The Casserole is Back

by Clarissa the Mom Chef

Well, the weather here in the U.S. is cooling down as fall approaches. (For those of us here in Texas, that means it's only 89 degrees instead of 105 outside!) One of the great food memories for me as a kid was when my mom pulled a piping hot casserole out of the oven on a crisp autumn night.

The word casserole comes from the Old French word "casse" meaning ladel or pan. The great thing about making a casserole is you get to dump a bunch of ingredients (leftovers are ideal for this) into one pan, bake it, and serve in the same dish. My family had our favorite casserole that we called Chicken for a Crowd. Back then Mom bought a whole chicken, boiled it for hours, and cut it up into cubes...a time-consuming affair. Then she baked it at low temperature in the oven for at least an hour.

Nowadays most of us busy moms don't have that kind of time or energy. To save time, you can buy a roasted chicken at your local grocery store or rotisserie or take a couple of chicken breasts, cut them up, and lightly stir fry before adding to your casserole.

Another tip is to bake your casserole at a higher temperature (400F degrees instead of 300F degrees) for 30 minutes instead of an hour or longer.

For healthier casseroles, use 2% cheese, yogurt in place of sour cream, and low fat, low sodium soups. You can also use a skillet to cook the main ingredients, add your soup, then put the skillet in the oven to bake. You can even serve it in the same skillet.

I've recently added some more chicken casserole recipes, beef casserole recipes, and vegetable casserole recipes. so check them out and be sure to send me any of your favorite recipes for cooking casseroles that kids love to eat.

Try this easy (and yummy) casserole recipe sent in by Mike Giro:

Tator Tot Casserole

1 pound of beef (ground beef or cubed round steak)
American or cheddar cheese, shredded
1 bag frozen tator tots
1 can cream of chicken soup

Cook beef and place in a medium sized casserole dish. Spread the cream of chicken soup over beef (do not add water to the soup). Next spread enough cheese on top to cover and then spread enough tator tots on top of cheese. Bake in a 350F degree oven for 1 hour.

Serves 4.

Happy Kid Cooking!

Clarissa Camus is the founder of Easy Kids Recipes ( Her website includes articles, cooking tips, a free newsletter, and lots of kid-friendly recipes.

Share your casserole tips!

Do you have a great tip for making, freezing or serving casseroles? Or a fantastic casserole recipe? Why not share it!

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