I've been reading the blog of Frugal Hausfrau and found her post on creating your own casseroles. So, just like last week when I posted about creating your own soup recipes, I wanted to share making your own casseroles too. There is no need to open another box dinner to get a quick, one-pot meal on your table in a short amount of time.
Casseroles are comfort foods and a good way to sneak some protein or vegetables into the diet of your family--that is, if you need to get sneaky about that sort of thing like I do...LOL. Casseroles are a great way to re-work dinner leftovers into a completely different meal too!
Think about flavors that you like together - maybe enchiladas, or pot roast, or chicken cordon bleu - now deconstruct the ingredients in your mind and think of how you can reassemble them to have similar flavor as your favorites but in a casserole.
Casseroles generally have these basic ingredients:
- Starch: Leftover Rice, Pasta, Noodles, Potatoes, Tortillas or Beans
- Protein: Chicken, Beef, Pork, Ham, Ground Beef, Fish, Eggs or Beans
- Sauce: Homemade White Sauce or Cream Soup or Tomatoes
- Vegetables: Leftover Vegetables, Sauteed Onion and Celery
- Toppings: Cheese, Bread Crumbs, Biscuits, Pie Crust
- Seasoning are always needed - Salt, Pepper and Spices or Herbs
As you can see, this way of making a casserole is quite flexible. If this week you have a lot of leftover vegetables and only a little chicken, you can make something like a Chicken Pot Pie Casserole....or if you have a lot of ground beef left over this week, take some tortillas, beans, canned tomatoes, chili powder and cheese and make a Layered Burrito Casserole. You get the idea....
Generally, I layer the ingredients in a greased casserole dish and bake for around 30 minutes at 350 degrees F. Toppings will get added toward the end of the baking time.
One of the challenges I hear about casseroles is the use of canned soup which is so high in sodium. I urge you to try making your own White Sauce like is posted over on Allrecipes. You can add shredded cheese to that recipe too to make cheese sauce. Look over recipes on the internet to get an idea of the ways others put casseroles together - but use them as guidelines only! Making the recipe your own with what you have on hand is what will fuel your creativity plus be economical.
The casserole dish can be anything that can go in the oven safely and be easily cleaned after, I really like enameled cast iron like this one by Lodge. They last forever and can be passed down from generation to generation.
My favorite casseroles range from a pizza casserole with Italian sausage, tomatoes, rotini and lots of mozzarella to a creamy ham and noodle casserole with a lovely cheese sauce. Today, it was a chicken and rice casserole with carrots and peas topped with buttered bread crumbs.
I would love to hear about your casserole creations! Please leave a comment below with your family favorites....
Tomorrow is Be Intentional and Make Monday Matter - Week 5. Hope to see you then!
Peace be with you,
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