How to Bake a Pre-Cooked Casserole Without Burning the Edges
Baking ahead of time can make a mother’s life so much easier. Unfortunately, it can be tough to grab that casserole and cook it the same night. The edges can become hard and crusty long before the middle of the casserole becomes warm. As any busy mom knows, there might not be time for thawing, so you have to be creative and know how to cook a casserole without burning it. It’s simple when you know what to do in advance.
Time to Thaw
When you have time to thaw, that’s a perfect situation for your pre-baked casserole. Take it out of the freezer at least 24 hours before you plan on baking. When you know that you’ll be busy the next day and need this pre-baked meal, that’s when it can be placed in the refrigerator to thaw. When you leave the casserole to thaw, it’ll spend less time in the oven.
A Frozen Casserole
You can certainly bake your casserole before it’s had time to thaw. Make sure you take it out as soon as you know that you’ll be cooking it that night. If you can take it out of the freezer when the kids come home from school, that’ll give you a few hours to let it thaw. If you are cooking almost immediately when you get home from work, even a few minutes can help. The pre-baked casserole should be placed in the oven with foil but not plastic wrap. Make sure any plastic wrap is removed before baking.
It’s Ready for the Oven
If you’ve had time to thaw the casserole, you can place the meal into the oven and cook it according to the recipe’s directions. Your thawed casserole should still have the foil on it when cooking. At the end of the cooking time, remove the foil to brown the top of it. To ensure that the middle is cooked, you might need to add 5 to 10 minutes to the cook time. You’ll know it needs more time with a thermometer. Check the temperature in the middle. When it reaches 160 degrees, it’s ready to come out of the oven.
Keep the foil on the casserole as you place it into the oven. For the frozen casserole, you’ll take the suggested recipe time and add 45 minutes to it. If the casserole calls for 30 minutes in the oven, you’ll need to add 45 minutes to that time. During the final 15 minutes, you can remove the foil to get a good browning on the top of the meal. Use the thermometer to check the middle of the casserole before you are ready for browning. It needs to be 160 too.
It can be difficult to give your family a home-cooked casserole when you have to pull it out of the freezer moments before dinner time. With some foil and extra time, it doesn’t have to be impossible.
Check out the great recipe for Chicken Tortilla Casserole below: