ISO shockingly good casserole recipes
Please tell me I'm not asking too much! :)
Some friends and I were talking about back-to-school schedules, coupled with sports commitments, which means unless we plan ahead, dinnertime can be stressful.
But we're convinced there just HAS to be some good casserole recipes out there. Please no -- no tuna casserole with crushed chips on top; and preferably no Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup or Pillsbury dough short cuts.
What we're looking for are modern-day, good stuff that will feed our kids (no picky eaters here! They are adventurous eaters!) and leave us less stressed. We're both good cooks with stocked pantries and good local markets. Any suggestions or links to good recipes?
(We'd even consider a stellar crock-pot recipe if there is such a thing!)
Well, this one is from Epicurious...Polenta and Black Bean Casserole...we've had it 3 or 4 times and we love it...you can easily make your own polenta rather than buying store-bought which is what I do...and if you try it, DO use a great salsa (I use Herdez brand, quite good!):
**ALSO** Chowhound has its own Tuna Noodle Casserole that I just noticed today...it calls for good-quality tuna packed in olive oil and NO canned soup...I will be trying it very soon as Albertson's sells Cento brand tuna in olive oil that is affordable for me! Here's the Tuna Noodle link:
I hate replying to myself...but anyway...I tried the Chowhound Tuna Noodle recipe tonight...we really liked it..and I would make it again. I bought Cento brand light tuna packed in olive oil and I increased the milk to 2 full cups. Result was creamy and delicious casserole. I think the Dijon mustard and Old Bay contribute greatly to the flavor.
I like this recipe for a chalupa pork (a little like Chipotle carnitas). It makes a huge amount so first night, we might have the salad bowl but subsequent nights, served w/ rice, made into enchiladas (and baked), tacos, w/ corn bread whatever comes to mind.
One of the first recipes my mother gave me still gets me thru no time to cook days - I don't have measurements since it always comes out different, but good.
Saute a thinly sliced onion in vegetable oil till soft. Add sliced/minced garlic. Add low-fat chop meat. Saute till no pink remains. Add tomato sauce/puree/canned tomatoes. Season with all or some of these herbs - pepper, bay leaf, oregano, basil. Bring to boil. Turn down and simmer at least an hour till it seems to come together. Serve with any pasta and a green veggy.
I make a large pot - it freezes very well. Defrosts easily in the microwave.
If you've several friends in this same boat, you can do "casserole parties" where you each individually cook up a big batch of several casseroles (enough for every person participating). Then you have a nice little party where you give everyone one of your casseroles, and everyone gives you one of their casseroles (built in disposable aluminum pans and ready to pop in the freezer if not already frozen). At the party you can talk about what you made and what's in it, have a few drinks, have some laughs, whatever... Then when you go home you have X meals already to go, with variety, and you didn't have to come up with them all yourself. :)
A recipe for a simple, yet flavorful casserole that I use when time is tight is what my mother always called "Dinner Nachos". All these amounts are to taste according to how many folks you're feeding.
Brown some ground beef, or pork, or chicken, or turkey with chopped onions, garlic, and "mexican" spices to taste (salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, chipotle powder, whatever you like to spice up the meat). This, by the way, is something you could make ahead in large batches then store in the freezer for use in a variety of recipes (I love my FoodSaver). Then spread refried beans (home made or tinned) on the bottom of a casserole dish. Sprinkle cheddar cheese or whatever kind of cheese you like best on top of that, then spread the ground beef on top and sprinkle more cheese. Bake this in the oven (350 degrees Fahrenheit) until it's hot and bubbly.
Dish it out onto plates and serve with tortilla chips for scooping up the yummy bubbly meat and beans. You can serve it with salsa, sour cream, or fresh cut up vegetables, as well.
Savory bread puddings can be assembled up to a day ahead, baked at the last minute. I made a Reuben bread pudding years ago which was very good, although I remember making a note to add more corned beef. Here's a link to a similar recipe on Epicurious.
I make cheater scalloped potatoes by boiling the potato chunks first, slicing, adding lots of white sauce (with or w/o cheese), chunks of ham if you want, sauteed onion if you want, then baking until bubbly and browned. Could be baked a day in advance and micro's well. But it doesn't freeze. The potatoes get watery.
I just tried pulled pork in the slow cooker the other day. It worked fine. I need to play around with the dry rub though. Shred when hot. This would freeze well, I think. Add BBQ sauce when making the sandwiches. Coleslaw on the side.
And don't forget soups and stews. I make a minestrone with bite size chicken/sausage meatballs that's very hearty. Lamb, barley, veggie. Cassoulet. Beef stew (if you freeze, add cooked potatoes when reheating).
I am not a casserole person, but I do make Turkish style moussaka. It includes a layer of premium ground lamb cooked with cumin, garlic, paprika and whatever other spices I feel like adding. Then, slice up a whole bunch of eggplant, onions and zucchini, and halve various colored peppers, toss them in olive oil and s&p and roast them on baking sheets at 400. Once cooked, toss them with fresh mint and garlic. Then the grilled veg is layered with sliced fresh tomatoes. Some crushed tomato goes in too, but not too much, i don't like it soupy/tomatoey. The casserole is topped with a layer of bechemel sauce, but sometimes I use mashed potatoes