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The Best Casserole Cookbook Ever    by Beatrice Ojakangas order for
Best Casserole Cookbook Ever
by Beatrice Ojakangas
Order:  USA  Can
Chronicle, 2008 (2008)

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Belle Dessler

I love to cook. Whether I'm raiding my pantry in search of unique ways to combine ingredients, or scouring my cookbook shelf in search of the perfect recipe for Sunday brunch, there's something uniquely satisfying about putting together a great dish. But as much as I love to put effort into a meal, there are those nights when I just want to toss some delicious ingredients into a single dish, push it into the oven and forget about it. On those nights, casseroles are the perfect answer.

Until now, my casserole recipe collection consisted of the occasional page I ripped out of a cooking magazine. Well, no longer. Ojakangas has collected 500 fabulous casserole recipes, each one tested by herself and her husband - and the effort shows. The variety of casseroles included in this 600-page book is awe-inspiring. There are casseroles for every meal and every occasion. From comfort food to elegant dishes that are sure to impress guests, every type of casserole you could possibly imagine is well represented in The Best Casserole Cookbook Ever.

Ojakangas begins by giving us a quick history of the casserole, and then dives into casserole basics in the first chapter. 'The whole idea of this chapter - in fact, the idea behind this whole book - is to offer healthier, tastier casserole choices.' And does she ever! We've got appetizers, like Swiss Mushrooms au Gratin and Chile-Cheese Omelet Squares, no-knead casserole breads like Golden Raisin and Walnut Casserole Bread, and breakfast and brunch casseroles like Crustless Veggie Quiche and Baked Pecan-Stuffed French Toast. Then, of course, we've got hearty entrees like Chicken Baked with Orzo, Stuffed Beef Rolls, Sweet-and-Sour Country-Style Ribs, Shepherd's Pie, Baked Spaghetti Casserole, and many, many more.

Ojakangas also provides a slew of recipes for side dishes, vegetarian casseroles, casseroles that can serve a crowd, and casseroles for kids. And if you've got a sweet tooth like I do, don't fret. There are many dessert casserole recipes, too, like Crisp Apple Streusel, Cinnamon-Chocolate Fondue and Peruvian Flan, just to name a few.

This phenomenal cookbook encompasses a wide variety of meals. The instructions are simple to follow, the ingredients easy to find, and the results… marvelous. This book should be a staple in every home cook's kitchen.

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