Shrimp and Stuffing Bake

Back to cooking some new things for me. This one is based off a recipe from Better Homes and Gardens Biggest Book of Casseroles (page 105 if you care). Other than the soup, little else is pre-made.

The recipe calls for frozen or fresh medium shrimp, but I prefer smaller shrimp in dishes. So I got canned since I didn’t see any of the small shrimp in the freezer. The downside is there’s a lot of salt in canned shrimp. I figure boiling the shrimp removes some of the salt though. I also avoided the condensed soup in the recipe because the only condensed version of cream of celery at Whole Foods was super high in salt. If I remember correctly, it was about 33% U.S. R.D.A. per serving. So I got an uncondensed kind and used a little bit more. It was pretty thick stuff, so I only increased the amount used by a couple of ounces over the book’s recipe. I bought bread made in store, which unfortunately doesn’t list the sodium content. It is the third ingredient on the list though. I’m thinking the sodium I don’t know about in the bread is balanced somewhat by the amount of sodium taken out by boiling the shrimp.

  • 12 oz. canned shrimp (1980 mg sodium)
  • 1 celery stalk
  • ½ large onion
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • about 12 ounces creamy celery soup (720 mg sodium)
  • ¼ cup milk (32 mg sodium)
  • ½ teaspoon sage
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • dash of pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 10 oz. crusty bread loaf
  1. Cut bread into cubes/small chunks
  2. Bake bread at 350° for 15 to 25 minutes to dry it out/firm it up
  3. Boil shrimp for about 3 minutes (if fresh/frozen, until they are opaque)
  4. Chop the celery
  5. Chop the onion
  6. Cook celery and onion in butter until tender (can use the same as the shrimp)
  7. Add soup, milk, sage, thyme (crush first), and pepper
  8. Beat eggs
  9. Add eggs to the concoction
  10. Mix well
  11. Fold in bread chunks
  12. Fold in shrimp
  13. Transfer to 1.5 quart casserole dish
  14. Bake covered for 30 minutes at 350°
  15. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes.
  16. Let it cool.

Pretty tasty is the result. About 4 servings. About 690 mg sodium per serving, done my way.

Also, now I know basically how to make stuffing. Can’t say it tastes a whole lot better than boxed though, which is cheaper. This has less salt. Without the shrimp the price might be comparable and the salt in this really a lot less.

And yeah, I know I’ve been harping on the salt a lot lately. It’s been one year today since my grandfather died, and I’m basically of the opinion that a high salt diet was the proximate cause of his heart attacks in the last year. The doctors told him on a couple of E.R. visits that salt intake was what caused his shortness of breath that prompted the 911 call. Can’t know what would have been; without the salt it might have been just as bad. Still, I owe it to myself to make these changes now rather than when I have heart problems at 83.

Cheesy Sausage and Rice Bake

I promised to write about what I cook in an effort to cook more. But I didn’t promise this would be stuff you’d want to eat.

The recipe comes from the Better Homes & Gardens Biggest Book of Casseroles. It turned out pretty tasty, though a little saltier than I was expecting. I should find out if any of the local butchers do a low salt bulk sausage. Doctor told me I was to watch my salt. I don’t like to be rigid about it, but seeing Gramps ingest salt licks when he was supposed to watch his salt too, and end up in the hospital for it, has been illuminating.

Recipe is how I made it, not exactly how it is in the cookbook.

  • 1 lb. bulk sausage
  • ½ small onion
  • 3 cups crisp rice cereal
  • ¼ cup rice
  • 4 ounces cheddar cheese
  • 1 can cream of celery soup
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup soy milk
  • 1½ teaspoons butter
  1. Cook rice.
  2. Chop the onion.
  3. Shred the cheese.
  4. Grease a 2 quart casserole dish.
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 325°.
  6. Cook sausage and onion over medium heat.
  7. Combine 2½ cups of the cereal with the rice.
  8. Spread the rice mix on the bottom of the casserole dish.
  9. Spread sausage and onion over the rice.
  10. Spread the cheese over the sausage.
  11. Mix the soup, eggs, and soy milk.
  12. Pour eggs etc. over everything else.
  13. Melt the butter.
  14. Mix butter with last ½ cup of cereal.
  15. Sprinkle cereal over the top of the casserole.
  16. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes.
Cheesy sausage and rice bake
Cheesy sausage and rice bake

Edited to add: Daniel suggests in the comments on LJ that most of the salt comes from the soup. Not exactly true, though that is biggest single contributor of sodium. I’m pretty good about checking sodium content of the foods I buy and got the cream of celery soup that had the lowest sodium content of any of that kind of soup at Fred Meyer.

Here’s the sodium contributions to this dish, taken from the nutrition labels:

1025 mg soup
900 mg sausage
720 mg cheese
640 mg cereal
210 mg eggs
24 mg soy milk
2 mg unsalted butter

3521 mg total sodium
586 mg sodium per serving


A couple of months ago, I tried out a pastitsio recipe in the Better Homes & Gardens Biggest Book of Casseroles. Looking at the index, I realized the cookbook had a different recipe for pastitsio 60 pages earlier. That’s my one gripe about the cookbook; it doesn’t group similar recipes very well. There’s five or six mac and cheese recipes scattered throughout. Why not put them all together? Anyhow, the other pastitsio recipe had fewer pre-made ingredients, so I decided I would try it. It’s better.

The following is my attempt.

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 large onion
  • 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup sherry
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 8 ounces uncooked penne pasta
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1½ cups milk
  • 1 cup shredded Romano cheese
  1. Chop onion
  2. Cook beef and onion until meat is browned and onion is tender
  3. Drain
  4. Add tomato sauce, sherry, and cinnamon to meat and onions
  5. Heat until bubbling
  6. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes
  7. Cook penne pasta according to directions
  8. Lightly beat 2 eggs
  9. Toss cooked pasta with eggs and 2 tablespoons of butter
  10. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan over medium heat
  11. Stir in flour, salt and pepper until smooth
  12. Add milk (slowly)
  13. Cook until mixture is thick
  14. Lightly beat 2 eggs
  15. Stir mixture into the eggs
  16. (make sure meat, pasta, and sauce are all finished)
  17. Preheat oven to 350°
  18. Grease a 3 quart casserole dish
  19. Spread half the pasta in dish
  20. Spread half the meat sauce over the pasta
  21. Spread 1/3 of the cheese over the pasta
  22. Spread remaining pasta on top of cheese
  23. Spread remaining meat sauce over the pasta
  24. Spread 1/3 of the cheese over the pasta
  25. Pour white sauce evenly over cheese
  26. Spread remaining cheese on top
  27. Cover and bake for 20 minutes
  28. Remove cover and bake for additional 15 minutes
  29. Let stand for 15 minutes to cool and set


Spice Market Pastitsio

Spice Market Pastitsio
Spice Market Pastitsio

Trying a new recipe from the Better Homes & Gardens Biggest Book of Casseroles. There’s another Pastitsio recipe in the book as well, but I didn’t notice it until I’d bought everything for this one. The other recipe appears to be made with fresh ingredients as opposed to the pre-made spaghetti sauce etc. called for in this recipe. Which means it’s probably better and has less salt. I’ll try that one some day.

The following ingredients are what I used. Recipe does not match exactly what’s in the cookbook.

  • 8 ounces (2 cups) dried elbow macaroni
  • 8 ounces ground beef
  • 14 ounces spaghetti sauce with onion and garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1 cup milk (lactose free)
  • 1 envelope white sauce mix
  • 2 slightly beaten eggs
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Cook macaroni
  3. Brown hamburger (I did not drain)
  4. Stir spaghetti sauce, cinnamon, and fennel seeds into meat
  5. Combine milk and white sauce mix in saucepan
  6. Cook white sauce on medium until thickened
  7. Mix half the white sauce and the eggs, then return all to saucepan
  8. Put half the macaroni in 2 quart casserole dish (supposed to lightly grease it, but I forgot)
  9. Spread meat mixture over macaroni
  10. Put remaining macaroni in next
  11. Spread white sauce on top
  12. Sprinkle Parmesan on top of that
  13. Bake uncovered at 350° around 35 minutes
  14. Verdict: Fairly tasty. Not gourmet by any stretch, but pretty good. I’ve never had cinnamon with meat that I can remember and it works out pretty good. I can’t really taste the nutmeg in it, but that could be for any number of reasons not related to the recipe. I’ll have to try a real pastitsio recipe sometime and see how that works out.