The Buzz List
By Angie Sutton, www.mothersapronstrings.com
Few meals satisfy like a hearty casserole with flavor combinations you crave. Most casseroles are a hodge-podge list of ingredients that create a warm and bubbly masterpiece. The basic casserole combines a starch, vegetable, protein, sauce, topping and variety of seasonings.
Often the starch is cooked pasta or rice but potatoes and cubed bread are popular as well. Short cut a casserole by making extra potatoes or rice and use them on the second day. Pasta cooks quickly so make that just before you need it.
Top recipes call for two-to-three cups of protein like ground beef, beef stew meat, chopped ham or ground ham. Cheese provides added protein and flavor. Vegetables can be canned or frozen to save time or fresh cooked. If your casserole doesn’t include a vegetable, serve a leafy green salad as a side.
The sauce will tie all the ingredients together. The easiest to use and most popular is condensed cream soup like cream of mushroom soup. Gravies and homemade sauces are worth the extra time.
It may make sense to bake a casserole the day before you need it if you have the oven on for another dish. They often taste better on the second day. Be sure to let it cool completely, cover it tightly and refrigerate it. Just warm it up the next day. Some casseroles lend themselves to assembly on the first day and baking on the second day.
Casseroles are great for breakfast, lunch and dinner as most are packed with protein. You can make it as healthy as you like based on ingredients. Work one of these easy beef-inspired dishes into your weekly menu plan to have your family asking for seconds.
We often make an extra couple of steaks on the grill over the weekend and slice them up for this pie on Monday evening. It saves time but also enhances the flavor.
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. cubed beef stew meat
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 (1-oz.) pkg. mushroom gravy mix (dry)
1 c. tap water
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 large egg
1 Tbsp. tap water
1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef and brown all sides. Toss in the onion and continue to cook another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in 1 cup water and gravy mix and stir until combined and then season with Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Cover and turn heat to low; simmer for 20-to-30 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Transfer the beef mixture to the baking dish. Roll the puff pastry out and cover the top, pressing the edges of the pastry onto the rim of the dish to seal. Whisk together the egg and 1 Tbsp. of water and brush over the top of the pastry.
3. Bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry is puffed and golden brown.
Apron Strings Tips: Add a can of sliced or diced carrots, drained, during the last few minutes on the stove in step 1.