaters and serve half on each tortilla.
  • Fold or roll into a burrito and enjoy!

One serving is approximately 212 calories, yet provides a filling satisfying breakfast. 😋

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Cheesecake under Pressure

Cheesecake is delicious but fattening, so I had never made one. Also, cheesecake baking is labor-intensive, with its water bath and springform pan. Then I read about pressure cooker cheesecake. Now cheesecake can be a Hasty Tasty dish.

You can lighten the cheesecake by substituting Neufchâtel cheese for the cream cheese, but I don’t recommend other low fat substitutions. For me, cheesecake is a decadent dessert I save for a rare treat or to give as an impressive gift.

I made plain cheesecake and topped it with fresh berries. I used a 7” pan and my 6 quart Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus.

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. Neufchâtel cheese (room temperature)
  • 2 oz. sour cream
  • 2 eggs (room temperature)
  • 1/2 sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. Vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Graham cracker crumbs for crust
  • 2 Tbsp. Unsalted butter, melted, for crust
A 7” springform pan in a silicone sling fits my 6 quart Instant Pot.

Directions:

  • Prepare crust by combining Graham cracker crumbs and butter. Press mixture into a 7” springform pan.
  • Place crust in freezer for 10-15 minutes.
  • Combine sour cream and Neufchâtel cheese with sugar and beat, but don’t over beat.
  • Add eggs one at a time.
  • Add vanilla extract and stir just until combined.
  • Pour filling into prepared crust.
  • Using a sling, place pan into pressure cooker on a trivet over 10 oz. water.
  • Seal cooker. Cook under pressure for 28-30 minutes.
  • Quick-release pressure and carefully remove cheesecake from the pot. Check for doneness. if edges aren’t set and center jiggles, it’s done. If not, return the pan and trivet to the pressure cooker and cook 5 minutes additional.
  • Cool cheesecake completely on a rack. Cool another 4 hours (or overnight) in the refrigerator.
  • Slice cheesecake into 8 pieces, top (optional), and serve.
  • Cheesecake should be stored in the refrigerator and eaten within 4 days. (It won’t last that long!) 😋

I want to thank Barbara Schrieving for her excellent tutorial on foolproof cheesecake. If you don’t follow her Pressure Cooking Today site, I recommend you subscribe.

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Filed under desserts, Healthful Eating

Stocks and Broths

In the past decade, there’s been an explosion of products containing bone broth. In fact, bone broths are touted as the latest health elixir. Well, guess what, folks: Bone broth is nothing but your great granny’s stock.

TV cooking personality Alton Brown defines stock as containing bones and water. Period. That’s it. No salt, no vinegar, no vegetables…just bones and water. Broth is created using stock with the addition of ingredients for seasoning, such as celery, onions, carrots, and salt and pepper.

Stock cooks for hours in order to extract all the flavor and collagen from bones. Then it’s strained and stored for future use. With a pressure cooker, I reduce cooking time to 90 minutes followed by natural depressurization. I store in pint-size freezer-safe jars.* After quick cooling in a sink filled with cool water, I refrigerate my jars of stock. The following day, I label and freeze the jars unless I intend to use the stock within a week.

Pint freezer-safe jar

*Freeze only in jars marked “freezer safe.”

Homemade stocks are better than store bought cans or cartons because you control the ingredients. Less expensive, too.

Broths made from homemade stocks are rich, healthy, and tasty. Stock can be used to make a quick gravy or sauce, or as the base for soup. It’s a perfect liquid for pressure cooking. It’s nutritious for dog food, too.

A couple of pounds of bones can yield a gallon of stock, although I usually use more. It isn’t an exact ratio. If you favor slow cooking stock, you’ll need a minimum of six hours. Over night works. When you open the stock to use it, you may find a layer of congealed fat at the top. Carefully remove this fat before using stock but don’t discard it. That fat (especially chicken fat) is rich in flavor and can be used to sauté onions, etc. in place of butter.

Vary your stock as you wish, depending on available bones. I love ham bone broth (stock) for making beans. Chicken stock is versatile and can be used in all poultry dishes as well as beef or pork. Beef stock is good for starting a vegetable soup or any number of beef dishes. Or mix your bones for a rich stock to flavor as you wish.

One last word of advice from Alton Brown. Skip the vinegar. It’s a myth that a teaspoon of vinegar accelerates the extraction of collagen. The amount of vinegar needed to have an impact would render the stock inedible.

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