No doubt about it — you can’t go wrong with a casserole. After all, this is a “meal in one dish.” It’s easy to make a delicious casserole from whatever ingredients you have on hand.
Some of my all-time favorites are the Gooseberry Patch Cookbooks, and their “101 Cozy Casseroles” is wonderful. These casseroles are contributed by cooks from all over the country, yet are adapted to the palates of old and young alike and can be made by beginning cooks with great success.
While looking through this cookbook, I found some tasty casseroles such as Fabulous Baked Potato Casserole submitted by Gina Johnston of Greeneville, Tennessee. This is a great recipe for experimenting in the kitchen and adding your own special touch. One suggestion I have is to use French Onion Dip (sour cream base) instead of sour cream. I also would leave out the onions.
I especially like white mac and cheese, and I know that once the youngsters taste this one, it will be requested often. If you think Pepper Jack cheese might be too spicy or hot for children, you can use 1 1/2 pounds of Monterey Jack cheese. This recipe is submitted by Shannon James of Georgetown, Kentucky.
You will notice that neither of these recipes calls for salt and pepper, but you can taste and adjust the seasoning according to your preference. Many times when cheese is added, no seasoning is needed. Also, the recipes do not say to preheat the oven, but you need to do this.
Other recipes that might interest you in this Goose Berry Cookbook are Hearty Stuffed Pepper Casserole, Chicken Chestnut Casserole and Pineapple Casserole, which is almost “dessert like.” There is something for everyone in this exciting cookbook.
In my opinion, this definitely is a cookbook that you will enjoy and want to keep close at hand to use often.
FABULOUS BAKED POTATO CASSEROLE
6 to 7 potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 onion, diced
6 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
In a large saucepan, boil potatoes in water until fork tender, about 20 minutes; drain and set aside to cool. Combine cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream and onion. Mix in potatoes, tossing gently to coat. Spoon potato mixture into a buttered 13x9x2 inch baking pan. Sprinkle bacon on top. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees until golden and bubbly, about 20 to 25 minutes. Serves 8.
FAMOUS WHITE MAC AND CHEESE
16 oz. box elbow macaroni, uncooked
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
1 lb. Monterey Jack cheese, cubed
1/2 lb. Pepper Jack cheese, cubed
Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain and set aside. Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour until combined. Add milk and stir until mixture boils. Remove from heat. Add cheese and stir until melted. Combine cheese mixture and cooked macaroni. Place in an ungreased 13x9 inch baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until bubbly. Serves 8.
— Prudence Hilburn of Piedmont, Alabama, has won more than 30 national cooking awards and written several cookbooks, including, “Simply Southern and More.” Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.prudencehilburn.com.