The Richmond Register

January 9, 2013

Casseroles: The mystery-item dishes

Table Talk

By Arritta Morris
Register Columnist

RICHMOND — Looks like old man winter is setting in for all of us.

I love when they give out the storm warnings and everyone raids the local grocery stores, myself included. You would think we all live in Fairbanks Alaska by the amount of food we clear off the shelves. Lots of sodas, chips, bread and lunch meats.

Some of you remember a few years ago when we got the ice storm. I sure was glad I had stocked up on some stuff then. Hope we never see that happen in our area.

I was stuck in western Kentucky at Rough River State Park when all that hit. There were three of us on the park grounds. I learned how to mix and match food in the lodge’s kitchen. We made a lot of mystery casseroles. I even came up with a potato chip sandwich.

Casseroles are like the recycled system that we all should be doing with our waste products. Here are some that I have tried that seem to go over well with my family.

Chicken pot pie casserole


I package of frozen mixed vegetables

1 can of cream of chicken soup

3 cups of chopped up chicken

1 cup of water.

1 tube of canned biscuits


Mix all the above ingredients except the biscuits in a 9x13-inch pan. Top with the canned biscuits. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. The biscuits can be used as a judgment of the portion sizes to serve.

I love any type of Mexican casseroles. A friend of mine in Texas makes what is called a tamale casserole. I think you will enjoy this one.

Tamale Pie Casserole


1 lb hamburger, browned and drained

1 medium onion, chopped

1 to 2 pods garlic, crushed or use garlic powder

salt and pepper


Simmer onions and garlic in about 2 tablespoons of oil till onions are tender.

Add: hamburger,

1 to 2 tablespoons of chili powder

One 15 oz can petite diced tomatoes or 1 small can tomato sauce and 1 can of water.

1 can ranch style beans, not drained

1 cup of corn, frozen or canned corn, drained

simmer for a few minutes.

You will need about 8 oz of cheddar cheese later in the layer part of this casserole.

Corn meal mush


(Use 4 cups of water to one cup of cornmeal)

12 cups of water, salted and boiling

3 cups of cornmeal


Whisk cornmeal while adding it to the boiling water. Cook a couple of minutes.

**Use a big pot as this will pop like molten lava.

Layer half the mush on bottom of pan, add the hamburger mixture. Sprinkle grated cheese (I like sharp cheddar, but any kind will do). Top with mush. If the mush gets too thick, whisk in a little hot water.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes or until it bubbles.

Serve with salsa.

This makes one 9x12 inch pan or one deep casserole dish. This casserole freezes well.

I made this also with the veggie crumbles you can buy. These crumbles resembles hamburger and takes on the texture of hamburger. This will cut down on the fat content and boost the protein up considerably. They can be found where the veggie burgers are in the frozen section of the grocery stores.

I hope this casserole makes sense. Sometimes we do things that makes little sense, but we’ll get over it, I guess.

I remember the time I went shopping at a store in town and when I came out, my car was gone. I just nearly had a heart attack. This was my new car and I just knew it would be mine forever. I panicked and went back into the store and called the police.

Then I got a panicked call from my husband. He wanted me to come out into the parking lot and meet the police. So when I got into the parking lot, they had my husband and my car.

What I had forgotten was that he had dropped me off and then went to get his hair cut. Somehow I forgot that. This made no sense to him. Oh well. Life goes on. Right?

The last casserole I wanted to give you was given to me by Mendy Covington, with whom I worked for many years. I always looked forward to our office potlucks because she would bring this casserole.

Hash brown casserole:


One 32 oz package of frozen hash browns, thawed

1/2 cup chopped onion

3/4 cup melted butter

1 can of cream of chicken soup, undiluted

One 8oz tub of sour cream

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

2 cups of crushed cereal like corn flakes


Combine hash browns, 1/2 cup butter, onions, soup, sour cream and cheese.

Put into a 2 and 1/2 qt casserole dish. Crush cereal and remaining butter (stir together). Sprinkle over hash brown mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

I am looking for a recipe for brown butter cookies. An Amish store in eastern Kentucky makes the best ones. I cannot find a recipe in all my searches. If you have one please send it to me at this email,

Hope you are snug in your home and praying your heat bill will not weigh too much at the end of this month. Please drop by again.

Arritta Morris is a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University with a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and a master’s degree in counseling. She is a certified as a food service specialist by the School Nutrition Association.