A covered casserole is a hot dish typically made with layers of cooked meats and vegetables. Some casserole recipes also call for melted cheese or bread crumb toppings. These types of casseroles are normally baked in a covered dish with a lid to lock in the flavors and cook everything evenly. Most covered casserole dishes are made from glass or ceramic material manufactured to withstand hot oven temperatures. Many cooks like to make homemade casserole dishes to share at potluck parties or family-style dinners.
Choosing a covered casserole dish often depends on the serving sizes a cook is planning, as well as the color and style of the dish. Many cooks like to buy casserole dishes that coordinate with the rest of their kitchenware. These types of casserole dishes are normally available in small, medium, and large sizes. A good quality casserole dish will allow all of the ingredients to cook evenly and will yield enough casserole to feed everyone at a dinner party. Some cooks even purchase ceramic greenware casserole dishes and glaze them with the colors of their own choices before firing them in a ceramic kiln.
Making casseroles is a fairly straighforward process of assembling the ingredients before pouring them into the dish and baking them in an oven. Popular covered casserole recipes include chicken and rice, green bean and onion, and chicken with cashews. Baking casseroles with cheeses and sauces usually involves melting the cheese and mixing the sauce ingredients ahead of time. Many cooks do this step in a stove top saucepan over medium heat for about five to ten minutes. Once these liquid ingredients are ready, the cook then mixes them with the meat and vegetables before baking the covered casserole for about 30 minutes at around 350° F (about 176° C).
Cooks who make this type of baked dish versus an uncovered casserole sometimes want to avoid browning the top of the casserole. A browned layer of cheese or sauce in an uncovered casserole can often become slightly burned and affect the rest of the casserole flavors. Another consideration when making a covered casserole is whether to use fresh or dried seasonings, as some types of fresh herbs such as dill or oregano can lose flavor in casserole recipes with longer cook times. The total cook time can also depend on the size of the casserole dish. Deep covered casserole dishes generally require a longer amount of time in the oven.