Cooler weather, fuzzy blankets and shorter days? Comfort food season has officially arrived in many parts of the country.
With a 9×13 pan and your oven, you can make dinner magic happen. On a cozy Saturday at home, pop a hearty casserole in the oven to slow bake. A few hours later, you can gather around the table to share a warm meal with your loved ones.
After a busy week, a shared meal might be just what your family needs. Sit-down meals have been linked to stronger family relationships, a lower risk of depression and better school performance.
Who knew that a casserole could do all that? Give it a try with these 13 recipes for weekend casserole dinners.
#1) Pork Chop Casserole
Creamy dishes are the epitome of comfort food. Take the pork chop casserole from Homemade Hooplah, for instance. It layers tender potatoes, sliced onions and browned pork chops with a creamy, flavorful sauce.
Like many casserole dishes, this one calls for a can of cream soup. While convenient, canned soups don’t offer as much control over ingredients as some home cooks would like. On a Saturday when you have time to spare, try making your own substitute.
Smarty Pants Kitchen offers a cream soup recipe with a few variations, including cream of chicken and cream of celery. Once you learn how to make your own, you can use it in a variety of other dishes, too.
#2) Chicken and Rice Casserole
Chicken and rice casseroles typically need a long bake time. Fortunately, lazy Saturdays afford plenty of time for rice to become soft and flavorful in the oven. This chicken casserole from Kristine’s Kitchen takes over an hour and a half to cook, but most of that is hands-off time.
Casseroles are often one-dish meals. Others, such as this one, could use a veggie on the side. A tossed salad would be an easy solution. Not only does salad deliver a generous portion of nutrition, but it can also help stretch a meal. (Hooray for leftovers!)
You could try soft-cooked greens, though, if you’re looking for a more complementary texture. Think green beans, grilled asparagus or roasted broccoli.
#3) Ham and Potato Casserole
Au gratin potato recipes require thin-sliced potatoes. Using a kitchen mandoline produces exactly the results you need. Just be careful when using one of these devices not to slice your fingers in the process.
Bake It with Love’s version of au gratin potatoes calls for ham, which transforms this traditional side dish into a complete meal. The recipe suggests using russet potatoes. That’s because the high starch content helps form a creamy sauce as the dish bakes.
#4) Meatball Casserole
Takeout meatball subs are yummy but messy. At home, switch things up by using the ingredients for a casserole instead.
The Country Cook’s meatball casserole starts with sliced Italian bread. You can grab a loaf from your supermarket’s bakery section. Other ingredients include a creamy spread, a bag of frozen meatballs and a jar of pasta sauce.
#5) Sausage Casserole
If you’re looking for a casserole that works just as well for breakfast as it does for dinner, try a cheesy sausage casserole made with shredded hash browns. The Seasoned Mom makes a comforting casserole with slices of smoked sausage baked right in. You can serve it for dinner tonight, then reheat the leftovers for a hot breakfast tomorrow morning.
The recipe offers several suggestions for the best cheese choices. Just make sure whichever cheese you choose, you shred it yourself from a block. Shredding cheese usually produces creamier results than the store-bought pre-shredded kind.
Also, feel free to vary from the cheddar called for in the recipe. Alternatives include gouda and pepper jack.
#6) Eggplant Parmesan Casserole
Yes, weekends often afford more time for cooking. No, that doesn’t mean you want to stand at the stove all day long to prepare a fancy dinner of eggplant parmesan. Fortunately, you could get the same flavor with less effort by cooking the ingredients as a casserole instead.
Delish suggests using seasoned panko breadcrumbs to give your eggplant slices a crispy exterior. Layering the eggplant with marinara and cheese may be all that it takes to get your family to scarf down this healthy veggie. Eggplant is a good source of fiber and antioxidants. It also contains important minerals, such as potassium and copper.
#7) Turkey Casserole
If your family quickly tires of holiday leftovers, use your kitchen skills to transform them into something new. A turkey casserole, for example, could bring new life to what’s left of your Thanksgiving dinner.
Dinner Then Dessert has a recipe that includes cornbread cubes and turkey gravy. Plus, there are generous portions of nutritious vegetables, making this a one-dish meal that’s sure to please the whole family.
#8) French Toast Casserole
Some days call for breakfast for dinner. Warm, gooey French toast casserole is just what you need on those days. Just be sure to plan ahead! This recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction has to be refrigerated for at least three hours before baking. That makes it a great dish for weekend cooking.
A side of fresh berries adds color, flavor and nutrition to this meal. Sprinkle some on top of the finished casserole for a delicious addition. You can even bake some of them into the casserole if you want vibrant bursts of flavor throughout.
#9) Teriyaki Casserole
Maybe you were thinking about ordering out this weekend. Instead, take advantage of the fact that you have time to cook. An Asian-inspired casserole may satisfy your takeout craving while also providing the comfort of a home-cooked meal.
The Recipe Critic’s version starts with pre-mixed stir fry veggies. To prep this casserole, you’ll also need to bake chicken breasts and cook a batch of rice. An easy homemade sauce brings the dish together.
#10) Shrimp Casserole
If you’re ready for a new twist on casseroles, try a seafood variety. Gimme Some Oven presents a Cajun-inspired recipe that features shrimp. You can add chicken or sliced sausage, too, if you want a meatier combo.
The dish includes okra as well. Unless you live in the South, this might not be a vegetable you’ve often cooked with before. Fortunately, a pre-sliced frozen variety can make for an easy introduction to this vitamin-rich veggie.
#11) Cheeseburger Casserole
Many kids would choose cheeseburgers every day if they could. (And, let’s face it, plenty of adults might feel the same!) Try compromising with a cheeseburger casserole. It offers familiar flavors in a new way.
This recipe from Mom on Timeout harkens back to those classic boxes of “helper” meals you might’ve enjoyed as a kid. It uses basic ingredients, like ground beef and pantry staple spices, plus short noodles of your choice – rotini, for example – to produce a comforting blend of cheeseburger goodness.
#12) Tortilla Casserole
A delicious tortilla casserole puts the taste of taco night into a 9×13 pan. Give it a try with this version from Southern Living. To simplify the prep, this recipe starts with store-bought rotisserie chicken.
The dish also includes beans, tomatoes, corn and cheese. In other words, no sides are necessary. Pull this chicken-tortilla casserole out of the oven, and dinner will be ready to go.
#13) Pasta Casserole
Pasta is great for feeding a crowd, not only for its quantity but because it can be endlessly customized. Take the baked ziti recipe from Natasha’s Kitchen, for example. It makes 10 servings. And if you’re having company over, you can easily double the ingredients.
With noodles, tomato sauce and ground beef, this casserole recipe is a surefire winner. It even appeals to picky palates. Add crunch to this meal with crispy garlic bread served on the side.