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November Cooking Tool of the Month and a Mexican Casserole

November Cooking Tool of the Month – Casserole Dish

What better month to feature casserole dishes than November?! If it actually felt like fall here in Austin I would be baking my heart out every day. But no…it has to be 85 degrees (and some people don’t believe in climate change!). We’ll pretend that fall weather has arrived and feature delicious dishes this month that can be made in a casserole dish.

Now, if something is made in a casserole dish is it technically a casserole? Because you can make all kinds of thing in a casserole dish; brownies, bread pudding, shepherd’s pie, paella, scalloped potatoes. When you hear the word casserole you probably think hearty, fattening, baked, cheesy. Casserole is from the French word “saucepan”, so technically it’s a large, deeper pan that can go from stove to oven to table.

Like the beautiful 3 Quart Covered Casserole pan by Anolon on the left. But the square or rectangle dishes on the right are now also called casserole dishes. Other common casserole dishes are made from enamel-coated metal (like Le Creuset), porcelain, or earthenware.

This month we will feature all kinds of recipes that can be made in a casserole dish. We are using the term loosely to include everything from desserts to actually casserole dishes. Yes I just made up a word! We start the month off with a mexican casserole that I made for my partner in my fancy Anolon pan. We also have a month of guest contributors that will be giving us more casserole dishes than you can shake a stick at.

mexican casserole

This may seem like a lot of ingredients but it only took me 15 minutes to get the casserole ready then 20 to bake it if you are using vegan cheese on top. If you are skipping the cheese you can bake it as long as needed to warm it up or you can skip the baking all together I suppose! It’s totally gluten-free if you use gluten-free pasta! Kids will love this one.

Fall Mexican Casserole
Makes 6 to 8 servings

1 (8 ounce) package quinoa pasta
1/2 cup veggie broth
About 2 cups cubed sweet potato
1 small red onion, diced (optional)
Pinch sea salt
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Dash cayenne (or more depending on how spicy you like it)
Dash cinnamon
Dash black pepper
1 small bell pepper, sliced
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (4 ounce) can of diced green chiles
1 (14.5 ounce) can of fire-roasted tomatoes
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons tamari
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon stone-ground mustard
Grated vegan cheese (optional)

Cook pasta according to package. Meanwhile bring veggie broth to a boil in saucepan (or buffet pan) and add sweet potatoes and onion with all the spices. Simmer with lid on until sweet potatoes are almost tender. Add the remaining ingredients except cheese and bring back to a boil. Simmer for a few minutes to let the flavors meld. If using a oven to stove dish you can gently stir in pasta and smooth over the top. If you are using a square lidless casserole dish pour this mixture into the dish. Sprinkle vegan cheese on top if using. Cover with lid (or foil if using lidless casserole dish) and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes (or until cheese is melted).

Serve immediately with some steamed greens. This will keep for 5 days in the fridge. Not sure how well it will freeze but it probably would do well.

Now tell us: What are your favorite casseroles to make? What kind of things would you like to see featured this month?

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