At work a couple of weeks ago, two of my friends and I were reminiscing about Spam. Verna is Hawaiian-Filipino and Kaileigh is Mexican-Filipino. Besides having Filipino blood in common, we all share a love of Spam. Anyway, Kaileigh was telling us about this really easy dish she makes called Chili con Spam and she shared her recipe with us.
Fast forward to today. School is officially over and 3 of my kids came home this morning. I decided to fix a late breakfast to feed everyone…. bacon, eggs, hash browns…. and then I thought it would be a perfect time to try the Chili con Spam recipe. I searched everywhere but couldn’t remember where I saved it! I decided to google it, but only ONE recipe for Chili con Spam came up. It was a recipe submitted by a lady in Guam named Jane Certeza who apparently took 2nd Place for it at The Great Spam Cook-Off Island Style. I looked at it but it had way more ingredients than I remembered Kaileigh’s recipe having so it couldn’t be the same one.
I decided to text Kaileigh and ask her for her recipe again which she promptly sent off to me. Ah…. that was the one I remembered! Super easy with just 4 ingredients. But then another obstacle came along. Kaileigh’s recipe called for yellow wax chilies which I didn’t have. Great. I didn’t want to drive all the way down the hill just for chilies and none of the kids did either. So with wails of, “But I just drove hours to get here, Mama. You want me to drive some more?!?” ringing in my ears, I turned back to the Guamanian recipe which I happened to have all the ingredients for in my pantry.
Guess I’ll have to save Kaileigh’s Chili con Spam for next time. Sigh……. By the way, the Guamanian Chili con Spam was a hit. Everyone loved it and it quickly disappeared.
CHILI CON SPAM
1 can (12 oz.) spam, cubed
1 small onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (15 oz.) stewed tomatoes
2 Tbsp. chili powder
2 Tbsp. cumin (I only used 1 Tbsp.)
dash of black pepper
1½ tsp. sugar
1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce
1 can (15 oz.) dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
In skillet, fry spam until light brown on all sides.
Add onions and garlic; sauté until onions are softened.
Stir in stewed tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, black pepper, and sugar.
Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add tomato sauce and kidney beans.
Simmer over low heat for an additional 10 minutes or so.
This is another dish that’s going on my Christmas Breakfast table this year. It’s a play on one I saw from the Food Network Kitchens a couple of years ago. It’s different because it’s made with tater tots instead of the usual hash browns. I use canned corned beef which is more readily available year round from my local grocery store. If you prefer to use fresh corned beef, by all means go for it! Just chop 1½ pounds fresh corned beef into ½-inch cubes and use it in place of the canned corned beef in this recipe.
CORNED BEEF TATER TOT CASSEROLE
1 bag (32 ozs.) frozen tater tots
1 small yellow onion, chopped
½ red bell pepper, chopped
½ green bell pepper, chopped
2 cans (12 ozs. each) corned beef
8 large eggs
1½ cups whole milk
1 tsp. dry mustard
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with olive oil or cooking spray.
Set aside about 2 cups of the tater tots to use for topping.
Arrange remaining tater tots in single layer on bottom of prepared baking dish.
Drizzle a little olive oil over the tater tots or spray lightly with cooking spray.
Bake about 25 minutes or until tater tots are golden brown. Set aside to cool.
In large skillet set over medium-high heat, sauté onions, red and green peppers.
Add corned beef and cook, breaking up corned beef with the back of a spoon and stirring together well. Allow to cool.
Whisk eggs together in a bowl, then whisk in milk, mustard, salt and pepper.
Spread corned beef mixture over cheese.
Pour egg mixture over everything. If making ahead, cover the casserole at this point and refrigerate overnight.
To cook, remove casserole from refrigerator at least 30 minutes before baking.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Scatter reserved 2 cups tater tots over casserole.
Top with shredded cheese.
Bake until egg mixture is set and top is golden brown, 55 – 60 minutes.
This is a great casserole to serve for breakfast on a weekend morning. I’m making it for Christmas breakfast this year actually. It’s easy to do and better still, you can make it a day in advance. I like to serve this casserole with a bowl of salsa on the side. Yum!
BREAKFAST CORN CASSEROLE
3 Tbsp. butter
1 small onion, chopped
4 ozs. chopped fresh kale
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves (can substitute dried)
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
2 cans whole kernel corn, drained
2 cans cream-style corn
1 lb. ham, diced
½ cup sour cream
1 box cornbread mix (like Krusteaz or Marie Callenders)
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13 pyrex glass baking dish.
Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat.
Add onions, kale, thyme, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until kale is soft and onions are translucent.
Add corn, ham, and sour cream, and cook until hot and bubbly.
Pour corn mixture into prepared baking dish; set aside. If making ahead, cover and refrigerate overnight at this point.
Next day, remove casserole from refrigerator at least half an hour before baking.
Prepare the cornbread batter according to directions on the back of the package.
Stir 1 cup cheese into cornbread batter.
Pour cornbread batter over corn mixture in baking dish.
Top with remaining 1 cup cheese.
Bake for 35 minutes or until corn is bubbling and corn bread topping is done.
This dish is a Tex-Mex favorite. In fact, I hear you can’t go to a church social or potluck down in Texas without seeing one version or other of this dish on the table. It’s not surprising because not only is it delicious, but it can be made ahead of time and it travels well.
You can make a low-fat version of this dish by substituting reduced fat cream of mushroom soup, reduced fat cream of chicken soup, and reduced fat cheese. It turns out just as yummy.
I like to serve this dish with some sour cream and salsa on the side. I never have any leftovers when I make it. Try making this easy recipe for your next weeknight dinner or office potluck and you’ll see what I mean.
KING RANCH CHICKEN CASSEROLE
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped (can substitute red bell pepper)
1 can (10 oz.) Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies
1 tsp. chili powder
½ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese (or use your favorite – I like Mexican blend)
2 stalks green onion, chopped (optional for garnish)
Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet.
Sauté onion, bell pepper and poblano pepper until onions start to become translucent.
Stir in chicken, soups, Rotel, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
Remove skillet from heat.
Tear 4 tortillas into 1-inch pieces and scatter on bottom of prepared baking dish.
Top with 1/3 of chicken mixture and 1 cup cheese. NOTE: It’ll seem like you don’t have enough chicken mixture to fill the layer to the edges of the dish, but don’t worry. Just spread the filling really thin. It’s okay to have some empty spots. Once you bake it, it’ll all fill in and be just fine.
Tear 4 more tortillas into pieces and make a second layer of tortillas, 1/3 chicken mixture and 1 cup cheese.
Tear the last 4 tortillas to make a final layer with the last of the chicken mixture and top with 2 cups of cheese.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until casserole is bubbling and cheese is browning at the edges.
If desired, garnish with chopped green onion before serving.
NOTE: This casserole can be made ahead of time and refrigerated up to 2 days, or frozen for up to 1 month. To cook from frozen, thaw in refrigerator overnight, then bake as directed.
I learned to make this dish many years ago, way before I even got married. Spanakopita is a Greek spinach pie that’s traditionally folded into little triangles and eaten as a snack or appetizer. This recipe veers from the traditional in that it’s made into a casserole making it a lot less work than folding up a stack of little triangles. The combination of spinach and feta cheese is delicious, and the many layers of crispy phyllo dough make it seem like you slaved for hours over the stove. It’s a great side dish to serve at a dinner party or to take to a potluck. It looks impressive and tastes it, too!
2 lbs. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and water squeezed out
½ lb. butter, melted
1 lb. cheese (combine ½ lb. crumbled feta cheese and ½ lb. cottage cheese)
2 tbsp. minced onion
1 tsp. chopped parsley (optional)
Salt to taste
½ lb. fresh or frozen phyllo dough (comes in flat sheets called “leaves”)
½ cup melted butter for brushing
Combine the first seven ingredients in a bowl.
Butter the bottom of a 9” x 13” pyrex glass baking dish.
Place 4 phyllo leaves on the bottom of the baking pan, brushing each leaf with melted butter before placing the next leaf on top.
Pour one-third of the spinach mixture on top of the buttered phyllo leaves.
Top with 4 more phyllo leaves, brushing each leaf with butter.
Continue layering until all the spinach mixture is used up.
Top with a final layer of buttered phyllo leaves. If you want a thicker, flakier crust, you can add more phyllo leaves. Just be sure to brush each leaf with butter.
Bake at 375º for 30 minutes or until top crust is golden brown.
NOTE: You may use fresh spinach if desired. Just chop it up.
I was watching Trisha Yearwood’s show on the Food Network. She made a chicken and rice casserole that looked really good so I thought I would give it a try. It was truly yummy! The family liked it a lot. I’ve made it a couple of times since then, but of course, with some minor changes to the original recipe. I added a little more parsley for one thing. I also don’t bother chopping the slivered almonds. The biggest change I made, though, was to add a topping. My kids wanted the dish to have a crunchy topping. What is it with kids and crunchy toppings? So I made a mixture of bread crumbs and parmesan cheese, sprinkled it over the top, and voila!
CHICKEN AND WILD RICE CASSEROLE
2 (6-oz.) boxes Uncle Ben’s long-grain and wild rice mix
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing dish
My mom got this recipe years ago from one of her co-workers and it’s been a family favorite over the years. Number 1 certainly loves it. He asks me to make it for practically every holiday gathering!
You can substitute two 10-oz. packages of frozen broccoli for the fresh broccoli if you want. Also, the original recipe called for Hi Ho crackers which made the most delicious, crunchy topping, but I can’t find Hi Ho crackers in my neighborhood anymore. I don’t know if they stopped selling it in the West Coast or if the product has actually been discontinued. If you can’t find Hi Ho crackers, you can substitute Ritz crackers or any other buttery round crackers. The topping will still be wonderful!
1½ lbs. broccoli florets
1 cup mayonnaise
1 can cream of celery soup
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup chopped onion
1 roll Hi Ho crackers, crushed
½ cup melted butter
Boil broccoli in unsalted water until very tender; drain well.
In a bowl, mix mayonnaise, celery soup, eggs, cheese and onions.
Combine broccoli and mayonnaise mixture; pour into 7×11 rectangular pyrex dish.
Sprinkle top with crushed Hi Ho crackers and drizzle with melted butter.
Bake in 350ºF oven for 30 minutes.
NOTE: Double the recipe for a large (9×13) rectangular pyrex baking dish, except the topping won’t need so much melted butter. ¾ cup should be enough. This dish may be prepared the day before and refrigerated overnight. Just top with crackers and butter right before baking the next day.
One of the nurses at work gave me this recipe several years ago and it fast became a favorite in our family! It’s different from the usual breakfast casserole because you make little mini ham and cheese sandwiches and then turn them into a yummy casserole dish. I love Hawaiian rolls, too, which is what you use to make the little sandwiches. You’ve got to give this recipe a try! It’s super easy to do and is a great dish to take to potlucks and family gatherings. I know it’ll become a favorite with your family, too!
HAM AND CHEESE BREAKFAST SANDWICH CASSEROLE
2 pkgs. Kings Hawaiian rolls (12 rolls to a pack)
1 lb. shaved ham
1 lb. swiss cheese (can substitute provolone, mozzarella, or other white cheese)
2 sticks butter
2 tbsp. dijon mustard
2 tsp. worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. dried onions
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13-inch pyrex glass baking dish.
Cut all the rolls in half and place the bottom halves into the prepared baking dish.
Top the bottoms of the rolls with ham, then the cheese.
Place the top halves of the rolls onto the sandwiches.
Cover pyrex dish with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.
While sandwiches are baking, make sauce by melting together the butter, dijon mustard, worcestershire sauce, and dried onions in a bowl in the microwave.
This is such a yummy breakfast casserole. Everyone who tries it loves it! The sausage cooked in the rich creamy sauce is reminiscent of good ole’ Southern biscuits and gravy. The first time I tried this casserole was while on vacation in Oregon with my brother-in-law, Manuel, his wife, JoAnn, and their two beautiful daughters.
Every other year, our family drives up from California, their family drives down from Washington, and we all meet in the middle in Oregon to spend a week together biking, swimming, hiking, canoeing, horseback riding, and generally communing with the great outdoors. We always have such a blast on our trips. The kids never want to go home.
Of course meals are always a fun affair. About a month before we leave, my sister-in-law and I call each other up and plan the menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner for each day that we’re going to be on vacation. Once there, we generally help each other with all the cooking, but some meals my sister and brother-in-law make themselves, and some Old Goat and I make ourselves. This dish is one that they made. My SIL found the recipe on Epicurious. It was a huge hit that first breakfast we had it and it has quickly grown to become a family favorite. I make it all the time now, though I’ve adapted the ingredients to fit our large family, and changed the procedure to simplify things up a bit.
SAUSAGE-POTATO BREAKFAST CASSEROLE
2 lbs. bulk breakfast sausage
4 tbsp. all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
1 pkg. (2 lbs.) frozen diced hash brown potatoes
4 green onions, chopped
3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 green onion, finely sliced, for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Brown sausage in large skillet, breaking up into small pieces.
Mix in flour, then milk, and cook until mixture thickens.
Spread frozen potatoes on bottom of a 9×13″ rectangular pyrex glass baking dish.
Top with sausage mixture, then green onions, and finally cheese.
Bake until potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with additional chopped green onions, if desired.
NOTE: This recipe can easily be halved for a smaller crowd. Just bake in an 8×8-inch square baking dish.
Every year, we go to my sister’s house for Halloween. The children go trick-or-treating while the grown-ups stay at home to answer the doorbell and hand out candy to the neighborhood kids. We always have something hot to drink, as well as a few Halloween-themed appetizers and desserts for our returning trick-or-treaters who are invariably cold and hungry. In addition, there’s always at least one main dish (usually some kind of casserole) for the adults.
This year, I made the casserole for the adults. I chose to do a Spanish-style Chicken Macaroni. We ate this a lot at my grandmother’s house growing up. It takes a little time to prepare and simmer the sauce, but is well-worth the wait. It’s delicious, filling, and warms you up from the inside out. Happy Halloween everyone!
1 lb. macaroni noodles
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
5 slices of bacon, chopped into small pieces
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 pcs. chorizo de Bilbao, sliced
1 8-oz. pkg. mushrooms, sliced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 can diced tomatoes
2 15-oz. cans tomato sauce
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (or any cheese you like)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Boil macaroni according to package directions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Boil chicken in just enough water to cover until chicken is cooked through, then shred chicken into small pieces. Leave shredded chicken sitting in its broth until you’re ready to use it.
In a large saucepot, sauté the chopped bacon until it begins to get crispy.
Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease.
Add the garlic and onions to the pot and sauté until the onions begin to turn translucent.
Add the chorizo, mushrooms and bell pepper and cook a little longer.
Pour in the can of diced tomatoes and the tomato sauce.
Toss in one bay leaf and season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour the chicken with the broth into the saucepot, lower the heat to low, and leave it to simmer uncovered for 45 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.
When the sauce is ready, toss the cooked pasta into it, stirring until the sauce and pasta are well incorporated.
Pour the pasta into a 9×13 rectangular baking dish.
Top the pasta with the shredded cheddar.
Sprinkle the grated parmesan over the cheddar.
Bake at 350°F until the cheese is melted.
NOTE: As seen in the photo, I decided to top the casserole pictured with a Bechamel Sauce. After pouring the pasta into the baking dish, I topped it with a layer of bechamel, then the shredded cheddar and parmesan. Yum!