One dish meals or casseroles are a great way to make easy meals with items you already have. Here are some easy recipes and tips to get dinner made fast!
Save time With Casseroles And One Dish Meals
I hope that over the past few weeks you have been keeping those ovens going! It saves you money when you eat at home rather than going out to eat and you can generally turn the thermostat down. Having the oven going really gives a nice toasty feel to your home! Why do you think people always talk about having a “warm” homey kitchen?
I don’t think there is anything else in the whole world that can give your family the warm fuzzy sense of well being that comes from the smell of something savory coming from the oven when they walk into the house at the end of a long tiring day. One dish meals are a great way to achieve all of these things.
Way back in the old days when I was young, we used to call these dishes casseroles but my daughter informed me that in keeping with the changing times, I should call them “one dish meals.” Please forgive me if I slip up once in a while and call those bowls of food with everything mixed up in them casseroles.
Regardless what you call them, one dish meals are not a new invention. They have been around for thousands of years and are still as handy for us today as they were for our great great grandmothers.
One dish meals are great because you can easily use leftovers. You can pretty much use whatever you happen to have in your pantry and you can easily make them ahead of time, like the day before you need them.
Then, thirty minutes or an hour before dinner or when you get home from work, you can put one in the oven. By the time you have changed your clothes and set the table, it will be ready.
Another great thing about casseroles is that the one dish is the whole meal. You really don’t have to make anything else to go with them, although I do like to add a bread and sometimes a salad or some sliced fruit. If you’re in a hurry, you don’t even have to do that.
In this article, I will give you a couple of one dish meals but here is a flexible formula so that you can make your own using the ingredients that your family likes and the things you have on hand.
1 cup main ingredient
1 cup second ingredient
1-2 cups starchy ingredient
1 1/2 cups binder
1/2 cup of “goodie”
Here are some examples of each type of ingredient:
Tuna (1- 7 1/2 oz. can)
Hard boiled eggs
Any canned, frozen or fresh vegetable (celery, carrots, peas, beans, broccoli, tomatoes, etc.)
Or add another cup of the main ingredient
Creamed soup, chicken, mushroom, celery
Cream sauce (white sauce)
Tomato sauce or paste
Note: If your casserole ever seems too dry, just add 1/4 to 1/2 cup cream, milk or stock
Stuffed or ripe olives
Nuts, almonds or cashews
Green pepper, chopped
Potato Chips, crushed
Butter Crackers, crushed
Mix everything you are using and place in a greased, oven-proof dish. If most of your ingredients, like your veggies, are raw, then bake at 350 degrees for about 30-45 minutes or until everything is tender.
If everything you use is already cooked, then bake at the same temperature for about 20 minutes or until everything is warmed through.
You can pretty much mix and match the ingredients any way you want but you probably wouldn’t want to add soy sauce to a Tater Tot Casserole or enchilada sauce to and Italian Casserole.
When adding your toppings, try tossing the crackers, croutons or other toppings in some melted butter before sprinkling on top.
When serving your warm casserole, top each serving with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt.
One Dish Meals – Recipes
Chicken Supreme Casserole Recipe
This easy chicken supreme casserole recipe is a super delicious casserole your family will love! It only takes 5 minutes to prepare and is perfect for families and get-togethers. It’s a perfect way to use leftover chicken or turkey!
1 cup boxed stuffing (uncooked)
1 (16 oz.) pkg. frozen green beans, thawed
1/4 cup slivered almonds
2 cups chicken or turkey, cooked and cubed
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup milk
1 cup stuffing mix (uncooked)
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- In a greased 2 quart baking dish, layer all of the casserole ingredients in the order given.
- Mix the topping ingredients and pour over the top.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
2 lbs. hamburger
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1( 4 oz.) can of mushrooms
1 (32 oz.) jar spaghetti sauce
1 (10 oz.) can pizza sauce
4 oz. pepperoni
16 oz. mozzarella cheese, grated
3 cups macaroni twists, uncooked
Boil macaroni twists for 20 minutes. Brown hamburger, onion and pepper. Mix everything except cheese together in a greased 9x 13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Add cheese in the last 5 minutes.
Don’t forget that you don’t need meat every night. Here is a good one dish vegetable meal.
1 (16 oz.) package frozen broccoli, carrots and cauliflower mix, thawed and drained
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup
1/3 cup sour cream
1 (2.8 oz.) can Durkee French fried onions
1 1/2 cups cheese, shredded
Combine everything except half of the cheese and fried onions. Pour into 1 quart greased baking dish.
Bake covered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Top with remaining cheese and fried onions. Bake uncovered for 5 minutes.
Chow Mein Hot Dish
1 lb. hamburger
1 onion, chopped
2 cups celery, sliced
1/2 cup uncooked rice
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1 (4 oz.) can mushrooms
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup
1 small can bean spouts
1 small can sliced water chestnuts
Brown hamburger and onions. Mix everything but Chinese noodles together (including liquid from mushrooms and bean sprouts) into hamburger. Place in a greased 9×9 pan. Bake 1 1/2 hours at 375 degrees. Top with Chinese noodles. Double the amount for a 9×13 pan.
Note: This takes longer to cook because of the uncooked rice. You could use 1 1/2 cups of cooked rice but, if you do, don’t use the liquid from the mushrooms and bean sprouts. That will cut the cooking time in half.
- Use Ramen noodles or instant rice in your casseroles. This makes preparation easier since you don’t need to cook these before you add them to the dish.
- If you have time, roast your veggies before adding them to your casserole for some added flavor.
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A really ease one (and I love the word casserole!). Found a couple of boxes of Stouffer’s mac and cheese in the freezer that had been there while and wanted to use them up. Thawed them just enough to cut in half, put them frozen in crockpot on low for a few hours. Then added, left over veggies from previous night’s bag of frozen veggies, can of tuna, and let it go some more. Love it with left over broccoli also.
I grease my crockpot so I can get that crunchy edge around the outside.!
A super easy, and tasty meal that fed 5 or 6 of us (a couple of my son’s friends stopped by- big men and big eaters). Threw in a few biscuits and everybody was happy and full!!
Also a big hit is chicken parts or breasts (I cut them in half, really are a double portion), “cream of” soup any flavor (we love onion), box of stuff mix on top and crockpot 5 hours on low (I brown my chicen on the stove top first).
Everybody likes this one also!
Jill they are made in casserole dishes so they are casseroles.
Bread is made in bread pans do we call it meat loaf?
thanks for the tips. I cook all the time but not usually casseroles but since deciding to help out a bed ridden friend I have taken to making them.
Pot pies, Macaroni and ham casserole, soups and stews. I don’t want to be repeating things constantly so these are totally different from any I have ever tried.
I thank you my friend thanks you and I am sure her husband thanks you since it means they do not have to survive on his limited cooking skills.
This is a big help! Thanks.
How do you make your macaroni and ham casserole?
Angie the one I made today is for my friend so I kept it simple. Don’t know what vegetables they like and don’t like, so
cooked macaroni, cheez whiz, chunks of cheddar tossed in to melt as it cooks, lots of ham from the roast I cooked last night that is not a nice one so I had to cut the fat off of it so that left the pieces looking pretty sad. Melted it all together topped it with broccoli in case they don;t like that they can take it off.
It can be heated in the microwave as is or I usually top it with buttered bread crumbs and some mozzarella cheese and brown it in the oven.
I also add different vegetables to it when mixing it up. What ever I have on hand.
My mother used to put in a can of tomatoes which was nice as well but my family doesn’t care for chunks of tomatoes so I haven’t done that in years. Mom did it to make it go further with 7 people to feed at any sitting.
I think anything is better with cheese so I sneak in things nobody thinks they like and they love it.
If you want to see why I am an outdoors person go here and see some pictures of where I live.
would love to chat. ask Jill and Tawra if they would give you my email address. I don’t mind giving it out but I don’t think it is allowed here.
Hi! The Chow Mein Hot Dish looks really good, but what is rice scant? Is it just uncooked rice?
Ginny I just got rid of the scant. It meant a scant 1/2 cup of rice but for a casserole it really doesn’t make that much difference so I just deleted the scant and hopefully save some confusion.
What us 1/2 cup uncooked rice scant as listed in your Chow Mein Hot Dish?
It should have been Scant 1/2 cup meaning just under but you could just use 1/2 cup.
omg grandma .. you look like the way i pictured you .. and ur cat is as big as mine .. hehehhee :D … thanks for sharing :D
You forgot to give credit to Amy Dacyzyn’s book “The Complete Tightwad Gazette” for the ingredient list for casseroles. Or perhaps you did and I overlooked it.
No we didn’t because didn’t get it from there.
Carole I didn’t even know she had that in her book. We try to always give credit where it is due but there are some things which have been common knowledge for many many years. For example about 75% of the tips our readers post we already have some place on either the web site or in one of our books.
hello! I had written you a couple times I believe and told you that I liked your recipes and you have a lot of simple recipes which is good. now, I see we can print the recipes off which is even better, however,is there a way to print them off individually,if we only want one or two recipes? just wondering! can you let me know if there is a way to print them off like that please! keep up the good work! linda blair
No we don’t have that feature yet but you can just copy and paste it into a Word document and then print.
Rose that is scarey as I do not know how good your imagination is.
But from most of the pictures drop 10 -20 lbs. they were mostly taken last summer.
Jill you are so right about the advice being around for years and even generations.
When I first found this site and you and tawra I said “Wow I have been being frugal all my life and didn’t know it.
Nice to read things my grandmother did and told me about. Felt like I was visiting with her again.
We also use crushed cornflakes for toppings quite often at our house.
forgot to tell some personal news.
My DIL is now in the hospital and they will induce labour tomorrow.
well tonight our time since he is in China and about 10 hours ahead of us.
still don’t know if a he or a she but they are really hoping for a girl so I guess I am as well.
will let you know as soon as I do.
Great!! Were they able to get a good doctor?
That macaroni/cheese/ham casserole sounds yummy! I think my guys would like it and I’ll give it a try. Thanks!
I will check out the pictures at home tonight. I browse this site a lot at work when I’m at lunch or on break. A lot of the web use here is blocked though and photobucket is one of those things. Can’t wait to see the pictures. I would love to see some of Canada one day. My hubby wants to take a hunting trip somewhere in Canada someday which would be fun.
I did get your e-mail address and am looking forward to chatting with you soon. :-)
I read above about your daughter-in-law. I hope everything goes well. I can’t wait to hear about the arrival of your new grandchild…and if it’s a girl. :-)
I made the pizza “one dish meal” (lol) last evening. It was a great hit at my house and there are left overs so no cooking tonight. Yes!!
Love your website and newsletter.
I’m with you on the one pot meal or casserole! How about the impossible pies and quiches? Those are so simple too! Milk and egg can be a binder. Also biscuit mix with milk. One of my favorite binders is equal parts: milk, egg and flour. It depends on the size of your dish.
I’m going to look at some of your combinations. There may be a few we haven’t tried yet.
Thank you for sharing and showing how simple it is to cook a simple hearty meal that warms the house too! We can all cheer you on!
We have a simple dinner we call, Mock Lasagna. Cooked pasta, spaghetti sauce, Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese and sometimes cottage cheese. We stir all the ingredients together and bake until the cheese is melted and a bit toasted on the top. It’s a family favorite.
I like to put a salad or other side dish of veggies or fruit to make the dinner go further and possibly another whole dinner!
Sheri you make a good point and that is you can often leave the meat out of many recipes and often your family wouldn’t even notice. You can also use half or even less meat in many dishes and it doesn’t matter but does save on the grocery bill.
Anqi Lynn has arrived.
My son had a friend email me the news updates since he couldn’t use his internet at the hospital.
she weighs 7.5 lbs had dark hair
my son says that at 5 hours old she is intelligent and beautiful and just wonderful.
he is bouncing and I can’t wait till summer to be able to hold her and spoil her.
Congratulations Grandma!!!!!!!!!! What super great news! All us grandmas know just how excited you are now and how you are probably dying to get your hands on her. If she had been just a few hours earlier she would have been born on Elly’s (Tawra’s only daughter’s) birthday. We were just celebrating her birthday last night. That would have been something.
Anyway she sure does sound perfect and what a nice weight. Not to big for mom but big enough to be good and healthy. Your son is right she probably is the most intelligent, beautiful and wonderful baby in the world. We won’t let him in on the secret that they all are! HA!HA! Oh new babies are so much fun I bet you are beside yourself. :) :)
Best wishes to dad, mom and new baby Anqi Lynn.
Tawra, the health care for the main part is pretty good.
Dan’s university gave him insurance coverage that covers most things.
If they went to a certain hospital it would all be paid for. BUT if they had to go to a different hospital it was out of pocket.
Make an appointment at a clinic and there is no 3 pm or a specific time. Just any time after 3 so don’t make plans for the day.
Qians mother is a nurse so she would go to all the appointments that she could just to make sure the drs. knew what they were doing.
You do not have a family dr. but it is like the clinics in Canada and the US in the bigger cities.
She will be in the hospital for 4 days and apparently the food is horrible or not very much of it. According to Dan every visitor comes with meals in take out containers to feed their family members.
They only allow one visitor at a time in the maternity ward and the door to that floor is locked. You get off the elevator and wait in a dark long hall until they allow you in.
Dan was not allowed to touch Anqi and he is upset about that but rules are a bit (a lot) different over there.
But they had a good dr. and he was watching very closely. Don’t know if that is common or if it is because Dan is a foreigner.
They have a nanny coming to the house for a month to help them get settled. That seems to be a must do over there unless the mother or mother in law move in.
I guess it might be a good idea but I would have gone nuts. I wanted to have my family just my family around. family being don baby and I. I hate being told that I must do this or that.
but rules and customs and how you are raised may seem strange to others but are perfectly normal for you.
Dan says when in rome.
congrats grandma!!! .. she sounds perfect and wonderful :D :D
My grandfather wouldn’t eat anything if you called it a “casserole”. All our “casseroles” had to be renamed “salads” so he would eat them! LOL
Actually, a tablespoon of two or say sauce can improve just about any savory recipe, and less will enhance even sweet recipes. Soy sauce or Worcestershire goes in just about every dinner I make, like chicken and dumplings, a pot of beans, or any kind of roast or casserole.
A loooonnng time ago I came across a recipe for what we call Potato Hotdish whichs basically a super fast hamburger stew. My family loves this an it is so super easy.
Brown 1 lb. of hamburger, ground turkey or venison with onion and favorite seasonings. Drain
Add 1 can cream of mushroom soup,
1 can of generic condensed vegetable/beef alphabet soup.(Not the clear broth kind) and 1 can of water.
Bring to a simmer with 1 beef bouillion cube, and 2 or 3 diced potatoes. If too thick, add a little more water. Simmer until potatoes are done. Serve with toast or bread.
My family fav!!!
Thanks for all the great leftover ideas!! We haven’t eaten out in over a month!!!
Teri in Nebraska
I think it is funny not calling it a casserole. Some people will not eat really good food if that word is used, so we have substituted the word bake, ie Tuna Bake, Ham & Noodle Bake, baked spaghetti, etc. Silly isn’t it? :)
Salivating here. Thank you all.
Hello, everyone. Just found this website looking for “freezer friendly” meals and I have so enjoyed reading everyone’s responses. (Congrats, Grandma, on you new arrival.)
I am in my 40’s and grew up on a casseroles. My mom was the first one in our neighborhood to have a job outside the home. She worked nights and would start dinner in the crockpot or oven before leaving us with Dad at 5 p.m.
My husband and I rarely had them but I have recently returned to teaching (and taken a big paycut)so we are needing to cut expenses — groceries seem the easiest place to do that. Casseroles have helped to stretch our proteins and helped us to eat more veggies (always a plus).
You have all shared some wonderful ones so I thought I would share one with you. It is a casserole version of “Asian spaghetti” I found at the Perfect Pantry(as my husband has been missing his Korean mother’s cooking).
I hope you enjoy it!
1/2 lb Spaghetti or other noodles (you might want to try some of the rice noodles – very inexpensive at the asian markets)
1 Tbsp oil
1/2 lb ground beef
2 scallions, sliced
1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp chili powder
2 T (more or less to taste) garlic powder
2 tsp oyster sauce (I use a vegetarian one made from mushrooms as I don’t care for seafood)
3 tsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
Optional: water chestnuts, bean sprouts, sesame seeds, and/or sesame oil (just a little) as garnish
Cook the pasta to just underdone and drain – reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Brown the ground beef and drain. Add in the remaining ingredients and the cooking liquid. Lay the spaghetti in a greased 8X8 pan and pour the meat sauce over it.
Bake at 350 degrees until warmed through.
I usually make this up in the morning or the night before and cook it off after work. We serve it with salad and fortune cookies.
I love that you put soy sauce in almost everything. My brother puts Maggi (german seasoning like soy sauce I guess) on everything and now my granddaughter does too. She doesn’t know what it is or how to pronounce it but will come and ask if somebody will get “it” out of the cabinet for her or if nobody is around she just gets a chair and gets it herself. Last night I saw her putting it on her brothers food before she fed him. It made me laugh.
That is too cute Pat.
Speaking of putting soy sauce in everything reminds me of how I cook. I put soup starter in almost everything I cook. Soup starter comes in a jar, and is similar to bouillon, but much easier to use.
It usually comes in a powder form, and you use about 1/4 tsp. per serving. It mostly comes in beef and chicken flavor. Occasionally you can find it in ham flavor. The one I use most!
I imagine ham would taste wonderful in so many things. It would be maybe like adding a little bit of crumbled bacon to things but easier.
I make a dish called Chicken Goodie. Use cooked chicken/2 cups (or 2 large cans of chicken), 1/2cup Mayo, 1 cup sour cream, 2 tbs lemon juice, 1 can cream of chicken soup, 1/2 to 1 cup of chedder cheese 1 Tbs Lemon Pepper Seasoning, 2 Tbs butter melted. 2 cups crushed Cheese Its crackers.
Mix all the ingredients, except the butter and crackers. Layer half in the bottom of casserole dish, put in ingredients, and top with remaining crackers, pour the melted butter on top. Cook in oven until all is hot and a little brown on the top. enjoy, makes a large meal.
Also, I make a chicken casserole with 8 pieces of raw chicken on top of 1 1/2 cups of rice. put enough water for the rice, dot with butter, cover with 1 can Mushroon Soup, and top with 1 PK of Lipton Onion Soup (dry) Mix. Top with Ritz Crackers (crushed). Enjoy.
If you put a savoury casserole in the oven, along with a baked or dessert casserole (like a fruit cobbler), for dinner at the same time, you have the equivalent of maid service for the evening. I like to do this on busy days, or at the end of the week. Then I am free to visit and coffee with the husband when he comes home from work, instead of jumping up and stirring or watching a pot cook. The house smells great, too.
Tried the chicken supreme casserole–it was soo yummy! Thank you,both for all your
excellent tips and encouragement.
Thank you for breaking down the ingredients in a casserole! I needed that! A simple , straight forward explanation. I can’t wait to cook some one dish meals .
Made the the Chow Mein Hot Dish on Sunday. It was good, but VERY salty! If you make it I would suggest using a lot less than 1/2 cup soy sauce!
The cans of tuna around here are all 5 oz now. The can looks the same size, but the contents keep shrinking. The 7 1/2 oz. cans are no more.
Save the ceramic liners from crock pots that have removable ones, if and when the electrical part of your crockpot dies. The ceramic pots make awesome oven proof casserole dishes. They can even go from the freezer, into a cold oven to start, and when done in the oven, they can be used serve the dish on the table.
First,I like your books and website. My family of nine can be stressful and I am one who lives on organization. Literally. OK, I just want a clean house with respectable family members,so that I can concentrate on other things rather than clean,cook,clean,and clean some more. My family has a hard time with caring …. What do you do,when you are the only one who cares? I am not super mom!!!
Tips on organizing your family as well as your home?
Joyce without knowing more details it is hard to give exact advice but this is a couple of things that I did. First my husband was really good in respecting me and making sure my kids respected me too plus backed me up when they didn’t listen to me. Husbands don’t always realize how much of an impact that has on kids.
Second I started when they were little to teach them if they didn’t do certain things there were consequences. For example they didn’t get to eat breakfast until their rooms were clean and beds made before school. Since they were hungry you can’t believe how fast they moved to get it done and because I kept up with it it only took about 5-10 mins to do. They had to help clean up after dinner and do their chores before they could play with friends or go out or play on their phones or computers. You can’t be wishy washy about it either, letting them get by without doing it sometimes.
The buck really falls with you. It isn’t easy but where most parents fail is not realizing that working hard on teaching them to do these things does pay in the long run and gets easier as they get older. It is not easy being a mom and takes a lot of hard work and I don’t mean all the cooking and cleaning – that’s the easy part- I mean teaching your kids to do the right things, how to be responsible and treat you and others with respect but remember you are the boss, you control the money and the roof over their head – you do all of this in a loving and caring way.
Now this doesn’t mean they won’t give you flack because just like you they don’t want to spend their time cooking and cleaning either but you are the one in charge and you need to stop feeling like the victim and remember that.They need to learn to listen and respect you if you don’t make them do that then you are setting them up to fail when they grow up and have to work under a boss. They won’t know how to function with someone telling them what to do. The circumstances for them will be much harsher because they will loss their job and not understand why.
I can give you tons more of organizing tips but needing more organizing tips is not the real issue here so until you can learn to get your family to help put the ones in practice that you already have more won’t help I’m afraid.
O, and,great food!! They are picky but love anything almost with cheese. Your dishes are fairly simple. Thanks!!!!!
Just want to say Your blog is great!!!
It is so wonderful to find out that I am not alone in the daily troubles of motherhood. I hope you all have joys too.
Hey Joyce,Its hard now but don’t get stressed out. Trust in the Lord. You can do it with His help. You are super mom!!! You care and God works through you to make a difference in the lives of your children and others. Stop worrying and smile. God has got it all under control.