Welcome to another edition of Foodie Friday! This week I’m inspired by back-to-school time to think about quick yet still creative dinners that can be prepared in advance and last a few days. The first think that comes to my mind that fits all of these criteria is the theme for this week’s Foodie Friday: casseroles! Not only are they simple to prepare, but they’re a good way to turn boring leftovers into a new, inspired dish.
- The ultimate casseroles, I think, are lasagna and ziti. Pasta, sauce, cheese- what more do you need?! For a creative twist on these staple dishes, try using ravioli or tortellini in place of your usual pasta for extra cheesy deliciousness.
- I recently made a fantastic taco casserole that I’m excited to share! I lined the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish with soft tortillas- it took 4 small tortillas to cover the pan. I sprinkled cheese on that so the filling would stick, then filled the pan with a mixture of pre-cooked taco meat, cooked rice, and canned corn. (You could also throw in any other veggies you want.) Then I added more cheese to the top and baked it at 350 degrees just until the cheese was melted. It’s great fresh but also travels and microwaves well, making it really delicious as leftovers, too. It tastes just like a taco, but way less messy!
- Probably the simplest way to make a casserole is to turn “everything but the kitchen sink” into dinner. Go through your fridge and find leftovers that you’re just not sure how to turn into a second meal. Pick a base for your casserole- something starchy and filling is best, such as pasta, rice, or mashed potatoes. Then mix in your leftovers. Veggies, meats, and cheeses are all fair game! To take the flavor to the next step, don’t forget spices. Salt, pepper, garlic, and onion powder can turn your dish into tasting like leftovers to tasting like something you’ve spent time planning to make!
Now that I’m one person living on my own, I’ve come to appreciate casseroles more now then when my mom used to make them. They’re a great way to use up a lot of ingredients instead of wasting them, and since they transport and reheat well, I find myself eating them for both lunch and dinner. Do you have a favorite quick-and-easy dinner idea? Let me know in the comments!