A cassoulet is just the French word for casserole. I just titled this post “Cassoulet of Caring” to be fancy, but the point is the same. See, as much as I love to cook, I can think of no better gift that having a hot meal delivered to me from a friend. Food just tastes so good when you don’t have to make it yourself.
I particularly love a casserole, cooked and served in an old heavy dish, spiced with the love of the generations of apron-wearing souls who passed down the beloved recipe.
These heirloom meals provide a dose of comfort and nourishment that can’t be found on a restaurant menu. They soothe heartaches, they relieve burdens, they are love in seasoned form.
When I taste chicken and dumplings for example, I can just see my late Grandma Pat standing at her stove watching over her big pot of dumplings, waiting for them to plump. The taste of that dish is engraved in my memory. I can’t describe it fully, but I know it’s intricacies, and it is a tangible reminder of a woman I so desperately miss.
Don’t wait for someone in your life to have a baby, get sick, or grieve a loved one to bring them a gift of sustenance. Do it just because. After all, these are some of life’s best gifts. I bet they won’t even know how much they needed it until they see you standing on their porch clutching a casserole dish with your two oven mits.
I want to show you a cute and simple way to present a casserole as a gift.
I bet you’ve seen these handy-dandy disposable casserole pans at the dollar store haven’t ya?
Well, go ahead and buy some already ok?
Make your favorite casserole right inside one of these disposable containers that I just demanded that you buy. Make it exactly as you would in your big ol’ heavy Pyrex dish.
I decided to make my famous Chicken Enchilada Casserole for this.
All you do is dump a can of Rotel tomatoes with chilies into a skillet with a tablespoon of melted butter, a brick of low-fat cream cheese, a dash of S & P and cumin, and a shredded up rotisserie chicken.
Then you just throw a little of that down the middle of a dozen small flour tortillas.
And then you fold them over and line them all up in the casserole pan so they are snug and tidy like so:
Then you grate up a full pound of Montery Jack cheese and you pile it on top of your enchiladas, but not before taking a big old pinch and popping it into your mouth.
Then just pop that into a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes or so until it looks like this:
Now back to how to turn this scrumptious meal into a cute gift. Of course you can use a real dish for this. It would be really cute to find a retro looking casserole pan to put this in. You can also use any casserole recipe you like.
To make this cute gift you will need two large paper doilies, some ribbon, scissors, scotch tape, a dollar store spatula, and a tag made out of any old kind of paper:
Just take the doilies and tape them onto the casserole lid like so:
Then place the lid securely onto the dish and fold the doilies around the back of the dish and secure with tape. Add ribbon and tie it into a bow around the spatula and add your tag.
Take this right over and surprise someone in your life. Intercept them and stop them right in their tracks as they were just about to drive through the KFC for an eight piece bucket.
If you want a more conservative approach, you can make the casserole, but leave it cold and include heating instructions on the back of the tag. You could also include the recipe.
Don’t be surprised if they return the favor for you one day. It’s special to spend time making someone dinner and bringing it to them is even better.
Remember that love is food and food is love. Put it in a casoulet and give it freely.