Casseroles are one of the easiest meals to make and with a little imagionation you can use ingredients that you all ready have on hand. Don’t be afraid to make up your own recipe. If you like rice more then pasta… use rice. If you don’t like onion… don’t use onion. But much to my surprise most people like the flavor of onion but they don’t like the feel of onion in their mouth so by using onion powder or onion salt you can get the flavor and if you don’t have onions on hand it is a good substitute. If you use onion salt, use it in place of any regular salt the recipe calls for. The same goes for garlic, garlic powder or salt, can add flavor, but use it sparingly as it soon can take over the intire taste of your food.
Hamburger, Ground beef, is one of the more versitile ingredients. Ground beef
comes in different percentages of fat. It can range from around 75%, 80%, to 90%, which if you choose the 75%, it means it has more meat fat in it then the 90%, also you will find the less fat, the higher the price of the ground beef.
Ground beef that is 90% is healthier, but it is a little trickier to use, as it is quite dry and a little harder to fry without using a little vegetable oil. I like to grill it or broil it. If you use the ground beef that has a higher fat, be sure to spoon off most of the fat after browing it.
Chicken is another good meat for making casseroles. You can buy it canned, or you can cook raw chicken and remove the meat from the bone. If you choose to cook it; all you have to do is put the chicken parts in a pot big enough to cover the chicken completely with water and have room for the water to boil. You can add salt, and pepper, and onion, or just cook it plain. If you cook it with onion, and salt, after you have cooked the chicken until it is very done, falling off the bone, remove the chicken to a plate, let it cool until you can handle it, then remove the bones and skin. Strain the rest of the liquid, and place the chicken juice, into a freezer container, mark the container as to what is in it and date it. Now you have a base for a soup, or gravy, or to add flavor to some other recipe.
It is helpful to keep a list of what you have in your freezer, and as you use something from it, remove it from your list. That way when you are trying to decide what meals you are going to have you can look at you list and see what you have on hand. You can use any meat and find a way to make a casserole out of it.
Keeping a few cans of cream soup on hand, like cream of mushroom, chicken, celery, and tomato can be very helful when you want a quick meal.
You need to keep a few things on hand unless you grocery shop for each meal you make. Which makes your grocery buying more costly. If you watch your store sales and pick up a couple extra while they are on sale you can save a lot of money. Don’t go overboard either, three cans of each kinds of soup you like is enough. I also buy things like salad dressing when they are on sale, one for using right away and one for the pantry. Barbeque sauce is another, sometimes i’ve found it as cheap as 69 cents. Another very good ingredient to buy is macaroni and cheese. I use the macaroni for many things, and save the cheese sauce packet for the base of other things. Like when i make scallopped potatos I add a packet of the cheese sauce to my milk, and it really is good. I like to use the macaroni that comes in the mac and cheese for making macaroni salad. It cooks so quickly and I like the size of the macaroni. Cream corn is another good ingredient to add flavor to a casserole. You can use any tomato product, soup, whole, sauce, chopped, even tomato juice.
Cheese is a great ingredient for a casserole. Any kind, from cream cheese, cheese wiz, cheddar, mozzarella, american, on and on. Dried onion soup
mix is another good additive if you like onion. You can add any kind of vegetable. Use any kind of pasta or rice.
There is no end to the possibilities, just use the ingredients you favor.