As I mentioned earlier this week, I’ve decided to focus on simple meals that are great for busy weeks. Now that fall is just around the corner and school is back in session, it seems like everyone’s schedules are filling up fast. And, we can all use some easy meal ideas that don’t require too much effort and work.
When I think of simple weeknight meals, casseroles immediately come to mind. They can be made ahead and even frozen for later, so they are perfect for nights when you don’t have the time (or energy) to cook a complicated meal. Here’s my issue with casseroles… A lot of casseroles call for ingredients that I am not all too thrilled about – specifically canned condensed cream soup. So, while they may be convenient, they are also full of preservatives and other additives (not to mention a hefty amount of salt and even sugar) that I prefer to keep out of my dinner.
So, over the past few years, I’ve developed a strategy for keeping the cans out of my casseroles. I have a simple sauce that serves as a base for my casseroles, and I add spices and other flavors that will go well with the rest of the casserole. Plus, by making my own sauce, I control the ingredients, and I can use organic, hormone-free dairy products.
Making the casserole sauce does add a little bit more time to the casserole prep, but I think it’s worth it. And, for a lot of casseroles, you can even use the same pan that you have browned meat or sauteed veggies in, so it doesn’t have to dirty a lot of extra dishes. It works for me, and I’m hoping it will work for you, too!