Casseroles are easy, filling and comfort food for most of us. Once you know the basic formula you can toss together a casserole in minutes and since there are no concrete must haves, you can easily tailor it to suit your family.
The basics are: 1 part main ingredient, 1 part secondary ingredient, 2 parts starch, 1 1/2 part binder, 1/4 to 1/2 part extra, topping. For the most part chop or dice in bite sized pieces and mix everything but the topping together.
Main ingredients are usually some type of protein- chicken, turkey, ground meat, tuna, ham, shrimp, etc. For vegetarians, you can use tofu, lentils, eggplant or portabello mushrooms.
Secondary is almost always a vegetable- peas, broccoli, corn, green beans, squash, celery, mushrooms, green peppers, etc.
Starch can be any type of pasta, rice, croutons, Chinese noodles, diced potatoes, canned fried onions, etc.
Binder is anything to hold it together, white sauce, cream of whatever soup, tomato sauce, sour cream, gravy, etc. (If it seems too dry, add milk or stock.)
Extras can be any type of nuts, roasted red peppers, water chestnuts, jalapenos, diced green chilies, green onions, bacon bits, etc.
Toppings- while not necessary toppings add a lot to a casserole. They can be anything from cheese to breadcrumbs to canned fried onions to crushed potato chips etc.
Add your favorite seasonings- we often like Tony's Creole seasoning, but any salt or salt free blend, lemon juice, or combination your family prefers works.
Since the ingredients are pre-cooked I just bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, covered, add topping and bake uncovered for 15 minutes longer.
Classic Tuna Casserole
4 servings, can be easily doubled
2 cans tuna, drained and flaked
2 cups cooke, drained egg noodles
1 cup peas (I like the baby peas or peas and pearl onions)
1 can cream of mushroom soup, 1/2 can milk
2-4 Tbsp pimento, chopped & drained
3 Tbsp breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp melted butter
Mix tuna, peas, soup, milk & pimento then stir into 2 cups cooked, drained egg noodles.
Spread into greased casserole, cover & bake in 375 degree oven for 30 minutes.
Top with buttered breadcrumbs (3 Tbsp breadcrumbs, 1 Tbsp melted butter, mixed) and bake uncovered for 15 minutes.
Posted by Sherry of Loon-atics In The Kitchen
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