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Tasty Twists on Your Casserole Favorites

Looking for a little comfort on a cold winter day? Look no further than your kitchen and your casserole dish.

Andrew Knowlton, restaurant editor for Bon Appetit magazine, showed how you can turn your old favorite casserole dinner into an inspired new meal with a few delicious twists.

"Early Show" Recipes Galore

Casseroles, Knowlton says, can help you get a lot of bang for your buck. He added one-dish preparation, cooking and clean-up make casserole dinners a breeze.

Eggplant Parmesan Rolls with Swiss Chard and Fresh Mint

This dish is made lighter by not breading and frying the eggplant. Rather, the eggplant here is broiled, and there is the fresh addition if Swiss chard and mint. The filling is a combination of eggs, salt, Swiss chard, ricotta, parmesan, mint and black pepper.

6 servings

2 medium eggplants (about 2 1/4 pounds total), trimmed, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
Coarse kosher salt
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 1-pound bunch Swiss chard, center ribs removed
2 large eggs
1 15-ounce container whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 1/4 cups finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 15- to 16-ounce can tomato sauce
1 8-ounce ball fresh water-packed mozzarella, drained, thinly sliced

Cover bottom and sides of each of 2 large colanders with 1 layer of eggplant slices; sprinkle generously with coarse salt. Continue layering eggplant slices in each colander, sprinkling each layer with coarse salt, until all eggplant slices are used. Place each colander over large bowl; let stand at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour. Rinse eggplant slices to remove excess salt; dry thoroughly with paper towels.

Position oven rack 5 to 6 inches from heat source and preheat broiler. Line 3 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Arrange eggplant slices in single layer on prepared baking sheets. Brush both sides of eggplant slices with olive oil. Broil 1 sheet at a time until eggplant slices are tender and beginning to brown, watching closely and removing eggplant slices as needed if cooking too quickly, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove baking sheet from oven and cool eggplant while preparing filling.

Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add chard to pot and boil just until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain; rinse with cold water. Squeeze chard very dry, then chop coarsely. Squeeze chard dry again between paper towels. Whisk eggs and pinch of coarse salt in medium bowl. Stir in chopped chard, ricotta cheese, 1 cup Parmesan, mint, and black pepper.

Lightly oil 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Spread half of tomato sauce evenly over bottom of dish. Divide chard-ricotta filling among eggplant slices, placing about 1 heaping tablespoon filling in center of each. Starting at 1 short end of each, loosely roll up eggplant slices, enclosing filling. Arrange rolls, seam side down, atop sauce in baking dish. Spoon remaining tomato sauce over. Place mozzarella slices in single layer over rolls. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with foil and chill.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake eggplant Parmesan rolls, covered with foil, until heated through, about 30 minutes if freshly made or 40 minutes if refrigerated. Uncover and bake until brown in spots and sauce is bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve hot.

Eggs In Purgatory with Artichoke Hearts, Potatoes and Capers

Eggs in Purgatory is another classic, a dish of eggs baked or poached in a spicy tomato sauce. There is a new and interesting twist here, as Bon Appetit is adding artichoke hearts and potatoes.

4 servings

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
Coarse kosher salt
1 8- to 10-ounce package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed, drained
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice (preferably fire-roasted)
8 ounces red-skinned or white-skinned potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons drained capers
8 large eggs
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add chopped onion, chopped thyme, and crushed red pepper; sprinkle lightly with coarse kosher salt and sauté until onion is tender and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add artichokes and minced garlic; stir 1 minute. Stir in diced tomatoes with juice and bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover skillet and simmer 15 minutes to allow flavors to blend.

Meanwhile, cook potatoes in small saucepan of boiling salted water just until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain. Add potatoes and capers to tomato-artichoke sauce; cover and simmer 5 minutes. Season to taste with coarse salt and pepper. DO AHEAD Tomato-artichoke sauce can be made up to 6 hours ahead. Cool slightly, then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm sauce before continuing.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Pour tomato-artichoke sauce into 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Using back of spoon, make 8 evenly spaced indentations in sauce for holding eggs. Crack 1 egg into each indentation in sauce (some of eggs may run together slightly in spots). Bake until egg whites and yolks are softly set, 12 to 16 minutes. Carefully remove baking dish from oven; sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese over and serve.

Country Captain with Cauliflower and Peas

According to the Food Lover's Companion, Country Captain is now an American Classic, it is said to have been invented by a British army officer who brought the recipe back from his station in India. It usually consists of chicken, onion, tomatoes, green pepper, celery, currants, parsley, curry powder and various other seasonings cooked slowly over low heat in a covered dish. It's a classic Southern Coastal food, and in this version, Bon Appetit has added cauliflower and peas.

6 Servings

Spice Mixture
1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
3 whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon cardamom seeds (from 3 whole green cardamom pods)
1 1/2-inch piece cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon (scant) cayenne pepper
Chicken
5 tablespoons peanut oil or vegetable oil, divided
1 small head of cauliflower, trimmed, cut into 1-inch florets (about 4 cups)
Coarse kosher salt
2 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs, trimmed, cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces
1 bunch green onions, dark green and white parts chopped separately
1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups (or more) low-salt chicken broth
1 2/3 cups crushed tomatoes with added puree (from 28-ounce can)
1/3 cup dried cherries, finely chopped
1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter
1 1/2 cups frozen petite peas (9 to 10 ounces; do not thaw)
1/3 cup coconut shavings, lightly toasted

Spice Mixture
Place coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, cloves, cardamom seeds, and cinnamon stick in small dry skillet. Stir over medium heat until fragrant and slightly darker in color, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat; cool. Finely grind spices in spice mill or in mortar with pestle. Transfer to small bowl; add turmeric and cayenne.

Chicken
Heat 3 tablespoons oil in heavy large deep pot over medium-high heat. Add cauliflower florets; sprinkle with coarse kosher salt and sauté until beginning to soften and brown in spots, 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer to medium bowl.

Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil and half of chicken to same pot; sprinkle with coarse kosher salt and sauté until chicken is light brown on all sides, about 6 minutes. Transfer chicken to large bowl. Repeat with remaining chicken.

Add white parts of green onions, finely grated ginger, and minced garlic to same pot; reduce heat to medium and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add ground spice mixture; stir 15 seconds. Stir in 1 1/2 cups chicken broth and bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Add crushed tomatoes; reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 15 minutes. Stir in dried cherries and peanut butter; return chicken and any accumulated juices to pot. Cover and simmer 10 minutes. Add sautéed cauliflower to pot; cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through and cauliflower is tender, adding more chicken broth by 1/4 cupfuls if mixture is dry, about 10 minutes longer. Season with coarse salt and pepper.

DO AHEAD
Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated. Rewarm over medium heat before continuing.

Add frozen peas to stew and simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes. Ladle stew into bowls. Sprinkle each serving with green onion tops and toasted coconut shavings and serve.

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