Million Dollar Spaghetti

I was going to change the name of this dish to just ‘spaghetti casserole’ because (before I made it) I thought that calling it Million Dollar Spaghetti was a bit pretentious. Well, as you can tell, I didn’t change the name. That’s because, yeah, Million Dollar Spaghetti is the perfect name for it.

If you close your eyes and take a bite of this spaghetti you’ll almost think you are eating lasagna. Actually, it’s very close in flavor to my mom’s easy lasagna, a recipe I make and devour regularly. Spaghetti sauce, Italian sausage, pasta, a little Italian seasoning and plenty of cheese. What’s not to love?

Million Dollar Spaghetti was a huge hit in our house. We were sad when the last piece disappeared. But not super sad since we knew it won’t be long until we make this again. And again.

You can easily change this recipe up to meet your own tastes. Maybe add some fresh mushrooms in when you cook the sausage. Or a few bell peppers. For me, a pinch or two of red pepper flake is always a good idea too. You don’t have to use an expensive jarred spaghetti sauce, either. Good ole Prego (I used Italian Sausage and Garlic) works just great!

To really amp up this dish, use my smoked spaghetti sauce instead of jarred.

Million Dollar Spaghetti
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound dried spaghetti
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 (24 ounce) jars your favorite spaghetti sauce, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage (if using links remove the casings)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup Ricotta cheese
  • 1 (8 ounce) stick cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 3 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 3 cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded, divided
  • 1 stick butter, cut into 16 thin pats, divided
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain and return the spaghetti to the pot you cooked it in and stir in one bottle of the spaghetti sauce. Set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  4. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Crumble in the raw sausage and stir, cooking until the sausage is cooked through. I used a wooden spoon to help break up the sausage while it cooked.
  6. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining jar of spaghetti sauce.
  8. In a bowl, combine the Ricotta, cream cheese, sour cream, Italian seasoning and 1 cup of the Mozzarella.
  9. Place 8 of the pieces of butter in the bottom of a 9" x 13" baking dish.
  10. Place half of the spaghetti mix into the bottom of the dish. Use a spatula to spread it out evenly.
  11. Add the cheese mixture and spread out evenly.
  12. Add the remaining butter and then add the rest of the of the spaghetti mixture. Spread out evenly.
  13. Add all of the tomato sauce mixture and spread out evenly.
  14. Add the remaining mozzarella cheese.
  15. Bake for 35-45 minutes until hot.
  16. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Anita and I really enjoyed the flavors of this super-simple chicken Cordon Bleu casserole. Tender chicken with a bit of ham, crunchy breadcrumb topping, and of course that wonderful Dijon mustard flavor in a creamy cheesy sauce. This is the perfect quick and easy meal for a cool late-winter evening.
Chicken Cordon Bleu CasseroleI prefer to butterfly chicken breasts in just about any recipe where I need them. They cook up more evenly, and a bit quicker. And I like the texture better. I like a big ole thick beef steak, but that’s about the only time I need my meat cut thick. For chicken, I think thinner is better.

If I’m feeling adventurous the next time I make this chicken Cordon Bleu casserole I might try a little twist or two. Pepper jack cheese instead of Swiss for a nice kick to the sauce, and a pinch or two of cayenne in with the breadcrumbs. Oh, this dish is great as it is, but I hardly ever pass up the opportunity to add some heat.

Also try my paprika chicken with sour cream gravy.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8 servings
 
Ingredients
For the casserole
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied
  • 8-10 slices thin ham sandwich meat
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the sauce
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 tablespoon Dijon or Creole mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Pinch each of Kosher salt and white pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  2. Spray a 9" x 13" baking dish with non-stick spray.
  3. Layer chicken in the bottom of the dish.
  4. Top the chicken with the ham sandwich meat and sprinkle with the Swiss cheese.
  5. In a bowl, combine the Panko bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
  6. Sprinkle the Panko mixture over the top of the chicken.
  7. Drizzle with the melted butter and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the chicken is done and the Panko has started to brown. Place under the broiler for a minute or two to brown further if desired.
  8. Serve with sauce.
For the sauce
  1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan.
  2. Whisk in the flour and cook for 3 minutes.
  3. Whisk in the milk and broth.
  4. Continue whisking until the sauce thickens.
  5. Whisk in the mustard, Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper and serve.

Swiss Vegetable Medley

It’s time for an easy side dish. Something I can make quick but still enjoy. Veggies. Cheese. Creamy sauce. Oh, and crunchy French fried onions. This Swiss vegetable medley cooks up in no time and is quite tasty. It’s also easy to change up for your tastes. Skip the French fried onions and use French’s crispy jalapenos instead (Have you tried them? They are fantastic!). Swiss not your thing? Pepper jack cheese is a great kicked-up alternative.
Swiss Vegetable MedleyI think this may be Anita’s favorite side dish for a cold night. I have to agree, it’s mighty darned good!

Swiss Vegetable Medley
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 (16 ounce) package frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
  • 1 (10 3/4 ounce) can condensed cream of celery soup
  • 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese, divided
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 (6 ounce) can French-fried onions, divided
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Place vegetables in a large bowl.
  3. Add the soup, all but 1/4 cup of the cheese, all of the sour cream, and all but 1/4 cup of the fried onions. Stir to combine.
  4. Spray a 9" x 9" baking dish with non-stick spray.
  5. Pour the vegetable mixture into the dish and spread out evenly.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle top of casserole with remaining 1/4 cup of cheese and onions and bake another 5 minutes.

Slow Cooker Pizza Casserole

All the flavors of pizza in a casserole, made in a slow cooker. There’s plenty of cheese and pepperoni so you can overlook the lack of a crunchy crust. The perfect one-pot meal on a rainy, cool late winter evening. You can make it more ‘your way’ by adding Canadian bacon, mushrooms, different cheeses… whatever you prefer.
Slow Cooker Pizza CasseroleBe careful to not overcook the pasta. Pasta is not the most slow cooker-friendly item in the world. If you over cook the pasta it will become mushy. Not happy mushy either. So error on the side of caution and serve this slow cooker pizza casserole as soon as the pasta is cooked. It’s sorta like my pizza pasta bake, but with a twist.

Also check out my slow cooker ravioli lasagna. It has all the flavors of lasagna in a simple slow cooker dish.

Slow Cooker Pizza Casserole
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 ounces sliced pepperoni, divided
  • 1 small green bell pepper., chopped
  • 2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese shredded, divided (plus more for garnish if desired)
  • 2 cups uncooked pasta
  • Freshly chopped parsley and freshly grated Parmesan for garnish, if desired
Instructions
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Crumble in the sausage and cook until almost done.
  3. Add the onion and cook until the meat is completely done.
  4. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute.
  5. Transfer meat to a slow cooker set to low.
  6. Stir in the tomatoes, water, all but 12 slices of the pepperoni, the oregano, salt, pepper, and 1 cup of the cheese. Mix well.
  7. Add the pasta and stir.
  8. Top with the remaining pepperoni and cheese and cover.
  9. Cook for 5 hours and serve garnished with parsley, Parmesan and more mozzarella cheese.

Spicy Tasso and Corn Casserole

Fresh corn season continues to wind down here in Indiana. Time for my end-of-summer push to devour as much sweet corn as I can! And what better way to make corn than to add in some spicy Tasso ham. I so love Tasso ham. So tender, to tasty, and definitely so spicy. I made my own Tasso on my smoker, and it came out fantastic. It was so easy to make!

This creamy corn casserole is sweet and also spicy. I found the original recipe in Louisiana Cookin’, one of my favorite Louisiana-themed magazines. Not only is each issue full of great Creole and Cajun dishes, there are also articles about the food and happenings in the area.

Spicy Tasso and Corn CasseroleThe original recipe called for topping the casserole with crushed potato chips. I decided to skip that and just enjoy the great vegetables and spice in this dish. True, adding chips would definitely add a nice crunch. I bet crushed tortilla chips would be outstanding, so feel free to add them if you like!

Spicy Tasso and Corn Casserole
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: Cajun
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 5 cups fresh corn kernels (5 to 6 ears)
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 1 cup chopped tasso ham (I used our homemade tasso)
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, cubed, softened
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning (I used our homemade seasoning)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Spray a 9" x 9" baking dish with non-stick spray.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the corn, pepper, green onion, and tasso and cook 5-8 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
  5. Add the cream cheese and stir until it melts.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in the Cajun seasoning, sour cream, parsley, salt, and cayenne pepper.
  7. Spoon into the baking dish and bake 20 minutes.
  8. Note: The original recipe called for sprinkling the casserole with crumbled potato chips (2 cups) before baking. I omitted that ingredient to keep the casserole a little lower in carbohydrates. Feel free to add the chips, or Panko breadcrumbs if you like.

Green Bean Casserole

This is a rather different way to make a traditional green bean casserole, thanks mostly to the cheddar cheese.

Green Bean CasseroleI always have problems with recipes that contain French-fried onions. I have to buy twice as many as the recipe calls for because I’ll eat half of them before they even make it into the casserole.

Also try my southern green beans.

Green Bean Casserole
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups green beans, trimmed and sliced
  • 3 cups chicken broth (1 1/2 (14 ounce) cans)
  • 1/3 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup white onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 (10 3/4 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 (2.8 ounce) can French-fried onion rings
  • Pinch each of salt, freshly ground black pepper, and garlic powder
  • 1 cup extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Spray a 9" x 9" baking dish with non-stick spray.
  3. Boil the green beans in the chicken broth for 10 minutes. Drain well.
  4. Melt the butter in a large skillet.
  5. Add the onions and mushrooms and saute.
  6. Add in the beans, soup, onion rings, and spices. Stir.
  7. Pour mixture into the baking dish.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes, uncovered.
  9. Add the cheese and bake another 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Southwestern Potato Casserole

What a wonderful casserole this southwestern potato casserole is! Fortunately, the recipe makes a really big batch (of course you could divide it or cut it in half), because we weren’t shy about eating it. I really liked the crunch that the tortilla chips added.  There’s a little hint of heat, but not much, so don’t worry about taking this to a potluck or family get-together.Southwestern Potato CasseroleAlso try my tater tot casserole.

Southwestern Potato Casserole
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: Southwestern
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12-14
 
Ingredients
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 (16 ounce) tub sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1 can Rotel, drained (mild or hot, up to you!)
  • 1/2 pound Mexican Velveeta cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 1 2 pound bag shredded hash browns
  • 1 cup crushed yellow tortilla chips
  • 1 cup crushed purple tortilla chips
  • 1/4 cup butter, cut into small pats
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Place the soup, sour cream, onion, chile powder, Rotel and cheese into a large bowl. Stir.
  3. Fold in the hash browns.
  4. Spray a 9" x 13" baking dish with non-stick spray. Pour in the hash brown mixture and spread out evenly.
  5. Sprinkle top of casserole with the chips and butter.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly and starting to brown.

Smoked Sausage Casserole

This smoked sausage casserole is one of my favorite comfort dishes. It has some of my favorite things in it – smoked sausage, hash browns, and peppers. And cheese. How could it not be good?Smoked Sausage Casserole

You can omit the jalapenos if you want. Or add more. Also try my smoked sausage Alfredo.

Smoked Sausage Casserole
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Substitute Creole seasoning for the salt and pepper for an extra flavor kick!
Ingredients
  • 1 pound smoked sausage, cut into 1/2" pieces
  • 1 pound pre-made hash browns, defrosted
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup white onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded, minced
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika (more or less)
Instructions
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the sausage. Cook until lightly browned. Drain.
  2. Spray a 9" x 9" casserole with non-stick spray.
  3. Add the potatoes and sausage. Mix.
  4. Add the butter to the skillet and melt.
  5. Add vegetables and saute for 3 minutes.
  6. Add the flour, milk and salt and pepper and cook another 3 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese.
  8. Pour vegetable mixture over potatoes and sausage and stir.
  9. Sprinkle with paprika.
  10. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until bubbly and browned, and the potatoes are cooked through.