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casserole lacks something.

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hi....Im a new guy here.  Not a professional, but like to experiment with home dishes.
Lately, I made what I think is a casserole, but not sure if fits the strict definition of a casserole.  No baking.   Easy to make and very filling for guys like me who like to eat simple and good.  Its basically boiled elbow macaroni mixed with a can of cream of chicken soup with frozen peas and a California vegetable medley (as defined by Aldi grocery) with diced turkey ham added.   
I love it, but I was told it is bland.  Missing something, a spice, onion, or garlic etc.  Any suggestions?
My personal style of cooking calls for one big serving of something good, filling, relatively inexpensive, easy to make, and hopefully healthy.

Edited by timotb - 2/19/13 at 3:43pm
post #2 of 8

Top it with canned deep-fried onion.

post #3 of 8

It would probably benefit from some onions sauted in butter with a little garlic added towards the end of cooking the onions as well as some dried thyme. Add the bag of vegies to this too help blend flavors, then combine with the rest of your ingredients.


Seasoning could probably be tweaked further as well. If you're not adding any salt and pepper to account for the mass of vegetables and noodles, many would feel it was lacking. I cook fairly low sodium for health reasons, so I tend to pump flavor with other seasonings and certainly would use the onions and garlic.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #4 of 8

from my perch what it mainly lacks is that it's not really a casserole, and while it may be simple, it's boring and not particularly healthy imo. If money, time and fillingness are your main considerations there are a few easy adjustments and quick fixes you can try.

first off, your 'casserole' will benefit greatly from being fact, I believe that part of the definition of a casserole is that it IS baked.  Cheese, while not a requirement, is in my opinion, crucial for overall ooey gooeyness  and flavor....mix cheese into your sauce, pasta and vegetables as well as topping your casserole with it before baking it....think of cheese as culinary duct tape.  It fixes alot of otherwise just so so tasting food and relatively inexpensively.  think mac and cheese.  other easy additions are dijon mustard, fortified wine such as marsala, dry sherry or vermouth, green chilies, rotisserie chicken (shredded or pulled),a different type of pasta and while you are cooking the pasta throw in some fresh veggies near the end such as broccoli, cauliflower and/ or carrots.....there are many, many, many wonderful things to add as your pocketbook and time constraints ease such as sauteed mushrooms and shallots,artichoke hearts, bacon, better cheese,etc. and the sky is the limit...these are just simple ones to get you started



food is like should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne


food is like should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

post #5 of 8

Technically it's not a casserole unless you bake it.  This is a creamy pasta dish.  I agree with phatch that onions and garlic would add a lot of flavor to this.  In fact, if you are willing to skip the canned sauce and focus on the onions and garlic I think you could make a better sauce than the canned stuff.  Ok?


So set a pot of water to boil your macaroni.  While that cooks make your sauce:


- slice an onion and chop up one garlic

- in a pan heat up some olive oil and a little butter and put in the onion, let it cook on medium heat - you don't want it to turn brown, get it translucent instead then add your garlic.

- Add the frozen california blend veggies, a little bit of low-sodium chicken stock and cover the pan for 2-3 minutes.

- Uncover and add a cup of heavy cream and bring that up to a simmer then add the frozen peas and a handful of grated parmesan.

- Toss in the diced turkey and the cooked macaroni and voila, it's done.


You can find little boxes of premade chicken stock or you can make your own and freeze.  I think this dish will have much more flavor for you without adding cream of goop.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."


"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

post #6 of 8

Somehow, we need to meager Tim's identical posts into one...

post #7 of 8

Something like this can always use some herbs, use whatever is your favorite. Top with scallions when you serve it, sprinkle with grated parm, lots of black pepper, as mentioned sauteed onions and garlic, dried mushrooms can really make a mushroom soup based dish pop.

post #8 of 8

I'm with Joey on this.




Something with some flavor, probably a sharpish cheddar.


And I'd throw it in the oven for a bit so the flavors meld and it gets properly gooey.


Not very healthy, though, despite the veggies.

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