Monday, December 3, 2012

Cheesy Meat Casserole

I have had lasagna made with some pretty unique ingredients.

I love how people have their own interpretations on food dishes.  The combinations that I remember the most and are quite good but very different are: one made with Velveeta and one made with pepperoni.

Mr. Thompson always made his lasagna with slices of pepperoni and I thought it was super good.  The pepperoni added a bit of spiciness to the dish and it was quite the conversation piece when everyone figured out what his secret ingredient was.

The second unique lasagna that I remember is the one Cory's Mom used to make.  It was super easy and simple.  The secret ingredients were chopped black olives and Velveeta Cheese.

Every once in a great while I will buy a small brick of Velveeta Cheese.  We try very hard to stay away from overly processed foods and this one just screams processed to me.

I asked on my fan page if anyone had ever made the "From Scratch" version that is floating around on Pinterest.  Several had with varying results.

Most of the comments were recommendations of the types of cheese that I could use to get the same creamy cheesy texture of the dish.

I took their suggestions and headed to Whole Foods to chat with the cheese man.  I actually think he was a boy (lol, kids are looking younger and younger to me). He also recommended the same types of cheese.

I decided to go with the recommendations and this amazing dish was created at home.

OH WOW…the cheese combination is so good!

The three cheeses that were suggested and used are: gruyere, triple cream and fontina.  I will tell you that these three cheeses can be purchased in a wide range of prices.  WIDE…like ultra cheep to super expensive.

I went for the mid priced range and spent, are you ready….$20.00 on cheese.

I know, too much?  Never!  The cheese is what makes the dish so delicious.  If you want a top product you must be willing to spend the money for the result you want.

Will this dish get made often in my home? Probably not. I am thinking twice a year.  Twice a year I can spend the extra money to have a delicious in-my-home meal.

For those that want to try the Velveeta version, I have added the amount needed.  I will tell you that the cheese makes the dish a bit soupy right out of the oven (this never bothered me) so you may want it to sit for a few extra minutes.

I also don't have gluten free lasagna noodles so I used a whole box of wide rice noodles and it worked great.

This dish makes great left overs and a perfect casserole to share with neighbors that may be in need of an easy dinner.


Recipe:  Cheesy Meat Casserole

1 pound of hamburger, browned
3 cups of homemade spaghetti style sauce  RECIPE HERE
1 box of rice noodles or 6-8 wide lasagna noodles, cooked according to package
1 small can of sliced black olives, drained
1.5 cups of gruyere, grated
1 small wedge of triple cream cheese (similar to Brie), sliced with mold removed
1.5 cups of fontina cheese

NOTE: If using Velveeta, use enough cheese, sliced in thin slices, to cover two layers.

Have your meat browned, cheese grated or sliced and noodles cooked.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a bowl add sauce to meat and stir.  You don't want you sauce to be too runny.

In a rectangular baking dish (9X13) start layering ingredients.

I did meat on the bottom, olives sprinkled, cheese, noodles and repeat.  I topped my dish with a final sprinkle of cheese. I also mixed the cheese's up on each layer (this is your choice).

Cover with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly.

Let rest for 10 minutes once removed from oven.



  1. I would have never thought to use that combination of cheeses to stand in for Velveeta, that's brilliant! I can just imagine how creamy and good that must be!!

  2. Your pictures are great! Love the orange-y tone to this dish. And it sounds delicious, as well!

  3. I'm not much of an olive fan but definitely a cheesy meat fan, for sure! I also love good cheese. My best friend introduced me to a triple cream brie and it's amazing!

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  6. Have you seen the recipe for making your own Velveeta? You can find it online. I haven't tried it yet, but since I, like you, try to avoid ersatz foods, this is on my "to try" list. Not that I use Velveeta often. But it is nice to have a choice.

    1. I have a friend that makes her own Velvetta style cheese, I should get the recipe from her and give it a try. Thanks for the suggestion of looking online and for leaving a comment. Have a good night.


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