An easy dish to make for those who are serving large groups and and still have a lot of dishes to make is the casserole. Sometimes referred to as “bake”, a casserole is a dish consisting of meat, vegetables, some binder like starch or flour, and liquid cooked slowly in an oven often uncovered, as heat circulates around the cooking vessel. After mixing and preparing the ingredients according to the recipe, all you have to do is pop it in the oven and let it cook as you go about the rest of the menu. By the time the guests arrive, if the cooking agenda is planned, the casserole is hot and ready to serve. There’s also no need to transfer it in a serving dish as it may be served in the dish used to cook it. Hot dishes like these are
often served in potluck gatherings or as a comfort food during the cold winter months.
Liquid used to cook casserole dishes may be vegetable broth, wine, or beer. The most popular liquid though, especially in the United States is to use canned condensed soup, like in tuna casserole. Shepherd’s pie, which consists of sautéed ground beef, vegetables,
potatoes, and grated cheese, use beef broth. It’s very much like hamburger in a pan. The popular cafeteria food among children, macaroni and cheese, may also be made in this manner, with different variations such as adding meat and then baked. It may be served as a main dish or on the side of a slice of chicken or roast beef.
Casseroles may also be used to turn leftovers into new treats. Leftover turkey, roast beef, and chicken may be sliced, diced, and mixed with vegetables and other ingredients to be turned into a new dish served the evening after Christmas festivities. It’s already a meal on its own as it can be made into packed lunches to bring to school or work. Aside from meat-based casseroles, vegetarians may also enjoy this comforting and warm dish as there are vegetarian recipes that cater also to busy lifestyles. Instead of meat, substitutes like eggplant, beans, and mushrooms may be used to get the “texture” that’s usually associated with meat dishes. There are also easy recipes for very busy people so no one misses out on
hearty and delicious meals. All you need is an oven! There are hundreds of recipes to try out. So in the next potluck, if you’ve got less time in your hands but want to serve an easy
and hearty dish, you know what to do!