On Sunday, we got home from church at 11:55. We were eating lunch by 12:02. It was a hot meal of Lasagna Casserole, green beans, and sweet corn.
How did we do this? Oh, it is my most favorite trick I’ve come up with for eating a healthy meal in a timely manner. Why have I not been doing this forever?
But I’ve got to warn you. If you…
1. Don’t like the thought of leaving the oven on in your house while you are away, or
2. Feel like there is a food safety issue with leaving a casserole in the oven for a little extra time…
You will not like this tip. And I’m okay with that.
But I’ve done it over and over this fall and it has saved my neck, provided healthy meals for my family, and been a huge time saver!
Plus, our house hasn’t burned down even one time. Nor have we gotten sick from practicing this method.
We have experienced an episode of extra crispy cheese on top of our Cheesy Beef and Rice. I apologized to my family, and they said, “Do it like this every time!” Apparently crispy cheese is a great addition to our culinary experience.
Here’s what I’ve been doing:
I make a casserole on Saturday and put it in the fridge. On Sunday morning I either:
- Bake it for an hour before we leave for church, then turn off the oven before we leave, letting the casserole sit in the oven while we’re gone. When we get home, I turn the oven back on for a few minutes to rewarm while I make veggies. Or I
- Put the casserole in the oven at 200° right before we leave for church, letting it cook slowly while we’re gone. It is hot and ready to eat immediately when we get home.
I have also grabbed a frozen casserole out of the freezer, put it directly into the oven, turn the oven on to 200°, and when we come home it has thawed and cooked and is ready for us to eat. (Always be sure to put a glass casserole into the oven and THEN turn the oven on. This prevents the glass dish from cracking as it heats slowly as the oven heats.)
This meal prep method has worked well for me with the following dishes:
- Lasagna Casserole
- Cheesy Beef and Rice
- Cheesy Salsa Enchiladas
- Creamy Chicken and Rice Casserole
- Beefy Enchilada Bake
- Bbq Brisket and baked potatoes (cooked on low heat all morning while we’re gone)
I’ve also done this successfully with a Roast Beef Meal or a Roast Chicken and Veggies.
I’m telling you, with just a little work ahead of time, we have been able to walk through the door and be greeted with delicious smelling food – hot and ready to eat. I not only do this every Sunday now, but I’ve been doing it in the evenings when we leave for soccer games. We get home from a game, wash our hands, steam some veggies or get out a salad we’ve made ahead of time, and we’ve got dinner.
Healthy, convenient, easy, inexpensive, quick – I’m pretty sure this method of making a meal on the fly covers it all.
Ever tried doing this before? Have any healthy casserole ideas that would work well using this method? Are you okay with leaving your oven on a low temp when you leave the house?