Making a meal from what’s on hand

If you have leftovers from holiday get-togethers or from meals at any time, you may want to consider mixing them together into some type of casserole. Try this Make-Your-Own Casserole recipe from Alice Henneman, MS, RD; University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension, as a guide to help you turn leftovers into favorite family foods.

Make-Your-Own Casserole

General directions:

Select food(s) from each category or use your own favorites. Combine in a buttered 2- to 2 1/2- quart casserole dish. Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for about 50 minutes to 1 hour. Or microwave using 50% power for about 15 to 30 minutes, rotating or stirring as necessary. Heat until steaming hot (165 degrees F) throughout. The recipe makes six servings.

Starch – select one:

2 cups uncooked pasta (macaroni, penne, spiral, bow tie), COOKED

1 cup uncooked long-grain white or brown rice, COOKED

4 cups uncooked noodles, COOKED

Protein – select one:

2 cups cooked ground beef

2 cups cooked and diced chicken, turkey, ham, beef, or pork

2 cups chopped hard-cooked egg

2 (6 to 8-oz.) cans fish or seafood, flaked

2 cups cooked or canned dry beans (kidney, etc.)

Vegetable – select one:

1 (10-oz.) pkg. thawed and drained frozen spinach, broccoli, green beans, green peas

1 (16-oz.) can green beans, peas, carrots, corn, drained

2 cups sliced fresh zucchini

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Sauce – select one:

2 cups white sauce or 1 can sauce-type soup (mushroom, celery, cheese, tomato, etc.) mixed with milk to make 2 cups

1 (16-oz.) can diced tomatoes with juice

Flavor – select one or more:

1/2 cup chopped celery, 1/4 cup chopped onion, 1/4 cup sliced black olives

1 to 2 teaspoons mixed dried leaf herbs (basil, thyme, marjoram, tarragon)

Salt and pepper to taste

Topping- select one or more:

If desired after heating, place on top:

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup shredded Swiss, Cheddar, or Monterey Jack cheese

1/4 cup buttered bread crumbs

1/4 to 1/2 cup canned fried onion rings

Return casserole with topping(s), uncovered, to oven for about 10 minutes or to microwave for about 2 minutes.