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I was going to make squash casserole for my Sunday dinner and discovered I was out of Ritz crackers needed, but I did have a box of Cheezits. They not only added the consistency I need but an added cheesy taste. My family loved it and I have been using them ever since.
By Carolyn from Springville, AL
Casseroles and cream soups go together. They are great on homegrown vegetables fresh from the garden, jar or freezer.
But the more we read the labels, and if you're into watching sodium in your diet and economics, there has to be an alternative. There is. You can make your own healthy casserole or cream soup mix. I keep a container of the mix handy for white sauces, gravies and soups.
The mix uses low fat and low sodium ingredients. You'll be surprised how easy the mix is to use and so much healthier. For example, one 10.5-ounce can of cream soup has 225 calories and 12.5 grams of fat. The homemade mix has only 107 calories and just 1 gram of fat. If we compared a 1/2 cup serving, it would be 90 calories verses 43 calories and 5 grams of fat verses a trace.
The sodium picture is even brighter. One can of soup has 2,225 milligrams of sodium compared to 1,200 in the casserole sauce mix if regular bouillon is used. Per one-half cup serving, this translates into 890 milligrams or 37 percent daily value for the canned soup and 480 milligrams or 20 percent daily value for the casserole mix. If you use reduced sodium bouillon as called for in the recipe, you'd reduce the sodium level even more. Not only will you spare your body fat and sodium, you'll be saving pennies for your pocket too and eliminating cans from the landfill!
The homemade casserole sauce mix is a basic white sauce mix with some herbs if you choose. When ready to use, if you like cream of celery soup, add some chopped fresh celery to your dish. If you prefer cream of mushroom, add some fresh or canned mushroom pieces. Or, if it's cream of broccoli, add fresh or frozen chopped broccoli. Be creative.
Use instead of canned cream soup
Combine ingredients. Store in an airtight container.
To prepare as a substitute for one can of condensed cream soup in recipes, stir together 1/3 cup dry mix and 1 1/4 cup water in a saucepan or microwave cooking dish. Cook and stir until thickened. Mix makes the equivalent of nine cans condensed soup.
As you plan your company dishes for this holiday season, why don't you mix up a batch of casserole sauce mix and cook up a healthy holiday meal. By sharing your healthy version of the family's favorite dishes, you just might encourage other family members to try the casserole sauce mix too. Of course, you could always mix up a batch and give it as a gift using a recipe card as a gift tag.
Source: University of Missouri Extension
I use Texas toast with 5 cheese on it for my squash casseroles. Just put in food processor and mix, then put on top of the casserole to brown. This saves on buying cheese.
Editor's Note: Wikipedia says that Texas toast is pre-sliced at double the typical thickness of most pre-sliced breads. It is not pre-toasted as the name implies.
By conniebland from VA
There are casserole dishes that I like to prepare and eat. I didn't used to make them because I knew my husband didn't care for them. Now, when I'm wanting one of them, I make them in a 9x13 inch dish. Upon baking and cooling, I cut the casserole into servings and freeze them, just for me. So when I'm needing a fast lunch. All I have to do is bring it out of the freezer and place in the microwave. This way my husband doesn't have to get stuck eating a certain casserole he doesn't like.
This is a guide about freezing casseroles. Making and freezing casseroles ahead of time can help make meals easier and faster on days when your schedule is overly busy.
To prevent a casserole from boiling over in your oven as it bakes place butter around the rim of the casserole dish.
By Sandy from Graettinger, IA