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Casserole cooking for every occasion

A cookbook to add Midwestern flair to every occasion, reprinted in time to warm up these dreary April days.

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“The Best Casserole Cookbook Ever” by Beatrice Ojakangas; published March 15 by University of Minnesota Press

What is one of the best things to do on rainy April days? Read a book? Cook? Why not do both?

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Beatrice Ojakangas
contributed / University of Minnesota Press

Beatrice Ojakangas, a Forum News Service and Post Bulletin contributor, has authored more than 30 books. The Minnesota chef helped bring Scandinavian cuisine into kitchens across the nation. She’s been featured on “Baking with Julia” and she once took cooking classes from Simone Beck, who co-authored “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” with Julia Child.

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"The Best Casserole Cookbook Ever"
Contributed / University of Minnesota Press

“The Best Casserole Cookbook Ever” is a reprint — originally published in 2008 by Chronicle Books of San Francisco. It is now at home with University of Minnesota Press.

Jam-packed (pun intended) with more than 500 recipes including sauces, dips and casseroles (“hot dishes” for those true Minnesotans) for every meal and occasion, these recipes are for more than just family reunions.

Ojakangas has made the recipes versatile, explaining variations, substitutes and the best way to make a recipe ahead and bake later. She provides tips and tricks for bakeware, preparing ingredients and information on unusual or hard to find ingredients. She is very thorough with this book. It is obvious she put a lot of time and effort into its creation.

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There is also a great deal of variety in this book. Many of the recipes are a Midwestern take on dishes and flavors from around the world.

Of course, I had to try a few recipes, and when the “Pasta and Chicken Alfredo” recipe called for peas, I debated about omitting them for my taste. I’m not shy about admitting that I hate peas. But I’m glad I included them because not only did the dish make them tolerable, it made them tasty. I can’t wait to try more recipes from this book and I don’t think my family or my coworkers will mind.

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Beatrice Ojakangas started as an editor for Sunset Magazine and her writing has been featured in Bon Appétit, Gourmet, and Better Homes and Gardens. She was selected for the James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame in 2005. She lives in Duluth with her husband where she is working on her next book.

“The Best Casserole Cookbook Ever” is available online at University of Minnesota Press ( www.upress.umn.edu ), Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. It is also available for hold at the Rochester Public Library and in the Rochester Barnes and Noble store.

Book Nook is a feature that highlights books from Minnesota authors. Got a recommendation? Email us at life@postbulletin.com with the subject line "Book Nook."

Related Topics: BOOKS
Kelsey Hawley is a Jill-of-all-trades and as newsroom clerk, supports many facets of the office. She grew up in Rochester, where she continues to make her home with her two daughters, a few fish, a snail and a hamster. Readers can reach Kelsey at 507-285-7734 or khawley@postbulletin.com.
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