This section is from the book "Mrs. Allen's Cook Book", by Mrs. Ida C. Bailey Allen. See also: The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat.
If desired, any meat casserole can be thickened with rice, ground dried bread crumbs, barley, macaroni, or spaghetti. The amount of raw rice to use to a quart of liquid is one-fourth of a cupful; the amount of crumbs, from a half to three-fourths of a cupful, according to the dryness of the bread, and of raw macaroni or spaghetti about a cupful. In some cases it is advisable to incorporate the vegetable with the meat; for instance, a plain chicken casserole can be made in which the asparagus is combined with the chicken, being arranged in layers and thickened with rice. In case an especially abundant dish is desired, plenty of carrots, turnips and onions, together with beef, the whole being thickened with barley, is especially satisfactory.
Much has been said about the desirability of the casserole as a cooking medium for tough meats. Therein lies one of its greatest possibilities, for the meat benefits not only by the long cooking, but by the steam which is generated in the tightly-closed utensil. However, the liquid surrounding the meat should never boil; unless it is kept at a gentle simmer, the result will be disappointing. In case the casserole seems too dry, a little stock or water may be added from time to time during the cooking.