The Gourmet Touch: Casserole to the rescue
by Prudence Hilburn
Special to The Star
Sep 26, 2012 | 1876 views |  0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When you have unexpected guests, it is easy to prepare a simple casserole which many times can serve as a meal in one dish.

Many of the casserole recipes that I have in my “keepers” file have come from friends who are willing to share.

Years ago when I went to New York to work, a friend, Jane Morton, invited me to stay at her home on Long Island until I could find an apartment. I had met Jane while in France studying with Simone “Simca” Beck. Simca was co-author with Julia Child on the informative “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.”

Jane, a retired home economics teacher, and I shared the joy of cooking. When she and I would get home from work, we would cook the evening meal together. Jane and her husband, Chuck, encouraged me to use the kitchen anytime I felt the urge to cook, which really made me feel at home.

Jane was doing some freelance teaching at that time, and asked if I would like to assist her at one of her cooking classes. Of course, I readily agreed to do so. Jane’s lesson for that particular night was “casseroles.”

A popular casserole on her menu was “Seafood Sorrento.” Jane had visited the beautiful city of Sorrento in Italy, but she explained that she was not sure if this recipe actually came from Sorrento or not. The combination of crab meat, shrimp, macaroni and Parmesan cheese made a memorable impression on my palate.

If the Reuben sandwich is among your favorites, you will probably also like the following “quick-to-fix” casserole from “101 Cozy Casseroles” published by Gooseberry Patch. In my opinion, if it’s Gooseberry Patch, it’s got to be good! All you need to turn this Reuben Casserole into a complete meal is perhaps a green garden salad.

Seafood Sorrento

1 package (8 ounce) elbow macaroni
2 cans (10 ounce) cream of mushroom soup
1 cup milk
1 can of crab meat (approximately a cup)
1 pound of shrimp, cooked
¼ cup diced pimento
1 can (3 ounce) sliced mushrooms or ¼ pound small mushrooms, sliced and sauteed in butter
1 clove garlic, mashed
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup grated parmesan cheese (divided)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine

Cook the macaroni as directed on package. Heat the soup with the milk until bubbly. Pour the macaroni into a 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish (or two equivalent casserole dishes). Stir in the picked-over crab meat, shrimp, soup mixture, pimento, mushrooms, garlic, cayenne and ½ cup of the parmesan. Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup of parmesan over the top and dot with the butter. If serving immediately, broil until bubbly. If you have made it ahead, bake in a 350-degree oven until bubbly (about 30 minutes).

Reuben Casserole

6 slices rye bread, cubed
1 (16 ounce) can sauerkraut, drained and rinsed
1 pound sliced deli corned beef, cut into strips
¾ cup Thousand Island salad dressing
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese

Arrange bread cubes in a greased 13x9-inch baking pan; cover with sauerkraut. Layer corned beef over sauerkraut, drizzle salad dressing over top. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove foil; sprinkle with cheese and bake, uncovered, for another 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serves 6.
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The Gourmet Touch: Casserole to the rescue by Prudence Hilburn
Special to The Star

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