All the guidelines and measurements you need to make a fantastic casserole of your own are below. Just use your good judgement! Look at recipes you make or find online, too, and use as a guideline to adapt to your own family’s favorites flavor profiles.
How do you decide what kind of casserole you want to make? Think of your favorite things – for instance, there’s a Panini from Panera that I’m wild about: turkey, basil, garlic, artichoke, parmesan. I’ll use pasta, a cream soup or white sauce, canned and rinsed artichoke hearts, leftover turkey, basil and garlic and then top it off with bread crumbs mixed with Parmesan.
Someone that loves chili might go for beans for the starch, chili spices, ground beef, onion, tomatoes and top it with crunched up tortillas and sprinkle that with colby jack cheese.
Someone who is a fan of a Reuben sandwich might want to layer sliced potatoes with corned beef, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese, and use a heavily seasoned white sauce mixed with some thousand island dressing as the liquid, then top with little cubes of pumpernickle tossed with some melted butter. Bake until the potatoes are done and the top is toasty and crispy…
The sky’s the limit and nothing is set in stone – casseroles are always forgiving, and if you make “one without the ‘c,'” as my son-in-law says, well, families are forgiving, too!
Make your own Casserole:
Combine foods in a buttered 2 to 2 1/2 quart casserole, cover and heat 25 to 50 minutes at 350 degrees until hot and bubbling. Add topping at different stages, depending on how long topping takes to bake.
Choose items from the following categories:
- 2 cups of uncooked pasta, cooked al dente
- 1 cup uncooked rice, cooked
- 4 cups cooked noodles or 2 cups cooked rice
- cooked beans
- 2 cups cooked and diced chicken, turkey, ham, beef, or pork
- 2 cups chopped hard-cooked egg
- 2 cups cooked ground beef
- 2 (6 to 8 oz.) cans fish or seafood, flaked
- 2 cups cooked or canned dry beans (kidney, etc.)
- 2 cups white sauce
- 1 can sauce-type soup (mushroom, celery, cheese, tomato, etc.) mixed with milk to make 2 cups or use cream of anything soup recipe (jazzed up white sauce)
- 1 (16-oz.) can diced tomatoes with juice or whole tomatoes, crushed with juice.
Flavor – select one or more – saute the vegetables in butter or oil to soften. Add more or less to your taste.
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1/4 cup sliced black olives
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup of something that fits your casserole inspiration
- 1 – 2 teaspoons mixed dried leaf herbs (basil, thyme, marjoram, tarragon, etc.)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Toppings: Shredded cheese is generally added in the last 5 to 10 minutes of cooking, the others about 20- 25 minutes before the casserole is through heating.
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup shredded Swiss, Cheddar, or Monterey Jack cheese
- 3/4 cup buttered bread crumbs (about one slice with 1 T melted butter.) (Add in 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and 1/4 teaspoons of dried crushed herbs to fancy it up.)
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup canned fried onion rings
- 3/4 cup of crushed corn flakes cereal, dotted with butter
- 3/4 cup crushed potato chip or tortilla chips
- 3/4 cup of crushed French’s Onions
- 1 1/2 cups of milk mixed with 2 cups of Bisquick or Bisquick substitute, this pours over the casserole.
- Biscuits, home-made drop biscuits, or a recipe of Buttermilk Biscuits for topping a 13 x 9″ casserole (or six individual ramekins.)
- Pie dough, Puff Pastry, canned biscuits
- Sheets of Phylo dough brushed with butter
- Toast – lay bread overlapping on top of casserole, brush with butter and bake.