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Summer Barbeque Casserole

Summer is one of my favorite seasons to feed our family. Not only do we reap the benefits of local organic produce, but we seem to spend more quality time together enjoying dinner outdoors each evening and having family gatherings on the weekends. With everyone contributing beautiful and tasty side dishes to our meals, I always have an over-abundance of leftovers!

This recipe is a sure-fire way to take care of those leftovers, as well as provide additional meals throughout the week. You can refrigerate this casserole after it has cooled, and cut it into serving-size squares to freeze for future meals. When I have leftover fruits such as watermelon or mangos, I slice them up and freeze them for morning smoothies. For the leftover grilled meats and veggies, I have a perfect solution: Barbeque Casserole. Itís perfect for the kids, and you will love it as well!

Ingredients:

Top Layer:

3 to 4 cups of grilled and chopped meat or poultry (steak, chicken, pork, etc)
2 ears grilled corn on the cob, kernels sliced off
1 whole grilled zucchini
Any other grilled veggies that the kids like, such as bell pepper, mushrooms, onions
2 cups raw spinach, kale, or other green leafy vegetable
4 Roma tomatoes
1 cup shredded cheese of your choice

Filling:

Choose one of the following:

1 can of Cream of Mushroom, Cream of Chicken, or Cream of Celery soup
1 cup Barbeque sauce + 1 can crushed tomatoes
1 cup Barbeque sauce + 1 can tomato soup
2 cans pre-made or homemade chili, with or without beans
1 can enchilada sauce of your choice
Homemade beef, chicken, pork, or brown gravy

Base:

1 recipe homemade cornbread Ėor-
2 boxes Jiff Corn Bread Mix Ėor-
Any other corn bread recipe
(I used Jiff Cornbread and added one 16 oz can of Cream of Corn to the wet mix)

Directions:

In a large bowl, gently stir together chopped grilled meat or poultry, grilled corn, grilled vegetables, spinach (if using kale, chop fine), tomatoes, and cheese. You may add any seasonings or spices to the mix at this time. I did not add any to my recipe due to the smokiness of the grilled food. Your top layer ingredients do not need to be hot! They can be cold, right out of the refrigerator.

Next, choose your filling. If using cream of mushroom, chicken, or celery, only add ľ cup of water to the soup before mixing in with the meats and veggies. If using enchilada sauce, use enough so that the meat mixture is wet, but not swimming in sauce. Youíll also need to save a little to pour over the top of your casserole right before it goes into the oven. If you are using gravy, make it a little on the thicker side. If you are using chili, make sure itís more of a thick consistency then runny. Add your chosen filling to your meat mixture, and gently stir.

Next, make your corn bread mix. Spread the cornbread mix onto a parchment paper lined large glass casserole dish. Gently pour your meat mixture over the cornbread, being careful not to pile it all into one spot. If you are using enchilada sauce as your filling, then add some leftover sauce over the top of your casserole. Add a few sprinkles of cheese to the top.

Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Toothpick inserted in the very middle of the casserole dish should be clean of corn bread batter. Let casserole rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with fresh fruit, garden salad, and homemade lemonade or ice tea. Serves 6 to 8 people.



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