Friday, May 17, 2013

Quick & Easy Casseroles

Casseroles are among the most forgiving of food dishes because they can not only be made well in advance of an event and kept frozen until needed, they generally travel well and can be reheated and kept warm effortlessly. Many casserole dishes even come with plastic lids and insulated travel containers so they can maintain their temperature for an extended time period without the need for an electrical outlet; they also tend to be less cumbersome than a slow cooker.

Pasta based casserole dishes are by far the most popular and economical meals to create but why not think outside the box and craft a casserole with plenty of hearty vegetables? If you have access to a farmer’s market or even your own garden, it’s amazing what affordable prices you can find on vegetables when they are in season. Perishables such as tomatoes are readily available at great prices because they have such a limited shelf life. Something like a tomato, onion and basil toss makes a great foundation for all sorts of dishes which are very flavorful and easy to make.

For portion control it’s a good idea to pre-slice individual servings while the dish is warm or hot – a sharp knife will cut through even meats and poultry; by pre-cutting the food first, you can ensure that each portion includes a little bit of everything. It makes it much easier to serve when the food has been pre-cut, especially if people are left to serve themselves from a buffet or side table. Take a look at your serving utensils and make sure to provide something that works well with the dish – it may be a flat bottom spoon, tongs or a spatula.

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