Remembering the Casserole!

It’s that time of the year again. In the next few months we have several holidays to celebrate. Holiday celebrations generally also include cooking for friends and family. All that cooking can be a bit overwhelming if you like me, cook all the meals anyway. Some nights I just don’t want to cook anything!

That’s when having a casserole or two in the freezer comes in handy. Having been raised in PA just outside of what generally gets called “Amish” country, I know several one pot meals that I can use. Sometimes you just want more. So, I make casseroles and freeze them. I don’t mean Tuna Noodle casserole either!

Why make your own casserole?

Yep, there are lots of made casseroles available in the freezer section of your local grocery store. Take a second though, and look at the nutritional information on that package. I looked through the offerings at Walmart and just randomly checked a package. While the calories were acceptable, the sodium was not. The recommended amount for an adult is around 2500 mg per day. This random package, which serves 1 person, had 1250. That’s half of the RDA! If you make it yourself, you can cut that number down.

The second reason for making your own casserole is leftovers. It’s the perfect solution to the problem of what to do with the leftovers. Just chop them up into bite size pieces and make a casserole! For that, you don’t need a recipe. What you need is a basic formula.

Basic Formula

Okay, I found this article on Allrecipes on making a casserole. As you can read, it can be really easy to make one without a specific recipe. So let’s go through the steps together.

  1. 3 – 4 cups of protein. Recently I made some boneless pork chops that turned out to be bigger than my husband and I could eat. I plan to cut it up and measure the amount. If I don’t have enough , I’ll add something else to bring it up to the amount needed.
  2. 2 cups of Carbs. Did you make too much pasta, potatoes or rice? Perfect! Measure them up and throw them in. If needed, mix the carbs together.
  3. 1 cup of aromatics. I tend to keep some of these chopped in the fridge. Think onions, celery, carrots, bell peppers, etc.
  4. 1 – 2 cups of vegetables. I tend to use frozen vegetables because it’s easier for me. You can also use canned vegetables or even fresh if you want.
  5. 1-2 cups of binder. I’ve started keeping cans of cream of “whatever” soup in my cupboard just for this reason. I usually mix a can with 1/2 can of milk for this.

This makes a 9 x 13 pan. If you making it to bake later, try using a tinfoil pan. That way you can save on clean-up later by just throwing it away. I have a small family so I divide it between several smaller pans. I either use 8 x 8 pans or loaf pans. Both are readily available, think Dollar Tree for these! Make sure that you have lids for them.

Baking the Casserole

I tend to use a cookie sheet under the pan to make it easier to get in and out of the oven.