Use these Hacks to Save Time when Making Casseroles

Potato and Chicken Cassserole Whether you need a quick dinner or are creating a dish for a potluck supper, casseroles fit the bill nicely. One of the nicest things about casseroles is that you can save a great deal...

Potato and Chicken Cassserole
Potato and Chicken Cassserole

Whether you need a quick dinner or are creating a dish for a potluck supper, casseroles fit the bill nicely. One of the nicest things about casseroles is that you can save a great deal of time, especially when you use these hacks to make the process even more efficient.

Cook Once, Eat Twice

If you have a favorite casserole you tend to make often, double the recipe when making it. That way, you’ll have an extra casserole that can be frozen and then taken out when needed. To making freezing easier, line your casserole dish with aluminum foil, allowing it to overhang the sides by three to four inches. When you’re done, simply lift your casserole out of the pan and wrap it up. Be sure to mark the date and type of casserole on the outside with a marker and piece of tape.

There’s no need to thaw a frozen casserole before cooking it, as it will easily defrost in an oven. Frozen casseroles are ideal for throwing in a crock pot and allowing to cook while you are at work. You could even save money by purchasing and using ingredients while they are on sale.

Grating Ingredients

Grating onions and garlic takes much less time than chopping them does. Not only that, but you can avoid sautéing them as well, since finely-chopped bits of garlic and onion will easily cook while your casserole is baking. Casseroles containing potatoes can take longer than others to bake; however, when you grate them, you can reduce your cooking time significantly. Broccoli should not be grated, but instead cut into very fine pieces to ensure even cooking.

Using up Leftover Ingredients

Another benefit to making casseroles is the fact that it allows you to use up leftover ingredients. Some ideas for using up leftovers include:

  • Crushing stale bread or heels into very fine crumbs to make a crunchy topping
  • Using leftover cereal, potato chips, crackers or croutons as a topping
  • Mixing different types of pasta in order to use up half empty bags
  • Adding more than one type of cheese if you only have a little left of each one
  • Using leftover mashed potatoes or rice as the starch for your casserole

To create your own mixed vegetables for casseroles, place spoonfuls of peas, carrots, corn and green beans in a plastic container and keep it in the freezer. Each time you have only a little bit of something left, add it to your container until it is full. That way, you won’t have to throw anything out because you feel there’s not enough to save.

Keeping a Casserole Warm

One of the biggest challenges people face is keeping their casserole warm, especially when attending pot luck dinners. Keep your casserole warm without allowing it to dry out by:

  • Using an insulated bag or food carrier
  • Wrapping food in several layers of aluminum foil
  • Placing a hot blanket or towel around your serving dish
  • Sitting your casserole dish in a container of warm water and then placing it in an oven on low setting
  • Adding a small amount of warm broth to meaty dishes

Other Tips

  • Be sure to drain vegetables thoroughly before adding them to your casserole
  • It’s better to parboil potatoes and pasta to ensure they cook completely
  • Add a few extra bread crumbs or other crunchy topping to a casserole that’s too watery to help absorb the extra liquid
  • Never add raw chicken or poultry to a casserole-always precook first to prevent foodborne illness

These are just a few ideas you can use to make preparing your next casserole as efficient as possible. To find out more, please feel free to contact us.