2 Cheap & Easy Casseroles That Are Perfect For Families

Rachel | Rachel Resets
by Rachel | Rachel Resets

Today I’m going to show you how to make two cheap and easy casseroles. These casseroles are both budget friendly and delicious. Best of all, these recipes have simple ingredients and are easy to follow.

Ingredients for the casserole

1. Scalloped ham and potato casserole

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare the following ingredients:

  • ⅓ cup butter
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme (plus more for garnish)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 3 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes sliced ⅛ inch thick
  • 2 cups cooked diced ham 
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Softening the onions

Start by melting your butter or margarine in a pan and then adding the chopped onion. Let those soften slightly. Add a little bit of flour to it and make a roux. Then you're going to add some milk to make a bechamel sauce.

Once you add your flour, stir it very quickly so it doesn't clump. Add milk slowly and stir frequently in the beginning. It's very important to add a little bit of milk at a time, because if you add it all at once, you're going to have big clumps of flour in your sauce. 

Adding the ham to the pot

Once you've stirred in all the milk you’re going to add in your seasoning. Add in the bouillon cube, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. You can also add in the paprika. Adding the thyme leaves will give the potatoes a really nice flavor.

When the sauce thickens add in your ham. Once that heats the sauce is ready. 

Cheap casserole recipes

Spray the bottom of your pan. Spread a light and even layer of the potatoes out on the bottom of the pan. Pour about half of the mixture over the potatoes and then spread it out a bit so it's evenly distributed over the whole pan.

Then add the other half of the potatoes on top evenly and spread the rest of the sauce on top.

It doesn't matter too much what type of ham you use. You can use the pre-diced kind that Walmart carries, or you can use leftover ham and just dice it up yourself. Either way, it's delicious in this dish.

If you don't have ham, you can use ground turkey or some ground sausage in its place.

Covering the casserole with cheese

Sprinkle your cheese on top and cover it with tinfoil. Place it in the oven and cook it for about 30 minutes.

Scalloped ham and potato casserole

This is actually a great casserole if you need to freeze something ahead of time for a party or for days when you don’t have time to cook. You just take it out of the freezer and heat it up when you're ready for it.

Ingredients for the million-dollar spaghetti

2. Million-dollar spaghetti

I've made this recipe several times and it's been a hit every single time. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Here are the ingredients and measurements:

  • 16 ounces of dried spaghetti noodles
  • 1 large yellow onion chopped
  • 4-6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1½ pounds of sweet Italian sausage 
  • 3 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning 
  • 48 ounces spaghetti sauce (2 jars)
  • 8 ounces cottage cheese or ricotta cheese
  • 8 ounces of cream cheese at room temperature
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 3 cups mozzarella shredded
  • ½ cup butter cut into slices


Add some salt to a pot of water to get it boiling. Then start browning your sausage with the onions and cook all of those delicious flavors together. Add in the minced garlic and give everything a good stir as it cooks.

Add your pasta to the boiling water. Go ahead and stir your pasta so that it doesn't clump together and then leave it to boil. Don’t let this pasta boil too long because you do want it to cook a little bit longer in the oven and you don't want it to get soggy.

Adding sauce to the spaghetti

Now you're going to add your sauce and Italian seasoning to the meat mixture. Then add the meat and onion and garlic mixture into the pan with the sauce.

I think the recipe calls for you to just use the plain pasta but I like to mix the sauce into the pasta because that way I can make sure that everything is evenly coated and that I have an equal amount of sauce all throughout the pasta.

This also ensures that the pasta doesn't clump together as it bakes.

Seasoning the sour cream

Then put your sour cream into a bowl. You're going to make the white filling that you would normally have in a lasagna, except this is going to be a spaghetti dish. Add in your cottage cheese. If you have ricotta, you could use ricotta instead.

Then you're going to add in your cream cheese and some more Italian seasoning and stir that all together.

Adding cheese to the casserole

Add in your mozzarella cheese and stir that. You’re going to have this lovely filling that's going to help make a rich, creamy layer inside of your baked spaghetti. Now put a little bit of butter on the bottom.

Cheap and easy casseroles

Spread about half of your spaghetti layer onto the bottom of your pan and then put dollops of the white mixture in the middle and spread it out in an even layer across the whole pan.

Next, top that layer off with the rest of the spaghetti mixture. Spread it out evenly into the pan. Then you can pour a bunch of mozzarella cheese on top. 

Cheap and easy casseroles

These two casseroles are major crowd-pleasers. Whether you’re making dinner for your family or hosting a gathering these are great meal options. Give these recipes a try and leave me a comment to let me know what you think.

Join the conversation
2 of 5 comments
  • J J on Mar 16, 2023

    I make the au gratin potatoes and ham casserole all the time. I use boxed au gratin potato mix and throw the ham in, then add thawed frozen broccoli and a diced onion. Use directions on the box.

  • J J on Mar 16, 2023

    I cheat on the au gratin potatoes and ham casserole. Using a box mix and adding thawed frozen broccoli and diced onion.