Tips to make your casserole perfect
1. Remove excess water. If your recipe calls for canned or frozen vegetables you’ll want to ensure excess water is removed. Drain canned vegetables well and use a paper towel to sop up remaining moisture. Thaw frozen vegetables in a colander so extra liquid drips out. Mushrooms contain a lot of water and cooking them in a teaspoon of olive oil prior to adding them to your casserole will help.
2. Some recipes call for ingredients that cook at different rates. To ensure your ingredients aren’t over or undercooked, you may need to adjust your preparation. Noodles should be al dente, or just cooked and still firm. Root vegetables such as potatoes and carrots may need parboiled to give them a headstart.
3. Boost the flavor of the casserole by topping it with buttered bread crumbs, crushed crackers or potato chips, French fried onions or cooked, crumbled bacon.
4. Make sure that freezing a casserole is really a time saver. Make sure all meat ingredients are fully cooked and let anything cooked ahead of time completely cool before freezing. After cooling, wrap the dish tightly with plastic wrap and label it. Defrost it in the refrigerator completely before baking to avoid overcooked edges. Defrosting may take a couple days depending on the size of your dish.
5. Use the correct size of bakeware. Rule of thumb is that your ingredients should fill 3/4 of the dish after all ingredients are added. If you use a dish that is larger than what is called for, your bake time will be less to avoid drying out.
6. I find that dried herbs are a better choice for dishes that bake longer. Their flavor holds up better than fresh herbs in this case.