Dig Into Easy Summer Casseroles

Food Network's Beef and Cheddar Casserole

Photo by: Tara Donne ©FOOD NETWORK : 2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Tara Donne, FOOD NETWORK : 2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

It’s about that time that we switch gears from spring eating to something more suited for the warm weather. When you think summer eating, visions of ketchup-laced hot dogs, smothered-in-sauce ribs and other staples are likely to come to mind.

Casseroles, on the other hand, likely aren’t at the top of your brain. But maybe they should be. When you incorporate seasonal ingredients, this potluck power player can go well beyond the tired tuna casserole. Take your pick of Food Network’s best casseroles, from creamy sides to complete dinners.

Like tacos, loaded Beef and Cheddar Casserole (pictured above) is a dish with major staying power on your family’s weeknight dinner roster, especially since it’s ready in just under an hour. Simply pour beefy tomato sauce over wide egg noodles and bring on the cheese.

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CHILI_CORN_CASSEROLE_15.tif

Food stylist: Jamie Kimm Prop Stylist: Marina Malchin,Food stylist: Jamie KimmProp Stylist: Marina Malchin

Put chili leftovers to good use with Food Network Magazine’s Chili-Corn Casserole. Unlike a from-the-pantry casserole of your past, this one tops a layer of polenta with fresh corn kernels for a fresh, sweet pop.

Just because you’re into vegetables doesn’t mean you’re not down for a hearty casserole. Vegetarian Tortilla Casserole fills every need you can think of, taking care of the herbivores, the budgeters and the gluten-intolerant.

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GiadaDeLaurentiis_TomatoVegetableCasserole_H2

Photo by: Renee Comet ©Renee Comet

Renee Comet, Renee Comet

Once tomatoes become plump and ready this summer, Giada’s Tomato Vegetable Casserole is a solid way to put them to use. The tomatoes may be the headliner, but yams, potatoes, peppers and zucchini are hidden beneath a Parmesan breadcrumb topping.

Three Cheese and Winter Green Lasagna_012.tif

Three Cheese and Winter Green Lasagna_012.tif

Week Night meal in a white baking pan

©Food stylist: Jamie Kimm Prop Stylist: Marina Malchin

Food stylist: Jamie Kimm Prop Stylist: Marina Malchin

Make Swiss Chard Lasagna in lieu of the red-sauced classic. You may be able to fetch this hearty green from the store year-round, but Swiss chard is in its prime from June to August.

Warm-weather comfort foods don’t have to come with the same calorie slam as some of their counterparts. Follow in the footsteps of this Healthy Squash and Kale Casserole by adding a smaller portion of full-fat cheese for bigger flavor, and opting for brown rice.

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