Monday, July 27, 2009

I've become a big fan of casseroles. While they aren't considered to be very sophisticated cooking, they certainly meet my needs at this stage in life. Here's why:

1. They are easily made ahead and can be thrown in the fridge to cook later (or sometimes the freezer for another day). In my case this often means during nap time.

2. I can get the kitchen cleaned and dishes washed up while they are baking in the oven. It is nice sitting down to a meal knowing that you don't have a huge mess waiting for you.

3. They often combine all the food groups in one dish - or can be tweaked to do so.

4. We tend to not eat meat-heavy meals, so casseroles are a great way to stretch smaller portions of meat.

5. They are also a good way to sneak in vegetables for those who would typically avoid such things.

6. They are about the easiest meals to take to other people or share in a potluck.

7. They are incredibly versatile.

8. They can be quite economical.

Some of my favorites are:

Broccoli Chicken Delight served over pasta or rice
Spaghetti Pie with a salad or steamed veg

Just recently I discovered another casserole that we all loved. In the spirit of eating more seasonally, this one is perfect for the summer. Below is my adaptation from the original recipe on allrecipes.com.

Zucchini Herb Casserole

A good portion of cooked rice (I probably had 4-5 cups worth)
1 - 1 1/2 cups of sausage (I used the crumbly, breakfast-type, but probably any kind would work.)
2-3 med zucchini, cubed
several green onions, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp paprika (I didn't have any, so it works without as well)
1 1/2 cups tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 cups Cheddar cheese, shredded

Cook the rice ahead of time. Pre-heat the oven to 350. Cook up the sausage. Add the zucchini, onions and garlic and stir-fry until tender. Mix in seasonings, then add rice, tomatoes and half the cheese. Cook until heated through. Transfer to a casserole dish, sprinkle remaining cheese on top and bake until cheese is melted and bubbly (about 20 min). Serve hot. YUM!

You could probably add different vegetables to this dish depending on your preferences. Yellow squash and leeks are two that come to mind. Hope you enjoy.

Comments (3)

On August 1, 2009 at 8:57 AM , Jeff & Janelle said...

OH my goodness...I didn't know you had a blog! YEAH for finding it! You are precious! I really don't know you that well, but through this blog, I've gotten to know you quite a bit better! WOW I'm so impressed with the way you manage your home and the amazing mother/wife/woman of God you are!!! Keep up the amazing work! I have a deeper respect and appreciation for you by what I have read! Love you and God bless dear cousin!

 
On August 30, 2009 at 9:23 PM , April said...

Hey cuz!! I love reading your blog-always inspires me! We made this zucchini casserole and just loved it--ate on the leftovers for a few days and it was yummy every time! Oh and if I haven't told you, I love the raisinggodlytomatoes.com! Thanks!

 
On August 31, 2009 at 2:03 PM , Jia Le said...

Thanks, April! I'm glad you enjoyed the recipe. Anna posted a stuffed zucchini recipe on her blog that has become one of our family favorites. =) Squeeze those beautiful kids for me, ok? Love you.