Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Side Dishes: (Take Two) Comfort Casseroles

One of my favorite times of year for food is holiday season.  Somehow you can get away with having every dish on the table be carb-loaded!  At least the turkey or ham is usually fairly carb-free, but a normal Thanksgiving for us includes a variety of the following:  mashed potatoes & gravy (carb), stuffing (carb), corn casserole (carb), sweet potatoes of some kind (usually accompanied by marshmallows or brown sugar – carb, carb!), green bean casserole (carb), scalloped pineapple (carb, carb! – a family favorite), jello salad (carb), and maybe rolls (carb).  You get the idea.  And then you top it off with pie & whipped cream (carb, carb, carb!).  Forget the Tryptophan – this carb-fest is what puts you to sleep!

Still, some of my favorite and most popular dishes are these “comfort casserole” sides.  In addition to complementing turkey and ham, they also go well with BBQ and chicken.  The following is my ‘best of the best’ for comfort casserole sides.

Corn Casserole
1 can cream-style corn
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
2 eggs
1 C sour cream
1 stick butter, cut up into slices (or melted)
1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
Minced onion to taste

Mix all ingredients well.  Spread into a greased 9x13 pan & bake for 45 min – 1 hr.  (Baking in a smaller dish will take longer but result in a thicker mix, if desired.)

Sweet Potato Casserole
3 C sweet potatoes, boiled & mashed (about 4 potatoes; I also used the frozen Ore Ida kind last year & it worked pretty well as a shortcut since I find sweet potatoes incredibly hard to cut)
½ C sugar
½ C butter or marg.
2 eggs, well beaten
1 tsp vanilla
½ C milk

1/3 C butter or marg, melted
½ C flour
1 C chopped pecans
1 C brown sugar

Mix casserole ingredients together & pour into a greased 9x9 dish.  Mix topping ingredients & sprinkle on top of sweet potato mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 min. or until set.  (This is as good as dessert for me!  Probably close to a crumb topped sweet potato or pumpkin pie.)

Green Bean Casserole (Extra Easy!)
2 cans green beans (any style but I prefer just the cut ones, not French style)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
French’s fried onions

Drain one can of green beans & some of other, but reserve about 2/3 of juice from one can.  Mix beans and juice with soup & spread into a 9x9 or similar baking dish.  Heat in microwave for 5 min on high; stir.  Heat for another 3-5 min.  Top with fried onions & bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 5 min to brown.  (Note: do not broil in oven, as onions tend to burn quickly this way.  Multiple family members have tried this as a shortcut!)

Scalloped Pineapple (Family Favorite – intriguing, right?!)
2 qts bread cubes (1 qt = 6 slices)
3 eggs, beaten
2 C sugar
2 sticks butter/marg, softened
1 large can pineapple tidbits, drained well

Beat together eggs, sugar & butter until creamed.  Add in bread & pineapple gently.  Spread into a greased 9x13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 min.  (1/2 batch = 2 eggs; bake for 35 min.)

Many people also make a hashbrown potato casserole that would go well with this list.  I have a recipe for this delightful dish, but I think I’ve only made it once.  I love, love, love this casserole, but many people smother it in cheese (yum!) and that excludes it from my household due to Jake’s abhorrence of cheese.  Sad.  Same goes for any fancy mac-n-cheese recipe too.  Though lately I’ve had several people tell me they’ve tried gourmet mac-n-cheese recipes from well-known cooks (i.e. Martha Stewart, Paula Deen) but have been disappointed with the outcome.  Interesting…

Do you have favorite comfort casserole side dishes?


  1. I have turned a mac & cheese into a main dish. I add chicken and mixed veggies. Yum yum!!

    My step mom makes the best mashed potatoes in the world, but, alas, she adds cheese, which is what makes them so great.

  2. Scallopped pineapple...I am intrigued and may have to try it. I love how you embrace the carbs! Why run from it?

  3. Just made scalloped pineapple last night actually. I usually get, why isn't this just desert. I say, because then I wouldn't be able to call it the fruit.

    My experience with Mac and Cheese, at least from Paula Deen's recipe, is that she uses too many eggs and it ends up being like quiche. Not that it was bad, it just wasn't what I wanted. If you want a firm Mac and Cheese, it's great. I just went down to one egg and made a much more loose Mac and Cheese and loved it. Also, I added WAY more cheese.