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Post-World War II was a time of unprecedented changes in America. There was a boom in the population, and more women were working outside of the home. To meet the demands of these busy families, American cooks experimented with innovative ways to prepare quick, nutritious meals. This was the era that brought us the quintessential casserole.
In most regions, meals included meat, veggies, starches, dessert (sometimes with fruit), and a beverage. Most of these dishes were made from scratch, using fresh meats and produce that the families raised. After the war, canned and processed foods became more abundant and accessible. They saved time in the kitchen.
Families still wanted their meat and potatoes—only quicker. Ingenious cooks experimented with the ready-made foods and invented the casserole, which comes from the French word for pan--casse Casseroles are so ingrained into our cuisine, that the baking dishes are called “casserole” dishes. Casserole recipes were marketed to families as a quick, economical way of serving delicious meals.
While there are many casserole versions, the essential components are noodles (or rice), meat, veggies, canned creamed soup, grated cheese, and a crunchy topping (crushed potato chips, crackers, or toasted breadcrumbs). There are no “wrong” ingredients for a casserole dish. They can be tweaked by taste or by what is in the pantry. Many fabulous casseroles were invented by cooks who used whatever was available at the time.
The Baby Boomer generation was raised on a plethora of casseroles. Infinite varieties graced family tables and church potluck dinners across the nation. Some casserole recipes became classics, like green bean casserole, tuna casserole, and chicken casserole. Various food brands advertised new casserole recipes to try. The beauty of these dishes is that they bake in one pan, and cleanup is a cinch. No wonder casseroles took American cooking by storm!
They are just as popular now as they were back in the 1950s. Families are even busier, so quick and easy recipes are welcomed. Most casseroles do not require a lot of ingredients—usually the things you have on hand. They are economical and can easily be frozen for a future meal. Casseroles are a comfort food that evokes memories of childhood and Sunday dinner at Grandma’s house.
Past casserole recipes usually depended on processed or canned food because it was cheap and quick. You can elevate your favorite casserole recipe by incorporating some fresh ingredients and adding aromatic spices. Discover exotic flavors from casserole dishes from across the globe. A casserole dinner need not be bland or boring!
What not bake a new casserole recipe for your Mother’s Day celebration? They are not just for dinner. You could treat Mom to a savory breakfast casserole or serve a lovely sweet version for dessert. Some people cut their casseroles into bite-sized appetizers. Celebrate Mom and her famous casseroles with an innovative twist of your own!
Give your mom (or wife) a break on Mother’s Day and serve this mouthwatering breakfast casserole. It has a delightful savory/sweet flavor that the whole family will love. It is filled with maple sausage, tart Granny Smith apples, wheat bread, and shredded cheddar, in a sweet custard. Make ahead of time and refrigerate the casserole, then bake it the next morning.
Would you prefer a spicy casserole for breakfast? Try this zesty version with classic Tex-Mex ingredients, like corn tortillas, black beans, sharp cheddar, and canned enchilada sauce. Once the ingredients are layered in the dish, crack eight eggs on top and bake. Top it with avocado slices and spicy salsa. This would be a great Mother’s Day brunch idea.
Chicken is often the featured protein in casseroles, such the famous chicken casserole. This elevated version has succulent layers of chicken, sliced potatoes, sautéed mushrooms, onions, and grated cheddar in a flavorful cream sauce. The kicker is the diced fried bacon that is sprinkled on top before baking. In about an hour, you will have a delicious casserole for the whole family!
Here is another upgrade on a classic casserole recipe. It tastes so fabulous, you might forget that is a healthy dish. This casserole features chicken, tender broccoli, crisp water chestnut slices, and fragrant Jasmine rice. The sauce gets its creamy goodness from Greek yogurt, almond milk, shredded cheddar, and mozzarella cheeses. The breadcrumb topping turns golden in the oven.
With orzo ratatouille is a hardy French provincial stew made with eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, and garlic, that inspired this casserole. It features all the familiar flavors, but in an approachable casserole form.
Do you want a mouthwatering meal that is quick and simple to make? Consider this spicy enchilada-style casserole. The bottom layer is corn tortillas, which is layered with shredded chicken, enchilada sauce, zesty spices, and your favorite barbeque sauce. The surprise ingredient is diced sweet potatoes, which add depth of flavor and sweetness to the dish.
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