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BellaOnline's Holiday/Seasonal Cooking Editor

Hot Casserole Recipes

It's that time of year here in the U.S. The weather is starting to cool down for many states and I'm starting to think about those delicious hot casseroles I love to fix when it gets cooler. Here are a few great recipes you can try when you want something to warm you up!

Mexican Fiesta Casserole for a Crowd

2 packages corn muffin mix
2 cups whole kernel corn
1 can chopped green chilis
1 can ranch style beans
1 onion, chopped
1 lb ground beef
2 cups shredded cheese
1 1/2 cups medium heat salsa
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic salt or powder if you are watching salt intake
1 8 oz can tomato sauce

Preheat oven to 325º F. Butter a 9 x 13 inch pan. Prepare corn muffin mix as directed on package. Pour into pan. Bake only 4 -5 minutes.. it will not be done yet.. Remove from oven. Crumble and brown ground beef and onion in pan until done. combine with all other ingredients and simmer a few minutes until bubbly. Pour hot mixture on top of partially cooked muffin mix in pan. Sprinkle cheese all over top and put into oven. Cook until cheese is bubbly .. the corn muffin mix will be cooked by then.

Remove from oven and serve hot.

NOTE: you can add a bit of ground cayenne pepper and use hot salsa if you like the heat taken up a notch.

Broccoli and Rice Casserole

1 1/2 c. long grain rice
3 c. water
3 c. cooked broccoli
1 c.. velveeta cheese diced
3 oz. pkg cream cheese diced
1/4 onion diced small
1 tsp gr. black pepper
Frenches Fried ONions (optional)

Cook rice in water covered, over very low heat (this will take about 20 minutes). While rice is cooking boil broccoli & onion until very tender. Melt cheeses together in microwave, stir occasionally until melted. Combine all ingredients and seasoning in baking pan and bake in oven 350º F approx. 15 - 20 minutes until bubbling. Serve hot.
NOTE: I like to sprinkle with a few of the fried onions around the sides for a tasty texture and addition to this casserole.

Southwestern Rice Dish

2 c. long grain rice
3 - 15 oz. cans of tomato sauce
2 lbs. gr. beef cooked and crumbled
1 onion, chopped small and sauteed
1 can diced Ro-Tel tomatoes, cooked with onion
1 c. shredded cheese
2 tsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp garlic salt
1 tsp. pepper

Cook rice as directed on pkg. While cooking combine cooked beef, tomato sauce, onion & Ro-Tel, and seasonings. Simmer slowly until rice is done. When rice is done combine with cooked sauce and fold in shredded cheese. Serve with salad and chips.

Italian Meatball Casserole

This is basically a spaghetti and meatball casserole but includes layers of mozzarella and parmesan and a rich spaghetti sauce to make it a delicious hot meal for any event! You will want to plan ahead on this one as the sauce is homemade and we all know it takes a while for a great sauce!
2 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 lg. onion, diced small
1 bell pepper, diced small
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 can tomato paste (6 oz.) and 5 cans water
1 can tomato puree (10 oz.)
1 lg can diced tomatoes
2 1/2 tsps. oregano
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
3 tsps. salt
1 tsp. pepper
Bit of parsley

favorite spaghetti (16 oz pkg)
shredded mozarella cheese
shredded parmesan cheese
favorite meatballs

Mix all spices well. Brown ground beef and drain most of fat. Add onions and peppers and saute. Add rest of ingredients and spices. Simmer until mixture cooks down and gets thicker which will take a while depending on how thick you want it. You can also adjust the amount of water.
Use your favorite meatball recipe to make meatballs at this time. You can use the frozen precooked meatballs at your grocery store but everyone has their preferrence and I really love homemade meatballs. I'll get a recipe up for some soon.
When the sauce is almost done, prepare a 16 oz pkg of spaghetti as directed.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Get a large roasting pan and spread some sauce in the bottom of the pan. Add a layer of cooked spaghetti. Sprinkle a good layer of parmesan over spaghetti and a layer of shredded mozarella cheese. Top layers with meatballs and more sauce and repeat layers until all spaghetti and sauce is used up.
Top layer should have mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. Bake in oven until top is bubbling. Serve hot with some garlic bread and salad if you like.

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