Over a Cup: Chili Casserole

This last week, I made a new recipe from my try-it file, and we liked it. The name of the casserole implies that it is made with the usual chili ingredients, but this casserole is made with rice and olives.

To make “Chili Casserole” you will need: 1 pound of ground beef, 1 tablespoon oil (to brown the ground beef), 1 clove garlic (minced or use 1/4 teaspoon garlic puree), 1 teaspoon salt, 1 onion (finely chopped), 1 green pepper (seeded and chopped), 1 teaspoon chili powder, 2 1/2 cups tomatoes and juice (I used diced tomatoes), 1 (16-ounce) can kidney beans (drained), 3/4 cup uncooked minute rice, 1/4 cup chopped ripe olives and 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13-inch casserole dish.

I browned the beef in a soup pot because you have to add the other ingredients later. You can also use a large skillet. Brown the beef in the oil, crumbling it as it cooks. I chopped it up with a spatula to make sure the crumbles weren’t too large. When the meat had cooked, I added the garlic, salt, onion, green pepper and chili powder and cooked the vegetables until they were limp.

Next, add the tomatoes, kidney beans and rice to the meat and mix well. Pour the mixture into the casserole.

Bake uncovered for about 45 minutes. Take the casserole from the oven and sprinkle the olives and cheese to cover the top. Put the casserole back in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes longer or until the cheese has melted.

If you don’t care for olives, you can probably get by without using them.

Karen Pruitt, of Michigan, who sent in recipes recently, sent some more this last week. One of the recipes is for “Caramel Bars,” and I thought the bars might be a delicious addition to a picnic meal. I have not had time to try the recipe yet.

To make the bars, you will need: 1 (14-ounce) package of Kraft caramels, 3/4 cup whipping cream, 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 2 cups quick oats, 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar, 1 cup soft oleo and another 1/4 cup whipping cream. (Note: You will need 1 cup of whipping cream in all, but it is divided up in the recipe. That’s why it is repeated in the ingredients.)

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. (You will reduce the heat later on.) Take out a 9x13x2-inch pan.

Melt the caramels and 3/4 cup of whipping cream in a double boiler. Set aside to cool.

Mix (like a pie crust) the flour, baking soda, quick oats, brown sugar, oleo and 1/4 cup whipping cream. Set aside 1 1/2 to 2 cups of this mixture to be used as topping. Pat the remaining mix in the bottom of the pan. Bake for 15 minutes on the bottom rack of the oven. Remove from the oven and pour the caramel mixture over the top. Sprinkle the reserved crust mixture over the top of the caramel. Reduce the heat to 200 degrees and bake on the top rack for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool the bars overnight.

Thanks so much, Karen!

If you have recipes you’d like to share, send them to me at P.O. Box 415, Craig, CO 81626, or call me at 824-8809.

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