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Old 06-05-2012, 12:17 PM   #1
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Cooking food you prepped ahead of time

Need some advice from all you experienced mamas....I searched this thread and did a google search and didn't get any concrete help. Maybe I'm already supposed to know this.....

I made a casserole last night that I plan to bake and serve tonight. It's in the fridge as we speak. Generally, how long should it sit out at room temperature before I put it in the oven? Or can it go straight into the oven? Does it add much cooking time? Does it even matter? Am I overthinking this?

Thanks for your help! I'm really trying to stop ordering out for dinner as much....and I swear my mother only made spaghetti and stir fry when I was growing up. I'm learning.....

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Old 06-05-2012, 12:44 PM   #2
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Re: Cooking food you prepped ahead of time

Hey, we all have to start somewhere! And you had the forethought to prep it ahead so you are doing great mama!
I would just stick it straight in the oven. As far as cooking time, eh, it depends, I always think.
-Is everything IN the dish already cooked (or is there an element which is still raw)?
-Is it something that needs a brown, crusty, yummy top?
-how "juicy" is it? Will a few extra mins kill it or does it have enough moisture to be okay?

Generally I would start checking around the end of the suggested cooking time. My method is super technical - I wash my hands and stick a finger in the middle. If it's hot, yeeow, okay dinner is ready. If it's not, back in the oven it goes.
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Old 06-05-2012, 01:02 PM   #3
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Re: Cooking food you prepped ahead of time

IF it is in the fridge, I would not add time. (maybe one or 2 minutes but not needed.)
IF it is frozen... you have to add a lot of cook time. I pull them out of the freezer and put them in the fridge the day before.
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Old 06-05-2012, 01:06 PM   #4
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Re: Cooking food you prepped ahead of time

Oh and please use a meat thermometer. The "just poking" method is dangerous if the casserole contains uncooked meat. They are usually under $5 for the non digital ones. IF the casserole contains uncooked meat... "hot" needs to be a certain temperature depending on if it is chicken, beef or pork.( Otherwise you could make your family sick.)
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Old 06-05-2012, 02:16 PM   #5
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Re: Cooking food you prepped ahead of time

I have heard 2 ways- one is to put the casserole in the oven then preheat (with it in the oven) and bake. Checking around normal cook time and go from there.

The other- which is usually what I do is take it out of fridge and let sit on the counter (keep in mind our casseroles are usually meat free) for about 30 mins then bake normal times.
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Old 06-05-2012, 05:02 PM   #6
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Re: Cooking food you prepped ahead of time

Thanks for all the tips, mamas!
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