web analytics
510 Flares Filament.io 510 Flares ×

Zesty Italian Casserole | www.tasteandtellblog.com

What kind of blogger are you?? (Warning – long post ahead!)

Back in my first year of blogging about food, I came across several other blog posts from other food bloggers, giving tips to new food bloggers. One of the things that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is what kind of food blogger I am. One of those tips – from many great food bloggers – is that you have to find your niche. And it makes sense – some of the most popular and successful food bloggers out there have definitely carved out their little spot in the food blogging world. Kayln blogs about how the South Beach Diet has changed her habits, and brings many healthy, and South Beach Diet friendly meals. Both Helen and Peabody have the corner on the delectable desserts, always managing to bring something new to the table. And Jaden brings us many Asian recipes, all with her witty sense of humor.

So where do I fit in?

When I first started blogging, over 1 1/2 years ago, the original name of my blog was Working Woman Food – food from an everyday, working woman. That name only stuck for a day or two, bu the url has not changed. (Just in case you were wondering why my blog is named Taste and Tell, while the url is workingwomanfood.blogspot.com.) I see myself as your everyday home cook. Nothing fancy. No airs or judgements. But then I started thinking, and I didn’t want to limit myself to just those easy, everyday meals. I still wanted to challenge myself on occasion, but I knew the majority of the recipes I would feature would be easy and fast. I was torn – I knew that I needed a niche, but I wanted it all!

I have found that a lot of food bloggers complain about the programming on The Food Network. And that got me thinking as well. Why is it that this station can continue to be so successful while so many people that are passionate about food don’t watch? Then it all came to me. We, as food bloggers, love food. We love everything about it. And it’s not just about the end result – it’s about the journey and the process. And although there are thousands of us out there – bloggers, chefs, caterers, food critics, and people that just genuinely love food – there are even more people out there who cook just because they have to get dinner on the table that night. These are the people who care enough to give their families a home cooked meal, but don’t have the time or the passion to spend hours looking at recipes online or in cookbooks. These are the people who usually cook the same meals over and over again, but are maybe feeling in a rut and want something different. And maybe they do love to cook, but not enough to put in the time or the effort that it takes to blog about it. (And any food blogger knows that this is not just a casual hobby – it takes lots of time and effort!) These are the people who have maybe never made a cake from scratch, but want to learn.

So this is where it all started to make sense for me. I am stuck in the middle. In a perfect world, I would love to make everything from scratch and have an elegant meal on the table for my family every night. But I’m also one of those people who doesn’t necessarily have 3 hours to spend in the kitchen every night, so I need something fast. I am a food blogger that loves the simplicity of the recipes on the Food Network, while at the same time, I’m not afraid to take on a challenge. (And I, too, wish that there were some “advanced” shows on the Food Network, along with the basic cooking shows.)

So does this bring me any closer to finding my niche? Maybe not, but I have made a deal with myself to no longer make excuses for when I take a shortcut or make an overly simple recipe. I know I have food bloggers that read my blog, but I also know that I have some every day home cooks – just like me – that read my blog, so hopefully I’ll have a little something here for everyone.

Ok, all of that to bring you to this meal! The folks over at Pillsbury have come up with a new great product – Crescent Recipe Creations. I’m so glad they came out with this product – it is a sheet of the crescent dough. Just like their regular crescent rolls, but no perforations (therefore just a sheet, not rolls), which makes recipes like this one so much easier! This is a Bake-Off recipe from 1978, and I can see why it made it into the Best of the Bake-Off cookbook. Simple, yet full of flavor. I followed the recipe as written, but I did add more spaghetti sauce. I had made up some homemade spaghetti sauce from all of our tomatoes (see, just like I said above – I live in both worlds! A convenience food combined with homemade elements!) The homemade sauce was a bit more watery than a store bought sauce, so I had to cook mine a bit longer to thicken it up. And you should be able to find the Crescent Recipe Creations in your grocery store, but if you can’t, you can use the regular crescent rolls, and just pinch together the perforations. Both my husband and I really enjoyed this dinner, and the leftovers were even great!

Zesty Italian Crescent Casserole
from Best of the Bake-Off

 

1 lb. lean ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 cup tomato pasta sauce
6 oz. (1 1/2 cups) shredded mozzarella or Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 (8-oz.) can Pillsbury® Recipe Creations (Or Crescent Dinner Rolls)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter, melted


Heat oven to 375°F. In large skillet, cook ground beef and onion over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until beef is thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently. Drain. Stir in pasta sauce; cook until thoroughly heated.

Meanwhile, in medium bowl, combine mozzarella cheese and sour cream; mix well.

Pour hot beef mixture into ungreased 9 1/2 or 10-inch glass deep-dish pie pan or 11×7-inch (2-quart) glass baking dish. Spoon cheese mixture over beef mixture.

Unroll dough over cheese mixture. In small bowl, mix Parmesan cheese and butter. Spread evenly over dough.

Bake at 375°F. for 18 to 25 minutes or until deep golden brown.

510 Flares Twitter 3 Facebook 0 Pin It Share 504 Google+ 3 Email -- Filament.io 510 Flares ×
twitter fb fb fb

50 Responses to Zesty Italian Crescent Casserole

  1. Happy cook says:

    I like the name Taste and Tell.
    I have heard so much about this Foodnetwork, but we don’t get it here.
    Ofcourse i do watch the European cooking channels.
    When ever i have time i watch these programmes and my hubby is like are you watching again a cooking programme.

  2. Madam Chow says:

    That’s a big reason I read your blog – working woman’s food, indeed!

  3. Katerina says:

    Interesting post, I am niche-less too and I have often thought about it too. The reason I read your blog is that you make a variety of things which appeal and I like your writing style. So there is your niche!

  4. Ryley says:

    hmm.. interesting perspective! I kinda wish I hadn’t abbandoned my food blog sometimes.. Maybe one day I’ll find the passion again.. You always make me want to start writting on it again!

    On to the recipe.. first of all.. I spent about 20 minutes just staring at that garlic bread.. what is it about being pregnant and needing french bread??? I have actually heard from a few different people how much they crave it while they are pregnant. Man.. it looks so good!!

    And the pregnancy brain was TOTALLY kicking in.. I was sitting here wondering if you left out an ingredient because Zesty Italian to my pregnancy brain means it “must” contain italian dressing.. I was trying so hard to figure out where the italian fit in before I realized it was the tomato sauce that made it italian like spagehtti! geez….
    This does look super yummy..and reallllly easy! I may even have all the ingredients..so I should try it! :)

  5. Tartelette says:

    I hope you don’t think I’d make croissants from scratch to make this gorgeous casserole!! Smae with pasta :) Dinners vary in lentgh and difficulty but sice I make desserts day in-day out, I admit I like spending time on dinners during the weekends.
    I’d say your niche is your heart, if it comes from there and the rest takes care of itself!

  6. jen says:

    I like your blog too, and now I’m trying to figure out where I fit in too, I think it may be better to be one that’s eclectic and multifaceted. It makes thing much more interesting. Like if Helen ever did a crock pot dinner…. just to shake things up a bit. :)

  7. Maria says:

    Great post! I really have no idea where I fit in. I just started food blogging and I really don’t know what I am doing. I just know that I love food, everything about it so I will do my best to share my creations with others!! I really enjoy reading everyone else’s blogs too. I get so many ideas. I love looking at the photos, trying new recipes, and getting to know people. It is just fun. I truly think your blog is fantastic! Keep up the good work!!

    Looks like you had a yummy dinner!

  8. Paula says:

    I love your blog and look forward to your new posts. Your niche works just perfect for me. I like the variety of recipes that you post, and you have a great sense of humor, too. Looking forward to your next post!

  9. Cathy - wheresmydamnanswer says:

    Love your blog and your recipes are great for all the peoples!! You blend it all together very well!!

    This is a great and easy recipe – Might just be able to get picky step son to eat this one!!

  10. noble pig says:

    I agree, I love challenging recipes which is why I’m in a supper club but with a family it’s impossible to cook from scratch all the time…I need a mix! I love your recipes and can’t wait to meet your baby!

  11. Sylvie says:

    I think we have a lot in common when it comes to our food philosophy. The dish looks comforting and homey.

  12. Brianne says:

    I have to say I love the combination of recipes you have here. I love looking at Helen and Peabody’s blogs, but I rarely have time or occasion to make big fancy desserts. My husband and I simply don’t need the extra calories! Their blogs are lovely, but I find a lot of recipes that I have time to make on your blog!

    While I love having time to make all the homemade breads and slow simmering dinners, I usually don’t so thank you for your contribution to food blogging!

  13. The Mediocre Cook says:

    I really enjoy your blog. It was one of the first blogs I started reading regularly and it was your everyday approach to food that kept me coming back. As an amateur foodie I could look at a recipe and think that it might be something I could try (in fact I have tried a few). Some are more challenging than others but they always felt possible. You may not always know the niche you fill but I’m sure many of your readers have their own reasons for returning to your blog. Keep up the good cooking! And I just hope that when your little one is born you still have time for everyone here! Even if that means recipes for pureed baby food :)

  14. HoneyB says:

    What a coincidence to read this today. Just a couple days ago a little Korean man (who was our accreditor for our department) told me that I (and my son) should do what our passion is, that when you do what you are passionate about you will succeed. I, like you don’t really know where I fit – but in life. I’m a secretary but I love to cook. I love to create. I love to feed people. This is why I blog. Its a venue for me to get some of what I want. For now.

  15. PheMom says:

    Ha! Perfect! I couldn’t have (and won’t be able to) have said it any better myself. I struggle, because I am completely committed to from scratch only in my baking – but my cooking is a different matter entirely. I am happy to have a homecooked – if not all from scratch – meal in our house. Often that means pancakes, but it also means great dinners and every day dinners. Pillsbury sent me the same stuff (just made the pizza tonight) and I saw some other bloggers kind of bashing even considering taking this stuff. Well, I’m not a basher and I’m grateful for something that helps me take a dinner shortcut now and then so I say – realistic foodie mommies unite! :) (And yes, though you haven’t had the baby yet, you are already a mommy).

  16. Mary says:

    I understand your thinking about niche a lot. The way I think about your blog is like this: Helen and Peabody make desserts that I would order in a restaurant, but I am frequently intimidated about making myself. YOU make food that is home cooking at it’s best that never intimidates me and everything I’ve made tastes delicious. You’re like a favorit pair of blue jeans.

    Me, I’m fairly nicheless. I think I need to work on that.

  17. glamah16 says:

    Great, great, post! I ask myself this question form time to time. Im still finding my way. All I know reading all you inspire me to do more, learn more, and just have fun in the kitchen.I love you because you keep it real and love food.I love how you really use and learn and from your cook books.

  18. TeaLady says:

    Enjoy your blog. Still looking for my niche, too. Started with one, but got side tracked. Too many recipes to try and talk about. Nice read.

  19. CECIL says:

    Very interesting post! :) Blog maybe just my way of connecting with people who shared similar interest, I think. My blogging life started in 2005, when I was confined in hospital and later, home, for way too many months. It was pretty much the only way to keep friends and family afar updated to recent news. Then I stopped when I started my 6 months recovery trip to Asia – getting internet connection was hit and miss.

    For food blog, I have been thinking about it for a while, with my love for food and all. I realized this is such a fun way to get to know all of these fantastic people (cook) around the world! There are only so many things I can cook or know how to cook, so it’s inspiring to see how others manifest theirs. Kinda live through their unique kitchen experience.

    And I love your blog!! It’s refreshing and love your sense of humor! :)

  20. Mochachocolata Rita says:

    hoho i love your previous WWF name too! :) simply because i am a WW as well ;)

  21. Rosa's Yummy Yums says:

    A marvelously tasty casserole! Really scrumptious and comforting!

    A great post! I love your blog and recipes!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  22. Emiline says:

    Well said! I definitely think you’ve found your niche!

    I think I’ve heard of this before. I’ve browsed through that Bake-Off book a couple of times.

  23. Jenny says:

    Great post Deborah. It is a good question, I still don’t know what kind of blogger I am, I just go!

    Love the new Pillsbury products, great for quick dinners.

  24. Deb says:

    What an interesting post and something I have not given a lot of thought to. What makes the blogging world so great is that we can all learn something from one another whether we are professionals or just foodies that love to cook. For me, it is not just about someone being able to concoct culinary creations, but it is also the little peek and snapshot into their lives and the stories that are told that that endears me to a blog. I enjoy your blog for what it is. Keep up the great work!

  25. chou says:

    Very astute observations RE the love-hate relationship with the FN. Of course, there’s also the guilty voyeuristic pleasure that accompanies watching something beautiful be created, even if the creative process has been skewed, changed, compressed–it’s the soap opera of food, and we can’t help but be entranced.

  26. Patsyk says:

    I’ve been thinking about the same thing lately… do I have a niche? Not really… I am kind of where you are… I need some simple meals for busy nights, while other times I want to really challenge myself to try a new technique so I can continue to become a better cook.

    That casserole sounds really great… I’m going to have to see if my store carries that crescent dough, I can see so many uses for it!

  27. Grace says:

    great post, deborah! i had often wondered about your url. :)
    meanwhile, i’m in the middle of the road for most things, and this is no exception.

  28. Prudy says:

    I think it’s a great little niche and definitely much needed in these busy times. I’m definitely a from scratch type for health, but I will often take these types of recipes and make them from scratch. Plus I only work PT at this point, so it’s doable for me. I love your blog!

  29. Anonymous says:

    I just found your site yesterday and enjoyed finding some new/easy recipes! I work full time and try to feed my family healthy meals so I know I will be coming back here very often for some inspiration!
    Keep on doing what you do!

    Diane in Cincinnati

  30. AnticiPlate says:

    You have really made me put my thinking cap on. I don’t know if I have a niche either:) I just like to make delicious food!

  31. Gabi says:

    I considered trying to find my niche but I don’t do well in small spaces. :) hehe
    When I think of you and what I find when I visit your blog- I think of well balanced and explorative- I like that you try to get something out of your cookbooks and share what you find there. You can make both the complicated and the simple sound scrummy! You are also an energetic “working woman” who does “taste and tell” very well. those of us who read you hear your voice in what you write- you don’t need imposed limits. xxo

  32. Debbie says:

    I love your blog and know exactly how you feel. Sometimes (mostly really!) the recipes I post are super easy….and I sometimes feel people will be bored reading my blog. But what you are saying makes sense. Some people want just a simple easy to make meal that is not intimidating. Thanks! (I’m fairly new at this and have no clue what my niche is but I would definitely rather bake than cook so I guess that is a clue!).

  33. Mrs. L says:

    I learned a long time ago that good food is good food whether the recipe takes five minutes to make or five hours to make. I love your blog and have bookmarked many recipes!

  34. Lina says:

    I dont think ive ever made a casserole before… that sounds so yummy!

  35. Mel, A Dramatic Mommy says:

    That looks great! The advice about finding a niche holds true for all bloggers, I think. It goes along with finding your voice.

    I’m still looking for both but I’m having fun along the way. I’m glad I stumbled across your blog. I enjoy the writing style and the recipe I tried was great.

    I think many of us get caught up in defining our blogs. I’ve vowed to stop overthinking it for awhile and see what happens.

  36. Brilynn says:

    I’ve always felt like I don’t really have a niche either, I’m kinda scattered all over the place. I would probably be more successful if I determined what my niche was and stuck with it… in all areas, not just blogging.

  37. Dhanggit says:

    Each bloggers and blog site have their own character and personality that sets them apart from the rest. That’s what make food blogging interesting much exciting isnt it? To know that no matter we will surely find something that will fit our palate! I love your blog and the fact that you are a working mom! That’s super great! Your recipes are a goldmine to lot of busy people but love good food! This crescent casserole is calling my name :-)

  38. veron says:

    What a great insightful post. Now you had me thinking what kind of blogger I am. I love doing experiments but I just don’t have the time anymore to do a lot of iterations of a certain dish….but I guess I do like to generally muse about food.
    Oh…and I don’t watch the Food Network…
    Can I have a slice of the yummy Italian crescent casserole , please?

  39. Megan says:

    I just try to be honest in my writing and post about what ever it is I’m making. I’ll let my niche find me. I’m just an ordinary girl making some exteaordinary food, sometimes with a mix, sometimes with a food network recipe (Love Rachael Ray’s 30 minute meals), but always with passion. Maybe thats our niche!

  40. kamailesfood says:

    I enjoy reading your blog and I’ve made quite a few of the recipes you’ve posted.

    This recipe sounds yummy and quick to make. I like the idea of a sheet of crescent roll dough. Why didn’t they think of that sooner?

    PS Great photo! :)

  41. Kalyn says:

    Personally I think that easy recipes that taste good will always be popular. On my blog, one of the most popular categories is “Five ingredients or less.” You hit the nail on the head when you said there are a lot of people who want to cook but don’t care about experimenting or trying new things that much. The world is full of those kinds of people. There are only a few of us who want to think about food all the time and write about it on our blogs! Great post!

    I think the most important thing about your blog is to do what feels right for you! And you are doing that very well.

  42. Peabody says:

    I am one of those lucky people who knew right away what direction I wanted to go in. When I stated to get scattered and not do all baking, that is when I created yet another blog.
    You are doing a fantastic job! A lot of my week night meals for my husband come from here.
    Keep it up.

  43. hot garlic says:

    You know I am SO on the same wavelength as you. You have to be yourself, and it should come natural. It think for me the quandry comes in when I try to be what I think people WANT me to be something. As long as you don’t listen to that, and do what you want, it will come off as genuine and you will be happier too.

    It is hard, because so many people who are on my same level or are even more advanced than me read my blog now, in some ways it was so much fun when it was just me and my friends and I could be the expert! I miss that in a lot of ways.

    I, like you maybe do, feel kinda stupid posting things that are so simple, yet they are what get the biggest repsonse! Sometimes I have to take a step back and remember what it was like before I knew so much or had so much more experience. I only have that because I sought it out, but you’re right, because of time constraints or not being interested, most others don’t and are just looking to get by.

    O it is such a balancing act isn’t it!? Good luck!

    And this and the peach things look GREAT! Especially the peach because it is dessert, my favorite!

  44. Psychgrad says:

    I’ve thought about my niche before and have come to be really okay with just doing my thing. Posting about food-related things in my life. Whether that means savoury or sweet, local or travel – I just like to share and have “documentation” of memories.

    I like the niche blogs – but relate best to the everyday cooks.

  45. Colleen says:

    This was a very inspiring post for me, as I just started my own food blog and am having trouble with accepting my limited photography skills, time, and knowledge of food. It is a growing process and I agree with you that we should not be ashamed of using shortcuts or other things that make our lives easier but still give us delicious food!

  46. Mrsblocko says:

    I just made this dish and wrote about it on my blog: http://tomatoesforapples.blogspot.com/2009/08/zesty-italian-crescent-casserole.html

    I made a couple of goofs but the recipe was great and I'll be making it again. Thank you!

  47. Rick and Nikki says:

    I just made this recipe tonight for dinner! It was deeeelisssh! I'm going to try and pull it off next time with 2 cups of chopped chicken – not because it wasn't delicious..more so to keep my waist size down!

    By the way. I love your blog. I love the fact that your recipes are simple without an overwhelming ingredient list. I'm a newlywed, and quite the novice cook, and your recipes are delicious and manageable. Thank you!

  48. Gwel says:

    i cannot open the recipe “Ground beef crescent casserole, please help!

  49. Carol says:

    Been making this recipe for years, got it off the internet about 5 years ago, one of my son’s favs.

  50. William Zane Qualls says:

    Wasn’t what i imagined. Not bad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>