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The Generic Casserole Recipe

By mimizukujin in Culture
Fri Jan 19, 2007 at 12:00:00 PM EST
Tags: food (all tags)
Food

I like to cook.

Sometimes, though, I just don't feel up to making my usual killer stir-fry or made-from-scratch Southwestern Burrito.  When I'm too lazy or disinterested in making a masterpiece, I make a casserole.


So, what exactly is a casserole?  I tend to call anything that is layered and put into the oven to bake a casserole.  For a more precise definition, why not ask Wikipedia?

Since I'm assuming that you don't want to cook any more than I do when I make one, I'll break it down into easy to follow steps.



  1. Choose a meat.

    This could be any kind of meat, really.  Favorites are chicken or ground beef, but you could use elk if you wanted to.  



  2. Choose a sauce.

    Yeah, you could make the sauce from scratch.  Don't.  Instead, open a can of something, or use last night's leftover gravy.  Almost anything that starts with 'Cream of' is appropriate.  Just make sure that you can eat it with the meat you chose.



  3. Choose a vegetable.

    You can use more than one if you like.  It should be something that you like cooked.  Do NOT use lettuce.  I mean it.



  4. Choose a starch.

    This is easy.  It's one of: pasta, potatoes, rice, bread, cereal, breadcrumbs, or stuffing.  I suppose that you could use yams if you'd prefer.  Whatever.



  5. Prepare the meat.

    Ok.  If it's something ground, brown it in a pan.  If it's a big chunk, slice it into slabs no more than 2 cm thick, or into chunks no more than 4 cm on a side.



  6. Mix the meat, sauce, and vegetable.

    Really.  Get a big bowl, and mix them all together.  Use enough sauce that it coats the meat and vegetable.  If you opened a can of condensed soup, do not add water to it.



  7. Prepare the starch.

    Ok, if you chose something like stuffing, rice, or mashed potatoes, now is the time to make them.  Use instant rice or a stuffing mix, it takes less effort.  If it's a bread mix, mix it but don't bake it.  If it's pasta, cook the pasta now.  It it's breadcrumbs or cereal, then it's already ready.



  8. Make the casserole.

    Now, put the casserole together.  If you chose rice or pasta, put it in first, then put the meat mix on top.  If you chose anything else, then put the meat mix in first, then the starch on top.  Use a pan big enough to hold the whole thing, or put the leftover mix in the fridge for another meal later.



  9. Bake the casserole.

    This one is easy.  Bake it in the oven at 350F/175C, for at least one hour and no more than two.  It is done when the center is bubbling.



  10. Eat it.

    Put the rest in the fridge for later.  It's probably safe to let it sit out for a few hours, as there are not a lot of things that can survive being boiled for an hour or so.





That's the generic recipe.  Here are some specifics that I happen to like.

Leftover Turkey Casserole:  Use turkey, gravy, broccoli, and stuffing.  For extra calories, mix sour cream in with the gravy.

Hamburger Pie:  Ground beef, several cans of green beans, tomato soup, with mashed potatoes on top.  It tastes a little better if you put some grated cheese on top about 10 minutes before it's done.

Cornbread Casserole:  Ground beef, enchilada sauce, olives and peppers, and cornbread mix.  Pour the mix on top of the rest, then bake.

Pork Chop Casserole:  Pork chops, cream of mushroom soup, onions, and rice.  Put the rice in first, then the rest on top.  Make sure that there's at least one pork chop for each person.

Tater-tot Casserole:  Ground beef, cream of mushroom soup, lots of sliced celery, and tater-tots.  Put the mix on the bottom, and cover with neatly-aligned tater-tots.  This one works best if you can convince slave labor or children to align the tater-tots for you.

Swiss Steak Casserole:  Steak, tomato sauce, onions and tomatoes, and rice.  Cut the onions and tomatoes into slices, and put the steak on top of everything else, then pour the sauce over the top.

Tuna Casserole:  Tuna, cheese sauce, pasta, and frozen peas.  Mix it all together, and pour over the pasta.  Alternately, just mix the pasta in.  Either way, it's a bit better if you coat the top with grated cheese about 10 minutes before it's done.

As you can see, it's pretty versatile.  Most of the time it takes maybe 5-10 minutes to make, not including baking time.  Best of all, now you too can bring casserole to your next company picnic.

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The Generic Casserole Recipe | 57 comments (38 topical, 19 editorial, 0 hidden)
they all sound good to me..but not very (2.25 / 4) (#1)
by dakini on Fri Jan 19, 2007 at 02:13:52 AM EST

spicy..like the burrito would be..you dont like spicy?? i have cooked some of the other dishes, but not quite the same..

" May your vision be clear, your heart strong, and may you always follow your dreams."
Spicy? (none / 1) (#2)
by mimizukujin on Fri Jan 19, 2007 at 02:15:48 AM EST

Well, if you want spicy, include spice.  I tend to like things that are more savory than spicy, and spicing things takes effort.  My stir-frys tend to be spicy and sweet, for instance.

[ Parent ]
oh okay..these do sound yummy tho,,:) (2.00 / 3) (#6)
by dakini on Fri Jan 19, 2007 at 09:35:35 AM EST



" May your vision be clear, your heart strong, and may you always follow your dreams."
[ Parent ]
could be really spicy! (none / 0) (#35)
by livus on Fri Jan 19, 2007 at 08:02:06 PM EST

Eg: choose a chilli or cayenne based sauce. Coat the bottom with refried beans mixed with cumin or something, put spicy veges in it mixed with "cilantro", maybe choose goat for the meat and add spices when you fry/brown it.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
Steps 3 and 8.5 (none / 1) (#3)
by BadDoggie on Fri Jan 19, 2007 at 03:41:22 AM EST

3) Many leaf vegetables like lettuce will become bitter when cooked. Here's a page with cooking greens.

8.5) For a crunchy topping, coat with bread crumbs or a mixture of bread crumbs and grated cheese (parmesan, with or without swiss/edam).

woof.

"Eppur si muove." -- Galileo Galilei
"Nevertheless, it moves."

I like to use saltines /nt (none / 0) (#4)
by curien on Fri Jan 19, 2007 at 05:25:53 AM EST



--
I'm directly under the Earth's sun ... ... now!
[ Parent ]
That'll work too. (none / 1) (#7)
by BadDoggie on Fri Jan 19, 2007 at 11:01:50 AM EST

But I read your comment as "sardines" and now I'm not very hungry for casserole anymore.

woof.

"Eppur si muove." -- Galileo Galilei
"Nevertheless, it moves."
[ Parent ]

Lettuce and other greens (none / 0) (#12)
by mimizukujin on Fri Jan 19, 2007 at 02:24:55 PM EST

I've never had good luck including them in anything baked.  I'll stir-fry with cabbage occasionally, but that's about it.

[ Parent ]
This sounds truly horendous (none / 1) (#9)
by Egil Skallagrimson on Fri Jan 19, 2007 at 01:33:10 PM EST


----------------

Enterobacteria phage T2 is a virulent bacteriophage of the T4-like viruses genus, in the family Myoviridae. It infects E. coli and is the best known of the T-even phages. Its virion contains linear double-stranded DNA, terminally redundant and circularly permuted.

Horrendous? (none / 0) (#13)
by mimizukujin on Fri Jan 19, 2007 at 02:27:39 PM EST

Interesting.  Of course, if you don't want to eat it, then don't.  I like them.

[ Parent ]
No, horendous (none / 0) (#34)
by Egil Skallagrimson on Fri Jan 19, 2007 at 07:51:48 PM EST


----------------

Enterobacteria phage T2 is a virulent bacteriophage of the T4-like viruses genus, in the family Myoviridae. It infects E. coli and is the best known of the T-even phages. Its virion contains linear double-stranded DNA, terminally redundant and circularly permuted.
[ Parent ]

Promotes slave labor and eating of elk... +1 FP (1.50 / 2) (#18)
by Kariik on Fri Jan 19, 2007 at 03:38:40 PM EST



-1 Lutheranism (1.50 / 2) (#20)
by givemegmail111 on Fri Jan 19, 2007 at 03:49:36 PM EST

Also, what can I put in as a subsitute for vegetables? I don't eat cooked vegetables.

--
McDonalds: i'm lovin' it
Start your day tastefully with a Sausage, Egg & Cheese McGriddle, only at McDonalds.
Rusty fix my sig, dammit!
Less veggies (none / 0) (#23)
by mimizukujin on Fri Jan 19, 2007 at 04:09:05 PM EST

That's easy.  Just skip adding them, and use more meat and starch.  Beef, gravy, with potatoes on top is pretty good.

[ Parent ]
I believe potato is a vegetable (none / 0) (#25)
by rhiannon on Fri Jan 19, 2007 at 04:29:30 PM EST

not much else to say about that...

-----------------------------------------
I continued to rebuff the advances... so many advances... of so many attractive women. -MC
[ Parent ]
You're right (none / 1) (#28)
by mimizukujin on Fri Jan 19, 2007 at 05:34:31 PM EST

I wasn't thinking of that.  I guess that the answer is stuffing, pasta, or cereal.  You could make a pretty good stroganoff, and still call it a casserole.

[ Parent ]
Still veggies (none / 0) (#49)
by adamjaskie on Mon Jan 22, 2007 at 12:58:26 PM EST

Stuffing is made from bread, which is made from wheat. Pasta is made from wheat (usually), and cereals, when not made from wheat, rice, or oats, are usually made from corn. All of these are plants, which ain't meat, and certainly ain't fruit. Thus, veggies.

[ Parent ]
If you're going to be faddy (none / 0) (#54)
by rdskutter on Wed Jan 24, 2007 at 08:34:40 AM EST

You can starve.


BEEN A BIT CARELESS HAVEN'T WE? - Mr Death.
[ Parent ]

No good casseroles (3.00 / 3) (#22)
by IHCOYC on Fri Jan 19, 2007 at 04:08:18 PM EST

Casseroles are institutional cooking for the home.
--
"Complecti antecessores tuos in spelæis stygiis Tartari appara," eructavit miles primus.
"Vix dum basiavisti vicarium velocem Mortis," rediit G
why must you fight the institution? (3.00 / 2) (#42)
by noogee on Sat Jan 20, 2007 at 06:29:04 AM EST

can't you be a team player?

--
still here
[ Parent ]

stop picking an casseroles (2.00 / 3) (#26)
by balsamic vinigga on Fri Jan 19, 2007 at 04:57:49 PM EST

and making them out to be a lazy person's meal. Casseroles can be just as demanding as your stir-fry or burrito, and a burrito or stir-fry can be just as undemanding as your casserole.

Some of the best casseroles are some of the best food out there - and also very time consuming to make.  Like a good paella.

---
Please help fund a Filipino Horror Movie. It's been in limbo since 2007 due to lack of funding. Please donate today!

Lasagne (none / 1) (#29)
by mimizukujin on Fri Jan 19, 2007 at 05:36:47 PM EST

A good lasagne can take a long time to make, too.  On the other hand, I tend to cook things that require lots of chopping and supervision when I really want to cook.

[ Parent ]
Tilapia (none / 1) (#31)
by dissonant on Fri Jan 19, 2007 at 06:49:48 PM EST

Start with either rice, orzo, penne pasta, or cous cous (wild rice or mediterranian cous cous with pine nuts work especially well) then drizzle with some Ken's Northern Italian dressing.  Add a layer of tilapia (I suppose it would work with any white fish fairly well, but the tilapia especially does well with tomatoes), then sliced tomatoes, peppers, basil, oregano, minced garlic, parmesean (or romano, whatever).  Add another layer of Ken's Northern Italian, and possibly a touch of wine if you want.

mediterranian cous cous with pine nuts (none / 0) (#50)
by adamjaskie on Mon Jan 22, 2007 at 01:13:30 PM EST

The flavoured cous cous boxes are INSANELY expensive. Why go and pay $3 or $4 for a tiny box (they are what, 7oz?) of the stuff, when you can grab a pound or three from the bulk foods aisle for $1.99/lb?

[ Parent ]
I'm not sure where you live... (none / 0) (#51)
by dissonant on Mon Jan 22, 2007 at 06:18:35 PM EST

...but around here, a box of the flavored cous cous blends are generally between a $1 and $1.50.  It's also virtually impossible to find just plain bulk cous cous, let alone pine nuts, at least without going to a specialty grocer (which usually wants to charge alot more).

[ Parent ]
Odd... (none / 0) (#53)
by adamjaskie on Tue Jan 23, 2007 at 09:02:31 AM EST

I live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, in a town of like 7000 people. I can get pinenuts and bulk cous cous at the regular grocery store, Econo Foods.

[ Parent ]
i read this as 'genetic casserole recipe' (3.00 / 5) (#32)
by BottleRocket on Fri Jan 19, 2007 at 06:52:01 PM EST

it colored my opinion of this article favorably.

$ . . . . . $ . . . . . $ . . . . . $
. ₩ . . . . . ¥ . . . . . € . . . . . § . . . . . £
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$ . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $
Yes I do download [child pornography], but I don't keep it any longer than I need to, so it can yield insight as to how to find more. --MDC
$ . . . . .
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. . . . * . . . . . * . . . . . * . . . . . * . . . . . *
. ₩ . . . . . ¥ . . . . . € . . . . . § . . . . . £
$ . . . . . $ . . . . . $ . . . . . $
$B R Σ III$

-1 casserolle (none / 1) (#33)
by Psychopath on Fri Jan 19, 2007 at 07:23:25 PM EST

it's called "Reind(e)l". Kassereolle ist piefke-speech.
It's not that I don't like Germans - actually I like them - it's just that it's not called Kasserolle.
--
The only antidote to mental suffering is physical pain. -- Karl Marx
+1 useful recipe (1.50 / 2) (#36)
by livus on Fri Jan 19, 2007 at 08:04:21 PM EST

although I'm not into oven-baking casseroles, maybe come winter I might bring myself to layer up my slow-cooker as you describe and then call it casserole.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

Plebians rejoice (3.00 / 3) (#38)
by I am teh Unsmart on Fri Jan 19, 2007 at 08:50:54 PM EST

Your so-called messiah has encouraged you to eat canned soup mixed with hamburger and breadcrumbs. Is this a test of your faith or a cruel joke?

Not as good as your Southwestern Burritos (none / 0) (#39)
by lobby lud on Fri Jan 19, 2007 at 10:10:08 PM EST

These recipes are only a short step up from heating up canned ravoli, which is very nice by the way, but it's not cooking. Cooking is more than opening a selection of canned vegetables and dumping them into some salt ladened pre-made sauce.

Try this instead.


oh goodie, casserole! (none / 1) (#40)
by CAIMLAS on Fri Jan 19, 2007 at 10:10:44 PM EST

Casseroles are both some of my favorite and least favorite meals, depending on what they are. In terms of 'favorite', they're right up there with pizza and chili.

My favorite casserole is as follows:

"Tater tot casserole"

  • 1lb beef
  • ideally, a couple mashed potatoes (about 1lb)
  • tater tots
  • 1 can green beans
  • 1 can (non-cream) corn
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 quart (IIRC) sour cream

Brown beef. Mix in sour cream and cream of mshroom soup. Put mashed potatoes in casserole dish, followed by drained cans of veggies. Cover with sauced beef. Cover beef with tater tots. Bake until tater tots brown.

Damn easy, and it'll feed a single guy at least 3 meals. One of my favorite "cold winter" meals, in fact.
--

Socialism and communism better explained by a psychologist than a political theorist.

no more then two hours? (none / 0) (#47)
by owenh on Sun Jan 21, 2007 at 05:59:08 AM EST

This one is easy. Bake it in the oven at 350F/175C, for at least one hour and no more than two. It is done when the center is bubbling.
Sometimes, it is nice if you leave it for longer, particularly if you are using dry beans. You have to cook at a very low temperature, and keep an eye out to make sure it doesn't boil dry. The meat should just start to fall apart if you lift it with a fork. Only if you are using chunks of meat, not ground.
-- Observations of the world we live in
Good recipie: adjusts to lots of restrictions... (none / 0) (#48)
by claes on Mon Jan 22, 2007 at 08:30:14 AM EST

you can do this without the meat. There's a meatless shephard's pie in "The Enchanted Broccoli Forest"[1]. You can keep leaving stuff out so it's milk-free, wheat-free, kosher, vegan, whatever (well, except starch-free, that's kind of necessary). Don't laugh, I once had to feed a group of people with these exact restrictions. Veggie shepherd's pie did the trick.

-- claes

[1] Or the other book, "The Moosewood Cookbook", by Mollie Katzen. Both are worth a look if you're interested in vegetarian cooking, pen and ink drawing, casual calligraphy, or 80s hippie culture.

specific casserole (none / 0) (#52)
by Abominable Abitur on Mon Jan 22, 2007 at 06:57:32 PM EST

DELICIOUS!

Just thought resurrect the Tortilla casserole. We had it after Thanksgiving this year, and I've made several other variations. I've got a ton of eggplant to use up, and I'm thinking of making something loosely based on Mousaka. The last Mousaka I made was with buffalo meat and instead of bread crumbs I used Full Kernal dard bread. It was interesting, at least the Bechemel was made correctly.

Nice to see the casserole is alive and well!

"Terrorism is only a viable "political activist" method for marginalized nutjobs, bottom line. The backlash that it causes makes it intractable for any reasonable ideology. Which is why you don't generally see wild athiest suicide bombers in america's streets." - lonelyhobo

australian (none / 0) (#55)
by netpenthe on Tue Feb 27, 2007 at 08:12:35 AM EST

im australian, what in the world is a tater-tot?

(i could google but prefer to let american's know that australians don't know what tater-tots are)

Tater-tot (none / 0) (#56)
by Yellis on Tue Mar 06, 2007 at 12:00:26 AM EST

They are deep-fried grated potatoes and are small and cylindrical. I think I saw them in Australia called potato pom-poms or something like that. Yukky!  

[ Parent ]
No need for a bowl (none / 0) (#57)
by wuckers on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 08:16:33 AM EST

"Get a big bowl, and mix them all together."

No.  Unless there's something that absolutely has to be at the bottom (and i can't think of any such dish that isn't just as good mixed up), don't dirty up a bowl.  Just dump it in the pan you're going to bake in and stir.

Unless you have your mommy there to do dishes for you, that is.

The Generic Casserole Recipe | 57 comments (38 topical, 19 editorial, 0 hidden)
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