here's some for all you casserole fanatics..... CONSTANCE SNOW Say casserole and most people think of comfort food, homey but humdrum fare for a weeknight supper. But when they're enriched with cream, wine and other luxuries, the golden-crusted beauties are elevated to party fare. All of these recipes are especially easy on the cook, because they may be prepared well in advance and baked right before guests arrive. They're also simple to transport for potlucks or holiday gatherings. The spinach casserole is great as a hot dip or side dish. Blue cheese is an offbeat addition to the usual crab and artichoke casserole. Wine-spiked and savory, the ham-and-cheese bread pudding must be refrigerated overnight (or for up to 24 hours), ready to be popped into the oven to fuel a large brunch, house-party breakfast or midnight supper. Just remember it needs to spend 30 minutes at room temperature before baking, so allow for the extra time. Three-cheese crab and artichoke casserole Makes 12 to 16 party servings 1/3 cup dry sherry 1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature 1 cup mayonnaise 1 egg 1 (16-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and finely chopped 1 pound crabmeat, picked over to remove any bits of shell ½ cup crumbled blue cheese (2 ounces) Cayenne and white pepper ½ cup soft dry bread crumbs ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (2 ounces) Crackers or thin slices of toasted French bread Warm the sherry and cream cheese over low heat just until the cheese melts, whisking until smooth. Remove from the heat and cool to lukewarm. Whisk in the mayonnaise and egg until smooth. Fold in the chopped artichoke, crabmeat and crumbled blue cheese. Season with cayenne and white pepper. Turn the mixture into a greased 8-inch-square baking dish. (The casserole may be prepared up to this point and refrigerated for several hours. Add about five minutes to the baking time.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss the bread crumbs with the parmesan cheese to combine. Sprinkle evenly over the surface of the crabmeat mixture. Bake for 30 minutes, or until breading is golden brown and filling is hot and bubbly. Serve immediately with crackers or toasted bread. Spinach casserole Makes 12 to 16 party servings or 8 side-dish servings ¼ cup butter 2 tablespoons flour ½ small onion, minced 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced 1 cup half-and-half or evaporated skim milk 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature 1 teaspoon celery salt 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry Salt, cayenne and white pepper 1 cup soft bread crumbs ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (2 ounces) Crackers or thin slices of toasted French bread Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat; whisk in the flour to make a light roux. Add the minced onion and garlic; stir until golden, but not browned. Whisk in the half-and half; stir until thick and smooth. Cut the cream cheese into large chunks and add it to the pot; stir until melted and smooth. Stir in the celery salt and the drained spinach. Season well with salt, cayenne and white pepper. Turn the mixture into a greased 1 ½-quart baking dish. (The casserole may be prepared up to this point and refrigerated for several hours. Add about five minutes to the baking time.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Toss the bread crumbs with the parmesan cheese to combine. Sprinkle evenly over the surface of the spinach mixture. Bake for 40 minutes, or until breading is golden brown and filling is hot and bubbly. Serve immediately with crackers or toasted bread. 24-hour ham-and-cheese bread pudding Makes 20 servings Butter for greasing pans 1 loaf stale French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes ½ cup melted butter 1 pound Swiss cheese, grated ½ pound ham, coarsely chopped 1 bunch green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced 16 eggs 3 ½ cups milk ½ cup dry white wine 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard Cayenne and white pepper 1 cup sour cream 1 cup (4 ounces) freshly grated parmesan cheese Generously butter two 13-by-9-inch baking dishes. Divide the bread cubes evenly among the dishes. Drizzle the bread with the melted butter; then sprinkle in the grated Swiss cheese, chopped ham and sliced green onions. Whisk together the eggs, milk, wine and mustard. Season well with cayenne and white pepper. Pour the egg mixture over the bread mixture, gently pushing down any floating pieces of bread to be sure they absorb the liquid. Cover the dishes with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight, or for up to 24 hours. Remove the dishes from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Bake, covered, for one hour. Uncover and spread each dish with one-half cup of the sour cream; then sprinkle each with one-half cup of the grated parmesan. Return to the oven until surface is lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes.