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Joanna Gaines' Clever Shortcut To Simplify Difficult Dishes

Joanna Gaines
Joanna Gaines - Rob Kim/Getty Images

When you treat yourself to a meal out at a restaurant, you may want to order something you don't often have at home. This can be a great way to indulge in foods you don't have the time to cook, or things you simply don't feel skilled enough to make. If there's a dish that you love eating but you want to simplify the process, Joanna Gaines has a simple solution: just turn it into a casserole.

For example, the chef said in her book "Magnolia Table" that her husband, Chip, loves ordering eggs benedict when the couple goes out to breakfast. However, the dish isn't generally quick and easy to whip up on a busy weekday morning. Instead, she combines the usual ingredients in a casserole dish. Gaines showed off her eggs benedict-inspired casserole in Season 4, Episode 5 of "Magnolia Kitchen." She assembled the casserole using English muffins, diced Canadian bacon, and a custardy egg mix. After cooking, she topped the entire thing off with some Hollandaise sauce and parsley.

"This is like, if you want to do eggs benedict, but you don't want to actually plate 8 to 10 different eggs benedicts, this is the way you do it," she said in the episode. "You put it in casserole form, and it's just as beautiful. And I might say, I think it's tastier this way."

Read more: 11 Of The Best Cooking Tips From Bobby Flay

Plenty Of Dishes Can Be Turned Into A Casserole

Chicken pasta casserole
Chicken pasta casserole - Sokor Space/Shutterstock

Other breakfast dishes can be easily be transformed, too. Instead of pan frying every individual slice of French toast, try making a French toast casserole by cutting up bread and soaking it in a casserole dish. For even more convenience, the dish can be prepped at night and baked the next morning. This will allow the bread pieces to soak up the sweet, eggy mix, making for a more custardy texture once it's baked up.

A breakfast casserole might be great to kickstart your morning, but you can also turn dinner dishes into casseroles, too. Try combining black beans, corn, cheese, and seasoned ground beef into a casserole dish to whip up a southwestern taco bake. You can even scoop each serving into a tortilla to eat the casserole like a taco. Or, top it off with a little enchilada sauce to mimic a different dish.

If you're craving chicken parmesan, a parm-style chicken spaghetti casserole might make dinnertime a little easier. Instead of breading and frying each individual piece of chicken, simply cook the chicken and pasta, combine them with some sauce into a casserole dish, and top off the entire thing with cheese and breadcrumbs.

Desserts Can Be Casseroles, Too

Bread pudding with fruit
Bread pudding with fruit - Wsmahar/Getty Images

Transforming dishes into casseroles doesn't have to be limited to just meals, though. Brioche bread pudding may be the most well-known casserole dessert. The bread is sliced, soaked in eggs, milk, and seasonings, then baked. You can top off each serving with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. You can also create a dump cake for quick and easy dessert prep. The process is as the name suggests: Simply dump a can of fruit pie filling, a box of cake mix, and butter into a casserole dish before baking.

Caramelizing meringue may seem super intimidating, but you can use a casserole dish to make a much easier baked Alaska — which didn't actually come from the northern state, despite its name. Bake some brownies right in the dish, then top the dessert with a spread of ice cream. After adding the meringue topping, freeze it for a few hours. When you're ready to eat the dish, bake it in the oven on high heat for a few minutes to brown the topping, then simply slice and serve.

The next time you're thinking of tackling a tricky dish, try prioritizing convenience over presentation. By combining the meal's standard ingredients into a casserole dish, you can convert the food into something much simpler to cook — but just as delicious to eat.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.