This week’s money-saving tip is how to make a basic casserole!
As you know casseroles are an inexpensive way to feed a family. So, what makes up a casserole or “hot dish” as we say in Minnesota?
The basic casserole or hot dish consists of a starch, meat, veggie and a soup mix.
• The meats are anything on sale because meat is a big portion of your food cost. Don’t forget about canned tuna, salmon or chicken they are still cheaper on the budget than swinging by a fast food joint!
• I find that I use a lot of frozen veggies that are on sale or root vegetables like onions and carrots. Or really anything I have stocked in the fridge that needs to be used up before the next shopping trip or are about to go bad.
• Now for the soup mix…I usually use something in a can that I can stock up when it’s on sale. Thick or cream based soups like cream of mushroom, cream of chicken, and tomato are great starters.
One of the easiest, cheapest, and tastiest casseroles I make is Shepherd’s Pie. This casserole originally called “cottage pie” and became quite the hit in Ireland around 1791, (thanks wikipedia) when the potato was being introduced as an edible and afforadable crop for the poor. The term “cottage” was coined because most rural/low income workers lived in cottages during the time. In early cook books, the dish was a means of using leftover roasted meat of any kind, veggies, and always a mashed potato crust on top.
This easy shepherd’s pie variation is made with green beans and tomato soup.
1 chopped onion
1 can tomato soup
1 can green beans, drained (can substitued frozen) and/or any other leftover veggies
2-3 cups of left over mashed potatoes (or you could simply make the box kind)
9 slices of American cheese (or shredded cheddar cheese)
1. Brown ground beef and onion in frying pan.
2. Mix in tomoto soup and green beans.
3. Place all in a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
4. Spread mashed potatoes on top.
5. Top with slices of American cheese (or shredded cheddar)
6. Bake at 350 degrees until center is warmed and cheese is melted.
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