Cooking for a Crowd? Well Then, Cook ‘For The Crowd’!

Whether it was relatives coming for a casual super or our family taking a ‘dish to pass’, it didn’t really matter. We often enjoyed a hot dish, or casserole, my mother made called ‘For The Crowd’! I don’t know where it came from. I suspect my mother invented it to stretch food dollars, but it became a standard and we all loved it.  The fact that our father did not like celery, tomatoes, or cheese, may also have been a contributing factor! For the Crowd was almost a signature dish of my mothers. Lucky me, I married a man who absolutely loves a casserole, and this especially so! As a result, I too make ‘For the Crowd’ often. Over the years I have tweaked it a bit here and there until the skeleton is the same but the finished product really is different from the original. Nearly a lifetime ago while living in northern Italy I missed so many dishes from home. Luckily my sister Ellen, took the time to send me several recipes she wrote out for me to enjoy while far away.  Our mother’s For the Crowd was one of them. I still have those 3 x 5 cards! Try “For the Crowd”. If you are minus the crowd, you will have fantastic leftovers!

1 lb. lean ground beef, or bison

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1  - 11 ounce can Mexican Style corn, with liquid from can

1 –  6.5 ounce can mushrooms pieces and stems, drained

1 can low fat cream of mushroom soup

1 cup sour cream

1 2 ounce jar sliced pimentos  (You find these by the olives in your market!)

1 medium onion, chopped

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon diced garlic

½ teaspoon celery seed

½ cup low sodium chicken stock

1 – 13 ounce box whole grain, medium shells, – minus 2 cups of the dry pasta

Brown burger meat in pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic as you brown the meat. Remove from heat once meat is lightly browned.

Cook pasta according to package directions to ‘al dente’. Save reserved dry pasta for future use.

In large dutch oven add cooked pasta with burger meat and onions.  Add corn, mushrooms, chicken stock, soup, pimentos, salt and pepper, celery seed and cooked shells. Stir well. Cook on low until warmed through, just a few minutes.  Stir in sour cream and heat on low 3 – 4 minutes. Ready to serve!  If casserole seems dry add two tablespoons sour cream mixed with two tablespoon milk to moisten.  This has become a stove top dish for me. However it can be kept warm in a covered pan in the oven on low, or in a crock pot on warm for a bit!

*Use fat-free sour cream, low fat mushroom soup, and fat-free stock for the ‘healthy’ version!


Optional Topping

Prior to serving heat two tablespoons olive oil on medium heat for three minutes.  Add ¼ breadcrumbs.  Remove from heat immediately and stir to coat all the bread crumbs. Sprinkle on top of casserole.

Categories: Seasonal Favorites

2 Responses so far.

  1. CHERYL BROCHER` says:

    I have made your Mother’s “For the Crowd” for many, many years. Now my daughter makes it. Your brother Bill asked for her to make it the last time he visited her, he was so hungry for it and it makes too much for just one person. It’s definitely a dish to share! I must admit, I make the original recipe, but yours is a bit different but I’m sure just as delicious!!

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