One thing about the Holidays, you're always bringing a dish somewhere or someone's bringing a dish over to you. A Casserole is the perfect dish to add to the Holiday Feast. Even the Holiday Casserole is usually simple to make and a great way to feed a crowd with what is likely a traditional family recipe.
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What Exactly Is a Casserole?
What's a casserole? That's somewhat in the eyes of the beholder or belly of the eater. A casserole is generally several ingredients baked in an oven-proof dish usually including a protein (or not), some vegetables (or not) some starchy binder ingredients, like pasta, potatoes, rice, bread, bread crumbs, or crackers, a sauce of some type to keep things moist, and cheese mixed in or on top, or both. It likely has a crunchy topping (or not).
Casseroles are not a recent phenomenon, dating back thousands of years, but saw a resurgence in 20th Century America with the introduction of canned, processed foods allowing for the combining of previously cooked, prepared ingredients into semi-homecooked dishes. New forms of cookware emerged, either encouraging or supporting this resurrection. So popular was the casserole that the word came to define the recipe as well as the cooking vessel itself. Suburban households could not get enough!
What Makes a Good Casserole?
I'm not sure how many different casserole recipes there are, but I know what most of them have in common.
- Casseroles are generally baked in the oven. They may start on the stove, but before they are finished and served, they bake in an oven.
- Casseroles use an oven-safe vessel of some sort. It may be a cast-iron skillet, a glass "casserole", some earthenware, or glass bakeware. The only requirements are that the dish is oven-safe and of sufficient size to hold the recipe.
- There is no limit on what can go into a Casserole, but most often they are a form of "comfort food". Many casseroles contain a protein of some sort-meats, poultry, or seafood, ut many do not.
- A casserole can be a main dish or a side dish served for lunch or dinner, but could also be a breakfast or dessert dish.
- Casseroles speak of hospitality, simplicity, and creativity.
Sweet Daddy D's Holiday Casserole Recipes
- Spinach Madeleine
- Mirliton Casserole with Shrimp
- Broccoli Cheese Casserole
- Yellow Squash Casserole
- Creamy Spinach and Mushroom Gratin
- Creole Eggplant Casserole
- Stuffed Artichoke Casserole
- Spicy Crawfish Mac and Cheese
- Baked Macaroni and Cheese, Rocky and Carlo’s Style
- Cajun Twice Baked Potatoes
- Creole Sweet Potatoes with Cane Syrup
- Candied Yams
Even though Holiday Dressings are not usually categorized as Casseroles, they meet the criteria of a good Casserole. If you're looking for some great, traditional Holiday Dressings or Stuffings, follow this link.
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