Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Making Casseroles Cheaper and Healthier

Since the weather has turned chilly and I've turned, well, pregnant...I've been craving comfort food, especially casseroles. The only problem (well 2 to be exact) is that casseroles can often be more expensive than some of our regular meals and way less healthy! Both problems typically stem from several cans of expensive, none-too-healthy cream soup called for in most casserole recipes.

My solution: make my own recipe for white sauce to use in place of each can of white sauce! For the most part, it works wonderfully.

Here are the directions, super simple.

Melt 2 TBS Butter/Margarine in hot fry pan or griddle.
When fully melted, mix in 2 TBS flour (I use whole wheat or ww pastry and it works fine, just changes the color of the finished product) until smooth.
Immediately add 2 or so cups milk and continue to stir (with wisk if possible) until mixture thickens. Add salt/pepper to taste. This makes the equivalent of 1 can of cream of _____soup.

If you really need the flavor of the particular can of soup (cream of chicken for example) you can do one of two things: either use one can and one subs. of white sauce or add some bouillon in with the milk.

I use the white sauce with some of our favorite recipes such as (with mods of course):

Chicken Tortilla Casserole (recipe to come)
Tuna Noodle Casserole

Another couple tricks I use for increasing the health and financial value of the casserole are making my own bread crumbs from stale/leftover bread for the topping and adding vegetable puree or shreds to the binder. Since we have so much pumpkin right now, I have been adding that to recipes like Shepherd's pie.

Does your family enjoy casseroles? What are your favorites?


Jennifer said...

Why didn't you post this yesterday??? I was searching and searching for some kind of substitute for cream of something soup because I haven't gone grocery shopping for a while, and I wanted to make dinner out of what I already had. Cream of something soup is in everything! Thanks for the tip. I will use it for sure!

Sarah said...

Congratulations on your pregnancy! Just popped in and read this (you probably announced it an earlier post, but I haven't gotten that far yet!) :) How exciting! I'm also pregnant (11 weeks today - due early May) . . . and we're excited!

May you have a happy and healthy nine months!


Rebeckah said...

Thank you for these great tips : ). Your recipes sound delicious!