Cheeseburger Casserole is a Perennial Favorite


According to the number of different recipes for it available on the internet, cheeseburger casserole is high on the most popular casserole list. :-)

Casseroles are enjoyable comfort food. Families like them because they are tasty. Cooks like them because they are a complete meal in a dish and can be made ahead of time.

Cheeseburger Casserole

Casseroles first gained popularity in the 1950's with the introduction of lightweight glass baking dishes. It became easy to mix a variety of ingredients together and bake in the new dishware for a complete meal. Casserole became the byword for a meal that was inexpensive, easy to make and a guaranteed family favorite. In the same decade hamburger fast food chains were increasing in popularity so when Mom said she was making cheeseburger casserole, it conjured up a wealth of associated smells and tastes that were familiar.

The basic recipe for this casserole has certain key ingredients. Ground beef is the usual meat though some cooks use ground chuck or even ground turkey. Grilled onions are added to the browned beef. Tomato sauce and ketchup is generally included, though many recipes also call for chopped canned tomatoes. Some cooks individualize with different soups such as a can of tomato, cream of mushroom , or even cream of chicken. Seasonings besides salt and pepper range from oregano, garlic, and Italian seasoning mix to lemon pepper.

For the cheese, recipes call for everything from American cheese slices to grated cheddar to cans of cheddar cheese soup. Also mentioned were mozzarella and Colby cheddar. The meat, onion and sauce mixture is layered in the dish with the cheese and other ingredients to build the casserole. Many recipes include refrigerated biscuits on top or around the sides, mashed potatoes in layers withing the casserole, or frozen french fries on the bottom, within or on top of the dish. The top layer is almost always more grated cheese.

Creative cooks varied their casseroles by adding chopped green peppers or dill pickles, mustard, sesame seeds and crumbled crispy bacon. Some used corn chips or potato chips crumbled on top for crispy texture. A few mentioned including corn or green beans. Most bake at 350 degrees for anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour. You can even prepare this dish with your family's favorite potatoes, rice or egg noodles. Choose flavors liked by your family and create your own cheeseburger casserole.

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