Casseroles can be elaborate or simple, but either way, they are a great “go-to” meal. Most of the time you can put together easy casserole dinners with items you already have on hand in your pantry or refrigerator. This makes for a great last-minute, what are we going to have for dinner, night. On the other hand, you can plan casseroles ahead of time and this will lead to them being more elaborate than a last-minute meal. Most of the time it is a last-minute meal though for me and I like to just start putting things together. Let’s check out some of my favorite casseroles.
I do believe that everyone loves some type of taco, burrito, or fajita. This casserole is great because you can make it taste like any of these that you want fairly easy and less messy.
- 2 cups of shredded Colby Monterey Jack cheese
- 6 flour tortillas, soft taco/fajita size
- 1 can of drained, or one small frozen package of whole kernel corn
- 2 3/4 cups of mild salsa, I prefer chunky salsa
- 1 red or orange bell pepper sliced. I actually use both of the peppers in mine
- 1 package, or 1oz of homemade taco seasoning
- 2/3 cup of water
- 1lb of ground beef, the leaner the meat the better here.
- Brown your ground beef in a medium skillet. Once your meat is browned, drain the fat off, and return to the same pan. Add taco seasoning, water, and peppers. Return to a simmer. The mixture will thicken and then add corn and salsa.
- Spray a 13×9 inch dish. Cut your tortillas in half and add 6 halves to the bottom of the dish. (If you wish to add a tiny bit of salsa to the bottom of the dish just to barely coat the bottom before adding the tortillas. This will help to keep them from sticking as well.)
- Add half of your meat mixture and top with half of the cheese.
- Layer the remaining 6 tortillas and repeat with remaining meat and cheese.
- Cover and cook for 35 minutes in a 350° oven.
This is a mild-flavored dish by the recipe. If you would like more spice you can use a spicier salsa, or you can layer in
sliced jalapenos with the meat mixture. Add lime to garnish or guacamole on top. There are so many ways you can fix this casserole to make one dish with so many flavors and not have the mess of a traditional taco.
This dish is also known as shepherd’s pie, or cottage pie. A traditional shepherd’s pie would call for lamb meat. In the nature of being quick and easy, we use ground beef in my house. While this dish has “pie” in its name I totally consider it a casserole.
- 1lb of ground beef
- 1 tsp of each dried herbs: parsley, rosemary, thyme
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 1 package frozen or 1 can of drained peas and carrots
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper
- 1 1/2 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup of broth (beef or chicken)
- 2 tbsp of flour
- 2 tbsp of tomato paste
- Saute onions in a large skillet until nearly done, about 4-5 minutes. Add ground beef with parsley, rosemary, and thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook until meat is cooked through.
- Add garlic and Worcestershire sauce. Once combined add flour and tomato paste. Make sure to stir well so the mixture is smooth.
- Add broth and vegetables. Simmer on medium heat until the mixture is thickened.
This is the point in most recipes where you will find that you need to also make homemade mashed potatoes. For me, this does not make a quick casserole you can just throw together. So as a tip here, use instant mashed potatoes. I prefer the Idahoan brand. You make them with just water and you can add in whatever flavors you would wish to have in them. Ok, Back to the recipe.
- Place meat mixture in a 9×9 inch dish and smooth out evenly.
- Place mashed potatoes on top of meat mixture. Spread as evenly as possible in thickness.
- Bake at 400° for 25 minutes or potatoes are brown and the mixture is bubbly. Let cool and set for a few minutes before serving.
This dish is a favorite at my house. It is requested every single time I ask for dinner suggestions when preparing my grocery list. I usually go the simple way with the mashed potatoes and once in a while I will actually make homemade potatoes and my family can not even notice the difference.
If you or the people you cook for are not particularly fond of fish than this is a great casserole. In all honesty, it is a spruced up macaroni and cheese. 😀
- 3 cans (5oz each) of chunk light tuna in water drained
- 1lb of cooked pasta noodles (I switch between these: elbow, bowtie, rotini)
- 1 to 1.5lbs of cheese
- 1 12oz bag of frozen mixed vegetables or 1 15oz can drained
- 1/2 cup of milk
- 6 tbsp of butter
- Salt and pepper
- Cook and drain noodles according to package directions. While noodles are cooking open and drain tuna.
- In a large bowl combine tuna, noodles, vegetables, and milk.
- Pour mixture into a 13×9 inch dish and top with cheese.
- Bake is a 375 oven until cheese is melted and the mixture is bubbly warm.
This is really all a basic tuna casserole takes. This is how I fix it regularly at my house. However, you can add more to it if you would like. I have seen others use crushed potato chips or bread crumbs on top for a crunch texture.
I have an easy cheesy chicken and rice casserole recipe here if you are looking for something more like that.
Breakfast For Dinner
Breakfast casserole is wonderful if you are making breakfast for dinner. I would pair this with a fruit for a side item, but it really doesn’t need a side item. It is quite filling on its own.
- 24oz of breakfast sausage. I use maple-flavored
- 1 cup of chopped bell pepper
- 1/2 cup of chopped onion
- 3 cups of frozen hashbrowns (thawed out)
- 2 cups of cheese divided 1 1/2c & 1/2c
- 1 cup of Bisquick mix
- 2 cups of milk
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 4 eggs
- Cook sausage, bell pepper, and onion in a medium skillet. Drain after cooking.
- In a large mixing bowl combine sausage mixture, potatoes, and 1/2 cup of cheese. Pour into a greased 13×9 inch dish.
- In the same large bowl stir Bisquick, milk, pepper, and eggs together. Pour over sausage mixture in baking dish.
- Bake uncovered in a 375 oven for 35-40 minutes.
- Cover with remaining cheese and cook for 1-2 minutes more until cheese is melted.
This particular breakfast casserole recipe will give you all of the breakfast feels with sausage, hashbrowns, eggs, and biscuits. I have found that my family actually prefers more of the pancake flavor over biscuit. Now I substitute the Bisquick with a just add water, pancake mix. I have also substituted the hashbrowns with homestyle potatoes in the past.
These are four of my favorite easy casserole dinners. I like being able to throw these together in just a few minutes from prep to oven. While the casserole is cooking I can clean up my prep area and basically have dinner done and the kitchen cleaned. For me, this is the best perk to making a casserole. If you find yourself having time on your hands to meal prep ahead of time you can refrigerate these overnight for the next day.
What is your favorite casserole to make? Give me some ideas to develop new recipes friends.