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Helpful Hints: Casseroles & Veggie, Pasta and Rice Side Dishes

For Casseroles:

  • When preparing a casserole, make an additional one or two to freeze for when you’re short on time or guests show up for dinner.
  • Green pepper may change the flavor of frozen casseroles. Clove, garlic, and pepper flavors get stronger when frozen, while sage, onion, and salt become more mild.
  • Souffle dishes are designed with straight sides to help your souffle rise. Ramekins work well for single-serve casseroles.

For Pasta & Rice:

  • To prevent pasta from boiling over, place a wooden spoon or fork across the top of the pot while the pasta is boiling.
  • Store dried pasta, rice (except brown rice), and whole grains in tightly covered containers in a cool, dry place.
  • Refrigerate brown rice and freeze grains if you will not use them within 5 months.
  • A few drops of lemon juice added to simmering rice will keep the grains separated.
  • If your pasta sauce seems a little dry, add a few tablespoons of the pasta’s cooking water.

For Veggies:

  • Boil all vegetables that grow above ground without a cover.
  • Never soak vegetables after slicing; they will lose much of their nutritional value.
  • For an easy no-mess side dish, grill vegetables along with your meat.
  • When cooking greens, add a teaspoon of sugar to the water to help vegetables retain their fresh colors.
  • To dress up buttered, cooked vegetables, sprinkle them with toasted sesame seeds, toasted chopped nuts, canned trench-fried onions, grated cheese, or slightly crushed seasoned croutons.
  • A little vinegar or lemon juice added to potatoes before draining will make them extra white when mashed.
  • To avoid toughened beans or corn, add salt after cooking.