More than a few of us have some not-so-fond food memories from our childhood of overcooked noodles in congealed soup, but casseroles are a classic way to make a family dish in a single pan…sort of. I cheated on this one. In point of fact, a lot of casseroles require you to precook ingredients and can be on the fussy side. The beautiful thing about them, though, is that you can make them in advance so you only have to slide that night’s dish into the oven when you come home. For meal preppers, mastering the casserole is a must.
Whatever you’re combining, flavor is essential to an enjoyable dish. Ditch approaches to flavor that lean too heavily on salt and play with fresh spice and herb blends. Play with interesting vegetables (like tomatillos!) to give your casserole that extra pizzazz.
Consider cook times.
Casseroles go into the oven and come out of it as one solid block, so if you’ve got things that have varied needs for cooking time, those needs have to be met before they go in. Think of casseroles as a pre-cooked meal that just need warming: everything should be more or less cooked when the casseroles goes into the oven.
One of the worst issues with casseroles can be having to eat too many leftovers, especially if your casserole includes a starch that doesn’t stand up to soaking in liquid for the amount of time it will take you to get through it. Consider halving recipes you know your family will only enjoy fresh and look for options that taste great for 2-3 days.