You can make the components of this delicious lunch or supper pie recipe ahead of time and assemble just before baking. Add a fresh salad for a satisfying meal.

Filling:
1 large onion
1/2 pound mushrooms
2 slices bacon, uncooked
4 – 6 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons tarragon
2 10-ounce packages frozen spinach
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
1 cup soft bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1/3 cup fresh parsley

Crust:
1-1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter, cold and in pats or pieces
1/3 cup cream cheese
2 large eggs

Prepare the filling:
Skin and finely chop the onion. Wipe and thinly slice the mushrooms. Finely chop the bacon. Mince or press the garlic. Squeeze the excess moisture from the thawed spinach. Rinse and finely chop the parsley.

In a large pan over medium heat, stir together the onion, mushrooms, bacon, garlic and tarragon. Stirring frequently, cook for 15 – 20 minutes. Timing tip: the mushrooms will give up some liquid and the bacon will provide a bit of fat which you will use to cook the ingredients until the onions are golden brown.

Remove the pan from the heat. Crumble the spinach into the pan and add the ricotta cheese, eggs, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and parsley. Stir to blend well.

Prepare the crust:
In a food processor or bowl combine the flour, butter and cream cheese. If using a food processor, pulse if mixing by hand beat vigorously with a fork, until the mixture forms coarse crumbs. Add 1 egg and pulse or beat until the dough holds together.

Place your dough on a lightly floured board and pat into a round, turning and lightly flouring as you form the round. Roll your dough into a 10-inch round. You can use a decorative cookie cutter to cut a couple of shapes from the center of the dough, reserve the cut-outs.

Assemble and bake:

Turn your filling into a 9-inch pie pan or casserole dish. Top with the dough, fold the edges under and flute firmly against the pan edge. Place your dough cut-outs decoratively on top of the dough. Lightly beat the remaining egg. Brush the top of the dough and cut outs with the beaten egg.

Bake in a 400° oven for 30 – 40 minutes, until thoroughly heated and crust is rich golden brown. If the edges of the crust or cut-outs darken too quickly, lightly cover with foil until the filling is hot.

Reheat the entire pie or any leftovers in a 350° oven for 30 – 40 minutes, covering the crust with foil if needed.

Yield: 6 – 8 servings.

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Carrots, apples and orange juice team up to create a delicious casserole. Perfect with roasted chicken or braised pork chops.

6 apples
4 – 6 carrots
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup orange juice

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 2-quart baking dish.

Scrub and slice the carrots. Place in a steamer and cook until tender-crisp. Peel and core the apples; slice thinly. Mix the brown sugar, flour and salt.

Spread 1/2 of the apples in the bottom of the prepared baking dish, top with 1/2 of the cooked carrots. Sprinkle half of the sugar-flour mixture over the top. Repeat the layers and pour the orange juice over the top. Bake for 45 minutes.

Yield: 4 – 6 servings.

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This easy and delicious broccoli and cheddar casserole recipe is reminiscent of a soufflé. It’s even better warmed up and served the following day.

3 eggs
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 to 1-1/2 pounds fresh broccoli
1/3 cup croûtons
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon butter

Lightly butter a casserole dish. Cut one clove of garlic in half length-wise and rub the buttered casserole with the cut side. Preheat oven to 350#&176;

Wash and cut the broccoli heads from the steams; chop roughly. Mince the garlic, including the pieces used to rub the casserole. In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, flour, garlic, salt and pepper and stir to blend well. Add broccoli and stir lightly.

Turn the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle the top with croutons and sesame seeds. Dot with butter. Bake for 45 – 60 minutes.

*Magic: this recipe is exclusive to I Love You Recipes. It is from my personal, unpublished collection.

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Ham can be a great value for the family on a budget. Ham and Swiss cheese are a classic combination for this easy casserole recipe.

1 pastry crust, prepared and fitted into pie pan

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1-1/4 cup Swiss cheese, grated
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup cooked ham, diced
2 tablespoons diced pimentos

Melt the butter over medium heat; blend in flour and nutmeg. Add the milk and stir constantly until it thickens. Add 1 cup of the grated cheese and stir until it melts. Allow the sauce to cool slightly. Temper the eggs by adding a couple of tablespoons of the cooled sauce to the eggs; mix well. Add the tempered eggs to the sauce, mix well. Add the diced ham and pimentos to the sauce and stir to coat. Pour your mixture into the pastry shell.

Bake in a 375° oven for 30 minutes. Sprinkle top with the remaining 1/4 cup of Swiss cheese and allow the casserole to set for 10 minutes before serving.

Yield: 6 – 8 servings.

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Wondering what to do with leftover turkey? Turkey, pimentos, poppy seed and noodles come together with Parmesan cheese in this casserole that you prepare and refrigerate until ready to serve.

1 8-ounce package medium egg noodles, cooked, drained
1/2 cup onions, chopped
1/4 cup green pepper, chopped
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 tablespoons all-purpose unbleached flour
3 cups whole milk
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon poppy seeds, lightly ground
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cups cooked turkey, skinned, boned, diced
1 4-ounce jar pimento, drained and diced

Lightly butter a 12 x 8 casserole dish.

Melt butter in a heavy bottom Dutch oven, add onion and green pepper; sauté until tender. Add the flour, blend well and cook for about a minute, stirring constantly. Continue constant stirring and slowly add the milk. Continue cooking and stirring over medium heat until thick and bubbling.

Once thickened, add noodles, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese, poppy seeds, salt, cayenne, turkey and pimento to the gravy and stir gently to blend well.

Spoon the noodle mixture into your buttered casserole dish. Cover and refrigerate 8 – 72 hours.

To prepare for serving, allow the casserole to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Leave the cover on and bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and return to the oven, uncovered, for 10 – 15 minutes.

Yield: 6 – 8 servings.

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