Tuesday, March 18, 2014

One-can magic trick

I'm feeling a little less curmudgeonly since spring officially starts this week! In its honor, I am posting a recipe (or series of recipes, depending on how one thinks of it) because I like the concept.

When I cook, sometimes I think it's fun to take an ingredient and see how many different variations I can make for a meal using that ingredient.If I have a big batch of chickpeas, some of them might go into a pilaf with rice and orzo, some might go into a tomatoey soup with gnocchi on top, and some might be mashed with a few other ingredients and made into veggie burgers. The writers of Good Housekeeping's Casserole Cookery (1971) might have had cooks like me in mind when they created this spread:


The variety is pretty impressive. One bowl looks like a flower with its petals of swirled dough; another boasts a cheese-topped peak; a third sports a ring of mushrooms and a sprig of greenery. (Okay, maybe the ones with the beans dumped on top or the slimy-looking tomato slick are less exciting, but they still lend variety.) So what do all these dinners have in common besides the brown ramekins?


They all start with a can of beef stew. Each dinner has a different seasoning and topper, but they all have the same starting point. That totally appeals to my appreciation for a bit of creativity with a common ingredient.

If you had to pick one variation, which would you go for? I'm a muffin topknot kind of person because I love the combo of chili powder, corn muffin, and melty cheese!

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