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You don't have to be a fancy chef to build a better dish. Take what you have on hand
and make a comforting casserole!
Searcy, Ark. –
So you’re not a TV chef and don’t have time to create some Euro-Asian-American fusion
dish with Napa cabbage. However, by stocking the pantry with the right stuff, making a tasty, economical
meal is as simple as choosing ingredients from columns.
A comforting casserole may be just the thing to use up various leftovers. No use
throwing away money when you can make something tasty out of it! My dad did this
once. He just threw a whole bunch of stuff together, and Voila! A tasty casserole!
My mom kept asking, “Don’t we need a vegetable?” Dad said, “Nope! It’s in there!”
“What about some rolls?” asked Mom. “Nope! It’s all in there!” was Dad’s response.
You don’t have to be an expert cook or even have a large pantry. Just a few items
and knowledge about what your family likes! Make it fit your family.
Here are some recommendations for keeping in the pantry for an anytime skillet meal or casserole. Each one-dish casserole contains one food from each of the groups below:
2 cups uncooked pasta (regular or whole grain macaroni, penne, spiral, bow tie, etc.),
1 cup uncooked long-grain white or brown rice, cooked
4 cups uncooked noodles, cooked
2 cups cooked ground beef (about 1 pound, cooked & drained)
2 cups cooked & diced chicken, turkey, ham, beef, or pork
2 cups chopped hard-cooked egg
2 cans (6 to 8 oz. each) fish or seafood, flaked
2 cups cooked or canned dry beans (kidney, pinto, etc. – about 1 can drained)
1 (10 oz.) package thawed and drained frozen spinach, broccoli, green beans, green
1 (16 oz.) can green beans, peas, carrots, corn, drained
2 cups sliced fresh zucchini
2 cups cooked vegetables of your choice (use up those small containers of leftovers)
1 can soup plus 1 can milk (Cream of potato plus milk, cream of chicken plus milk, cream of celery plus milk,
cream of mushroom plus milk)
OR 1 cup cheese plus 2 cups milk
OR tomato soup plus 1 can water; onion soup plus 1 can water.
1 (16 oz.) can diced tomatoes with juice
2 cups white sauce (recipe below)
½ cup chopped celery, ¼ cup chopped onion, ¼ cup sliced black olives
½ teaspoons mixed dried leaf herbs (basil, thyme, marjoram, tarragon, etc.)
Salt & pepper to taste
For Mexican flavor, use cumin, oregano, chili powder, cilantro, and garlic
For Italian flavor, use basil, oregano, parsley, and garlic
For Asian flavor, use soy sauce, ginger, garlic, chilies, and turmeric
For a savory/Thanksgiving flavor, use rosemary, sage, thyme, and parsley
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup shredded Swiss, Cheddar, Monterey Jack or other cheese
¼ cup buttered bread crumbs
¼ to ½ cup canned fried onion rings
About 2 tablespoons crushed chips or crackers
Select food(s) from each category or use your own favorites. Combine in a 2-2 ½ quart
casserole dish that has been greased or sprayed with cooking spray. Cover and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 50-60 minutes (adding topping about 10 minutes before being done). You
can also microwave using 50% power for about 15 to 30 minutes, rotating or stirring
as necessary. Heat until steaming hot (165 degrees F) throughout. Makes about 6 servings.
Don’t be intimidated by making this sauce. It’s pretty easy and can be done in the
microwave also. You probably have all the ingredients!
Stove Top Instructions
For more information about meal planning or nutrition or for a handout on Create-A-Casserole, contact our office at the University of Arkansas, Cooperative Extension Service in
White County, at 2400 Old Searcy Landing Road, Searcy AR. The University of Arkansas System, Division of Agriculture is an equal opportunity/equal
access/affirmative action institution. You can also call 501-268-5394 or e-mail me at email@example.com and be sure to follow Katie on Facebook @ uaex white county fcs .
By Katie Cullum County Extension Agent - FCSThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Katie Cullum County Extension Agent - FCSU of A Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service2400 Old Searcy Landing Road Searcy AR 72143 (501) 268-5394 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative
action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need
materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other
appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay. The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons
regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin,
religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any
other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.