The beauty of casseroles is that the sky’s the limit. You CAN make them up as you go! Whether you are trying to clean out the refrigerator or recreate your grandmother’s budget leftover dinner at the end of the week this is a category of recipes that has no end.

With fall approaching we are entering the CASSEROLE phase of the year. This Amish Country Casserole I adapted from LOU LOU GIRLS is ALL about the comfort!! It can easily be made ahead of time and tastes wonderful whether you bake it and serve it now or freeze it and bake it later!

1 (12 oz.) bag medium bow tie noodles or pasta shape of your choice
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground sweet Italian sausage
1 can CAMPBELL’S condensed tomato soup
1 can CAMPBELL’s cream of ANYTHING soup (your choice, though I like either mushroom or celery)
1 cup WHOLE milk
FRESH ground sea salt & black pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce 
1/2 cup sweet Vidalia onion, diced
2 to 3 cloves garlic, FINELY minced
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese or cheese flavor of choice (I often use Jack)

  • Preheat oven to 350°. 
  • Spray a 9×13 baking dish with non stick cooking spray and set aside.
  • Cook pasta according to package directions and drain well.
  • In a large skillet melt butter, add onions and cook a couple minutes before adding beef, cooking crumbly.
  • Drain off grease.
  • In a large bowl stir together tomato soup, cream of anything soup, milk, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and minced garlic.
  • Fold in pasta and ground beef mixture.
  • Spread mixture into prepared baking dish.
  • Bake, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes.
  • Then top with grated cheese and serve with a salad.


This recipe or a similar version of it has been around since the beginning of time I believe. BUT, I can’t find any direct links to how they originated. I assume them to have began as a southern recipe based on the name, but don’t let the name fool you – there is no raccoon in them, but I suppose there once was probably around the time that the Bisquick was also homemade.

Most recipes call for just the basic ingredients of Bisquick, sausage and cheese. But, the beauty of this recipe is that you can make it any way you want with any flavors you want as long as the proportions are good 😀 Any way you make them, they are simple with few ingredients and virtually foolproof.

COON BALLS are great by themselves, but consider adding a dipping sauce – especially if serving as an appetizer or at a tailgate party. They are also great for breakfast with a sausage gravy.


1 pound ground country sausage (hubby likes the hot variety sometimes)
8-16 ounces (about 4 cups) coon cheese or sharp white cheddar cheese, FINELY shredded
2 1/2 – 3 cups Bisquick
2 tablespoons FINELY chopped sage or thyme leaves (depending on sausage flavor)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or paprika (once again depending on sausage flavor)

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Using your hands blend all together until well mixed. Now if you’re a bit wimpy use the paddle attachment on your stand mixer. This will be a THICK mixture.
  • Roll into 1 inch balls. I use my medium cookie scoop to get uniform sizes.
  • Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Bake 20 minutes or until browned.


  • DO NOT USE PRE-SHREDDED CHEESE! Pre-shredded cheeses contain a moisture blocking cellulose that will dry out your mixture. Shred your own!!!!
  • DO NOT DIP measuring cup into the Bisquick. Spoon the Bisquick into the measuring cup. When you dip into the Bisquick it tends to pack the cup. You need a looser fill.
  • They freeze really well! To freeze uncooked sausage balls FLASH FREEZE (so they don’t stick to each other) them flat and separated on baking sheets before transferring to ziplock bags or containers to freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw completely in the refrigerator before cooking. If freezing already cooked make sure to COMPLETELY cool them before the FLASH FREEZE.


While a true Chicken Cordon Bleu was popularized back in the 1960’s when stuffing chicken breasts with deli meats and cheese seemed like a great option, this version is a compilation of an Austrian Schnitzel Cordon Bleu and Switzerland’s Veal Cordon Bleu. Cordon Bleu is NOT strictly French though it became the standard for Americans seeking a refined dinner fare for their “COMPANY” parties and weddings.

Once your meat and cheese is rolled into your flattened chicken breast, they were typically dredged in flour, dipped in egg and then rolled in breadcrumbs and then pan fried.  This recipe is a lighter version that is still breaded, but baked instead of fried.


NON-STICK cooking spray
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (4 ounces each)
4 slices prosciutto
4 slices BABY Swiss cheese or Gouda
4 VERY thin slices red onion
2 cloves garlic, FINELY minced

3 cups FINE bread crumbs
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon FRESH ground black pepper
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon fresh snipped parsley

  • Preheat the oven to 375°.
  • Coat the bottom of a glass baking dish with the nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  • Flatten chicken breasts between plastic wrap to 1/2 inch thickness using a meat mallet OR MY PREFERRED METHOD is to slice the chicken breast in half horizontally almost all the way through. Open the chicken breast up and press out to flatten.
  • Lay one thin slice of prosciutto and a slice of cheese on the flattened breast.
  • Top with onion and part of the garlic.
  • Roll up carefully, beginning at the narrow end and secure with wooden picks. Repeat the process with the remaining chicken breasts.
  • In a bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and black pepper.
  • Place the buttermilk in a separate bowl.
  • Dip the chicken rolls in the buttermilk and then the bread crumb mixture.
  • Place chicken pieces in the prepared baking dish.
  • Brush each roll with the melted butter.
  • Bake 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Garnish with parsley.

NOTE: Once baked, let the rolls rest before slicing so you get nice, even slices.


1 pound QUALITY ground beef
15.5 ounce can seasoned black beans, rinsed and drained WELL
1 small bunch green onion, sliced – reserve a few for garnish
2 Chipotle Peppers in Adobo sauce, rough chopped + 1 tablespoon sauce for the meatballs – the remainder will be used in sauce
1 tablespoon water
1 LARGE egg
FRESH Ground sea salt and black pepper
1 teaspoon KINDERS taco seasoning
3/4 cup ground tortilla chips

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • In a food processor add black beans, most of the green onions, chipotle peppers, 1 tablespoon adobo sauce, water, taco seasoning, FRESH ground sea salt and pepper. Pulse and process until mixture is completely combined and beans are mostly creamy.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine ground beef, bean mixture, egg and 1/2 cup tortilla chip crumbs. Mix by hand or with a large fork. If the mixture is too wet add a bit more tortilla crumbs.
  • Roll into golf ball sized meatballs.
  • Arrange meatballs on a large baking sheet prepared with a light coating of avocado oil.
  • Bake the meatballs in oven on center rack for 20 minutes. While the meatballs are cooking, make the sauce.

2 cans Green Giant Mexican corn
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 1/2 cups homemade chicken bone broth
1 teaspoon KINDERS taco seasoning
1 teaspoon + Sauce Adobo Sauce
3/4 cup Mexican sour cream
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon FRESH chopped green onions
1 tablespoon FRESH chopped Cilantro
1 cup white rice, prepared per package directions

  • Add avocado oil to a preheated pan on medium heat.
  • Add corn kernels, minced garlic, and green onions, sauteing 3 minutes.  
  • Stir in the chicken broth, taco seasoning, salt and pepper. 
  • Add Adobo Sauce.  You can add more if you want it spicier.
  • Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes, then turn down heat to low simmer to keep warm.


  • When the meatballs are done, remove from the oven and let sit for a few minutes. 
  • Whisk sour cream into the corn sauce.
  • Stir in the cilantro and add the meatballs to the sauce.
  • Serve over the rice, garnish with cilantro and enjoy!!


2 tablespoons honey or honey mustard (optional)
2 tablespoons peach preserves
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
4-6 THICK boneless pork chops
2 peaches pitted and diced
6 SMALL yellow plums, pitted and diced

1 cup of your favorite salsa

  • Prepare the BBQ grill for medium heat.
  • Combine honey or honey mustard and peach preserves in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • In another bowl combine the peaches, plums and salsa. Set aside. I like to make this several hours ahead and chill it so the flavors can meld together.
  • Generously season each pork chop with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Grill chops 4-6 minutes per side until cooked through.
  • Brush chops with glaze and let rest.
  • Serve with the salsa.

NOTE: I can’t use the honey mustard due to a SEVERE allergy that could kill me, but I’m told the honey mustard adds another layer of flavor that’s super yummy.


My Grandma made the BEST beef and noodles, a favorite of mine for Sunday dinners. It is the PERFECT comfort food, especially with the double carbs 😀  This recipe is the closest I’ve come to making it without it taking ALL day like hers did.


2 pounds stew meat, cut into bite sized pieces
FRESH ground sea salt & black pepper

1 can Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup + 2 cups water or beef bone broth
1 packet McCormick brown gravy mix
1 envelope LIPTON beefy onion soup mix
1 sweet Vidalia onion, halved & sliced
8 ounces sliced mushrooms

  • Whisk together the soup, water or bone broth, gravy mix and onion soup mix.
  • GENEROUSLY salt and pepper beef pieces with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Stir in beef pieces and onion slices, tossing to coat.
  • Spread into a 13 x 9 baking dish and cover. I like to use my enameled cast iron.
  • Bake at 300° for 3 hours with absolutely NO peeking! It will be worth it because the meat will be super tender and delicious!
  • Just before serving prepare egg noodles per package directions. Drain and fold into sauce.
  • Serve over mashed potatoes.

NOTE: For a bit of a change you can change the soup flavor with the same results. I particularly like cream of celery or cream of potato.



3 cups cooked and cooled egg noodles
1 can Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup WHOLE milk
1/3 cup FINELY grated white cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons Duke’s hint of lime mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon Coleman’s dry mustard (optional)
8 ounce can petite baby peas, drained well
8 ounces sliced mushrooms, lightly sauteed.
1/4 cup chopped roasted sweet red pepper or pimientos, drained
2 cans white tuna, drained well

  • Preheat oven 400°.
  • In a large bowl combine the soup, milk, mayonnaise and mustard if using.
  • Stir in drained tuna and red pepper.
  • Fold in noodles, cheese, peas and sauteed mushrooms.
  • Transfer to a greased 8×8 baking dish.

1/4 cup Panko crumbs
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon paprika
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • Combine topping ingredients until well blended.
  • Sprinkle over casserole.
  • Baked uncovered 30 minutes until bubbly.

NOTE – Crushed potato chips (I like sea salt and vinegar) make a great alternate topping.


One of my grandmothers used to say there were two ways to things – Her way or the wrong way. This “attitude” became a family “sore” spot a good deal of the time as there are always multiple ways to reach the same end results. For me it always seemed to resonate with recipes… LOL fast forward to this recipe and she was in my head about the best way to write this up.

There really are two ways to make this, the short way and the LONG way, which is my preferred method because I find it the most flavorful is to make the chicken in the slow cooker the day before you want to assemble the casserole.

Not much to look at, but SUPER delicious!

8 slices thick cut bacon cooked crispy and crumbled
4 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (or crock pot crack chicken)
2 cups dried egg noodles, cooked per directions on box and drained
1 package dry ranch dressing mix
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup red or orange pepper, diced
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese divided
1/2 cup Darigold Mexican sour cream
8 ounces cream cheese, softened (omit if using crock pot crack chicken)

1/3 cup Duke’s mayonnaise
1 1/2 cup corn chex, crushed
1/4 cup butter melted
2-3 green onions thinly sliced for garnish, optional

  • Preheat the oven to 350°.
  • Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish with cooking spray, set aside.
  • In a large bowl combine the bacon, chicken, cooked noodles, ranch seasoning, onion, red pepper, cream cheese, 1 cup of the cheddar, sour cream and mayonnaise until well blended.
  • Spread into the baking dish.
  • Top with the remaining cheddar.
  • In a small bowl mix together the corn chex with the butter and top the casserole with this mixture.
  • Bake for 40-50 minutes until bubbly.
  • Let cool slightly, garnish with optional green onions and serve.

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenders
1 package ranch dressing package mix
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar or cheese flavor of choice – Nacho, sharp, Vampire Slayer, etc…

  • Add chicken to crock pot in a single layer if possible.
  • Sprinkle with ranch dressing powder.
  • Place cream cheese block as a whole on top.
  • Cover and cook on low 6-7 hours.
  • Remove cover and shred chicken while stirring in cream cheese at the same time.
  • Add cheese and stir to mix.
  • Serve on buns, croissants, tortillas, in the above casserole or use it to make tacos next Taco Tuesday!


1 cup ZING ZANG Bloody Mary mix
2 tablespoons Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons pepperoncini juice
1 teaspoon celery salt
2 pounds beef tips

  • Whisk together the 3/4 cup of the Bloody Mary mix, 1 tablespoon of the Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon of the pepperoncini juice and celery salt.
  • Add beef, turning to coat.
  • Marinade beef tips 4-5 hours in refrigerator, turning occasionally.

ground sea salt and black pepper

3 tablespoons WONDRA flour
1 tablespoon avocado oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 SMALL Vidalia onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, diced
1/2 cups matchstick carrots
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 tablespoons QUALITY tomato paste
1 cup homemade beef bone broth
4-6 pepperoncinis

  • Add oil to enameled cast iron saute pan over medium high heat.
  • Drain beef tips of marinade. Discard marinade.
  • Add flour to a large ziploc bag.
  • Generously season flour with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Add drained beef to ziploc bag, shaking to coat pieces well with seasoned flour.
  • Shake off excess flour and add beef pieces to hot oil, searing all sides.
  • Remove beef from pan.
  • Add butter to melt.
  • Add celery, onions and carrots, sauteing until soft.
  • Add broth to pan, stirring to loosen any bits from the bottom.
  • Whisk in tomato paste, remaining Bloody Mary mix, remaining Worcestershire sauce and remaining pepperoncini juice.
  • Season to taste.
  • Add garlic and pepperoncinis to pan.
  • Return meat to pan, turning to coat.
  • Simmer 35-40 minutes.
  • Serve over noodles or mashed potatoes.

NOTE: Any heavy pan will work, but I prefer an enameled cast iron for its even cooking.


This can be done on the stove, but, tastes much better grilled.

3 limes, juiced for 2 tablespoons
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon FINELY ground coriander
1/4 cup avocado oil
4 Hatch chiles
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin
1/2 cup hot pepper jelly
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/4 cup lemon curd

  • Whisk together the lime juice, pepper jelly, orange marmalade and lemon curd.
  • Generously season the chicken pieces with FRESH ground sea salt, black pepper and coriander.
  • Coat chicken pieces and Hatch chiles in avocado oil.
  • Grill over medium high heat 4-5 minutes per side. Start with top side down.
  • When you flip the chicken spoon, add the chiles to the grill and spread  a layer of the jelly on top of each chicken pieces before closing the lid.
  • Garnish with the green onions.


NACHOS CASSEROLE adapted from LOU LOU girls

2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons WONDRA flour
1 10-ounce can enchilada sauce (you can change this up be using a salsa verde sauce)
1 1/2 cups of your favorite salsa
1 1/2 cups homemade chicken bone broth*
1 teaspoon KINDERS taco seasoning
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste

  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the melted butter and flour.
  • Cook, whisking continually, until it begins to bubble; let it bubble for 1 minute.
  • Add the enchilada sauce, salsa, chicken broth, taco seasoning, salt and pepper.
  • Raise the heat slightly and bring to a SLOW boil.
  • Reduce to a simmer while you prepare the meat.

1 pound QUALITY ground beef
1/2 pound shredded chicken
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon KINDERS taco seasoning
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1 can BUSH’s seasoned black beans, drained WELL
15-ounce bag Doritos nacho cheese flavored chips

1 1/2 cups shredded jack cheese (pepper jack if you want a bit of a bite)
1 1/2 cups shredded medium Cheddar cheese

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.
Crumble beef into skillet along with the onions and garlic, cooking 5-8 minutes until crumbly and cooked through.
Add chicken pieces.
Drain off grease.
Stir in the beans, taco seasoning, salt and pepper.
Add the simmering sauce and shut off the heat.
Mix together the cheeses in a medium bowl.
Stir in 1/3 of the cheese. Save the remaining cheese for assembly.


  • Preheat the oven to 350°.
  • Spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Gently break up the chips by crushing the bag slightly with your hands. Make sure not to over crush the chips; you’re looking for pieces, not crumbs.
  • Pour one third of the broken chips into the prepared baking dish.
    Top with a quarter of the beef mixture and 2/3 cup of the cheese.
  • Repeat, adding another layer of chips, beef mix and cheese.
  • Finish by adding the remaining chips to the top of the casserole.
  • Top with the remaining cheese.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.
  • Remove foil and continue to bake15-20 minutes more until bubbly.
  • Add toppings just before serving.

TOPPINGS (optional)
1 1/2 cups shredded lettuce
1 1/2 cup tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup guacamole
1/4 cup sliced black olives
3 green onions, sliced
Crumbled Cotija cheese
Shredded cheddar
Hot Sauce, optional

NOTE: I use homemade bone broth. In the summertime my bone broth also contains lots of FRESH tomatoes that only enhance the flavor for the better.




12 ounces dry penne pasta
1 cup prepared alfredo sauce (homemade or store bought – your choice)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons FRESH chopped basil

1/2 – 1 cup arugula
1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup FINELY chopped sweet red pepper
1 cup mozzarella balls
2 cups cooked shredded rotisserie chicken breast for a quick meal OR 1 breaded chicken cutlet that’s been pan seared for the best flavor if you have the time

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Lightly spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and place in a large skillet over warm heat.

  • Stir in pasta sauce, rotisserie chicken pieces, tomatoes, basil pieces, Parmesan cheese and pepper pieces. If using a breaded chicken cutlet prepare it so that it is ready to be sliced just as the baking dish comes out of the oven.
  • Transfer pasta mixture to prepared baking dish and top evenly with Mozzarella balls.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes until cheese is melted.

  • Toss with arugula and a squeeze of lemon JUST before serving.