Dishes from leftovers: how to cook yesterday’s pasta casserole or stale bread charlotte – Home

We study anti-crisis recipes invented in the Soviet Union

Anna Pisheva

April 6, 2022 4:52 p.m

Soviet casserole – the perfect leftover dish


Casserole is a great dish that can be made with anything left in the fridge. Unlike classic lasagna or moussaka, which require you to follow the recipe carefully, the “grandmother” Soviet version of the casserole makes a very loose handling of ingredients: you can put more potatoes or less meat, add green peas on Monday, and corn on Wednesday, use mixed chicken or finely chopped fried sausage, writes Moskovsky Komsomolets.

Preparing the casserole is simple – you need a baking dish of a suitable size with oil, lightly sprinkled with breadcrumbs (you can do without), and then put all the ingredients found in the refrigerator and pour over the sauce.

Cooking time depends on the components used – if they are all pre-cooked, then 15-20 minutes is enough, and if there is something raw (potatoes or other vegetables, minced meat, etc.), then the casserole should be left in. the oven for 30-40 minutes.

From yesterday’s pasta

Italian lasagna is the most famous pasta casserole. A compromise solution will be a kind of “lazy lasagna” (after all, everyone knows lazy cabbage rolls or lazy dumplings?), which will help those who are tired of cooking cutlets with pasta for lunch. The products you need are exactly the same – minced meat (preferably a mixture of pork and beef), herbs and a packet of pasta.

Fry the minced meat in a pan, adding finely chopped onions and carrots (ideally if there is also celery!), and then – tomato sauce. You can use concentrated tomato paste, diluted with water, tomatoes in their own juice or even a package of tomato juice, fresh tomatoes (3-4 pieces, chopped with a blender) will do. Then seasonings are added to the minced meat of the Italian kitchen – dried basil, parsley, garlic, oregano, thyme … yes, although any spicy herb will do! Ideally, if there is a glass of dry red wine in the house – you can use the old and the cheapest! – which must also be poured into the sauce. Then the minced meat is left to stew until the liquid evaporates.

Then you have to grease the baking dish with butter and spread a few tablespoons of minced meat evenly on the bottom: this is necessary to not burn the casserole. Next, lay in layers: raw pasta (it is better to take small ones like shells or springs) and meat sauce. On top of the casserole you can pour bechamel sauce (if you have time and opportunity to cook it) or lightly sprinkle with cheese. Put the casserole in the oven for 30-40 minutes.

Another option is pasta, invented by housewives in the USSR. The main difference from foreign relatives is that for pasta, pre-cooked pasta is often used – the ones left over from yesterday’s dinner. That’s why it cooks much faster: 10-15 minutes in the oven is enough to brown the casserole.

From boiled potatoes

Potatoes can be used as a basis for casserole in different ways – either raw, cut into thin slices, or pre-cooked and mashed to a state of puree. Based on both options, there are well-known recipes from different national cuisines.

The easiest thing to make with raw potatoes is French potato gratin. The potatoes are cut into slices, placed in a shallow dish, pre-oiled and lightly sprinkled with breadcrumbs, and then poured with b├ęchamel sauce (the recipe is the same as for mac and cheese above). You can add some cheese. Gratin is the prototype of French-style meat, preferably in the post-Soviet space … only without meat. However, it can be added – or raw pieces, or minced meat, or even minced ham or sausage (which remains in the refrigerator). You can try it with fish. The most important thing – in this case, the potatoes should be the lowest layer: then it will bake well, and the meat will not burn.

The emergency casserole is another way to use pre-cooked potatoes and whatever else you have in the fridge. Good additions to potatoes are finely chopped boiled or baked meat, chicken, green peas (frozen or from a can), all other vegetables.

From stale bread

You will be surprised, but dessert can also be prepared in the casserole format. For example impromptu charlotte. This will require 3-4 apples, old white bread or crackers, 150 ml of milk, 1 egg and 2-3 tbsp. spoons of sugar.

Cut the bread into slices of the same size, dip each piece in milk for a minute and put in a baking dish. Place the slices of pre-painted apples in the next layer. Beat the egg with the sugar and the remaining milk and pour the mixture over the casserole. If there is cinnamon or vanilla – excellent, spices will greatly “ennoble” the dessert. Send the form to the oven for 30-40 minutes. By the way, instead of crackers, you can try to use old cookies or muffins (if they suddenly lay in the house).

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