CASSEROLE CRAZY: Hot Stuff for Your Oven!

by Jacquelyn Lewis

Comfort food! Yes!

I had to have this cookbook the moment I read the title; it must have triggered some primal desire for throwback, mom-style meals in order to fatten up for winter. Once I had Casserole Crazy in hand, here is how I knew I was going to love it: the chapter names are Breakfast, Appetizers, Side Dishes, Main Dishes, Macaroni and Cheese, and Stove Top. That’s right: macaroni and cheese is an entire chapter.

You can tell this gal loves food just by skimming the recipes, including Cauliflower and Potato Gratin, Thanksgiving Kugel, and Savory Spinach and Artichoke Casserole, which could incite a comfort-food hunger riot. Although many of the recipes here are Farris originals, she also includes entries from pros like Paula Deen and Bobby Flay, plus winning contributions to her casserole parties. And though most of the book’s recipes aim for optimum deliciousness rather than diet-friendliness or any socio-political-environmental agenda, Farris labels each recipe by healthiness and diet concerns. While some fall under the category Not So Bad For You, most of them are labeled the more enticing Oh So Good But Bad for You. Other labels are Vegetarian, Vegan, and finally, Lactose-Free—under which you can find the recipe for the memorably monikered Lactard’s Surprise.

As for that strangely named dish, Farris delivers the traditional tuna-noodle casserole (with the familiar crunchy fried onions on top), as well as a slightly classier Grown Up Tuna Casserole using artichoke hearts—which is both ultra-satisfying and easy to make. Break out the vintage Pyrex bakeware; it’s time to give it a workout. (And after eating, you could probably use one too.)

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