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12 Time-Saving Hacks for Casserole Recipes

Check out these simple shortcuts on this one-dish meal.

The casserole is a splendid thing.

There are so many variations on this single-pot oven baked dish that you can go crazy and make it anything you want.

Depending on how much time you have, you can develop the flavors by sautéing onions and browning ground meats, or take use pre-cooked leftovers to create a new and easy dish your family will love.

If shortcuts are more your speed and one-dish dinners with little cleanup sound right, your next family dinner will benefit from these cooking hacks.

Read below to learn 12 time-saving hacks for casserole recipes:

Freezer burn: One of the easiest ways to save time making casseroles is to cook them in advance and freeze them. Just note the best cooks recommend completely defrosting casseroles before reheating them, which can take up to two days.

A cut above: Instead of cutting onions and garlic, grate them. Grating is faster than chopping and you won't have to sauté anything since the flavors will spread evenly thorough your casserole. Bonus, picky eaters won't protest the use of onions because they'll never know the difference. 

Mash it up: Who doesn't love mashed potatoes? Next time you're whipping up a fresh batch, double the amount and save leftovers for your next casserole topping. 

Ice Queen: It's okay to use frozen vegetables. Repeat: It's okay to use frozen vegetables. And they're pre-cut! 

Recycled Leftovers: In the spirit of Earth Day, recycle your macaroni and cheese leftovers into a hot baked casserole. 

Greasy Spoon: Be sure to oil or butter your casserole dish before you add your ingredients to make for easier serving and cleanup. 

Almost there: Seasoned cooks recommend par cooking potatoes, which you can do on the weekend to save time on a weeknight. Also remember to cut potatoes evenly and into small cubes so you don't encounter any hard bites. 

Grating Advice: Grating a large chunk of cheese and using it for binding saves time—throw all your ingredients into one bowl and mix rather than layering -- and ensures consistency throughout the casserole. 

Bite Sized: Chop broccoli into small even bites so it cooks at the same rate as the cheese or mayonnaise you used for binding and faster-cooking pastas. You'll save time by not having to pre-cook your veggies. 

Feeling Crumby: Pre-made breadcrumbs are the easiest way to give your casserole a crispy topping but if you're out don't worry about making your own. Simply smash up some crackers and pile them on top with some drizzled butter.  

Love your leftovers: Have leftover chicken? Shred it up and used the pre-cooked ingredients to speed up your casserole's cook time. 

Shredded: Potatoes in any form make a casserole but grating them quickens cook time. 

More from Kitchen Daily:
How to Store Fresh Herbs
Ratatouille and Spring Vegetables
Sneaky Healthy: Mac 'n Cheese With Broccoli

This article is part of Mix It Up, an editorial series created in collaboration with AOL's Kitchen Daily and Huffington Post. It is dedicated to making the lives of mothers easier through articles, videos and slideshows focused on simple and creative solutions to everyday challenges. From healthy recipes to exciting ideas for a more balanced lifestyle, this section aims to become a resource for moms everywhere. 

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