YumYum DinDins

Ok - so I know the title is SUPER cheesy, but I was just reading this article about 15 ways to make your blog more readable, not that I really care, but I kind of do. :) One of the points was to have a GREAT title that catches people's attention so they actually read the blog. I have to admit, I don't put much time AT ALL into my titles, I just write whatever comes to my head. Which is what I did again today, but maybe it will catch your attention a bit more...

Ok... so, moving on!

I have been on a bit of a casserole stretch the past week. Literally, every meal I've made has been made in a casserole dish, and actually each one has been super yummy! Second servings are dished out, and Michael's lunch comes home empty. I KNOW I made a delicious meal when that happens. Just kidding, Michael tries EVERY SINGLE THING I cook, even if he thinks it looks disgusting. But usually, if he doesn't like it, he doesn't take seconds, which makes total sense. Why would anyone take seconds of something they don't like? Ok...

Casserole #1
Quinoa Chicken and Cheese
So, originally this was supposed to be a Chicken, Rice and Cheese casserole, but I didn't have any rice, so I figured I would just use Quinoa instead. Then, I didn't have any cream of mushroom soup, so I just mixed some chicken broth in with gluten free flour to make it a bit thicker and dumped that in the dish. I DID use chicken and cheese. It ended up turning out SUPER delicious! I know my picture looks really gross - but I promise, it tasted MUCH better! I always take pictures with my phone in my darkly lit kitchen which equals gross looking food. Maybe I should change that.. naaaaah.

REAL Shepherds Pie
 So this is REAL shepherds pie. Let me explain :) In the past I've made shepherd's pie, but used sweet potatoes or ground turkey instead of normal potatoes and ground beef. When I would tell Michael we were having shepherd's pie, he would say, "What did you use to make it?" I would rattle off my list and when I got to the "Sweet potatoes and ground turkey" bit, he would say, "Oh, it's not REAL shepherds pie." Well, my dear husband, this is REAL Shepherds Pie - and he LOVED it!
and it was SUPER easy! I scrubbed and rinsed 4 potatoes and then repeatedly stabbed each of them. Then I put them in a Tupperware with about a tablespoon of water, threw saran wrap over the top and put it in the microwave for 10 minutes. When the microwave beeped, my potatoes were done! I just mashed them up, added some butter and milk and I had my topping.
Then, I cooked the ground beef in some butter, onions, and garlic. MMMMM! I love that mix. Anything cooked in butter, garlic, and onions is the BEST! Once that was cooked, I dumped it all into the bottom of my pie dish. Then, I used about a cup of frozen corn and put it in the food processor with a bit of water and turned it on until the corn turned into a bit of a mush. Then I dumped that over the beef mix. Then I dumped some peas over that, and finally spread the oh-so-yummy potatoes over that. Threw it in the oven for half an hour and TADAA! REAL Shepherds Pie!

Enchilada Excitement
I don't have a picture of this one... woops. There were too many things going on that day and it was a Friday so I wasn't really thinking in my right self. So, instead of a final picture, I'll show you all my ingredients and you can IMAGINIFY what the final product looks and tastes like. :)
#1 First, I had to make my enchilada sauce. So I used olive oil, chicken broth, tomato puree (just threw a tomato into the food processor for a minute) gluten free flour (my thickener), salt, pepper, cumin, and oregano. Basically, you just throw it all together and boil it for awhile until it gets thick.
#2 Then, I had to chop my tortillas into strips. I just used white corn tortillas (which I LOVE the ingredients of!!) and made the strips about an inch and a half thick. Basically, imagine lasagna noodles, except they were tortillas.
#3 Then, I grilled up my chicken using my handy dandy AMAZING grilling machine, which I bought for about 3 dollars at my local Bibles for Missions Thrift store. By the way - this store is AMAZING! Volunteers run it so that 100% of the proceeds can to straight to buying Bibles for countries that need them. So COOL!
#4 Finally, it was time to put the casserole together. I laid some chicken broth and oil on the bottom and then layered my first set of tortilla lasagna strips. On top of that, I layered chicken and onions.
 Then, I poured a small amount of enchilada sauce over it and put a THICK layer of delicious cheddar cheese on top of that. DELICIOUS!
Then, I started the layers all over again. Tortilla lasagna strips, chicken onion mix, enchilada sauce, cheese. Did one more layer, and then topped it all off with one more layer of lasagna strips, dumped the rest of the enchilada sauce over the dish, put YUMMY green olives on only one side of the dish (Michael HATES olives) and covered it all up in MORE cheese!

#5 Then, I stuck it in my preheated oven (450 degrees) and baked it for half an hour. It was so good! By the way, I forgot to tell my handsome husband that there were olives on one side, so guess what side he got? The one with olives!

Ok - moving back to casserole pictures...
#4 Marinara Madness
This next dish was SUPER easy for a Sunday lazy afternoon. I boiled my noodles, strained them, dumped in some marinara sauce, threw some cheese on top and baked the whole thing in the oven for - you guessed it - half an hour!

This final casserole really is a dessert - but its my ALL TIME favorite dessert! I learned it from my grandpa, or my Mom, not sure which one first. But it's a Filipino dish called Biko and OH MAN! It is SO delicious! and SUPER easy to make!
Basically, you have to buy special sweet rice. Basically, this is the rice that sticks together, it's also used in sushi.

You put a cup of rice into your pan, put a cup of water in the pan, and then dump in a can of coconut milk. I always use the full fat version, but I'm sure you could use whatever version you want.
Then, I added in half a cup of honey. Technically, you are supposed to add in half a cup of sugar and half a cup of brown sugar. I don't have either in the house, so I just used honey. Because it's sweeter, i just used half the total amount of sugar. I know you're not supposed to heat honey, and normally I don't, but in this case, I made an exception.
Then, you just mix it all up, turn the heat on low and let it boil away. You have to be sure to stir it often so that the coconut milk doesn't burn. Usually, I taste the rice when all the fluid has boiled down, and if its still a bit crunchy, I just add some more water. It won't take away from the taste at all because the rice has already taken in all the coconutty sweetness from the honey and milk already. Once the rice has gotten to the uncrunchiness you desire, just dump it all into a casserole dish and stick it in the fridge to cool off and turn to gel.
I seriously could eat this ALL DAY LONG!

Well - there you have it! Those were some of the best casserole dishes that have turned out for me. What types of casserole meals do you like the best? Just comment or email me by Monday next week (July 8). I will try your recipes (maybe tweak them a bit to make them gluten free, soy free, etc) run them by the hubby test, and then will post them up on that weeks "Cooking Adventures" post with your name and info if you want.