Mashed Potato Casserole with Cheddar and Green Onions

Sure, regular mashed potatoes are tasty. But with a couple of extra steps, you can turn them into something even more delicious — mashed potato casserole! I must admit that another motivation for making this dish was to use a vintage casserole dish from my collection. Corning Ware is a particularly handy choice, because you can assemble the casserole ahead, refrigerate it overnight, then pop it in the oven with no risk of thermal-shock-induced breakage.

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

3 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
8 tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 green onions, chopped fine
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 1 1/2-quart baking dish with butter or cooking spray.

In a large pot, combine potatoes with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then cook until softened, about 15 minutes.

Drain the potatoes, then put back in the pot. Add 7 tbsp butter, cut into smallish pieces. Mash with a potato masher until butter has melted and is mixed in. Add sour cream, milk, garlic powder and salt and mash until smooth. Stir in green onions and 1 cup of the Cheddar.

Transfer the potato mixture to the prepared baking dish and spread evenly. (At this point the casserole can be covered and refrigerated overnight, if desired. Leave out at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking, and extend cooking time as needed.)

Melt 1 tbsp butter. In a small bowl, combine with bread crumbs and stir until butter is evenly incorporated. Stir in 1/2 cup Cheddar, then sprinkle the mixture over the potatoes.

Bake, uncovered, until topping is lightly browned, about 15-20 minutes.

Pictured: Corning Ware April DC-1 1/2-B Designer Casserole

Sausage and Spinach Spaghetti Pie

I’ve been on the hunt for a casserole that is fun, dramatic and delicious in equal measures — and I think I’ve found it! I love this recipe because it’s a meal in itself, but a side of garlic bread and salad wouldn’t hurt. I’m also planning to try making it again with other ingredients — a meatless version would still be tasty, as would other vegetables (eggplant? chard? zucchini?). Just be careful not to add too much moisture, or the final product won’t set properly.

If you don’t have a springform pan, an 8-inch cake pan will do. But you’ll miss out on the fun of releasing the sides of the pan and letting the pie stand on its own.

Adapted from Food Network’s Beefy Cheesy Spaghetti Pie.

Serves 6

Ingredients

6 oz uncooked spaghetti
2 tbsp olive oil
8 oz bulk Italian sausage (remove casings if you’re using links)
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 15-oz can crushed tomatoes
12 oz baby spinach, roughly chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
salt
pepper
4 large eggs
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
8 oz small mozzarella balls, drained
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cook the spaghetti according to package directions, until it’s just al dente. Drain, transfer to a large bowl, then toss with 1 tbsp olive oil to keep it from sticking together. Set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook sausage in 1 tbsp olive oil, breaking it up into crumbles, until no pink remains. Spoon it out onto a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.

Add the onion to the skillet and saute until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about one minute more. Add the tomatoes and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

Add the spinach a handful at a time, stirring until wilted. Stir in the cream and simmer for about 5 minutes to thicken the sauce. Add salt (about 1 tsp) and pepper to taste.

Stir together the spaghetti, sausage and sauce. Allow to cool slightly.

Grease a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Transfer half of the spaghetti mixture to the pan, then dot with half of the mozzarella balls. Add the rest of the spaghetti mixture, then top with the rest of the mozzarella balls and 1 tbsp Parmesan.

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and 1/4 cup Parmesan. Add to the spaghetti mixture and toss until well mixed.

Bake until the center is set, the edges are browned and crispy and the cheese is starting to turn golden, about 25 minutes. Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.

Pictured: Pyrex Verde 444 Cinderella Mixing Bowl, Corning Ware Snack-It Plate