Next-Level Casseroles: Tips & Tricks for Delicious Dishes

Next-Level Casseroles: Tips & Tricks for Delicious Dishes
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    Casseroles are a beloved comfort food, for many reasons—but ultimately, they provide a warm and satisfying meal in a single dish. They can be great for events like busy weeknights, holiday gatherings, and potlucks—but with their extra-large nature also comes bountiful portions that can be hard to get through before going bad, resulting in food waste. However, with Souper Cubes®, casseroles can be prepped and frozen in individual portions, making it easy to serve exact helpings while keeping the rest safely and conveniently preserved. (It's a lesser-known fact, but most casseroles are actually surprisingly freezer-friendly!)

    Also, crafting truly delectable casserole recipes takes more than just compiling a list of ingredients together. So, let's explore some helpful tips and tricks for prepping, making, and freezing casseroles in your Souper Cubes® along with some casserole dinner ideas to elevate your casserole game, ensuring each bite remains a flavorful delight for everyone.

    Tips for Making Good Casseroles

    Layering Matters

    Layering ingredients in the right order is good to keep in mind for a successful casserole. Generally, start with a base, such as:

    • Pasta
    • Rice
    • Potatoes

    Followed by a protein, like:

    • Chicken
    • Beef
    • Tofu

    Then add your vegetables, and finally, a cheese or sauce topping. Casseroles don't have to include all of these, but generally, a layering technique such as this will ensure even cooking and a balanced flavor profile.

    Don't Overcook Ingredients

    It's crucial to avoid overcooking ingredients before assembling your casserole! Be mindful to slightly undercook certain components since they will continue to cook as the casserole bakes in the oven. Overcooked ingredients can result in a mushy casserole, which is far from appetizing.

    Balance Flavors

    Casseroles can really shine when they achieve a harmonious balance of flavors. Sweet, salty, spicy, and acidic elements should blend well and complement each other. Add ingredients like caramelized onions, olives, or lemon zest to give your casserole a depth of flavor.

    Homemade Sauces

    While store-bought sauces can be convenient and are perfectly fine when in a pinch, homemade sauces can really maximize taste and texture. A homemade white sauce or tomato sauce can truly enhance your casserole. (For instance, our Tater Tot Casserole recipe skips the canned cream of mushroom for fresh mushrooms with garlic.) Experiment with various herbs and spices to personalize your sauce.

    Spice It Up! 

    Don't be afraid to experiment with spices and herbs. They can transform a plain casserole into a culinary masterpiece. Some popular choices:

    • Garlic
    • Basil
    • Oregano
    • Thyme
    • Paprika

    Remember that a little goes a long way, so be mindful of your measurements (this measurement chart from Reluctant Gourmet may help with substituting fresh herbs for dry and vice versa).

    Texture is Key 

    Texture also plays a significant role in the appeal of a casserole. Try adding a crunchy element such as: 

    • Breadcrumbs
    • Crushed chips
    • Cornflakes
    • Toasted nuts

    Sprinkle on top just before baking. This will provide a delightful contrast to the soft and creamy interior!

    Enhance Your Casserole Making With Souper Cubes®

    Get the Right Portions With Souper Cubes®

    Casserole recipes often call for larger portions. That's what makes them so great for those family meals and get-togethers. But what if you can't eat the entire thing at once? What if you only need a meal or two? That's where Souper Cubes® pinpoints the solution. With our exact-measured 1-Cup and 2-Cup trays, you can bake only what you need and freeze the rest of your recipe in perfect portions for later. (Or, bake and cool right in your trays then freeze in the same tray—so easy!) Then, after storing and stacking your frozen cubes, you can easily retrieve them one at a time, letting you go from freezer to table without waste whenever the time calls.

    Freezing Casseroles in Souper Cubes®

    Be sure to let your prepared casserole cool fully before freezing (even if that means sticking it in the fridge for a bit). Add the cooled food to the marked fill line, snap on the lid, and freeze for at least 24-36 hours or until frozen through. Also, we recommend assembling then freezing immediately, ideally on the same day the casserole was made, as refrigerating for several days or baking first can cause it to turn mushy. (Nobody wants a sad casserole!)

    Our Favorite Freezer-Friendly Casserole Recipes

    While we do encourage experimentation and creativity with your casserole creations, here are some of our favorite casserole dinner recipes!

    We would love to hear your ideas or better yet, post a photo of your cubes organized in our Freezer Meals & Recipes Facebook Group!

    Happy Freezing!

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