Maybe it's my Midwestern roots showing, but gosh darnit, I do love a good casserole. Put it in a pan, bake it up, everybody is happy. If you're looking for a good collection of recipes to kickstart casserole season (a.k.a. from now until spring), look no further than this cookbook from the Casserole Queens themselves.
• Who wrote it: Crystal Cook & Sandy Pollock
• Who published it: Clarkson Potter
• Number of recipes: 100 recipes
• Recipes for right now: Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic, Baked Sausages with Fennel, Chicken Enchiladas, Zucchini Lasagna, Green Chili and Chicken Bake, Tuna Tomato Bake, Panzanella Salad, Royal Ratatouille, Apple Crunch Coffee Cake
• Other highlights: You know I love 'em, but casseroles have a bit of a stodgy reputation. This is a holdover from earlier eras when casseroles meant using cans of condensed soups and questionable ingredients. No more! Crystal Cook and Sandy Pollock embrace the casserole's mid-century roots with their retro-chic style while pulling these dishes into the present day. Fresh ingredients, recipes that take full advantage of our spice cupboard, and inspiration drawn from around the globe all herald the kind of casseroles to be embraced rather than avoided at the potluck table.
You'll get plenty of old-school favorites here — Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic, Macaroni and Beef Casserole, Spinach Stuffed Shells — but also lots of new and intriguing ideas that push the boundaries of what qualifies as a casserole, like frittatas, soufflés, and "pizzas." Casseroles suited to vegetarians, gluten-free folks, and diabetics are clearly labeled, along with casseroles that freeze particularly well.
This cookbook is also a one-stop shop for both main course casseroles and the side dishes to go with them — as well as desserts to serve afterwards. Suggestions in the head notes point you toward which dishes pair especially well.
• Who would enjoy this book? Fellow casserole-lovers, people wanting to stock their freezers with ready-made meals, cooks who often need to feed a crowd
Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: The Casserole Queens Make-A-Meal Cookbook by Crystal Cook & Sandy Pollock
• Visit the author's website: Crystal Cook & Sandy Pollock
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(Images: Emma Christensen)