Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Not Your Mama's Casserole

When I was growing up in Small Town, Pennsylvania any "life event" would involve the neighbors bringing over a covered casserole. These casseroles were always kind of gross. Basically they were some form of meat (usually chicken) coated in cream of soup with potato chips sprinkled on top.

It made me start dreading casseroles. In my head they always looked like something congealed.

But this, this casserole is probably my favorite casserole of all times. I found it in the Fannie Farmer Cookbook (natch). No cream of anything soup, instead this casserole features a tomato sauce. And add in some feta and brown rice and it's almost *whispers* healthy. Well, as healthy as any casserole can be. I love the tang the feta and olives add, tempered by the sweet mellowness of the tomatoes and Parmesean. It's like Italy and Greece got together with your favorite hippy friend to create this dish.

Beef, Brown Rice, and Feta Casserole (From the Fannie Farmer Cookbook)
1/4 cup chopped mushrooms
1 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 1/2 cup canned tomatoes
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 /2 cups cooked beef, chopped
3 oz feta cheese, crumbled
6 black olives, pitted and sliced
2 Tbsp grated Parmesean cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 400. Saute onion in oil for 5 minutes and add the tomatoes and garlic. Cook 10 minutes.
  2. Add salt and pepper to taste, then mushrooms. Cook another 5 minutes.
  3. Line the bottom of a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish with 1 cup of rice.
  4. Add the cooked beef and sprinkle feta over. Then sprinkle olives and half the sauce.
  5. Add the remaining rice and the rest of the sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesean. Bake 20 minutes.


  1. I really like the way this casserole sounds. It would be perfect for a day when we've been working in the garden and really built up an appetite. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  2. So true - those "any event" casserole sharings, but I really miss that kind of neighbourly love these days. No one (hardly) cooks any more. I would be glad to have even what you describe (sans the chips on top) as some home cooked effort and sense of neighbourly kindness these days. But, your casserole does sound really satisfying, healthy and delish!!!!
    I am sorry I have neglected reading your posts. I have truly missed you and your writing and inspiration. The Eat Alberta Conference was last Saturday, and I am just returning to some frame of normalcy - but, with the next one to plan, I fear it won't be long... but I have learned to do MUCH less next time!

  3. Somehow (thankfully) my mother missed the memo about those cream of casseroles so I've never had one. This version is DEFINITELY healthy though...and the kind of casserole I could get behind!

  4. Yeah, this is definitely something I would make and totally be comforted by.

  5. This sounds really good!
    I'm really glad life events here usually mean meat and cheese tray, a ham, or lasagna and not a horrible casserole!

  6. This does look wonderful. Do you think I could use lentils or beans instead of the meat for a kosher / vegetarian version?

  7. I think lentils would be amazing in this dish!

  8. I actually love casseroles--even those cream soup ones! :) But I've started to make my own soup base instead of buying the cans, and switching up the ingredients. This one looks particularly good.