Cheesy jalapeño hash brown casserole

cheesy jalapeño hash brown casserole

What happens when you have a bumper crop in your garden? You get creative.

Hash brown casserole is another example of a typically over creamy, over buttered wonderful food that can be made without all the extra fat. The jalapeño adds a really nice flavor. Cooking them first makes it not too spicy.


20 ounce fresh shredded hash browns

3 jalapeño, remove seeds and dice

1 cup diced yellow onion

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 teaspoons chicken bouillon

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup shredded Colby jack cheese – divided


Cook the jalapeño and onion in butter on medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the flour. Slowly add the water in small amounts while stirring constantly. Add in the bouillon, pepper, and cumin. Continue to stir often until thickened. Remove from heat. Add in 3/4 cup of the cheese. Stir until melted.


Place the hash browns into a bowl. Fold in the prepared cheese sauce until fully mixed. Grease an 8×8 or 9×9 casserole pan. Press the mixture in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-60 minutes uncovered.






Chicken noodle casserole


2 cups shredded/diced rotisserie chicken

8 ounces dried egg noodles

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 yellow onion diced

1 red bell pepper diced

2 large carrots diced

2 stalks celery diced

1 cup fresh white mushrooms sliced

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules

1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons flour

3/4 cup half and half

1-2 cups water

1 cup panko unseasoned

2 tablespoons butter melted

1/4 cup fresh parsley


Cook the egg noodles as directed by package to al dente. Drain and let them sit.


Melt the butter in a skillet. Add onions, carrots, celery, and the red bell pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes – the vegetables should still be semi firm because they will bake in the oven later.

Add flour and seasonings. Slowly stir in the half and half. Continue to add up to 2 cups of water until it a thicker consistency. Go slow because you do not want the sauce too runny. Add in chicken and mushrooms. Cook 1-2 more minutes. You can add more water if it continues to thicken. Remove from heat. Mix with noodles. Pour into a prepared 9×14 or 8×12 pan.


Mix the panko crumbs with the additional 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Top the casserole with the panko mix and then chopped fresh parsley. This can remain refrigerated for 24 hours. Bake covered with foil at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Remove foil. Bake about 10 minutes or until panko crumbs have browned.



Beef enchilada casserole


This is the most ridiculously easy dinner. We are having this and a garden salad with ranch for dinner. Traditionally enchiladas have fried tortillas. Yes, this probably lacks some flavor because I skip that step. It also will be less calories my way…. which is never a bad thing.

1 pound 80% ground beef

1 7 ounce can diced green chili undrained

1/2 cup diced yellow onion

11-13 corn tortillas (white or yellow)

1 10 ounce can red enchilada sauce

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese shredded

Combine the beef, onion, and green chilis in a skillet. Cook over medium low heat for about 20-30 minutes. After this step, I place the beef in a strainer and allow it to drip to remove additional fat.

In a 6×8 or 8×8 prepard pan, layer the following 1. 3 Tortillas 2. 1/2 beef mixture 3. 3 tortillas 4. 1/2 beef mixture 5. 3-4 tortillas.

Pour the enchilada sauce over the casserole. Top with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees uncovered for 30-40 minutes.


Top with black olives, green onion, sour cream, and fresh cilantro.

Light and spicy broccoli cheese casserole


OMG! Tis the season for comfort food. I made this up last night. It might be the best broccoli cheese casserole I have ever made. Again…. there is no cream sauce in a can or milk. Just a little butter and cheese.

1.5 cups cooked white rice

1 pound fresh broccoli – steam and chop

4 tablespoons butter

1/2 of a roasted poblano

2 cloves of garlic

5 tablespoons of flour

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

2 cups chicken broth

1 teaspoon white pepper

2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 cup grated parmesan… not powdered

1 cup of French’s new jalapeno crisps


After I steamed the broccoli and made the rice, I let them cool and worked on the sauce. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and chopped roasted poblano pepper. Cook about 3-5 minutes. Add in the flour. Slowly…. very slowly…. add the chicken broth stirring constantly so it does not clump. It needs to be added a few tablespoons at a time. Continue stirring constantly until thickened. Add in the onion powder and cheddar cheese. Stir until melted and thickened. Remove from heat. Salt to taste. I added 1 teaspoon. Add in the rice and chopped broccoli. Pour into prepared 8×12 casserole pan. Top with parmesan and then crispy jalapeños. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

This was so yummy. I enjoy casserole type foods but I really do not like feeling like I ate a stick of butter or drank a cup of heavy cream. This really satisfied my every need. We served it with simple grilled chicken.


Poblano chicken casserole


Okay. My chicken from last night… Here is how I meal plan.  Tonight it is a casserole and tomorrow chicken paninis. Each very different and not tasting like leftovers. I basically cook 2 big meat dishes per week then fill in the gaps. Sometimes we have cold leftover chicken on giant cobb type salads with fresh warm rosemary bread.

This is also another great garden dish because we grow onion, garlic, poblanos, and tomatoes. I have even grown tomatillos and made my own salsa verde. That is a whole other story.

The casserole….. I dont use “cream of xxxxx” soup if possible. I think the only fattening thing in this whole casserole is 2 tablespoons of butter and a cup of cheese. I would consider this lower fat. I am not a fan of loading up every dish with cream and cheese and butter.

Roast 2 poblanos in the oven at 400 for 10-15 minutes. Cool fully. Peel and remove seeds. Then rough chop.

My sauce….

Saute 2 tablespoons of butter with 1/2 onion and a clove of minced garlic for 2-3 minutes. Add all poblanos. Add 2 tablespoons of flour. Stir. Gradually add in 2 cups of chicken broth. Add 1 tablespoon cumen, 1 teaspoon mexican oregano, and a handful of fresh cilantro. Cook 5-10 minutes stirring often. Remove from heat and add 1 cup of salsa verde…. any brand.

Now the layers in the cassrole pan.

1: one cup of sauce

2: corn tortillas – about 4 – just break them up and cover it in one layer

3: chopped cooked chicken – 1 cup

4: 1/2 can of rinsed and drained black beans

5: half of remaing sauce

6: 4-5 corn tortillas

7: 1 cup chicken

8: rest of black beans

9: more tortillas

10: dump rest of sauce over

Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 400 for 30-40 minutes. Remove foil. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese. Turn oven off. Remove when ready to eat.

Ha! I forgot to buy chips so I baked leftover flour tortillas for 10 minutes. I was going to break them up as chips. They puffed up. Still tasted great!


Cabbage rolls


These cabbage rolls have a slighy different flavor than most. They do not have the sweetness typically expected. Instead, there is a more smokey flavor. Not only is this a healthy make ahead casserole type meal, but it also pairs very well with the pickled carrots and jalapeños that I have posted as well.



The recipe:

First prepare the meat filling by mixing together the following:

1 pound 85% lean ground beef

1 cup of cooked white rice (not instant)

1 egg

1 yellow onion – diced

1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper

2 cloves minced garlic

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

After mixing this fully, keep refrigerated.

Next prepare a head of cabbage by coring it and removing the outer leaves.

Bring a very large pot of water to a boil. Once you have achieved a rolling boil, add the cabbage and cook 3-5 minutes. Remove the cabbage and allow it to cool. Once cool enough to touch, gently remove the leaves one by one trying not to break them….. but if they do it will still work.

Place the cabbage leaves with the concave surface up. Add about 1/2-1 cup of the meat mixture. Fold this into a ball and place seamed side down in an ungreased casserole pan. Continue until all meat has been used.

For the topping, mix together a 14 ounce can of petit diced tomatoes with italian seasoning as well as 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika. Pour this over the rolls.

Cover the dish using aluminum foil. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 45-60 minutes or until thermometer inserted to the center of a roll reaches 170 degrees.

Again, we serve these with crusty french bread and some pickled carrots and jalapeños.

I have made these in the morning and stored them in the refrigerator to bake in the evening. I feel that making it ahead enhances the flavors of the dish.