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Don't Knock It Casserole--Comfort Food Reigns Today!

Posted Feb 08 2011 8:06pm

Casserole is an American staple, and I am a casserole lover--especially in winter.  As I have worked to reduce the processed foods we use in our meals, I have been hesitant to eliminate condensed soups from my cooking.  I have tried a couple of replacement recipes and the final results have tasted, well, flat--- if that can be a food descriptor.

I made one of my quick dinner standby's the other night without condensed soup and really didn't notice a difference in flavor.  The "replacement" soup was just as good as the canned stuff.  We may have a winner, my friends!  Now this casserole still has Ritz crackers as a topping, and some all out health nuts may find that to be an abomination, but in my house we cheat if it tastes good!

Let me quickly tell you about this casserole because it takes a little selling.  The first time I had this casserole was back in college.  When my roommate was making this, I poked a little fun thinking that the combination seemed dull and tasteless.  She said, "Hey, don't knock it till you try it."  Little did I know, that I would like this meal so much that it is still at the top of my dinner rotation 13 years later.

I don't know the actual name of this dish, but it has affectionately come to be known as " Don't Knock It Casserole ."  Made with ground beef, corn, macaroni, onions, cream of mushroom soup, cheese and crackers, you really don't get more All-American than this.

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Recipe for Don't Knock It Casserole
Mushroom Soup Roux

Ingredients 2 tbsp light butter
2 tbsp Wheat Flour, Whole-grain
1 tbsp Onions
1/2 cup Mushrooms
1 1/2 cup Skim Milk
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper

Directions FINELY chop mushroom and onion.  Melt butter over medium low heat. Saute onion and mushrooms in butter until tender being careful that butter does not burn. Add flour slowly and stir until all flour is absorbed. Slowly pour in milk and stir constantly bringing mixture to a boil for about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow mixture to thicken for about 2-3 minutes.

Casserole Recipe :
Ingredients 2 cups Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 lb Ground Beef 90% Lean
1 cup Onions
1/5 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Mrs. Dash Table Blend Seasoning
1 1/2 cups Frozen Corn
7 oz Barilla Plus Elbow Pasta
1 cup 2% Milk Reduced Fat Sharp Cheddar
10 Ritz crackers, crushed
1 cup Plain Yogurt or light sour cream

  • Prepare soup as directed .
  • Boil pasta according to package directions.
  • Brown Ground beef with onion. Stir soup and yogurt together. Transfer ground beef to casserole dish, add cooked pasta and corn. Stir in soup mixture until well distributed. 
  • Top casserole with shredded cheese and crushed Ritz Crackers.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and casserole is bubbling.
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Make it an All-American Day with this 1600 Calorie Meal Plan:
Breakfast- 361 Calories Apple-Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal
Snack- 125 CaloriesCelery w/1T Natural Peanut Butter
Lunch- 287 CaloriesTuna Melt (from Eating Well )Carrot sticks
Snack- 228 Calories2 cups popcorn Brownie  More on these brownies in my next post....
Dinner- 614 Calories Don't Knock it Casserole Garden Side Salad 
Total Calories = 1614  

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