Monday, April 13, 2009

Surprisingly Good

Tonight I tried out another recipe that was shared by a friend. It's a WW recipe called "Cheeseburger Casserole." I wasn't sure what to expect, and even as I was making it I wasn't sure how it would all come together. But, in the end, it was pretty good!

Here's the recipe with my friend's notes:

This is one of my favorites - I will be honest, I always use more than 2 oz of cheese and I don't mess around with the baked tortilla chips - you're using so few that I don't think it matters. I also use very lean hamburger because I don't love ground turkey...

sprays cooking spray
2 large Yukon Gold potato(es), boiled or steamed whole, drained and cooled
1 medium garlic clove(s), minced
1 small onion(s), chopped
1 small green pepper(s), chopped
1 cup mushroom(s), sliced
1 pound lean ground turkey
1/8 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp table salt
1/8 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
2 oz Kraft Velveeta Light Reduced-Fat Pasteurized Processed Cheese Product, or similar product, cubed
1/4 cup low-fat evaporated milk
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
8 items baked low-fat tortilla chips, crushed

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Coat a 9-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.

Peel and thinly slice potatoes; layer in prepared baking dish. Bake potatoes until slightly crisp, about 10 minutes; remove baking dish from oven and set aside.

While potatoes are baking, coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and warm over medium-high heat; add garlic, onion, green pepper and mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender, about 7 to 10 minutes; remove to a plate, cover to keep warm and set aside. Add turkey to skillet; cook until browned, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add cooked vegetables, cumin, salt and pepper to turkey and stir to combine; spread mixture over potatoes in baking dish.

In a small microwave safe bowl, combine cheese product, evaporated milk and crushed red pepper flakes; cover and microwave on high power until cheese melts, about 1 to 2 minutes. Spoon melted cheese over turkey and sprinkle with tortilla chips.

Bake for 35 minutes. Remove and let stand 5 minutes.

I also skipped the tortilla chips, and made a few variations myself -- skipped the salt, and overall made a bigger recipe since I need it for lunches this week. So, 3 russet potatoes (that's what I had) instead of 2 Yukon Gold, doubling up the veggies and the amounts in the cheese sauce, and doubling up the spices. I'm learning that I am definitely a "more spice" person, so I could've even used more.

Here are the veggies hanging out. They had to hang out a long time cuz I screwed up the timing of this - didn't read the recipe ahead of time to know that the potatoes had to be boiled first, so that took time and then I was playing catchup during the rest of the prep.

I did use ground turkey, here it is hanging out with the veggies. Once I combined this stuff and poured it over the potatoes, I really didn't see how the small amount of the cheese sauce would work out. It wasn't enough to cover the top completely, but now I think that wasn't the point. It's not a "smothering" cheese sauce, and it doesn't combine everything together like a usual noodle casserole. But it did add flavor and moisture, and ended up making a nice little "au gratin" in the potato layer.

So, this really did seem like an Au gratin potato dish with meat and veggies on top. It's not pretty on the plate, but it was tasty. If I make it again, like I said I'll add more spices. But this will still be good for lunches this week. yum!

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