Easy casseroles for January 

Published 8:00 am Friday, January 13, 2023

At the start of January, we have another 365 days ahead of us that have never happened before. It’s the month that kicks off a new beginning. It’s “out with the old, in with the new,” and here’s to wishing everyone a Happy New Year!


Linda: It’s time for some new recipes to start the year off. After the busy holidays, our readers need some easy recipes, some hearty casseroles to serve on a blustery winter’s day.

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Lucy: I think that’s the perfect choice for this month. December has been filled with baking cookies, hosting festive gatherings, and preparing Christmas dinner. It’s time to slow down and start the new year with some easier but still appealing meals. A neighbor friend shared a casserole with me recently and offered me the recipe. It was delicious and tasted like an easy Beef Stroganoff. It’s called Sour Cream Noodle Bake and can be made ahead of time and frozen.


Linda: Shepard’s Pie recipe comes to mind when I think about easy casseroles. Years ago we had to whip up some mashed potatoes for the topping, which added to the preparation. These days, I head to Ingles and pick up a package of pre-made mashed potatoes. This convenience makes Shepards Pie one of the easiest casseroles to create and bake in the oven. These mashed potato boxes are usually located in the refrigerated section near the ground beef and chicken. The base of this casserole could be made ahead of time, adding the potatoes just before baking.


Lucy: That was one of the first casseroles I learned how to make. I was newly married and working long shifts as a nurse. The recipe was in my first Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. My grocery budget back in 1963 was $25 a week. I’ve been digging through my recipe files and discovered another simple but tasty casserole called Chicken Corn Casserole. I found it years ago on a flyer from Publix and cut it out. Since I saved it all these years, I know it’s good.


Linda: I think it has a southwest flare as it’s a little spicy which brightens up the flavor. Buying a roasted chicken to cut up can save time, by not having to actually cook some chicken to chop. I’m always looking for ways to make cooking easy and time-saving. 


Lucy: I think these are three casseroles that can help our readers cook up some quick and easy dinners. Let’s get our recipes together so they can start planning meals. 


Sour Cream Noodle Bake

Yield: 8 servings



1 1/4 pounds ground chuck

One 15-ounce can tomato sauce

1/2 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

8 ounces egg noodles

1/2 cup sour cream

1 1/4 cups small curd cottage cheese

Pinch red pepper flakes

1/2 cup sliced green onions (less to taste)

1 cup grated sharp Cheddar

Crusty French bread, for serving



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.


  1. Brown the ground chuck in a large skillet. Drain the fat, and then add the tomato sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Stir, and then simmer while you prepare the other ingredients.
  2. Cook the egg noodles until al dente. Drain and set aside in a medium bowl, combine the sour cream and cottage cheese. Add plenty of freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Add to the noodles and stir.Add the green onions and stir.
  3. To assemble, add half of the noodles to a baking dish. Top with half the meat mixture, and then sprinkle on half the grated Cheddar. Repeat with noodles, meat and then a final layer of cheese. Bake until all the cheese is melted, about 20 minutes. Serve with crusty French bread.

To freeze: Assemble the Sour Cream Noodle Bake in a disposable aluminum oven-proof pan and seal the top of the container with the lid or heavy foil. Seal the edges to prevent freezer burn and place in the freezer. To cook from frozen: Place directly in a 375-degree F oven and bake, covered, for 45 minutes. Remove the lid and bake until lightly brown and bubbly, about 20 minutes more.

Shepherd’s Pie



1 pound ground beef

1 can cut green beans, drained

1 small can sweet corn

1 10.75 ounce can condensed tomato soup

½ cup lower-sodium beef broth

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 medium onion, chopped

⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 24 ounce package refrigerated mashed potatoes

½ cup shredded cheddar cheese (2 ounces) optional



Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 2-quart rectangular baking dish; set aside. 


  1. In a large skillet cook ground beef until browned, breaking up with a wooden spoon while cooking; drain off fat. Stir in  vegetables, tomato soup, broth, Worcestershire sauce, chopped onion, and pepper. Bring to boiling over medium heat, stirring occasionally.Transfer to prepared baking dish.
  2. Place potatoes in a large bowl; stir until nearly smooth. Spoon potatoes into mounds on top of meat mixture.
  3. Bake, uncovered, in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through and bubbly on edges. Sprinkle with cheese. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Chicken Corn Casserole



Cooking spray

2 ½ cups cooked, diced chicken (chilled or frozen)

1 (11-oz) can Southwestern- or Mexican-style corn (undrained)

1 (10-oz) can mild diced tomatoes and green chiles like Ro-Tel (undrained)

½ cup corn muffin mix

¼ cup light sour cream

¼ cup light mayonnaise

¼ cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese



Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.

Combine all ingredients (except cheese) in medium bowl. Transfer mixture to baking dish. Bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle cheese over top; bake 5 more minutes or until cheese melts. For best results, let stand 5 minutes before serving.