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Must Read: The Best Casserole Cookbook Ever

Due to the difficult economic climate, in the past couple of months, the casserole — a one-pot dish that feeds a crowd and often consists of budget-friendly ingredients — has made a strong comeback. To fully embrace the trend, I recently obtained a copy of The Best Casserole Cookbook Ever ($24.95) by Beatrice Ojakangas. It's filled with over 500 casserole recipes, and to find out what I thought of this cookbook,

.

Pros:

  • The book takes a healthy approach to casseroles by encouraging home cooks to make their own sauces to replace the "cream of" soups.
  • There's a loose interpretation of the word "casserole." According to the author, casserole can "refer either to the dish that the food is cooked in or to the food itself." So, while there are plenty of classic casserole recipes, there are also tons of recipes for one-pot, baked dishes.
  • The book covers every type of cuisine and cooking procedure, from classic breakfast dishes to Moroccan-influenced dinners to casseroles for two.

Cons:

  • Some of the recipes lack important details. For example, step two in the chili con queso recipe says to "melt butter in a small skillet and add the green onions and poblano peppers. Saute for 5 minutes." The recipe fails to mention the temperature of the stove.
  • The ingredient lists have too many options, leaving it up to the home cook to decide what to include in the casserole. A recipe will say "heavy cream or sour cream" "4 slices of bacon or 1/2 cup cooked ham." Surely the casserole tastes different depending on which ingredient is used. I prefer for the cookbook author to tell me which one tastes better.
  • There are virtually no color photographs. In fact, there are almost no photos at all.

Recipes: The focus of this book is clearly the recipes and there is definitely something for everyone. Here are the casserole recipes I would like to make:

  • All of the hot cheese slather spreads in the appetizer section
  • Cheese and sausage breakfast pie
  • Chicken Marengo
  • Chicken, polenta, and morel casserole
  • Beer-baked Irish beef
  • Fiesta casserole
  • Casserole-braised lamb shanks
  • Crab melt casserole
  • Corn and chive pudding
  • Peaches and cream dessert casserole

Imagery: There are about 16 color photographs in the entire book. Although these images are mouthwatering and professional, some seem a little too stylized.

Overall Rating: If you love casseroles or use the oven to do most of your cooking, you will love this book. The insane quantity of recipes guarantees that you'll be using it in the years to come.

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Join The Conversation
GirlC GirlC 7 years
partysugar - oops sorry thought Yum posted this :headsmack: You're right, I did mess up on the venison bit. I should've mentioned the whole section like you did - "lamb, veal & game casseroles." That whole section is a write-off for me. When you looked at the other casseroles, did you find a variety? Or were they like I remember, similar with one or two different ingredients? I also would love to hear about some of your tests. Maybe it will sway me... Getting books first from library is great. I found quite a few good ones that way. I recently discovered The Juicing Bible by Pat Crocker.
CoconutPie CoconutPie 7 years
I love casseroles and would probably buy a book like this one if it had lots of pictures.
Food Food 7 years
I agree with suziryder too, since I'm a highly visual person. Yet I think this book still appeals to me — for some reason, I irrationally love casseroles.
aphill4 aphill4 7 years
I agree with suziryder. Especially when I'm reading the ingredients and some of them don't sound like they'd make for a good presentation. You eat with your eyes first, and I like to make sure I know at least what my dish is going to "sort of" look like.
suziryder suziryder 7 years
That book sounds okay, but it annoys me when cookbooks don't have many pictures. I like to know what it's supposed to look like. Also, all of those "this or that" ingredients would annoy me, too. But I agree with the others who said you should test out some recipies for us and let us know what you think!! :D
partysugar partysugar 7 years
GirlC: there is a section entitled "lamb, veal & game casseroles." It's not an entire one dedicated to venison. Out of the 500+ recipes there are only 4 that feature venison. I love your idea of checking out the cookbooks at the library beforehand, what a great tip!
GirlC GirlC 7 years
Oh yeah - the book would've been better (easier) if it was spiral-bound!
wren1 wren1 7 years
I like the healthy approach to casseroles. I hope you share a recipe or two here for us to try :)
GirlC GirlC 7 years
I got this book out from the library and after thumbing through it decided against buying it. There's a whole section on venison and I would never use it. Plus I found a lot of the dishes ... similar and somewhat lacking imagination. I'm all for easy dishes but a lot of them I found were repeated with 1 ingredient changed. Maybe I need to see some that you make Yum and what you think. :shrug:
aimeeb aimeeb 7 years
Sounds pretty okay...
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