The Occasional Chef: Definitely a Keeper

Things are returning to normal around here now that we are finished with the flooring and painting project that has kept us busy for the last several months. Don’t get me wrong…there’s still lots to do, including figuring out where to hang family pictures and various bric-a-brac that have filled our closets since we moved into this house in 2004 (yikes—time does fly!!). Still, things have settled enough that I’m cooking dinner tonight and contemplating both an entree and dessert for tomorrow…too very exciting!!

Tonight’s dinner is an old favorite. In fact, it comes from the 1971 edition of the Pillsbury Bakeoff cookbook, which, for only $1, included 100 “prize winning” recipes. My copy is dog-eared and stained, and the center pages have long since torn away from their staple binding. I can’t say I’ve tried all the recipes in this little book, but there are at least two or three that, over the years, have become family staples. I hope this simple recipe will find a place in your family’s “keepers” list as it has in ours.

Beefed-Up Biscuit Casserole

1 to 1 ¼ lbs. ground beef
½ cup chopped onion or 2 tablespoons instant minced onion
¼ cup die green chiles or green pepper
1 cup (8 oz. can) tomato sauce 2 teaspoons chili powder
½ to ¾ teaspoon garlic salt
1 can (8 oz.) Pillsbury Refrigerated Buttermilk or Country Style Biscuits
1 ½ cups shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese
½ cup dairy sour cream
1 egg, slightly beaten

1. In a large fry pan, brown ground beef, onion, and chiles; drain. Stir in tomato sauce, chili powder, and garlic salt. Simmer while preparing dough.
2. Separate biscuit dough into 10 biscuits; pull apart each into 2 layers. Press 10 biscuit layers over the bottom of an ungreased 8- or 9-inch square baking pan.
3. Combine 1 cup cheese (reserve remaining cheese for topping), sour cream, and egg; mix well.
4. Remove meat mixture from heat; stir in sour cream mixture; spoon over dough. Arrange remaining biscuit layers on top.
5. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with reserved cheddar cheese. Return to oven and continue baking for an additional 10-15 minutes until biscuits are deep golden brown.
6. Tips: (1) Reheat, loosely covered with foil, at 375 degrees F. for 20 to 25 minutes until heated through. (2) To make ahead, prepare, cover and refrigerate up to 2 hours before baking. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 30 to 35 minutes.
7. With a salad or a vegetable, this provides six generous servings.

Of course, our tastes and sensibilities have changed over the nearly 40 years since I first made this casserole. Tonight’s version used (healthier) ground turkey instead of ground beef, and I substituted black olives for some of the chile/green peppers called for in the recipe because DH doesn’t care for peppers as much as he once did. If your family likes corn, that would probably be a great addition to this easy-to-fix oven meal.

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