The simple theory is layering. Choose one type of food from each of the following layer suggestions, starting from the bottom:
Base: mildly flavored vegetables or starch layer:
*Tortilla or tortilla chips
*Lightly cooked eggplant or zucchini
*Soft butternut squash
*Roasted halved Brussels sprouts
*Sliced, grated, or cubed cheese
*Scrambled or hard-boiled egg (sliced)
*Sliced, ground or cubed meat -cooked or preserved (salami is amazing)
*Cheese and/or beans
Flavor sauce: sweet/savory/spicy/piquant/bitter (don’t pick all 5)
*Cream of Mushroom soup
*Tomato or pesto based sauce
*Peanut or Teriyaki Sauce
*Sautéed garlic, onions and mushrooms
*Pieces of blue cheese
*Broken tortilla or crumbled potato chips
*Chopped cooked vegetables
*Chopped cabbage or leafy green vegetable raw or cooked
*Chopped green: cilantro, green onions
*A few shakes of red: paprika or chili powder
*Chopped purple cabbage
A stellar casserole has: balanced flavors, a delicious sauce, visual appeal (different colors and textures).
Can be assembled and baked in a glass pan or skillet. Start with pre-cooked ingredients, or from leftovers, cooking is mostly to reheat and marry the ingredients. Cook at 350 until slightly crispy on top or warm all the way through.
Dessert casseroles are also lovely. Think cobbler, compote, sundae or bread pudding.
Pairs Well With
Neither of my parents cared for casseroles. So in that sense I was a late bloomer, in my early 20’s I got obsessed with casseroles. I still love them.