Casseroles comeback captures industry attention

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Casseroles, those tasty amalgams of inexpensive cuts of meat, potatoes or other starches, vegetables and condensed soup, are making a comeback as our pocketbooks shrink. No better evidence of the casserole's resurrection exists than ads for key ingredients such as Velveeta, Campbell's condensed soups and Spam.

According to Advertising Age, companies including Kraft and Campbell have recognized the trend and are allocating advertising dollars to promote the lowly casserole as a staple for the budget-minded. In a recent promotion, Kraft challenged five food bloggers to create casseroles, using Velveeta, that would feed four with leftovers, all for under $10. The winning entry was a shrimp stroganoff.

Campbell's is promoting its soups as bases for casseroles in its TV and internet marketing. Its Campbell's Kitchen web site also offers a wide variety of one-dish meals, from Chicken Broccoli Divan to Ranchero Enchilada, Hearty Sausage and Rice to Baked "Eyeballs" (mozzarella cheese and sliced olives).

Fortunately, there are plenty of recipes now available for more nutritious casseroles as an alternative to the old fat-laden, veggie-deprived versions.

If you're ready to try ersatz cheese, you can print a $1 off coupon for Velveeta here. Personally, I don't find the yellow a satisfactory substitute for real cheese. If the recession drags out for a couple of more years, however, my taste buds may have to adapt.

Also read: Spam's comeback

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