Occasionally I don’t feel like chopping and prepping a whole bunch to get dinner on the table, when those days to happen upon me all I want to do is open a few cans and pop a casserole in the oven. Then thirty minutes later a piping hot dish is ready for consumption. Shades of tuna casserole, or a favorite when we were kids was something my mom called chow mein hot dish. The only reason this was called chow mein hot dish was because it had those crunchy chow mein noodles from a can as the topping. Otherwise it consisted of cooked hamburger, celery, a can of cream of mushroom soup, soy sauce (a little Chinese I guess), and rice (ok, maybe more Chinese than I thought). This was all stirred up in the corningware casserole and topped with the red can of noodles and baked at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. After I became a vegetarian I made the same dish using TVP and later the frozen crumbles. A. mistakenly called this “charming” hot dish when she was just a little thing and the name stuck throughout my kids’ childhood. These are the sorts of dishes that I like to throw together when it just seems like too much work to prep a whole meal after a long day at work. Since this was my first day back in the office after more than a week off I was in the casserole mode by the time I got home. I just happened to have the ingredients in the cupboard to toss together a Jamaican Jerk Bean Casserole topped with Coconut Cornbread. The base was nothing more than a couple of cans of black beans, mixed with some canned tomatoes and frozen corn. It was spiced up with a dash of jerk seasoning and topped with a corn bread batter. The corn bread was your usual mix of flour, corn meal, baking powder, sugar and salt, but for the liquid lite coconut milk was used, giving the dish that nice Caribbean snap to it. I served it up with a fresh greens salad dressed with a splash of cider vinegar and olive oil, my favorite dressing! Dinner was on the table with little effort and that’s what this day called for!
The colorful blend in my own corningware casserole that has got to be at least 35 years old if it’s a day…
Ready to go, the topping was nice and fluffy and the filling spicy (but not too)