Cowboy casserole- Real Food Makeover


You all may have seen this popular and tasty comfort food on many a potluck table before, but more than likely it was mostly comprised of many non-food items like cream of mushroom soup, tater tots,  processed American cheese, and corn (probably genetically modified).  I’ll be the first to admit that all of these items hold a dear place in my heart as they are the base of many yummy and easy casserole recipes that just scream comfort.  In my effort to give up processed foods, I didn’t want to give up dishes like this and maybe you don’t either.  This began my quest to makeover classic comfort food dishes into “real food” that will nourish your family and be kinder to your waistline and backside. Look at all of the ingredients in just these three items.

Tater tots


Cream of mushroom soup
Water, mushrooms, soybean oil, wheat flour, modified corn starch cream ( contains less than 2% of: salt, whey, monosodium glutamate, soy protein concentrate, autolyzed yeast extract, onion powder, garlic powder. Contains: Wheat, Milk, Soy.

Processed American cheese

I don’t know about you, but I can’t even pronounce half of those.  Why would I want to eat that? Not too appetizing if you ask me!  Not to mention, they are loaded with unhealthy oils, sodium, monosodium glutamate, and weird things like autolyzed yeast and soy protein concentrate.
I made it into real food by subbing real potatoes that I shredded with the food processor in place of the tater tots.  I make my own cream of mushroom soup by using butter, flour, milk, chicken broth, mushrooms, salt, pepper an garlic.  Processed American cheese was replaced with real cheddar cheese from grass fed cows.  I also shredded the cheddar myself in the food processor.  Did you know that most shredded cheese has junk added to it to prevent it from caking?  I learned that this week.
I hope you enjoy this dish.  I liked it because it was a one skillet meal.  I hate washing dishes…err…watching my husband wash dishes.  :)I look forward to sharing with you other real food makeovers.  If you have any you would like to share with me to put on here or any other comfort foods you would like me to try and makeover, let me know.  I’d love to take a stab at it.  As always, I’m learning along with you.  I hope none of what I write comes across as snobby or high and mighty.  I’m just trying to humbly share with you what I too am learning.

Real food Cowboy Casserole

3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
4 T butter (from grass fed cows is best)
1 small to medium onion, chopped
6 mushrooms, chopped
1.5 lbs lean ground beef (grass fed beef is best)
1/4 c flour (arrowroot powder stirred in at the end will work if you are grain free)
3/4 c chicken broth ( homemade is best)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 c milk (raw from grass fed cows is best)
2 c green beans- I used long frozen ones and broke them in half
2 T plain yogurt or sour cream
1 1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese (from grass fed cows is best)
2 c shredded REAL potatoes (I used my food processor and it ended up being 3 tiny potatoes)

Melt one tablespoon of butter in heavy oven safe skillet.  Saute onions and garlic until translucent.  Add ground beef and mushrooms and brown ground beef until cooked throughout.  Drain most of grease.  Add remaining butter and melt.  Then add flour, stir into meat mixture and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add broth, milk and salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat.  Simmer until it becomes thick.  Stir in yogurt or sour cream, frozen green beans and 1 c. of cheddar cheese.  Top with shredded potatoes and remaining 1/2 c shredded cheddar.  Transfer skillet to 350 degree oven and bake 30 minutes until bubbly and potatoes are done and crisping.

If you are looking to make your own cream of…soup I’d roughly follow this recipe:

4 T butter
1/4 cup flour (or arrowroot powder)
1 c milk
3/4 c chicken broth
onions minced
(chicken pieces, mushrooms, celery, etc depending on what kind of soup you are desiring)
salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter.  Saute onions, and whatever kind of veg or meat depending on what kind of soup you are desiring.  Whisk in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add milk and chicken broth.  Whisk and cook over medium heat until thickened.  Salt and pepper to taste

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