Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Friendship Casserole {Share Dinner with a Friend}

Have you ever had a Friendship Casserole? It's one of my favorite casseroles to make. If you have already tasted this casserole considered yourself blessed, if you haven't let me explain what it is.

The reason it is called Friendship Casserole is because this recipe makes two casseroles. One for yourself and one to share with a friend!!! If you like you can also double up on your casseroles and keep them both for yourself, just cook one and freeze the second casserole.

If you're freezing the second casserole prepare and assemble both casseroles. Bake one and then take the second unbaked casserole and double wrap it with plastic wrap, and then cover with aluminum foil, label, date and place the casserole in the freezer for a later date.

My favorite way by far is to share with a friend. When I give this casserole out to a friend I like to present it unbaked. I do this just in case they don't want to eat the casserole on that particular day. I also like to wrap a pretty bow around the whole baking dish and add a wooden spoon as a extra touch.

Try and think of someone who might need a reminder that they have friends who care about them. A new mom in your neighborhood, a family who’s moving, someone with an illness or just someone that needs to be reminded that they are a special part of your life.

This casserole not only cheers up the gift recipient but also the person giving it. I like to take my children along with me when we pass on a friendship casserole. I want them to experience that giving is just as wonderful as receiving.

This casserole is really easy and pretty quick to assemble. It also utilized pantry ingredients making this dish very economical.
Don't forget to include a copy of the recipe for the person you are gifting this casserole to.

Friendship Casserole

2 - lbs ground beef or ground turkey
1/2 - cup green pepper, chopped 
1/2 - cup onion, chopped 
3/4 - cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 - 48 oz jar spaghetti sauce
1  - 16 oz pkg medium egg noodles
1/2 - cup margarine or butter
1/4 - teaspoon onion powder
1/4 - teaspoon garlic powder
½ - cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 - 16 oz pkg shredded mozzarella cheese or Italian Cheese Blend

Preheat oven to 350ยบ Brown meat and drain off any fat. Add the green pepper, onion and mushrooms and saute with the meat for 5 minutes. Add spaghetti sauce and simmer for 20 minutes. 

While the sauce is cooking start cooking the pasta. Cook the pasta according to package directions for (al dente). Drain and toss with butter, garlic, powder, onion powder and Parmesan cheese. 

Spray two 13 x 9 inch pans with non-stick spray.  In each pan layer half the sauce, half of the noodles (8 oz in in each pan), remaining sauce in each pan, and top with mozzarella cheese for each casserole (8 oz per casserole). Cover with foil that has been sprayed with non stick spray and bake 45 minutes.

Cook's Note: Green peppers, onions and mushrooms are optional. Make sure the person you are gifting this wonderful casserole to likes those types of veggies. If not just omit them fro the recipe.

This recipe yields 2 casseroles , so plan one for your family and one for a friend. Think of someone who might need a reminder that they have friends who care about them - a new mom in your neighborhood, a family who’s moving, or someone with an illness.

Freezing Instructions: If you're freezing the second casserole prepare and assemble both casseroles. Bake one and then take the second unbaked casserole and double wrap it with plastic wrap, and then cover with aluminum foil, label, date and place the casserole in the freezer for a later date. When ready to use remove from freezer, thaw and bake. 

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Leslie said... #

sooo yum.. I have never heard of a friendship casserole

Sandy said... #

Great post, Tina. I'm always doubling up my cooking!

It's the BEST way to share!

Love and hugs!

Sherrie said... #

What an awesome post. Never heard of this.

anne said... #

This is great, TIna, I was actually looking for this recipe a few weeks back for a friend that had a baby and I couldn't find it, now I have a reason to make it again and i will credit you when I post it on my site, thanks! anne

Julie said... #

well great, now I'm hungry ;) seriously, this looks sooooo yummy, and what a neat idea to make 2 share 1 - I can't wait to try it!

Colleen/And Baby Makes Five said... #

That sounds delicious ... and I love the sentiment too!

I love how you prep it for delivery. So sweet!

Joycee said... #

You posted this on the perfect day, my neighbor across the way just started her new job! She will so appreciate a meal ahead and we will enjoy the extra one!

Tara Rison said... #

Very thoughtful idea. You are such a sweetie. Thanks for sharing!

Crystal Harper said... #

Thanks for the great recipe. Making it to share w/ my neighbor who has 2 sick kiddos.

Mommy's Kitchen said... #

Joycee and Crystal that is really nice of you. This casserole is the perfect choice. LMK how they like it.

Katrina said... #

That looks yummy! Never had this before. I for sure will try it!

Kerri said... #

I just put your link on my blog to share your page and this recipe!

It looks yummy and I can't wait to try it and to share it with a friend.

JavaMama said... #

Love the idea!

Erin @ I Heart New England said... #

Such a cute idea! :)

Patti said... #

I have never heard of this! I am definitely adding this recipe to my collection and making these for my family and a friend! Thanks for sharing another awesome recipe Tina!

Jamie Cooks It Up! said... #

I am going to make this today, Tina. Thanks for the recipe.

tberry29 said... #

Made this last nite!...It was a hit...of course everything I have tried from your blog has always been yummy! We ate one last nite, and I froze the other, of course next time I will make sure I share the other, this was just a last minute desicion when I made it. I made some garlic bread to go with it as well.

Anonymous said... #

If you want to take this casserole to heights you cannot imagine, mix up a package of cream cheese and one carton of sour cream and alternate that mixture in between the sauce and noodles! Unbelievable!

Gloria said... #

I will have to try this. Thanks

Teresa Cordero Cordell said... #

Tina, what a lovely way to tell someone that you care. The recipe is simple and easily duplicated. Way to go!

Teresa Cordero Cordell said... #

Hey Tina, thanks for stopping by. YES, EP has gotten more snow and rain this winter than it has had in the last 10 years. Didn't do my Fibromyalgia any good. My kids live in Dallas and they sent me pictures of all the snow. WOW. Amazing. Stay warm my friend.

Margie said... #

Wow great idea. I can't wait to try this out. Thanks :)

DailyChef said... #

Love this recipe. Only concern is that it is too delicious that I'll want to eat it all myself. :)

Patti said... #

Tina, I made this recipe yesterday. It came in handy since I needed to fix something for our supper and also for a covered dish at church today! It was really good, so I will making it again and again! I am gonna post it on my cooking blog for future reference. Thanks for sharing!

Garret said... #

Yes! we just got a new glass casserole pan. This dish will taste wonderful!

Would you recommend glass casserole dishes over metal ones?

Thanks for the recipe!


Lesley said... #

I put this together earlier this afternoon while the kids were busy playing, did it all except the cheese on top then I just put in the fridge until I was ready to bake it. Sprinkled the cheese on top, popped it in the oven and waited. We loved this SO much! I only made one but plan on making this over and over, probably will make it in batches and freeze them. Great recipe, thanks so much for sharing it!

Mechelle said... #

Yum-O I made this this weekend and was so impressed I posted it in my blog with your button!


I had made this recipe in the past and had lost it :( So when I came across it on your site I was delighted!! My family loves this recipe!! :)

Nicole Luciana-Epperson said... #

Looks delicious! Can't wait to try. I'm always a fan of easy casseroles.
For the Love of Food

Star said... #

I am so glad I came across your site. LOVE IT. Question about Friendship casserole, after you freeze it, when you are ready to cook it do you need to thaw it first or cook it straight out of the freezer?

Gailanne said... #

Hi Tina, just wanted to let you know your recipe blessed yet another family, plus me...thanks for your loving heart.

Anonymous said... #

Yum, great idea. I love this.

Kaye said... #

Thanks so much for this recipe. Going to try it for our Sunday School social this week and have printed the recipe card to share as well.
So many things to choose from on your site, but love the name of this casserole, so prayerfully it will bless our class members!
Blessings always,

Brunella Brunet said... #

My favorite casserole dish is Tamale Pie. Loved by the whole family.

Anonymous said... #

I'm pregnant and making freezer meals to freeze. Should i bake it, then freeze it or freeze it unbaked?

ctgirl717 said... #

I'm with the others that asked the same question - if I decide to keep both casseroles and I bake them at the same time and want to freeze one for later, should you thaw it before putting it in the oven? Thanks!

ctgirl717 said... #

Made this tonight and it was yummy. I think the sugar really added a great sweetness. I cut the recipe in half and it was enough for a family of 4 with 1 or 2 lunch portions still left. :)

Tina Butler said... #

I thought I answered this question a couple weeks back, but I guess the comment didn't go through. I so sorry. If you keep both and freeze one of the casseroles you would need to thaw it first and then bake.

Meredith said... #

Hi! I tried to print the recipe card according to your instructions, but I got a message saying it had a copyright and that I should contact you. My email address is mboutell40@yahoo.com. I would like to make this for a friend who is having surgery next week. Thank you.

Tina Butler said... #

Meridith try printing the recipe card again. I just uploaded the card to google docs for easier printing. I have my photos right click disabled because people were stealing the photos and uploading them to face book as their own. Sorry about that.

karin07 said... #

Hi Tina,

What spaghetti sauce do you use for this recipe?

Elaine Lake said... #

This is also a great recipe to use for fellowship/potluck meals at church. Also, if you are vegetarian (or the friend you are making the second casserole for is) you can easily switch this recipe by using 2 packages of Morning Star Farms Burger Crumbles (in the freezer section of your local grocery store) in place of the 2 lbs of ground beef (and no one, even meat eaters, will be the wiser). Just brown the burger crumbles in about 2 TBL of vegetable oil and follow the rest of the recipe as listed.

Tina Butler said... #

I use Ragu (Super chunky mushroom, green pepper or Sun Dried Tomato and Basil) are my favorites.

Anonymous said... #

Could you use zucchini and squash?

Renee said... #

I make this quite often and share or freeze for later....the pasta I always use is penne pasta, and I don't use the bell pepper, because hubby doesn't like bell pepper. It is one of our favorite go to dishes in regular rotation for my very large family!

Kshep24 said... #

HOw long will it last in the freezer?

Bill Grego said... #

Hi you use 8oz noodles in each dish right?

Diane V said... #

Thank you thank you thank you!! This casserole was AWESOME! Even my picky child loved it! I made and froze the second one and 2 days later a friend asked for meal donations for a friend of hers who is extremely sick and in the hospital. Perfect timing!