A bowl of pasta sits on a plate, with Casserole

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

Ever feel like a kitchen klutz? Wish you could take that odd assortment of stuff in the pantry and freezer, mix it with leftovers in the fridge to make something delicious without a specific recipe and without having to run to the market? That’s called cooking with a formula, not a recipe.

tasty pasta in baking dish, food italian

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 casseroles designed by You, using the items you have on hand—pantry, refrigerator, and or freezer!

 

Step 1

Combine an 8-oz container of 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 (again, no sour cream and milk when using tomatoes)

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.

Step 5

Cover and bake the casserole at 350 F for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 additional minutes. Servings: About 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

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

MORE: Frugal Food and Grocery Shopping 101

Example Combinations

Chicken Bake

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 Bake

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 ( 1 cup) celery, four portions (ditto) bell pepper, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and breadcrumbs.

Now it’s your turn! I’d love it if you’d share your ideas and combinations for casserole formulas with us below in the comments.

tasty pasta in baking dish, food italian

How to Make a Casserole Using a Formula (Not a Recipe)

Ever feel like a kitchen klutz? Wish you could take that odd assortment of stuff in the pantry and freezer, mix it with leftovers in the fridge to make something delicious without a specific recipe and without having to run to the market? That's called cooking with a formula, not a recipe.
Grab your whisk and shout for joy! Thanks to this Fool-Proof 5-Step Formula you can create fabulous, original, homemade, delicious, and nutritious casseroles designed by You, using the items you have on hand.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Entree
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Mary Hunt
Cost: Varies

Equipment

  • 13- x 9- x 2-inch baking dish, lightly greased.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup sour cream (or the entire contents of an 8-oz container.)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tspn salt
  • 1 tspn ground black pepper
  • 1 item from Group A below omit sour cream and milk when using tomatoes
  • 1 item from Groups B, C, D, and E below
  • 1 or 2 items from Group F

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • In a large bowl, combine sour cream, milk, water, salt, and pepper mixing until incorporated.
  • Stir in the item from Group A
  • Stir in one item from each of Groups B, C, D, and E (again, no sour cream and milk when using tomatoes)
  • Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 13- x 9- x 2-inch baking dish.
  • Sprinkle with one or two choices from Group F.
  • Cover and bake the casserole at 350 F, for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 additional minutes. Servings: About 6.

Notes

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

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

Example Combinations

Chicken Bake

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 Bake

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 ( 1 cup) celery, four portions (ditto) bell pepper, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and breadcrumbs.
Now it’s your turn! We would love it if you'd share your ideas and combinations for casserole formulas with us below in the comments.
Tried this recipe?Mention @EverydayCheapskate or tag #EverydayCheapskate!

 

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5 replies
  1. Red says:

    Loved you tip about volume and weight. Now if you could just get the TSA to recognize that toothpaste and hairspray are also measured by weight, not volume, they even say Net wt. before the Oz. The second clue is they list grams not ml!

    Reply
  2. Grambeau says:

    The keto diet is so popular now it would be so helpful if a few of your recipes focused on supporting we who follow it.

    Thanks,
    Grambeau

    Reply
    • Mary Hunt says:

      Everyday Cheapskate is not a food blog but there are plenty out there … specific to your dietary choices. When I post recipes and food-related topics, the purpose is to offer ways and methods that offer a time or money-saving aspect to counter the cost of food. Hope that helps!

      Reply

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