Janet's Notebook
Convenience and Comfort Combine in Creamy Casseroles!

Cauliflower Broccoli Casserole

Canned soup is my friend. Like any ingredient - expensive or not - it is what you make of it. And let me tell you, there are some really tasty, economical casserole recipes out there that elevate the humble can of soup to an art form.

A true Andy Warhol of the kitchen, Muna Escobar has brought us one of the most talked-about recipes on JustAPinch.com: The Tater Tot Casserole. The recipe is so simple and classic in its preparation, yet home cooks everywhere are buzzing about how dang good it is! Perhaps one of this recipe's biggest fans is the Honorary Kitchen Crew's Gail Herbest.

"This was fantastic!! This is a very kid-friendly dish and I will bet they will be asking for seconds! If there is any left at the end of the meal, though, it does heat up well for leftovers the next day."

With a simple base of vegetables and ground meat, the real magic happens when you mix in two creamy cans of condensed soup - one chicken, one mushroom - and create a top crust of frozen tater tots. Basic? Yes. But delicious? Absolutely. Top with cheese and brown in the oven for pure comfort on a plate.

"I used ground turkey and both cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese piled on top," says Gail. "Super satisfying, it tasted just like something Grandma used to make. (Kind of like chicken dumplings, but not as heavy.)"

Another comforting casserole classic comes to us from Leona Krivda of Belle Vernon, PA. She crafted her signature Cauliflower Broccoli Casserole by melding together just five simple ingredients: cauliflower, broccoli, cream cheese, cream of celery soup and butter or margarine. It's so simple, but so decadent and delicious.

"Everyone always like this a lot and wants the recipe," smiles Rene.

Our own Leah Stacey Leah Stacey of the Honorary Kitchen Crew jumped at the chance to taste-test Leona's recipe.

"I could smell the cream cheese cooking and it smelled great," exclaimed Leah. "[It is] absolutely lovely as a side dish with roasted or grilled chicken."

The warm cream cheese and soup melts to envelope the veggies and the finished product is a rich, silky punctuation mark for any meal. Want a little extra crunch? Leah suggests topping your casserole with panko breadcrumbs. (Always a good idea in our book!)

Also a frequent guest at our table is Dewillia's Chicken Spinach Tortilla Casserole. It is, well, just like it sounds! Ms. Dewillia Cotton of Chickasaw, AL created this dish to satisfy the palettes of both her and her husband. The recipe is put together in just one bowl, layered in a baking dish with spinach, then topped with copious amounts of ooey, gooey cheese. While perfecting the recipe, Dewillia also came up with one of our favorite thrifty tips of all time!

"It is just me and my husband and I can't cook a small casserole, especially when it calls for a 9 X 13 pan," explains Dewillia. "So I took aluminum foil and made in to fit the pan and made two half portions before I baked it. I pulled it up on the inside so it would not cook together. Then all you have to do is pick up one side at a time. You can either share it or put it in the freezer for another time. I carried half to my friend and her husband, and they dearly loved it."

Fancy can be grand, but sometimes there's just nothing better than a creamy casserole made at home. Stock up on your staples and give that ol' can of soup another chance - You've got magic in your pantry just waiting to happen.

More Stories... Subscribe to RSS

Carol Harpel - Feb 8, 2013
Stacey - There are only a few vegetables that I dislike. lima beans are at the top of the list!! Did you know that 'butter beans' are limas??
To me, the only good lima, is one that is fed to farm animals!! LOL
Stacey Hunt - Feb 8, 2013
Thanks Carol, the only canned veggies I have ever liked is cut green beans but will try the frozen since you both suggested that. I don't mind using several kinds of canned beans for baked beans (minus lima beans, yuck!) since there are so many other ingredients added. Canned corn always makes me think of the smell and taste from hot school lunch's.
Stacey Hunt - Feb 8, 2013
Thank you Pat, it is so much better to rely on someone else's experience or experiments!
Pat Ford - Feb 7, 2013
Stacey...if you use frozen green beans pre-cook them a bit, they don't cook enough (for my taste) in a casserole. Frozen veggies always need some kind of seasoning I think, same as cooking fresh. They should absorb some of the salt from the soup. There are low sodium soups and also low sodium cheeses. One of the reasons I make my own soup bases rather than use canned.
Carol Harpel - Feb 6, 2013
Stacey - Frozen green beans are not going to have salt in them. Even after draining canned vegetables, salt from the canning process is in the beans. You might not want to salt the meat when browning. I also think there are low-sodium soups available.
Good luck!
Stacey Hunt - Feb 6, 2013
The tater tot casserole always tasted so salty I quit making it. With the cans of soup, the Worcestershire sauce and the cheese sprinkled, we all agreed it was just a big taste of salt. Any ideas? Maybe if I added frozen green beans in, they would take some of the salt since they always taste flat when you cook them?
Colleen Sowa - Jan 30, 2013
OD Jiles, you can ask members or Just A Pinch Kitchen Crew! xo
OD Jiles - Jan 30, 2013
I am new also,if a person have a question or concern who do they contact to get their question answered? Please let me know. Thank you.
sallye bates - Jan 27, 2013
Janet, While your computer crew is making all these updates to the menus, I would like to request a new category.

Can they add sandwiches to the categories where you post your recipes. It is hard to find a place sometime to categorize a sandwich. Thanks.
Donna Smith - Jan 25, 2013
I love recipes made with cream of celery soup. I want to recommend it to anyone who uses cream of chicken or cream of mushroom (and maybe others, too) soup, I think cream of celery adds better flavor than either most of the time. I use it in chicken noodle casserole or scalloped potatoes. I always wonder why it seems it's not very popular. Just wanted to put in a plug for an under-appreciated canned soup ingredient!
Marilyn Keeton - Jan 25, 2013
I've lived at 500' all my life, when we retired we went to 3500' now
everything I cook; cakes and especially my sweet breads fall! What shall
I do? I feel so imcompeetent!
kattie dubbs - Jan 25, 2013
welcome i am sort of new myself and like u i am happy to have found this site .
Debi Lynn - Jan 24, 2013
Hi, I'm a newbie to this site..All these recipes are so wonderful. Will be trying a lot of them.I'm glad a came across this site on Face Book.
Lori McLain - Jan 23, 2013
Okay ! I feel better now ! i love casseroles and I love canned soup to make them fast and easy ! After my mom made that tater tot casserole when we were kids I swear we had it once a week...we fellin loe with it and it gets better when ou reheat it ! Lightened it upover the years with ground turkey, but still comforting and good. Hmmm....that may be whats for dinner :)
Danelia Lanham - Jan 23, 2013
hi everyone, I have a dilema. I went to a food pantry and they gave me some Tabbouleh sala, also quinoa already coooked in a bag in a broth with spinach, mashed peas, roasted red peppers, theses are things I have never made or used. any ideas on things I can make with this would be of a great help. thank you. You can email me at teddee84@yahoo.com or post on here. I tried to find a way to ask in my groups but couldn't find one. I love this site and have recommened it to all my friends. Also have tried many recipes.