Victoria's Vegetarian Victuals

It snowed here on October first, believe it or not. It is snowing right now, and the town plows, huge things, have been roaring by on the road since first light. I'm so glad that my mother bought a 4-wheel drive vehicle last summer. I think that this will be the scene now, until spring. It's pretty out there, like a living Christmas card, but, of course, I worry about the homeless animals.

I fell on my seat five times the other day, just trying to walk down the driveway. We are on the side of a mountain, very near the top, and the driveway is steep. Good for drainage, so they tell me.

I'll tell you, when we come into the house from 7 degree cold, we need something fast, hot, and comforting, and so this month I have rounded up ten recipes that ought to thaw us out right quick.

So put them together, and eat hearty!

Macaroni and Cheese Casserole

  • 1 can (10 3/4 ounces) cheddar cheese soup
  • 1/2 soup can milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion salt
  • 2 cups hot cooked corkscrew or medium shell macaroni (about 1 1/2 cups uncooked)
  • 1 tablespoon dry bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons margarine or butter, melted

In 1-quart casserole mix soup, milk, pepper and macaroni. Mix bread crumbs with margarine and sprinkle over macaroni mixture. Bake at 400º F for 20 minutes.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes
Baked Rice Casserole
  • 1 cup long-grain rice
  • 1 stick margarine
  • 1 can cream of onion soup
  • 1 can mushrooms with juice
  • 1 1/2 cups water

Place ingredients into a casserole. Cover and bake at 325º F for 1 1/2 hours or until rice is tender. Stir and serve.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Baked Spinach Casserole

  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 cups light cream (1/2 & 1/2)
  • 3 Tbsp. grated onion
  • 2 packages frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 lb. chopped mushrooms
  • 3 Tbsp. grated Gruyere or Swiss cheese
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. white pepper

Preheat the oven to 325º F.

For the mushroom sauce, sauté the onions and mushrooms in butter for 5 minutes. Blend in the flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Gradually add the cream, stirring to boiling point. Turn off heat and taste for seasoning.

In a buttered casserole, spread half of the spinach; cover with half of the mushroom sauce, then repeat. Sprinkle with the grated cheese. Set in pan of hot water. Bake for 40 minutes.

  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour

Baked Ziti and Bean Casserole

  • 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes -- drained
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 4 cups hot cooked ziti or penne pasta
  • 1 15-ounce can great northern beans -- rinsed and drained
  • 3 slices mozzarella cheese -- 6 1/2 x 4-inches each
  • Grated parmesan cheese -- if desired

Preheat oven to 400º F.

Spray a rectangular baking dish, 11 x 7 x 1 1/2-inches, with nonstick cooking spray. Break up tomatoes in large bowl. Stir in ricotta cheese, onion, parsley, thyme, salt and red pepper. Carefully fold in pasta and beans. Pour pasta mixture into baking dish, spreading evenly. Arrange mozzarella cheese on top. Bake uncovered about 30 minutes or until the mixture is hot and cheese is golden brown. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes

Broccoli, Cheese, and Rice Casserole

  • 1 cup instant rice -- uncooked
  • 1/2 cup onion -- chopped
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 4 ounces light cheese -- cubed
  • 2 tablespoons light margarine -- softened
  • 20 ounces chopped broccoli -- thawed and drained
  • 10 ounces reduced fat cream of mushroom soup -- undiluted

Preheat oven to 350º F. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, and spoon into a 2 quart casserole. Bake at 350º F for 45 minutes.

  • Yields: 8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 50 minutes

Cheesy Zucchini Casserole

  • 2 tomatoes, peeled cut into wedges
  • dash garlic powder
  • 2 small zucchini, sliced
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 small yellow squash, sliced
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 tsp. thyme
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp. basil
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese

Combine tomatoes, zucchini, squash, seasonings, and cheddar cheese. Place in 1 1/2 quart casserole.

Top with parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Bake at 350º F about 45 minutes until vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 55 minutes

Chick Pea and Rice Casserole

  • 2 cups rice (uncooked)
  • 1 can chick peas (garbanzo beans)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • assorted herbs (fresh or dried) to taste

Cook the rice. Drain the chick peas. Mix all the ingredients while rice is still hot. Serve immediately.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Corn Zucchini Casserole

  • 2 cups shredded zucchini, packed tightly (Squeeze ALL the water from the zucchini after shredding)
  • 1 can (1 lb.) creamed corn
  • 3 ex-large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Combine the zucchini, corn, eggs, seasonings and 1/2 cup of cheese in a lightly greased 1 1/2 quart casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese over the top. Bake in a 350º F oven for 45-50 minutes until well set.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes

Hash Brown Casserole

  • 12 ounces frozen hash brown potatoes unthawed
  • 10 ounces cream of celery soup, condensed undiluted
  • 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese packed
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 6 ounces french-fried onions -- canned

Preheat oven to 350º F. Combine the first five ingredients in a large bowl. Transfer to 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Bake until the top is slightly golden, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Sprinkle with onions. Bake until golden brown, about 5 minutes.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour and 25 minutes

Mixed Vegetable Casserole

  • 1 large bag frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup grated cheese
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 stack Ritz crackers
  • 1 stick margarine or butter
  • 1 can cream of celery soup

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cook the vegetables until tender. Mix in onion, celery, cheese, soup and mayonnaise. Mix with vegetables; season to taste. Melt margarine and add crumbled Ritz crackers. Put the vegetable mixture into 9" x l2" flat casserole dish and top with crumbled Ritz crackers. Bake for 35 minutes.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes

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