Potato “Beef” Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1 large potato, washed & thinly sliced
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 9 oz Boca crumbles (If you are not of the vegetarian persuasion, you could use 1/2 lb. browned hamburger instead)
  • 8 oz ready-to-serve tomato-basil soup
  • 7 or 8-oz Italian tomatoes, undrained
  • 4 oz shredded mozzarella cheese (I used skim cheese)
  • 1 tblsp dried parsley (optional)

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease a 9×7” baking dish.
  • Layer half of the potatoes, then half the onion slices; then repeat with the remaining potatoes and onions.
  • In a large skillet, cook crumbles, soup, & tomatoes. Once warmed, pour over the potato/onion layers. (Note: I bypassed this step, and put in the crumbles still frozen, then layered the soup and tomatoes on top of that [both straight from the can].)
  • Top with mozzarella cheese.
  • Cover with sprayed foil; bake for 45 minutes.
  • Uncover; bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and cheese is melted.
  • Let stand 10 min before serving.
  • Sprinkle individual servings with parsley, if desired.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional information per serving (approximates): 170 calories, 4 g fat, 15 g carbohydrate, 15 g protein.

(I forgot to take a picture of the dish *before* I cut the first piece. Grr... Sorry about that!)

My notes:

  • Why did I not thaw the crumbles before I put them into the baking dish? I don’t know… Maybe because I was feeling pressed for time, and didn’t want to spend any more minutes on the recipe than was absolutely necessary? Or maybe because I was feeling lazy, and didn’t want to dirty another pan? Or maybe I just blanked out for a moment, and by the time I came to, it was too late? Regardless of the ‘why’, I think the ‘what’ turned out pretty decent anyway.
  • I wasn’t sure how the onion was going to do uncooked, and not finely diced; I mean, I put some pretty big chunks of raw onion in the dish – and I’m not a big onion fan. Yet once again, to my surprise it all worked out quite well.
  • The cooked onions taste a little sweet; almost like they were caramelized a tiny bit instead of just cooked. I’m not a big fan of “sweet” in a savory dish; so to counteract this unexpected sweetness, if I were to make this dish again I would probably choose a plain tomato soup versus a tomato-basil soup. I would also probably use a 14-ounce can of Italian tomatoes; I think the dish could use more chunks of tomatoes, and I think the acid in the additional tomatoes would also help offset some of the onion sweetness.
  • I think this dish would be amenable to a variety of white cheeses. To keep the dish “new” from one making to the next, I would probably experiment with cheeses along the lines of Swiss, provolone, Gruyere, Parmesan…
  • If you have a larger family to feed, or if you want a few servings of leftovers (I suspect this dish would freeze well), you could easily double this recipe (just cook in a 9×13″ pan).
  • Like many casseroles, to me this dish tasted better after spending an evening in the fridge (then being re-heated before eating).

The ratings:
Mental Cost (ingredient availability): Low
Financial Cost (ingredient cost): Low
Emotional Cost (cooking skill level): Super-Low
Time Cost (recipe preparation): Low
Life Cost (clean up time/effort): Super-Low
Worth It? (rate from 1-5): 3.9

The Bottom Line: Will I make this recipe again?
From a taste perspective, this dish is “just fine”. It’s certainly edible, and even enjoyable when understood that it’s a pretty basic, common kind of meal. While I wouldn’t serve it to guests, I would certainly make it for a Monday night family dinner. Also, from a time-and-ease perspective, this dish can’t be beat. All it requires is a little bit of simple slicing, and opening a few packages and cans; it really can’t get any more simple. If I had to cook every night for a family, I would definitely add this recipe to my meal rotation.

However, for the purposes of this experiment (i.e., trying new recipes and broadening my flavor experiences), this dish wasn’t compelling enough for me to make again any time soon. That being said, if I have a day when I want a home cooked meal but am feeling tired or lazy, I’ll probably dust this one off and give ‘er another go. :)

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About Stef

A "serious" gal who is trying to remember to lighten up and smile.
This entry was posted in "hamburger", casserole, italian, postaweek2011, potato, soy crumbles, vegetarian and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Potato “Beef” Casserole

  1. JaxieCat says:

    …the marshmallows dueling with the cocoa has me rolling with laughter!! you are a photographic comedian as well. Great healing power Stef!

    Like

    • Stef says:

      Thanks Jaxie! I also laughed when I saw that picture. I had to crop it because of the WordPress header size restriction, but actually the “pirate” marshmallow is forcing the “hands in the air” marshmallow to walk the plank – and ultimately be forced to jump into the cocoa. Funny stuff. ;)

      Like

  2. This looks real comfort food! I have taken up the challenge to try a different recipe each week! It will be great to follow your blog and see how you get on! Maybe we can share some recipes?

    Like

    • Stef says:

      Piglet, thank you for your comment! Yes, I think sharing recipes would be fun. I checked out your blog; the flapjacks look delish. :) And I must admit, a beach sounds lovely right about now (currently it’s 12 degrees Fahrenheit outside [-11 degrees Celsius]). Brr… :) Thanks for stopping by; I look forward to staying connected!

      Like

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