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Simple Saving Savvy: Make Your Own Casserole Creation ~

Simple Saving Savvy

Practicing Wise Stewardship & Blessing Others Out of Our Abundance

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Make Your Own Casserole Creation ~

I love casseroles! All kinds of casseroles. I grew up on them and I still make them although quite differently than my mother. They are a quick and easy yet nutritional and frugal way to feed my family of seven.

The fun thing about casseroles is that ANYONE can create their own casserole recipes by following a few basic guidelines.

First, start with the protein: meat, poultry, beans, etc.

Add vegetables and/or something inexpensive as afiller like rice, pasta or potatoes.

These ingredients should be held together by a creamy liquid like a cream soup or perhaps gravy.

The casserole can be topped with dough, pastry, or a crumb crust (such as crumbled crackers mixed with melted butter)or shredded cheese.

Use appropriate seasonings and spices to support the flavors you are combining.

Use your imagination and get creative!

Another great thing about casseroles is they can easily be frozen and reheated.

Savvy Saving Solution: Make two and freeze one for later.

If you are planning to freeze, undercook your pasta or rice so that it does not get mushy upon reheating. Do not add the topping until you are ready to reheat. To save on the number of casserole dishes you need, line the casserole pan with aluminum foil. When frozen, lift the foil wrapped casserole out of the dish, wrap it to exclude all air, return it to the freezer until needed. When ready to reheat, put back into dish, with the aluminum foil for reheating (this also saves time in cleaning the dish afterwards). Although I prefer to let mine defrost before reheating (I just remove it from the freezer early in the day), it doesn't have to be thawed before reheating, just be sure to plan your time accordingly. Casseroles can be frozen for about three months.

Here's a casserole I made up last night:

Meatloaf Pasta

1 lb ground beef
1 package onion soup mix
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 jar pasta sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
salt & pepper to taste
1 package pasta (cooked & drained)
1 8oz. package shredded mozzarella or other italian cheese

Thoroughly mix first six ingredients in large mixing bowl.

Transfer to large skillet and cook through.

Combine pasta and sauce in 9x13 baking dish and top with cheese. Bake at 350 until cheese is bubbly and mixture is hot throughout.

Serves 4-6

It was quite funny because a couple of my children do NOT like meatloaf. Everyone was asking if I had cooked this before. I simply said, "no, it's a new recipe" and waited. Once everyone went on and on about how much they liked it, I told them it was simply my meatloaf without the egg and with pasta and sauce. They all chimed "NO WAY"!

Do you have any casserole recipes you'd like to share? Email me and I'll feature it in a future post

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