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Recipes are not typical casseroles

By The Associated Press
This casserole from Beatrice Ojakangas’ “The Best Casserole Cookbook Ever” makes it easy to think outside the cream-of-something soup box. The mild flavor of the turkey breasts let’s the taste of the crab shine. Ojakangas suggests serving it with wild rice and asparagus. For ease, the asparagus could be roasted in the oven alongside the casserole.
Crab-Stuffed Turkey Breasts
Start to finish: 1 hour (30 minutes active)
Servings: 6
4 Tbsp. butter, divided
2 pounds turkey breast tenderloins
1/2 C. sliced scallions (white and green parts)
1/4 pound thinly sliced mushrooms
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. dried thyme, divided
1/2 C. chicken broth
1/2 C. light cream or half-and-half
1/2 C. dry white wine
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
3/4 pound fresh crabmeat (or two 6-ounce packages frozen crabmeat, thawed and drained)
1/2 C. chopped fresh parsley
1 C. shredded Swiss cheese
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Use 2 teaspoons of the butter to coat the bottom and sides of a shallow 3-quart casserole dish.
Wash the turkey and pat dry. Cut each piece lengthwise through the center to create 2 thinner halves. Place each piece between sheets of plastic wrap and pound with the flat side of a meat mallet until thin and about tripled in size. Set aside.
In a medium skillet over medium, melt the remaining butter. Add the scallions and mushrooms and saute for 5 minutes, or until soft. Stir in the flour and 1 teaspoon of the thyme.
Whisk in the broth, cream and wine, then bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Cook until thickened, then season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.
In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the sauce, the crabmeat, parsley and remaining 1 teaspoon of thyme. Divide the mixture between the turkey breast slices, spreading it evenly over each.
Roll each into a tight bundle and place, seam down, in the prepared casserole dish.
Spoon the remaining sauce over the turkey bundles and sprinkle with the cheese. (At this point the dish can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day. If so, add 10 minutes to the baking time.)
Cover the casserole with foil coated with cooking spray. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the turkey is cooked through.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 444 calories; 182 calories from fat; 20 g fat (11 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 164 mg cholesterol; 7 g carbohydrate; 57 g protein; 0 g fiber; 523 mg sodium.
(Recipe from Beatrice Ojakangas’ “The Best Casserole Cookbook Ever,” Chronicle Books, 2008)
This easy Southwestern take on lasagna comes together quickly and is perfect for improvisation. Consider adding sliced black olives and jalapeno peppers to the top, as well as canned corn to the filling. And for a vegetarian version, swap out the ground beef with additional canned beans.
Enchilada Casserole
Start to finish: 1 hour (25 minutes active)
Servings: 8
1 pound lean ground beef
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cups salsa
15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 C. reduced-fat Italian salad dressing
2 Tbsp. reduced-sodium taco seasoning
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
Six 8-inch flour tortillas
3/4 C. reduced-fat sour cream
1 C. (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend
1 C. shredded lettuce
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/4 C. minced fresh cilantro
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
In a large skillet over medium, saute the beef and onion until the meat is no longer pink. Drain the meat, then stir in the salsa, beans, salad dressing, taco seasoning and cumin.
Arrange 3 tortillas in the prepared baking dish. Spread half of the meat mixture over the tortillas, then top with half each of the sour cream and cheese. Top with the remaining tortillas, then repeat the layering with remaining meat, sour cream and cheese.
Cover and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until heated through. Let stand for 5 minutes before topping with lettuce, tomato and cilantro.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 357 calories; 12 g fat (5 g saturated); 45 mg cholesterol; 37 g carbohydrate; 23 g protein; 3 g fiber; 864 mg sodium.
(Recipe from the March 2009 issue of Taste of Home Healthy Cooking magazine)
These mini casseroles reheat well, making them a great do-ahead choice for breakfast and lunch. The ham also can be replaced with whatever you like, including deli-sliced turkey breast, chopped cooked chicken or even sausage.
Mini Ham and Egg Casseroles
Start to finish: 30 minutes (15 minutes active)
Servings: 4
8-inch baguette, cut into small cubes
4 ounces cream cheese, cut crosswise into 12 slices
1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/4 pound thinly sliced ham, chopped (about 1 cup)
4 scallions, white and green portions, thinly sliced
Ground black pepper
1 1/2 C. fat-free half-and-half (regular also can be used)
6 large eggs
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
1/2 pound plum tomatoes, cut into wedges
Salt
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray.
Fill each cup of the muffin tin halfway with bread cubes. Top each with 1 slice of cream cheese. Set aside.
In a small saucepan over medium, heat olive oil. Add ham, scallion whites and a pinch of pepper. Saute until scallions are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in half-and-half and bring just to a simmer, then remove from heat.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and thyme, then whisk in the warm half-and-half mixture. Pour the egg mixture over the bread in each muffin cup, then bake until puffed and golden around the edges, about 15 minutes.
Let cool for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edges and invert onto a cooling rack.
Drizzle the tomato slices with olive oil, top with the scallion greens and season with salt and pepper. Serve with the mini-casseroles.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 429 calories; 172 calories from fat; 19 g fat (9 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 316 mg cholesterol; 34 g carbohydrate; 25 g protein; 2 g fiber; 907 mg sodium.
(Recipe adapted from the April 2008 issue of Every Day with Rachel Ray magazine)

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