Showing posts with label casserole. Show all posts
Showing posts with label casserole. Show all posts

Friday, April 22, 2016

Pickled Herring Casserole

Last week I regaled you with tales of the local Herring Run Festival (where the guests of honor—the herring—failed to show up).

In case you’re wondering (ha!), local herring (or alewife) are flatish fish between 10-15 inches long, that migrate by the millions each year, gathering offshore to begin their difficult trek up coastal streams and rivers to their traditional spawning grounds. There’s one in my town (and I’ve seen the herring running there), and also one in Plymouth, in the stream that runs behind the gristmill there that was managed by one of my ancestors. Local agencies in Plymouth have worked together to improve the herrings’ passage at that spot, on a “notched weir-pond fishway.” Whatever that is.

Oh, all right, back to food. I decided I wanted to try cooking herring, because it’s herring season. Which turned out to be complicated. It’s difficult and in some cases illegal to harvest the herring during their run upstream. I asked my helpful fish-vendor at my local supermarket if herring was available and she looked at me like I was crazy. Which left me with only one option: pickled herring.

I do like pickled herring, courtesy of those same Swedish step-grandparents I mentioned earlier. But most of the recipes I found were either for how to pickle your own (assuming you find herring), or how to use the finished product in a salad. I am not ready to face salads—it’s still cold out there. I finally found one recipe, originated by Emeril Lagasse (who included the recipe for pickling your own, which he borrowed from a Massachusetts source), later repeated by Martha Stewart. I bought a jar of pickled herring in white wine.

Pickled Herring Casserole


1 Tblsp butter

1 cup fine dried bread crumbs (I used panko)
1 Tblsp finely chopped fresh parsley
2 oz. grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
1 pound potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 cups thinly sliced onions
2 Tblsp four
Pickled herring (the recipe called for six whole ones, but mine were already cut up—I used one jar)
1-1/2 cups whole milk (or cream)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a glass or ceramic baking dish with butter.

If like me you are using pre-made pickled herring, rinse it in water and drain.

In a small bowl, combine the crumbs, parsley and cheese, and season with the salt and pepper. Mix well.

Season the potatoes and onions with salt and pepper. Place a layer of potatoes on the bottom of the casserole, and add a layer of onions on top. Sprinkle 1 Tblsp of flour over the onions.

Place half the herring on top of the onions. Repeat, making a second layer of potatoes/onions/herring. 

Pour the milk slowly over the contents of the casserole. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the top, and dot with any butter you have left.

Cover the top with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until the crumb topping is nicely browned. Test with a sharp knife to see if the potatoes are cooked through.

My assessment? Not bad. The herring adds a nice tang to the dish. I think next time I’d increase the cream to milk ratio to create a bit more sauce. Actually you could make this with almost any preserved fish (smoked salmon, for example), and it’s quick and simple. 

Happy Herring Season!

Getting closer all the time...

I grew up outside of Philadelphia. My father worked in North Philadelphia, and his company (Philadelphia Gear Corporation) was among the first to flee the city in favor of the suburbs, in 1958. So in a way, I witnessed the decline of the city.

But I worked in the city too (and I worked for the City), years later, and I believe in the city and its citizens. So does my protagonist Nell Pratt--and with some help from her friends, she comes up with some creative ideas to try to turn the tide of urban decline.

Coming June 7th. Available now for pre-order at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Dru Ann’s Tuna Melt in a Bowl: a Cheesy, Creamy Tuna Mac Casserole via Cleo Coyle

All of us here at Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen were excited to learn that our friend, book reviewer and honorary Cozy Chick, Dru Ann Love was nominated for an Anthony Award this year for her blog.

If you have yet to discover Dru’s Book Musings, then you’re in for a treat. Dru not only shares book reviews and hosts giveaway, she challenges authors with a creative question: 

How would you describe "A Day in the Life" of your sleuth?
Our Clare Cosi in avatar form.
To read her Day in the Life
at Dru's blog, 
click here.
Marc and I took up the challenge a few months ago, putting our Coffeehouse Mystery sleuth, Clare Cosi, through her paces on Dru’s blog. And every one of our fellow Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen cooks have written Day in the Life features for Dru, as well! Just click here and use the search bar on the left column to look for your favorite author's Day in the Life.

With Dru's Anthony nomination still hot off the press, Marc and I thought it would be fun to give her a little foodie tribute so we decided to whip up one of her favorite recipes, one she shared as a guest here at Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen. 

We have made Dru's version of this easy, cheesy pasta dish several times and (yes) LOVE it—which is quite appropriate since it came from a lady named Love!


~ Cleo

Dru Ann's Tuna Mac and Cheese Casserole

(or as we call it) "Tuna Melt in a Bowl"

To see Dru Ann Love’s original recipe post 
(with her step-by-step photos and commentary) , click here. 

Our version is practically identical. We made some very small changes in the recipe writing and some notes on the seasonings, that's it!

Serves 4


1/2 box of medium pasta shells (1 lb box)

3/4 of an (8 oz) block extra sharp cheddar cheese (or you can use the entire block if you want it extra-cheesy)

1 (5 oz) can solid white tuna in water

2 - 3 heaping tablespoons mayonnaise (Hellman’s is Dru's favorite, and ours, too.) 

1/2 teaspoon or so of seasonings (see the suggestions in the note below)

Directions: First preheat your oven to 350° F. Prepare the pasta as directed on the box, and be sure to make it al dente (do not overcook or the casserole will be mushy). While the pasta is cooking, drain the tuna well, place it in a large bowl, and flake it with a fork. Season it (see note below) and set aside. Slice the block of cheese into small cubes and set aside. When the pasta is finished cooking, drain well, and pour it into the bowl 
with the seasoned tuna. Add the cubed cheese and mayonnaise. Toss well, until all the pasta is coated. If needed, add more mayonnaise. Pour the pasta into a casserole dish (1-1/2 quarts in size) or a loaf pan (9x5-inches) and bake for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before digging in!

Seasonings note:

Dru Ann suggests Black & Red from spice merchant Penzeys. 
This is a great seasoning suggestion! If you don’t have this on hand, you can make your own by mixing freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of hot red cayenne. 

Our suggestion from Penzeys is Northwoods Fire. Again, if you don’t have this on hand, you can make it yourself with this mix of spices: coarse salt, paprika, ground chipotle pepper, black pepper, cayenne red pepper, thyme, rosemary and granulated garlic.

Visit Dru Ann's 

award-nominated blog here.

Like Dru on facebook

Follow Dru on Twitter.

And may you always...

Eat (and read) with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries 

* * * 


Have you Entered Our
May Giveaway?

3 Gifts Cards and a
Coffeehouse Grand Prize Pack
will be awarded to four winners
next Monday at Midnight.

Find out how to enter in 
our Spring Newsletter.

It was sent out this past weekend and
includes recipes, news, and video fun...

If you didn't receive it or would like to sign up,
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After you subscribe, an auto-reply will send
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Thanks for stopping by the Kitchen!

~ Cleo

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Pennsylvania Dutch Ham and Noodle Casserole + A Secret Code Contest from Cleo Coyle

While growing up in Pennsylvania, my husband and I both traveled many times through Lancaster County, which is traditional Pennsylvania Dutch country. 

There's good, wholesome eating in that neck of the PA woods. Roadside markets sell fresh baked pies, home-jarred preserves and jellies, and pickled meats and vegetables. The local restaurants feature Amish cooking, too. But in the Keystone State, you don’t have to be Pennsylvania Dutch to find sauerkraut, coleslaw, whoopee pies (invented in Lancaster County) or an egg noodle casserole on your dinner table.

This plain yet delicious casserole is common where Marc and I grew up. Our mothers made different versions. Now we make our own, and that's what we're sharing with you today. Because...

"No joy is complete unless it is shared."

~ Amish Proverb

 So let's get cookin'...

Cleo Coyle has a partner in 
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here or here.

Waste not. It's a philosophy Marc and I share with the Amish, who believe in the simplicity of life.

Speaking plainly, we have holiday ham leftovers, and we thought some of you might, too. This is a dish that makes good use of them.

It's a no-bake casserole, so you can stir it together fast on your stove top, yet the results are creamy, cheesy, and delicious.

While there are many versions of this popular Pennsylvania Dutch casserole out there, we stand by our way of doing it. Instead of canned soup, which is often used in these recipes, we prefer a combination of fresh milk and evaporated (the latter for richness). 

For color, texture, and nutrition, we like to add peas and diced carrots (frozen to keep things simple). We use a combination of Swiss and sharp cheddar with the ham, which brings plenty of flavor. We also add sour cream and a bit of mustard powder. These bring the right touch of tangy brightness to the creamy sauce, without overpowering it. The results will snap your taste buds to life (instead of putting them to sleep with a dish that's too bland). This casserole may look plain, but it's amazingly satisfying. We hope you agree. So...

Keep things simple and eat with joy,

~ Cleo

To download a free PDF document
of this recipe that you can print,
save, or share, click here.

Click here for free recipe PDF.

Cleo Coyle's
Pennsylvania Dutch Ham,
Cheese, and Noodle Casserole 


1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
1 tablespoon (salted) butter
2 cups cooked ham, diced into small pieces
1-1/2 cups frozen peas and diced carrots
(do not thaw)
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1 cup fresh milk (splash in more for extra creaminess)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder*
2 cups shredded cheese 
(We use 1 cup Swiss and 1 cup sharp cheddar)*
12-ounce package of extra-wide egg noodles,
     cooked and drained
(See our Noodle Note)**
Salt and pepper to taste

*Ingredient notes: Mustard powder works best in this recipe, but in a pinch you can substitute 1 to 2 teaspoons prepared yellow mustard. As for the cheese, a combination of cheeses is delicious in this recipe. We like to use 1 cup shredded Swiss and 1 cup shredded sharp or mild cheddar or even Colby-Jack. Velveeta is fine if you’re a fan. But it’s so mild that we suggest you combine it with either shredded Swiss or extra-sharp cheddar for better flavor.


Step 1 – S
auté ham and veg for flavor: In a large (at least 4-quart) skillet or saucepan warm the oil and butter over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted, add the ham and sauté for a minute or two. Add the (still) frozen peas and carrots and toss them to coat. (Do not try to cook them in this step, but do toss them enough to get their exteriors glistening with the butter and oil for good flavor in the final dish.)

Step 2 - Create the creamy sauce: Stir in the can of evaporated milk, the fresh milk, sour cream, and mustard powder. Heat to boiling. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Now add the shredded cheese and stir until everything is melted and smooth. Remove from heat, cover, and set aside.

**Step 3 – Cook the noodles, according to package directions. Al dente is best, do not over-cook. The minute they are well drained, add them to the pan of creamy ham and cheese and heat everything through until bubbling. If you find the sauce on the thick side, splash in a bit more fresh milk. Add salt and pepper to taste 
and eat with joy!

**Noodle Note – While you may be tempted to cook the noodles first, and set them aside while you make the sauce, my advice is don’t. When egg noodles cool, they stick together like the dickens. The result will be a heartbreaking noodle-blob that will ruin your casserole. So be sure to add the egg noodles right after they have been drained, while still hot, and you shouldn't have any problems eating with joy. :)

Recipe PDF

Click here for a free
PFD of this recipe.

May you eat (and read) with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
Follow me on twitter here
Visit my online coffeehouse here.

☕ ☕ ☕ ☕ ☕

Coming from Penguin Random House...

The NEW Coffeehouse Mystery!

On sale January 10, 2017

Filled with wonderful twists
and surprises, this is one
Coffeehouse Mystery you
won't want to miss!

To pre-order now, click links for... 


This culinary mystery includes
more than 25 delicious recipes!
To get the Free Recipe Guide,

Click here for the
Free Recipe Guide.

* * *

Our newest bestselling hardcover 
is now a bestseller in paperback!

Join amateur sleuth Clare Cosi
as she sets out to caffeinate
our nation's capital and solve
a capital crime.

To buy now, click links for... 

☕ ☕ ☕

For the Free
Recipe Guide, 
click here!

* * *

The bestselling Penguin hardcover 
is now a bestseller in paperback!

Once Upon a Grind 
by Cleo Coyle

To buy now, click links for...

A Best of the Year Pick ~ Kings River Life 
"Fresh and fun...clever" ~ Booklist
A Mystery Guild Selection 


Join coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi as she solves the crime against "Sleeping Beauty," opens secret doors (uptown and down), and investigates a cold case that's been unsolved since the Cold War.


Wonderful recipes are also featured
in Cleo's 14th culinary mystery, Once Upon a Grind including...

* Dairy-Free "Cinderella" Pumpkin Cake
* Dairy-Free Almond Milk Custard
* Caramel-Dipped Meltaway Cookies 
* Black Forest Brownies 
* Cappuccino Blondies 
* Shrimp Kiev
* Dr Pepper Glazed Chicken
* Silver Dollar Chocolate Chip Cookies
* Poor Man's Caviar
* Snow White Chocolate Mocha

...and many more recipes, including 
a guide to reading coffee grinds...

See Once Upon a Grind's 
Recipe Guide by clicking here.

*  *  *

Billionaire Blend:
A Coffeehouse Mystery

To buy now, click links for... 

See Billionaire Blend's
Recipe Guide by
 clicking here.

*  *  * 

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
15 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 


See mini plot summaries 
for every title and news on
 Cleo's next release!

* * *

Book #1 of
which Cleo write under the name 
Alice Kimberly

Haunted Bookshop 

Get a free title checklist, with 
mini plot summaries, by clicking here.

Or learn more about the books
and meet Jack Shepard,
our PI ghost by clicking here.

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Subscribe to Cleo's free Coffeehouse E-Newsletter with bonus recipes, fun info, books news, and drawings for signed books, premium coffees, and more....

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