A retro classic, many of us grew up eating casseroles. Baking them at home can help you use up leftovers, save money, eat healthier because you control the ingredients, and provide a chance to experiment and tweak recipes to suit your situation.
A casserole is an easy, weeknight dinner or Saturday afternoon lunch. Learning to make them can be a good place to start adding new cooking skills to your repertoire (recipe follows). While you learn, you get to eat the delicious results.
Tuna Casserole Recipe
This recipe has been a family favorite for more than 50 years.
- 2 c. elbow macaroni, slightly under cooked, based on package directions
- 1 c. cubed Velveeta cheese (or any other mild cheese that melts easily)
- 2 large cans of tuna, drained
- 1 15-oz can of peas, drained
- 1 15-oz can plain diced tomatoes, juice and all
- 1 t. salt
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 c. milk
- 1/2 c. cornflake crumbs to sprinkle on top
While the macaroni is cooking, fold together the tuna, peas, tomatoes, salt, eggs and milk in a large bowl. You want to break up the tuna into bite-sized pieces, but not mash it. Fold in the cheese.
Drain the pasta and add to the mixture. Then scoop into a 2 1/2 or 3-quart casserole. Sprinkle cornflake crumbs on top. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Makes 6-8 servings.
A simple casserole recipe can be adjusted to make lots of variations. Start with the recipe, and change or adjust to help you use up things like cooked broccoli, shredded mozzarella cheese, grated Parmesan cheese, or plain scrambled eggs. Take cues from the ingredients already listed, and from what sounds good to you in the combination. As you learn, you will discover the combinations you like best.
Once you have baked a few casseroles, you will be better able to evaluate each new recipe you are considering, and decide whether it is something you want to make.
There are plenty of online recipe sites and videos available to help you get comfortable before you ever go into the kitchen. Gain experience by starting with a simple recipe and those resources will help you become a more accomplished home cook.
More tips for enjoying casseroles:
- Use your bowls. Dish into the deep ones for cereal, or the shallow ones for soup, whichever you like best.
- Serve casserole in soup mugs with handles, such as the Grab-It bowl by Corning. Handy for younger family members as they get used to eating themselves, or for the adults to take along to the TV to enjoy with a movie or ball game.
- Add a green salad and simple dessert to the menu for extra flavor and nutrition, and turn lunch into dinner. While the casserole is baking, you can make these extra dishes.
- Make your favorite casserole for potluck dinners, tailgating or office parties. Many of them can be mixed ahead, refrigerated and baked right before you need them. Just add 15 or 20 minutes to the baking time, and cover lightly with foil if the top starts to get too brown.
Casseroles are often the busy cook's favorite because they are easy, wholesome and economical. Learning to make them for family and friends can be even more fun when you enjoy the delicious results together.
If you liked this review, I have more information on my blog at http://diaryofadishie.com, including stories on how to mix and match your dinnerware, china and glassware and other table setting ideas. You can find lots of recipes on my Detroit Baking Examiner page at http://www.examiner.com/x-9397-Detroit-Baking-Examiner.
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