We all know the feeling where you have just had one long day. The very last thing you want to do is to get the pots and pans out and start to make dinner. That is where many people reach for the phone and a carry out menu.
Well it doesn’t have to be either of those options at all. If you know how to make a great casserole, then you can have some of that from your freezer and be good to go in no time. Like any good stew or broth a casserole can be made and is super easy to freeze and use for those nights when you have had very long days.
The casserole as a dish or family meal has been around for ages. It was the French, in the 19th century, who gave us the name, casserole (cocotte) which identified the container rather than specific contents.
What is in a Casserole?
It is basically any dish that has vegetables, cooked meats and/or fish are mixed or layered. You can then use that with a base of pasta, potatoes or rice in a sauce. Today, known by a number of different names, casserole recipes are found in nearly every cuisine around the world.
The only thing that limits the amount of combinations you can use is simply your own imagination. Check online and you will find a multitude of casserole dishes that you can make. Many people also experiment with these dishes until they find a family favourite which then gets passed down for many years.
In many homes up and down the UK this is a standard dish. The contents use ingredients from nearly all the food groups and make a substantial, nutritious and satisfying meal. For those that like to eat healthy they work well with a salad and some people just prefer to east these with a large chunk of bread. There are not any real rules.
One major advantage of casserole recipes is that you can make most well ahead of time. Then you can enjoy some and freeze what has not been used. On those nights, when cooking is the last thing on your mind, you can take them straight from the freezer to the oven or microwave for a quick meal. If you double the recipe, one may be frozen for use up to three months later.
How to Properly Freeze a Casserole?
When you plan to freeze a casserole, simply line your dish with heavy foil of sufficient size to cover the top of the dish when cooked. Then just place the casserole, dish and all, into the freezer. When frozen, lift the entire casserole from the dish and wrap it foil and all, in a sealable freezer bag. Then whenever you need it again it will be a ready-to-go meal to fill in future menus.
The diversity of ingredients contained in casserole recipes is indeed a boon to the cook. Much like the omelette, ingredients can be pretty much what you’d like to combine. Casserole recipes are good candidates for substitutions of your choice. If you find a recipe featuring green beans, corn may do just as well. This versatility allows you to make good use of leftovers.
Many cooks believe that seasoning is the soul of any dish. Different seasonings can make the same ingredients a totally new taste experience. So don’t hesitate to vary your seasonings.
The same is true of your sauce. Simple white sauces, gravy made of chicken or beef broths and thin sauces of orange juice, ginger and butter drizzled over rice, chicken and vegetables are just a few of the possibilities.
Make casserole recipes a first choice when filling out your menus. You’ll gain variety, value and save time for future meals, all while satisfying your family’s appetite.