I looked up various recipes, casseroles specifically, to check out ingredients, cook time etc... Just as an overview, what I found was that many casseroles typically contain 2 cans of cream of chicken, celery, or mushroom. Cream cheese, shredded cheese, Ritz crackers, fried onions… all of these are casserole staples. It has been forever since the last time that I bought cream of something soup, but one thing I do remember is that it seems way too expensive. Just for a comparison, I want to list some common casserole ingredients and their prices as well as fresh foods with their prices.
Campbell’s “Cream of” Soups $1.80
Cream Cheese $2 - $3
Pillsbury Crescent Rolls $3
Ritz crackers $3.69
Head of lettuce $1.50
1 lb Sweet Potatoes $1.30
1 lb Broccoli $2.30
I literally walked over to the local grocery store to get these prices. Lets say I made a meal using part of the ingredients in my fresh foods list with a pound of ground turkey ($3 per pound) I would bake the sweet potatoes, steam the broccoli in the microwave, and make turkey burgers on the stove with my favorite seasonings. I spent a total of $6.60. It would take no time to throw the potatoes in the oven and steam the broccoli, and in 20 minutes the turkey burgers would be done! If I tried to make even a standard recipe that called for two cans of “cream of” soup along with my ground turkey for meat I would be looking at $6.60 without any of the other ingredients the recipe called for! Not only do I have an incomplete casserole for $6.60, but I would also have to cook it anywhere from 1 to 1.5 hours! Healthy doesn’t always have to be expensive, bland, or take forever to prepare. Use seasonings to spice up your food without the added calories and fat that are typically found in rich casseroles and boxed meals. In the time that it takes for the sweet potatoes to cook (45 minues), you can have a well rounded, cost effective, home cooked meal!