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January 3, 2018 10:36 AM   Subscribe

Will It Casserole? is a column about turning dishes which are not casseroles into casseroles. So far the author has converted pierogis, an entire steak dinner, Thanksgiving, and the Monte Cristo sandwich.
posted by Iridic (48 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
 
[homer simpson gurgling drool sound]
posted by entropicamericana at 10:37 AM on January 3 [3 favorites]


I want that Monte Cristo casserole in my belly now.
posted by NoxAeternum at 10:50 AM on January 3 [6 favorites]


Failure pile in a sadness bowl

Snark aside, that steak dinner casserole looks pretty great. I like his approach to layering.
posted by Nelson at 10:52 AM on January 3


So far the author has converted pierogis...

They tampered in God's domain.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:57 AM on January 3 [7 favorites]


I like his approach to layering.

The author, Claire Lower, is a woman.
posted by jedicus at 10:57 AM on January 3 [3 favorites]


Living in Minnesota means that the answer to this question is invariably, “Yes”.
posted by nathan_teske at 11:05 AM on January 3 [9 favorites]


Thank you for the correction.
posted by Nelson at 11:07 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


I'm all for reimagining food (I did make a corned beef and cabbage stromboli last St. Paddy's Day, with rye bread crust, and it was fabulous), but casseroles just don't do it for me. Even well-made they're often not as good as their component parts.

And they sure as hell don't photograph well.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:08 AM on January 3


It's no Will It Waffle, but it'll do.
posted by redsparkler at 11:09 AM on January 3 [7 favorites]


So far the author has converted pierogis...
--------
They tampered in God's domain.
--------

At the Riverside Drive-In in Vandergrift, PA, they make a pierogi pizza that's to die for. It makes a good, filling supper for a night at the movies.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:14 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


I would sign up for a service where someone made one of these a few times a week and brought me a plate.
posted by bleep at 11:14 AM on January 3 [3 favorites]


Also I think in the olden days these would just be pies.
posted by bleep at 11:15 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


Living in Minnesota means that the answer to this question is invariably, “Yes”.

a.k.a the hottake on the hotdish.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:29 AM on January 3 [4 favorites]


It may not be Will It Waffle, but I imagine it's more useful to many of us than the previous "Will it sous vide?" series.
posted by Lexica at 11:32 AM on January 3


Needs more tater tots.
posted by Splunge at 11:33 AM on January 3 [2 favorites]


Using JessMariano’s comment as inspiration, I gathered the following to make my pierogi casserole:

4 large russet potatoes
4 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup whole milk
12 ounces of bacon, chopped into 3/4-inch pieces
1 1/2 large onions, halved and sliced
1/2 cup white wine
8 ounces of cream cheese
10 lasagna noodles
6 ounces shredded cheddar
Salt and pepper
1 green onion, chopped


See, I was holding out for a casserole containing actual pierogis. I mean, this sounds good, but I like the idea of a casserole bristling with pierogis.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:36 AM on January 3 [11 favorites]


Thanksgiving dinner makes an awesome casserole. Take your turkey, shred it up, put in a 9x13 glass pan about halfway up the side. Pour half of your left over gravy on top of turkey. Fill up rest of glass pan with stuffing. Pour remainder of gravy over stuffing. Bake at 350 F for an hour. Let cool overnight in fridge.

Cuts into easily microwavable slabs for reheating.
posted by museum of fire ants at 11:37 AM on January 3 [4 favorites]


Things that are basically casseroles:
Pizzas are basically plate-shaped casseroles.
Tacos are basically spicy, curled up casseroles.
Burritos are basically casserole tubes.
Empanadas are basically casserole tarts.
A Thanksgiving turkey is basically a spherically-layered casserole.
Lasagna literally is a casserole.
posted by ardgedee at 11:43 AM on January 3 [3 favorites]


A Reuben casseroles amazingly well. It also pizzas well, and probably tacos and burritos well... basically I will eat a Reuben in any format.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:56 AM on January 3 [2 favorites]


Monte Christo Casserole!? Calm down, Satan, and get me a fork.

basically I will eat a Reuben in any format.

*Hands jason_steakums a Reuben smoothie with extra kraut.*
posted by loquacious at 12:01 PM on January 3 [5 favorites]


Ardgedee - I like this game.

Minestrone soup is basically a liquid casserole.
A baked potato is an upside-down casserole.
A salad is a low-carb casserole.
posted by theweasel at 12:02 PM on January 3 [3 favorites]


7 layer bean dip is casserole you eat with chips.
posted by theweasel at 12:03 PM on January 3 [4 favorites]


> Thanksgiving dinner makes an awesome casserole.

This is how I prefer to eat my Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. My sister thinks it's gross, but she'd probably love it if you threw it in a baking pan and called it a casserole.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:06 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


I have the weirdest craving for peas and mushroom soup right now, and I don't know if this is ok.
posted by loquacious at 12:08 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


I think the answer is yes.
posted by Annika Cicada at 12:12 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


This is how I prefer to eat my Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. My sister thinks it's gross, but she'd probably love it if you threw it in a baking pan and called it a casserole.

I had an extra turkey breast in the freezer, thawed it, had it one night then leftovers were done by slicing the 2nd half of the bird, placing it on top of the leftover roasted veggies, added mashed potatoes, stuffing, and corn, covering most of it with leftover gravy.


Put on the lid, 30 minutes in a 350 F oven, then spooned over potato new-england-split hot dog rolls.
posted by mikelieman at 12:12 PM on January 3


> I had an extra turkey breast in the freezer, thawed it, had it one night then leftovers were done by slicing the 2nd half of the bird, placing it on top of the leftover roasted veggies, added mashed potatoes, stuffing, and corn, covering most of it with leftover gravy.

I see I'm not the only one who read those articles about KFC Famous Bowls and thought "That shit would be *delicious* if you made it with good ingredients."
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:15 PM on January 3 [3 favorites]


+1 on thanksgiving casserole being the optimal way to enjoy leftovers. Bonus points if you had a green bean casserole as a side that then became part of the thanksgiving casserole. Nested casseroles FTW.
posted by dudemanlives at 12:31 PM on January 3 [2 favorites]


Ha! I can get behind this.

And they sure as hell don't photograph well.

F'real. That sound you hear is the collective shriek from publishers' art departments at even the thought of a Will It Casserole? cookbook.
posted by veggieboy at 12:35 PM on January 3 [2 favorites]


Thanksgiving dinner also makes great pocket pies.
posted by bz at 12:37 PM on January 3


Pizzas are basically plate-shaped casseroles.

Chicago pizza, sure.
posted by Splunge at 1:02 PM on January 3 [3 favorites]


It’s basically a savory bread pudding with a pound of Swiss cheese

keep talking
posted by Miko at 1:04 PM on January 3 [9 favorites]


I have the weirdest craving for peas and mushroom soup right now, and I don't know if this is ok.

Loquacious, this is NOT ok!

First you must saute a 1/2 onion, while you boil macaroni. Stir the results together with the peas and mushroom soup. Add a can of tuna. Put it in a casserole dish and spread with cheese and potato chips.

EAT!!

posted by BlueHorse at 1:28 PM on January 3 [5 favorites]


This is how I prefer to eat my Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.

The dinners themselves should be a little more dignified, with each food in a separate, but touching pile, but this is the proper way to eat leftovers (sandwiches also being acceptable).
posted by Tentacle of Trust at 1:30 PM on January 3


I have had pierogi casserole and it is glorious. Also Reuben. Mrs Molerats just found a recipe the other day for French onion soup casserole and I am EXCITED.

You know how people dream of running away and just running a cute little coffee shop or bookstore in a small town? Well, in my dream, the coffee shop would just have 2 or 3 different hotdishes I made every day.
posted by nakedmolerats at 1:48 PM on January 3 [4 favorites]


First you must saute a 1/2 onion, while you boil macaroni. Stir the results together with the peas and mushroom soup. Add a can of tuna. Put it in a casserole dish and spread with cheese and potato chips.

Wow, that weird craving suddenly magically vanished! Thanks!
posted by loquacious at 2:38 PM on January 3


I didn't grow up in the midwest, so hot dish-style casseroles have always been mildly exotic to me. But when I've been served them, it's generally sad, bland, mushy food, more soylent than enjoyable. It's possible that I just haven't had good ones, and I'm willing to suspend my doubts to try them again.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:29 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


Chicago pizza, sure.

Chicago pizza's more of a casserole-shaped casserole.
posted by sebastienbailard at 8:40 PM on January 3


I think my first exposure to casserole was school lunch lasagna (none of the lunch aides could explain to ESL-6-year-old-me why it wasn't la-sag-na), free, due to government subsidies. I think I was ok with lasagna but not at all down with stuffed shells.

These days I am basically Garfield, cheeks and all; I have had lots of good casse-role models.
posted by batter_my_heart at 11:40 PM on January 3


"Thanksgiving dinner makes an awesome casserole. "

If you want to change it up a little bit (or have more leftover turkey than leftover sides), I really like to make a turkey-apple casserole which has a bit of curry spice in it and is lovely. (The recipe I use has more curry and somewhat less pineapple juice, but I'm not sure where it is right now.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:47 AM on January 4


"But when I've been served them, it's generally sad, bland, mushy food, more soylent than enjoyable."

Yeah, the thing about casseroles is, they can be dead easy "homemade" food with a lot of storebought components that freeze well and travel well, so a lot of casseroles you meet in the wild are made by people who CANNOT COOK (and who in general do not cook, so don't know things like "that bread is going to get soggy" or "that's a good idea but I don't think those potatoes will cook through") but had to bring something to a potluck or a community dinner or whatever and made a hella salty, cream-soup-based casserole with frozen and canned ingredients, odd substitutions, and no tasting as they went. When my third child was born I had a crap recovery, and my friends kept appearing with casseroles to help us out. Some of them were delicious ... and others we had to guiltily throw out because they were so inedible.

But there's no inherent reason a casserole should be any less delicious than a lasagna or a chicken pot pie. I have a few casseroles in my regular repertoire, and the only prepared food involved in any of them is breadcrumbs. There are no tater tots, no canned soups (sometimes chicken stock), no mini-marshmellows, just regular fresh ingredients. My mom likes breakfast casseroles for family holidays because she can pop one in the oven and serve 15 people something hot and go back to focusing on the big dinner prep, and she's been iterating on french toast casseroles that are INSANELY delicious.

But yeah, you have to find one that involves flavors you like (like, I basically never like baked pasta, even when the sauce is great, the texture/flavor of the pasta just bugs me), and one that is made by a person who knows how food works, so they don't leave an ingredient that should be crispy soaking in soup for an hour or cut the potatoes in chunks too big to cook through or make the whole thing taste like salt salt salt.

(Not that I don't love me some tatertot-based hotdish! But that's something I eat in small quantities at a party, not something I make for family dinner.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:20 AM on January 4 [1 favorite]


I like to do a sub-genre of this and turn (or dream of turning) various dishes and cuisines into versions of shepherd's pie (layered meat-vegetable-potato varieties that do not "techically" count as shepherd's pie). Combinations like:

- Moroccan shepherd's pie with moroccan-spiced lamb, a layer of Ottolenghi's crushed carrots with harissa and pistachios, a layer of mashed tagine-style potatoes.
- Indian shepherd's pie with a base layer of chicken tikka masala, a mid layer of indian spiced green peas and top layer of mashed potato masala.

Sometimes I like to just brainstorm these to keep myself entertained.
posted by urbanlenny at 11:09 AM on January 5


I basically never like baked pasta, even when the sauce is great, the texture/flavor of the pasta just bugs me

YES. Baked ziti is an affront to food. Even made "well," it's utility food, and pizza joints around here get away with murder around the holidays charging real money for a tray with a couple dollars worth of pasta and sauce that is some combination of dry, mushy, salty, and greasy, and never transcends "adequate."

We decided to make Christmas dinner last-minute (we had originally planned to just do brunch), and my wife suggested I do a baked ziti after I suggested I just make a big, meaty pasta. Flames shot from my ears, my mouth hung open, I had to chase one of my eyeballs across the kitchen floor before the cats got it.

I'll bend the baked-pasta rule for really good mac and cheese, but that's a pretty high bar to clear.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:28 AM on January 5


Baked ziti seems like unnecessary effort to me, there is a point in the process where you have cooked pasta and sauce and cheese to melt on top and you can just put that together right there and eat it, but nope, put it in a dish and bake it for some reason.
posted by jason_steakums at 12:16 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


Baked ziti seems like unnecessary effort to me, there is a point in the process where you have cooked pasta and sauce and cheese to melt on top and you can just put that together right there and eat it, but nope, put it in a dish and bake it for some reason.

You pre-cook your ziti before baking? In my family, we've always just put it in right out of the box with sauce and some extra water. Bake until done. Add cheese at some point if you want.

One Christmas morning, I made a full English breakfast in casserole form. The tomatoes and beans added more moisture than I expected; if I make it again I think I'll add some form of bread to counteract them.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:04 PM on January 5


Here's a picture of the pierogi pizza I mentioned up thread.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:22 AM on January 7


I made the monte cristo casserole and it. is. delicious.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:06 PM on January 14 [2 favorites]


A new recipe is up: the Italian Grinder Casserole.
posted by Iridic at 12:35 PM on January 15


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