The Washington Times-Herald


October 3, 2011

Partial to casseroles

WASHINGTON — I’ve always been a little partial to casseroles. I’m not sure why, because I’m kinda picky about mixing foods together.

Maybe it’s because casseroles are easy; you basically throw everything in a dish, toss it in the oven, go do something else for a while, and voila! You have a meal — usually complete with at least your meat and vegetable food groups. If you’re cooking for two, just the casserole is plenty. If you’re cooking for a larger family, you can add some side dishes and it still works.

There’s also generally plenty of margin for error with a casserole; get a little too much or not enough of an ingredient in it, and you probably won’t be able to tell the difference.

Substitutions are less conspicuous in a casserole, too; exchange chili beans for kidney beans, and who’s gonna notice? Don’t like a particular spice? Exchange it for one you like.

Cleanup is a lot easier with a casserole, as well — unless, of course, you burn it! Usually, though, you’ll have only a skillet, a casserole dish and your table settings. Adding a salad, Texas toast or other side will add a couple more bowls. Still, that’s not a lot of dishes.

In my family, “California Casserole” has become one of those meals that’s always included in the rotation. It’s my dad’s favorite meal, but my daughter always picked out the beans and tomatoes when I made it for the two of us! I like it with a salad and Texas toast.

I believe the recipe originally came from a fund-raising cookbook sold by a theater group in Indianapolis. If memory serves me (And that’s debatable!), my aunt made it once and it was an instant hit. Through the years I experimented with the recipe in the microwave and came up with some microwave cooking instructions that I’ll include here, along with the original recipe. Enjoy experimenting and eating!

Text Only
  • Halloween treats designed to scare your little boos and ghouls

    Whip up a frightfully fun Halloween meal
    Halloween is an ideal time to have some fun in the kitchen, especially if you have children. Try these ooky, spooky recipes for a Halloween thrill meal.

    October 24, 2012

  • Nothing says meal like chili

    With the weather finally cooling off somewhat, especially in the evenings, and football season in full swing, I’ve been thinking “chili!”

    September 18, 2012

  • Sweet, delicious and even a little healthy

    My efforts at eating healthier haven’t shown me the expected results yet. I expected after a couple of months of healthy eating not only would I be slim and trim but I would be at the peak of health. I even thought my brown age spots would fade.

    August 27, 2012

  • Key to wine judging: sniff, sip, swish, spit

    I had the honor of being offered the chance, as a media representative, to serve as a “guest judge” at the 2012 Indy International Wine Competition the first week in August.

    August 14, 2012

  • California-inspired corn and potato salad

    I recently returned from a pilgrimage to California to visit my family. The weather was perfect. It was not nearly as hot there as it was when I left here.

    August 7, 2012

  • Finding the perfect wine for my palate

    Recently I saw some Oliver wines on sale at a local business, so I grabbed the Soft Rosé, which I’d been wanting to try because I discovered it’s made with catawba grapes, my favorite. I think I paid $5.49 or so for a bottle, and it was very good.

    February 7, 2012

  • Way to dress up a side dish with red potatoes

    I am always looking for ways to dress up a meal so I’m not always serving the same old side dishes like mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese.

    January 24, 2012

  • Todd Lancaster.jpg Plenty of great places to eat in Circle City

    With the eyes of the world looking at Indianapolis over the next two weeks, I thought it might be a great time to take the Pub Crawl to the Circle City.

    January 24, 2012 1 Photo

  • LancasterTodd.jpg Headin' back to B-Town

    Bloomington may be Indiana’s most diverse city and boasts foods from Tibet and Vietnam to burritos as big as your head.

    December 27, 2011 1 Photo

  • BullingtonJoyce.jpg Try this pink dessert

    Now I don’t always follow a recipe exactly as it is written.

    December 27, 2011 1 Photo