Master Quick Casseroles, Say Goodbye to Fast Foods
Ever looked for quick and easy recipes only to find ingredients that are too exotic for your kids? When your day has been packed and everybody is starving, it’s hard to come up with quick, budget-friendly recipes that are quick and easy to make at home.
Enter the humble casserole, which can be whipped up in surprisingly a few minutes. But your kids won’t eat casseroles, you protest! We have some strategies to solve that in a later post. But first, let’s go back to Home Economics 101: Once you know the basic elements that make up a casserole, you’re free to tailor ingredients to your family’s liking — and what you have on hand. You’ll also know how to stock up your pantry and freezer and pre-cook starches so you can always dish up a satisfying, heartwarming entree in just a few minutes.
We love this idea from Amy Dacyczyn’s Complete Tightwad Gazette, page 625. Here’s her basic formula for a generic casserole:
1 cup main ingredient, e.g., tuna, cubed chicken, turkey, ham, seafood, etc.
1 cup second ingredient, e.g., thinly sliced celery, mushrooms, peas, chopped hard-boiled eggs, etc.
1 to 2 cups starchy ingredient, e.g., thinly sliced potatoes, cooked noodles, cooked rice, etc.
1 ½ cups binder, e.g., cream sauce, sour cream, can of soup, etc. Go healthier with mashed beans, egg whites, flax meal, low-sodium soups, etc.
¼ cup “goodie”
seasoning 1/4 cup “goodie” (pimiento, olives, almonds, water chestnuts, etc.)
Seasoning to taste
Topping, e.g., cheese, breadcrumbs, etc.
Mix together in saucepan and heat for 10 minutes on the stovetop — done! Add a side veggie or salad and serve up a fast, nutritious, yummy hot meal.
Trent at The Simple Dollar blog suggests healthy substitutions for the binder and toppings. He also recommends buying your starch in bulk. Check out his recipes for these casseroles: chicken-broccoli; tuna- potato; ham, apple, and sweet potato; Reuben; and others in various posts.
Get super smart and double the recipe to pop one in the freezer, and save even more time and energy. Stay tuned for more to come!