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In the Kitchen: Fall is casserole season
Cheesy squash zucchini casserole

Even though the first day of fall was Monday, it sure doesn’t feel like it. Nevertheless, soon we will need a jacket before we leave the house in the morning and we will be digging out our colder weather clothing. Likewise, many of us will dust off our casserole dishes and cook hardier dishes that are comfort dishes to most of us.

 Here are some of my favorite casseroles that are sure to warm you up on a cooler fall night. In addition, most casseroles are even better the next day.

 When I think of chicken divan, I think of those beloved dishes from the 1950s and 1960s. chicken divan is simple to put together and still tastes divine.

 

Retro chicken divan

1 head broccoli, separated into florets

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup flour

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

3/4 cup dry sherry

2 cups cooked chicken, cut into bite sized pieces

1 cup slivered almonds

 

Boil a large pot of water and add a healthy amount of salt. Add broccoli florets and cook until broccoli is tender, about 5 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. 

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add flour and cook for a minute. Whisk in chicken broth, milk, heavy cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir until thickened. Add half of the Parmesan cheese and the dry sherry. 

Arrange the broccoli in the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle half of the remaining cheese on top and then arrange the cooked chicken on top of that. Pour sauce over all. Top with slivered almonds and back until bubbly, about 35 minutes.

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Who doesn’t love homemade macaroni and cheese? This decadent version uses three types of cheese for extra cheesy goodness. Of course you don’t have to do the final baking part, but the crunch from the bread crumb topping is so worth it.

 

Macaroni and cheese

1 pound elbow macaroni

1/4 cup butter (more for the casserole)

3 tablespoons flour

4 cups whole milk

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

2 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated

1 cup mozzarella, grated

1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 cup dry white bread crumbs

2 tablespoons butter, melted

 

Cook the macaroni in plenty of boiling, salty water until just tender. Don’t overcook. Transfer drained pasta to a large bowl. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the casserole dish and set aside. 

In a large saucepan, melt the ¼ cup butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until combined, about a minute. Gradually whisk in the milk. Add the mustard and continue stirring until mixture begins to thicken. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the cheddar, mozzarella, and half of the Parmesan. Add the paprika, salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the cooked macaroni and stir to combine. Pour into the prepared casserole dish. Top with remaining grated parmesan cheese. 

In a small bowl, stir together bread crumbs and melted butter. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top of macaroni and cheese. Bake until bubble, about 30 minutes.

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This casserole dish is perfect for entertaining. Assemble ahead of time and pop it into the oven when your guests arrive. Paired with a green salad, some crusty bread this is a win.

 

Herbed shrimp, pasta and cheese casserole

2 eggs

1 cup evaporated milk

1 cup plain yogurt

1/2 pound feta cheese, crumbled

1/2 cup Swiss cheese, grated

1/3 cup parsley, minced

1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 pound angel hair pasta, cooked according to package directions and drained

1 ½ pounds fresh shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cooked until just cooked through in boiling water

One 16-ounce jar of salsa verde

1 ½ cups mozzarella, grated

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, evaporated milk, and yogurt. Stir in feta, Swiss, parsley, basil, oregano, salt, pepper and garlic until combined. 

Spread half of the cooked pasta over the bottom of the casserole dish. Layer on half of the cooked shrimp, and half of the green salsa on top. Spread remaining pasta on top and pour egg mixture over all. Layer on remaining shrimp and sprinkle with mozzarella. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes.

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This may not technically be a casserole, but it sure is good. This is a great way to highlight the last ripe peaches out there.

 

Peach crisp with lemon cream

1 cup flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces (plus more for buttering casserole)

4 cups peeled, pitted and sliced ripe peaches

1 ½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons water

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon lemon zest

3 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a casserole dish and set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Cut in the butter using your fingers or two butter knives, or a pastry cutter. 

In another bowl, combine peach slices, lemon juice and water. Pour peaches into prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle the flour and sugar mixture over peaches. 

Cover with aluminum foil and bake 20 minutes. Uncover and continue baking another 40 minutes, until golden. 

Meanwhile, using a handheld mixer, beat the heavy cream until soft peaks formed. Gently stir in lemon zest and confectioners’ sugar. Serve the lemon cream with the peach crisp. 


Forsyth County resident and author Adlen Robinson presents the best of her recipes each Friday for “In the Kitchen.” Please e-mail her at adlen@adlenshomematters.com.