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Pot Luck ~ Casserole Dishes To Serve 40 +/-

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One of my customers built a sweet smoker several months ago and we have been having BIG barbecues at work (ribs, pork loins, chicken quarters etc.)  Today after cooking 40 burgers, 40 brats in a onion/ beer bath, 2 pans of beans... then listening to all the guys and gals brag-up the food I mentioned we could use the smoker with just charcoal (no flavor wood) and treat it like an oven.  Meaning, just about anything you bake at home, we could bake at work.  The shop bought a 50 pack of the aluminum pans with lids, so we're good to go there (people could take a pan home, assemble their stuff and bring it to work the next day. How about some suggestions on casseroles that can be cooked in 2 hours or less at 350°? And I'm thinking meat dishes or sides (like potatoes, or a pan of cream corn, or mac-n-cheese).  This smoker cooks very evenly and there are 7 racks that are 24" X 24".  The racks are easily rotated too if needed.  Here are a couple of photos to give you an idea of what we have to work with.




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Tater Tot hotdish, Shepherd's pie,

Here are a couple that I got off Cook's illustrated that look good....

Bierock Casserole

From Cook's Country | April/May 2015

Why this recipe works:

Bierocks, or stuffed meat buns popular in many plains states, are known for their savory meat and cheese filling encased in slightly sweet dough. But making a batch of bierocks is a real project; we wanted to streamline the recipe into a one-dish meal. After spooning our cheesy meat filling… read more

Serves 6 to 8

We prefer whole milk here, but reduced-fat milk will also work in the dough.


  • Dough
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Filling
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 pounds 85 percent lean ground beef
  • 1 small head green cabbage, cored and chopped fine (8 cups)
  • 2 onions, chopped fine
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 6 ounces American cheese, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water



    1. FOR THE DOUGH: Microwave 1/4 cup milk in small bowl until it registers 110 degrees, 15 to 20 seconds. Stir in yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar and let sit until mixture is bubbly, about 5 minutes.

    2. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 5 teaspoons sugar together in large bowl. Stir in melted butter, yeast mixture, and remaining 3/4 cup milk until dough forms (dough will be sticky). Transfer dough to well-floured counter and knead until smooth ball forms, about 2 minutes. Transfer dough to greased large bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise for 30 minutes.

    3. FOR THE FILLING: Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add beef, cabbage, onions, 2 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 2 1/2 teaspoons pepper; cover and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook, breaking up beef with spoon, until beef is no longer pink and cabbage is wilted, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in flour until fully incorporated and cook for 1 minute. Let beef mixture drain in colander set in sink for 5 minutes.

    4. Return beef mixture to now-empty pot and stir in cheese and mustard. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer filling to 13 by 9-inch baking dish and let cool for 10 minutes.

    5. Roll dough into 18 by 12-inch rectangle. Brush rim and interior lip of dish with egg wash (reserve remainder). Loosely roll dough around rolling pin and unroll it over dish. Trim overhanging dough to 1/2 inch beyond lip of dish. Fold overhanging dough inward so folded edge is flush with inner edge of dish. Crimp dough evenly around edge of dish with your fingers.

    6. Brush top of casserole liberally with remaining egg wash. Using paring knife, cut nine 1-inch vent holes in dough. Bake until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling, about 20 minutes. Transfer casserole to wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Serve.


Handheld Origins


Our inspiration for this casserole comes from traditional bierocks, also called runsas. These single-serving buns are individually stuffed with meat filling.

Kielbasa Casserole

From Cook's Country | October/November 2014

Why this recipe works:

Parcooking the potatoes on the stovetop for just 15 minutes guaranteed that this hearty midwestern casserole cooked evenly, with all the ingredients finishing at the same time. Instead of using canned soup, we made a flavorful sauce with onions, chicken broth, and half-and-half. To season the… read more

Serves 8 to 10

Wellshire Farms Smoked Polska Kielbasa is our favorite kielbasa. Use russet potatoes here for the best texture.




1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until just smoking. Add kielbasa and cook, stirring occasionally, until spotty brown, about 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer kielbasa to paper towel–lined plate, leaving fat in pot.

2. Add onion, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and caraway seeds to fat in pot and cook until just softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in flour to coat onion and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in broth and half-and-half until incorporated. Add potatoes and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are just tender, about 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, pulse bread, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in food processor until coarsely ground, about 7 pulses; set aside.

4. Off heat, stir sauerkraut, mustard, 2 teaspoons dill, and kielbasa into pot. Transfer mixture to 13 by 9-inch baking dish and sprinkle bread crumbs evenly over top. Bake until crumbs are golden brown and edges of casserole are bubbling, 12 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon dill. Let cool for 15 minutes. Serve.


King Ranch Casserole

From Cook's Country

Why this recipe works:

King Ranch Casserole is the ultimate comfort food in Texas: layers of tender chicken, corn tortillas, and spicy tomatoes bound together in a rich, cheesy sauce. Most recipes start with one can each of cream of chicken soup and cream of mushroom soup. We wanted a King Ranch Casserole recipe… read more

Serves 6 to 8

If you can't find Ro-Tel tomatoes, substitute one 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes and one 4-ounce can chopped green chiles. Cojack is a creamy blend of Colby and Monterey Jack cheeses. We like its tangy flavor, but milder Jack cheese can be used in its place.


  • 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 medium onions, chopped fine
  • 2 jalapeño chiles, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 (10-ounce) cans Ro-Tel tomatoes (see note)
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
  • 4 cups Cojack cheese (see note)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 1/4 cups Fritos, crushed



1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 450 degrees. Lay tortillas on two baking sheets, lightly coat both sides with cooking spray, and bake until slightly crisp and browned, about 12 minutes. Cool slightly, then break into bite-sized pieces. Using potholders, adjust top oven rack to middle position.

2. Heat butter in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook onions, chiles, and cumin until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook until most of liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add cream and broth, bring to simmer, and cook until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in chicken and cook until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Off heat, add cilantro and cheese and stir until cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Scatter half of tortilla pieces in 13 by 9-inch baking dish set over rimmed baking sheet. Spoon half of filling evenly over tortillas. Scatter remaining tortillas over filling, then top with remaining filling.

4. Bake until filling is bubbling, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle Fritos evenly over top and bake until Fritos are lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Cool casserole 10 minutes. Serve.

Make Ahead: The casserole can be assembled through step 3 and refrigerated for up to 1 day. When ready to serve, cover casserole with foil and bake until filling is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Remove foil, top with Fritos, and proceed with rest of step 4 as directed.


Edited by delcecchi

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Wonderful ideas, thanks.  Mrs ~t~ mentioned King Ranch Casserole... I actually have my Gramdma's recipe for this, my family ranched in Texas and I had been to the King Ranch when I was a little boy in the 60's.  The Cooks Country version has been kicked up a notch.

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