5 Casseroles for Your Next Dinner Party
These dishes feel a little more special than your average weeknight supper, but still deliver a taste of homey comfort.
The Stress-Free Paella
We know what you might be thinking: Cooking paella for guests sounds like it could be nerve-wracking. By the time the meat is done, has the rice overcooked? Or, is the rice undercooked, because the meat cooked more quickly than you anticipated? With this recipe from his new book Just Cook It!
, Justin Chapple takes the guesswork out by using couscous in the place of rice. It's a more foolproof grain, and just as tasty when you match it with chicken, andouille sausage, garlic, tomatoes and peas.
Get the recipe: Couscous Paella with Chicken & Andouille
Just the Thing for a Casual Supper with Friends
Enchiladas are a surprisingly excellent dinner-party main, striking a nice balance between laid-back and special. This recipe, from Melissa Coleman's new The Minimalist Kitchen
, is doubly impressive because of its homemade "ancho-lada" sauce, which you can make up to a month in advance. It includes dried Ancho chiles and canned fire-roasted tomatoes, which give the finished dish a deep and smoky flavor. The other ingredients—chicken, black beans, cheese, tortillas—are the definition of crowd-pleasing.
Get the recipe: Ancho-ladas
A Mash-Up of 2 of the Most Winning Casseroles Ever
Here's a dressed-up way to serve mac 'n' cheese: in lasagna form. First, you make the sauce by warming heavy cream, crumbling in Gorgonzola and stirring in cottage cheese. The cheeses melt into the cream, and then you spoon this mixture onto the lasagna noodle sheets along with slices of goat cheese and mozzarella, layering as you go. Bake, let rest for five minutes (pro tip: Now's the time to dress the salad and refill everyone's glass) and then enjoy this ideal combo of creamy and sharp flavors.
Get the recipe: Four-Cheese Lasagne
The Casserole That'll Make Your Table Look Gorgeous
We were smitten when we discovered this delicious and Middle Eastern–inspired casserole. It starts with bite-size meatballs made from ground lamb and seasoned with cumin, paprika, salt and cayenne pepper. You nestle them into a baked rice pilaf during the last few minutes of cooking, and the golden yellow rice (scented with saffron) gets bright pops of color from the red bell pepper.
Get the recipe: Saffron Rice Pilaf with Lamb Meatballs, Red Peppers and Dates
The Vegetarian Dish with Unexpected Flavor
We don't often find classic Asian ingredients in a casserole, yet they come together just as beautifully in the oven as they do in a more traditional stove-top method of cooking. The first layer of this flavorful dish is cooked rice. Next comes a tasty combination of sautéed Swiss chard, onion and ginger, mixed with coconut milk, soy sauce and a dash of sesame oil. On top of that, you crack eggs and bake until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny; when they come out of the oven, the bright yellow will look stunning against the greens. You can make this in one large casserole dish or in individual ramekins for a more elegant presentation.
Get the recipe: Sesame Baked Eggs