How to Make Fabulous Meals Using a Formula, Not a Recipe

Ever feel like kitchen klutz? Wish you could take that odd assortment of stuff in the pantry, refrigerator, and freezer and make something delicious without a specific recipe and without having to run to the market?

Well, grab your whisk and shout for joy! Thanks to this Fool-Proof 5-Step Formula you can create fabulous, original, homemade, delicious and nutritious entrees designed by You, using the items you have on hand.

Step 1: Combine 1 8-ounce carton sour cream, 1 cup milk, 1 cup water, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper with one item from Group A, which is coming up below (omit sour cream and milk when using tomatoes).

Step 2: Stir in one item from each of Groups B, C, D, and E (ditto)

Step 3: Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 13- x 9- x 2-inch baking dish.

Step 4: Sprinkle with one or two choices from Group F (yep, below).

Step 5: Cover and bake casserole at 350 F, for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 additional minutes. Servings: 6.

Group A:

1 can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted

1 can cream of celery soup, undiluted

1 can Cheddar cheese soup, undiluted

2 cans Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained

1 can cream of chicken soup, undiluted

Don’t care for canned soups? Make it yourself! How to Make Homemade Cream of Anything Soup

Group B:

2 cans solid white tuna, drained and flaked

2 cups chopped cooked chicken

2 cups chopped cooked ham

2 cups chopped cooked turkey

1 pound ground beef, browned and drained

Group C:

2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni

1 cup uncooked rice

4 cups uncooked wide egg noodles

3 cups uncooked medium pasta shells

Group D:

1 package* chopped spinach, thawed

1 package frozen cut broccoli

1 package frozen Italian green beans

1 package frozen peas

1 package frozen sliced yellow squash

1 package frozen whole kernel corn

*packages should be about 10-ounces

Group E:

1 small can sliced mushrooms, drained

1/4 cup sliced ripe olives

1/4 cup chopped bell pepper

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup chopped celery

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small can chopped green chiles

1 packet taco seasoning mix

Group F:

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup fine, dry breadcrumbs

Sample combinations:

Chicken Casserole. Cream of chicken soup, broccoli, rice, chicken, Parmesan cheese, and breadcrumbs.

Ham Casserole. Cream of celery soup, Italian green beans, wide egg noodles, ham, garlic and two portions Swiss cheese.

Turkey Casserole. Italian-style diced tomatoes, spinach, medium pasta shells, turkey, onion, garlic, mozzarella cheese, and breadcrumbs.

Vegetarian Casserole. Italian-style diced tomatoes, yellow squash, rice, olives, four portions celery, four portions bell pepper, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and breadcrumbs.

Now it’s your turn! I’d love it if you’d share your ideas and combinations with me below in the comments or HERE.

Question: Are you confident enough in the kitchen to fly without a specific recipe?

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  • Cally

    the rice and pasta are added uncooked? i can see the pasta cooking in the time it’s in the oven, but is there enough liquid and time to cook the rice?

  • Bookworm

    Just a note for those with food sensitivities — I have to remove all dairy and grains, but the plan is still do-able. I put cauliflower (riced or small chunks), sliced carrots, and spaghetti squash into Group B. Put crumbed pork skins, seeds, nuts, and even crumbled nut breads into Group F. For a change from tomatoes, use water or nut milk thickened with arrowroot powder or other alternative flours. Reduce the total liquid, since it’s not needed for cooking pasta or rice. Thanks, Mary, for the head start!

    • Bookworm

      Also, mashed potatoes could be used in place of creamed soups. Imagine a turkey casserole made with mashed sweet potatoes and veggies from Groups D and E, then topped with pecans!

      Back when I was eating grains, I would make a turkey casserole similar to the formula, but using Thanksgiving dressing for the Group C item and a bit of turkey gravy for the liquid — no milk or cheese. I used whatever creamed soup and veggies I had. It disappeared fast around here.

  • Luisa

    Wow, what a good plan! I’ll be using this very soon. Thanks!