I made banana bread last night. The two bananas left in the bunch I bought most recently were beginning to drip juice. A little got on my stamps, too, so I don’t know if I’ll be able to salvage the stamps. No, I don’t know why I stored bananas and postage stamps in the same bowl. Chalk it up to eccentricity.
It’s really easy to make a batch of banana bread, in the tiniest loaf pans I own, and slowly, or not so slowly, eat the dessert-like bread over the succeeding days. Last night’s batch is half gone already, possibly because I added cashews to two of the mini-loaves and got addicted to the banana-nut bread during the movie last night.
So I don’t have to worry too much about having leftover banana bread become a science experiment in the refrigerator, even though I make the recipe in the usual amount, instead of halving it or something.
Casseroles are another story. The reasons? One, the very mention of casserole conjures up an image of a church potluck with dozens of people and a short supply of main dishes. You know you’ve gotta bring a big dish or your kids will complain all they got to eat was the squash salad. So you make a casserole the size of a barge and have hardly any left over afterward.
In a single gal’s apartment, a casserole like that could take weeks, maybe months, to eat, and that’s eating it nonstop (like once or twice a day). Having one kind of food that often gets old really fast unless it’s peanut butter. If you ever hear of a peanut butter casserole recipe I would love to ask you how in the world you came across such a jarring combination of words.
So, to cope with the excessive size of most casseroles, I usually halve the recipe, sometimes even quarter it if it’s conducive to such mathematical contortion. Add a little oregano or minced onion, guesstimate how much cottage cheese goes in, round off the one-sixth of a cup to something around a quarter cup, and voilá, the casserole is reduced to a manageable size!
Problem solved, right? But wait, there’s more! (Not a good more either, and a little bit more honest than an infomercial.) Even a divided casserole yields at least two servings, so half of it ends up in a Tupperware dish in the fridge. This presents a couple sub-issues, if you will. One, I don’t want to eat the same thing even two nights in a row unless it involves peanut butter (and 99.9% of casseroles don’t), and two, reheated food just isn’t the same as fresh-cooked food, especially if it includes spaghetti or ground beef. Or meat of any sort, really. There are some casseroles, you know, that hardly keep well at all.
Maybe I’m just a picky eater, but the mere idea of “microwaved casserole” is a little off-putting. I’ve had enough warmed day-old spaghetti to know the spaghetti gets either stiff or a tad rubbery after a few hours in the fridge, and microwaving just exacerbates the odd texture. Yeah, some other flavors might be a leetle more potent, but that just throws the whole flavor balance off, you know?
Therefore, I’ve stuck mainly to simple, serving-size recipes or sandwiches for my evening suppers. (A single potato, cubed and fried, baked with a single egg in the middle of the pile is extremely satisfying.) Yes, I have done the casserole thing, even down to freezing half the casserole and refrigerating some of the other half’s leftovers. But it’s not something I really care to do.
My quest now is to find the perfect small casserole recipes—appetizing, nutritious and above all, relatively tiny. I figured out one, sort of, but there are so many others awaiting my shrink-ray.