Casseroles anyone?

tiffy_z5_6_can(5/6)September 1, 2009

OK, so I'm on a budget in terms of $$ and time. I need ideas. Give me your favourites which can be prepared and frozen then taken out sometime during the week and VOILA!!

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Easiest Italian - a box of rigatoni or similar pasta, cooked al dente, mix with bottled sauce, mozzarella, cooked Italian sausage if you like (or just leave as vegetarian) - top with parmesan & bake (or can be micro-cooked in about 8 minutes - I like baked better). I divide leftovers into individual portions & freeze, or you can freeze the whole casserole. While you reheat it, throw together a good green salad - I also like a good garlic bread or garlic sticks with it (this may go over $ budget though, and casserole+salad flies just fine).

I may add a couple to this thread if I think of them - I am so NOT an elegant cook - fast and easy works for me.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2009 at 7:20PM
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Sounds like a good one Drippy. I'll skip the parmesan. Makes me gag. LOL!! Can't even be near the stuff unless it's real or mixed in with Ceasar salad - yum,!

I am not an elegant cook either. Maybe we should start a club? My favourite meal is noodles with butter and spagetti sance - just a little - sprinkled with mozza cheese. Quick and easy!

    Bookmark   September 6, 2009 at 7:33PM
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Tiffy, make up some pesto & freeze it - this makes instant food. I use pesto not only mixed with pasta, but also brushed on white fish, dotted with butter & baked (yum!), or on chicken. This recipe is not original - I got it from GW somewhere, I think, LOL - I use high quality olive oil, pine nuts, and parmesan that you have to grate yourself.

Throw in the food processor:
2 c basil
1 c parsley (or spinach, but I haven't tried it with that yet)
2 (or more) cloves garlic
1 c parmesan (or romano - or maybe hard cheese of your choice?)
1/2 c pine nuts (you can use almonds or others, but I'm a purist - I only use pine nuts)

Grind it all together to a paste, then drizzle in 1/2 c really good extra virgin olive oil. Yum. This is a double batch - will work for 2 lb. pasta.

The recipe actually calls for 1/2 t. salt, but I don't use it.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2009 at 9:20PM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

Can one make a pesto without basil? I hate the taste of basil though I grow some every year both for the foliage and for the aroma.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2009 at 4:58AM
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mnwsgal, how about a combination of spinach & parsley? I haven't tried it, but you might try the recipe above substituting spinach for the basil. Or you could use all spinach - even cilantro might work, if you wanted a Mexican flair. I would think you could use any leafy green you wanted - might come up with some interesting flavors!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2009 at 3:14PM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

Thanks, drippy, I will try the spinach & parsley. I grow both. I am one of the people who think cilantro tastes like soap, yuk! Also not a big parmesan fan, though sneak it in now and then.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2009 at 1:06PM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

So many casseroles use condensed soup and this one does as well. To cut down on salt choose one of the light soups or make your own sauce.

Baked Chicken & Rice

8-10 chicken thighs/wings (I also use chicken breasts)
olive oil
4 c beef broth (or use homemade chicken/turkey broth or vegetable juices)
1 c brown rice, uncooked
1/2 c wild rice, uncooked
1/3 c wheat/oat bran
1 can cream of chicken soup (or mushroom) 10 1/4 oz.
salt & pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Brown chicken slowly, sprinkling bran on both sides of chicken, in 9x9 inch baking dish with a bit of olive oil.

3. Remove dish from heat. Remove chicken from dish.

4. Add broth and uncooked rice to baking dish. Place chicken on rice and spread soup over all.

5. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours. Add more liquid during baking time if desire softer rice. Add salt and pepper.

Serves 4.

Leftovers freeze well.

This is one that I have used for years. It is quick and easily modified. If I don't have fresh chicken I use frozen chicken breasts (skip steps 2 & 3) and sprinkle the bran over chicken before adding soup or skip bran. If I am in a hurry I skip steps 2 & 3 even with fresh chicken. Sometimes I add frozen veggies.

The most important step is to have enough liquid for the uncooked rice.

My DH doesn't like many spices but one could add other spices as wish.

Can use other rices. We like the mix of wild rice & brown.

I seldom make casseroles anymore as we grill year round and I use a slow cooker.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2009 at 2:45PM
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