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Budget Friendly Casseroles

The economy calls for cutting as many corners as possible these days, so think casseroles when it comes to family meals. Whether you prefer vegan meals, budget cuts of meat, or slow-cooked meals, you can satisfy your family and be good to your budget, not to mention saving cleanup time in the kitchen, with these one-pot meals.

1-1-1/4 lbs. eggplant
Olive oil
6 oz. Monterey jack cheese, shredded
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
3 medium tomatoes, sliced
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2-3 Tablespoons butter
1 cup (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs

Peel eggplant and slice in 1/4-inch thick rounds. Place in bowl with about 2 Tablespoons salt and enough water to cover. Let stand 20 minutes, then drain well. Pour olive oil to cover bottom of large skillet and sauté both sides until eggplant is lightly browned. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°. Grease bottom and sides of 13×9-inch baking dish. Mix cheeses in bowl. Remove and reserve 1/3 the cheese mixture. Layer 1/3 the eggplant and 1/2 the tomato slices in prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with 1/2 the remaining cheese mixture. Repeat layers. Top with remaining eggplant and dot with butter. Mix tomato sauce, garlic powder, and oregano in small bowl. Pour sauce over top, sprinkle with breadcrumbs, then the reserved cheese mixture.

Cover with foil. Bake for 1 hour. Uncover and bake 15 minutes longer or until golden brown. Serves 6-8.

1 (16 oz.) can chili with beans
2 cups grated low-fat, mild cheddar cheese
1 (12 oz.) pkg. tortilla chips
1 (12 oz.) can of enchilada sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
2 Tablespoons chopped onion
1-1/4 cups light sour cream

For the topping, set aside sour cream, 1/2 cup of grated cheese, and 2 cups tortilla chips. Crumble remaining tortilla chips into mixing bowl. Mix together all the other ingredients, except those set aside for the topping, and place into 9×11-inch casserole dish coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for 20 minutes at 375°. Remove casserole from oven. Spread on sour cream, cover with broken tortilla chips, and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for additional 5 minutes and serve hot. Serves 4.

4 boneless pork chops, about 1/2 inch thick
2 large russet potatoes, thinly sliced
1 (10.75 oz.) can condensed French onion soup
1 (10.75 oz.) can condensed cheddar cheese soup

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Layer a single layer of potatoes on bottom of baking dish. Lay pork chops on top of potatoes. In small bowl, blend the two soups together. Pour over pork chops, trying to cover them evenly with mixture. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes and remove foil. Continue baking for 10 more minutes. Serves 4.

1/2 cup margarine or butter
1/3 cup flour
1 cup milk
2 cups chicken broth
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 (6 oz.) can sliced mushrooms
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1 cup cooked peas
2 cups wide egg noodles, cooked
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350°. Make a white sauce by melting margarine, then adding flour, and stirring until smooth. Gradually add milk and broth, then seasonings and mushrooms. Combine chicken, peas, cooked noodles, and prepared sauce. Put in ungreased 9×13-inch deep baking pan and top with Parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, about 45 minutes. Serves 4.

4-6 cups fresh zucchini, cubed and cooked
1 (16 oz.) bag frozen Oriental vegetables
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
6 Tablespoons butter
2 cups cheddar cheese-flavored croutons
1 (10.75 oz) can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup sour cream

Thaw Oriental vegetables and drain between paper towels to remove excess moisture. Sauté vegetables in 4 teaspoons butter until tender, then drain. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup croutons, soup, and sour cream. Gently stir in chicken. Pour into 2-quart casserole. Melt remaining butter and add in remaining croutons, then add to top of casserole. Bake at 350° for 30 to 40 minutes. Serves 4-6.

Coming Next Month: Barbecue Sides

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