7-Layer Casserole

a not-too-pretty cooked casserole

This is the seventh of the seven recipe cards I pulled out of my old recipe box for a stretch of what I call “pandemic recipes”. Hey, the seventh and “7-Layer”! Total coincidence, I didn’t plan this out.

Layered casseroles are a class of convenience dishes that were popular in the sixties. I have a six-layer casserole recipe in my main dish recipe collection. Layered salads and dips were popular too – one that I remember used spinach. These dishes were popular not only at dinner, but for taking to get-togethers, like family gatherings. My mother (like so many others) did not have a job outside the home, but was a member of various sewing clubs, bridge clubs, and women’s clubs with lots of pot luck luncheons. The thought of going to a gathering inside someone’s home . . . who ever knew that that simple pleasure would have to be given up? Pandemics suck.

For this 7-Layer Casserole recipe, I will need rice, “whole kernel” (I assume I meant whole kernel corn), tomato sauce, onion, green pepper, ground beef, and bacon. I have all of these ingredients on hand, so I can make the casserole without a mask-faced trip to a store. Time to get cooking!

7-Layer Casserole

Put in a casserole:

  • 1 cup uncooked rice (*see my discussion below the recipe)
  • 1 cup whole kernel corn
  • salt and pepper

Pour over:

  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 can of water (4 ounces or 1/2 cup)


  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 3/4 pound ground beef
  • salt and pepper

Pour over:

  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 can water (2 ounces or 1/4 cup)

Cover the casserole with:

  • bacon strips, cut in half

Cover the casserole and bake at 350˚ for 1 hour. Uncover and bake about 30 minutes longer.

*The rice I chose to use in this casserole did not get done in the cooking time given in the recipe. In the 1960s, “rice” available to American cooks was just “white rice”. No choices! Today there are dozens of types of rice available in supermarkets. I used long-grained white rice. About an hour into the cooking time, I could tell that the rice was not getting done, so I added a bit of water and increased the oven temperature to 375˚. Finally, but quite a bit later, the rice was done.

Although the casserole had good flavors (bacon!), I doubt I’ll ever make it again, because of the rice issue. The assembly was nice, though, it took just a few minutes to put it all together. Give it a try, if you like, but be sure to choose rice that cooks in a short period of time.

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