December Monthly Culinary Book Club – December 3rd

December is fast approaching (next week!) and our final culinary book club of 2014 will be on casseroles. When your day becomes packed with the end of a school term, or too many holiday parties, it is time to consider baking a casserole. What is so nice about casseroles is that you can prepare them in advance and just reheat them before your dinner party.

A favorite for kids is a cheeseburger casserole. This is made with pasta , ground beef, chopped onion, minced garlic, shredded American cheese, chopped tomatoes, milk, dried basil, and black pepper. Better Homes and Gardens Biggest Book of Casseroles (p. 139) has the following cheeseburger casserole recipe:

Ingredients:

4 ounces dried penne pasta (2 cups)

1 pound ground beef or ground pork

1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)

1 clove garlic, minced

2 10 3/4-ounce cans cheddar cheese soup

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss or American cheese (6 ounces)

1 cup chopped tomatoes (2 medium)

Directions:

1. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Set aside. Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook ground beef, onion, and garlic until meat is brown and onion is tender; drain. Stir in soup, milk, basil, and pepper. Stir in cooked pasta and 1 cup of the cheese. Transfer to an ungreased 2-quart rectangular baking dish.

2. Bake, covered, in a 375 degree F oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and the tomatoes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Provides serving for 6.

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