Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Weeknight Meal: Noodle Casserole

I'm one of those rare Americans who never ate "Tuna Noodle Casserole" for dinner.  My Mom wasn't really a big fan of canned tuna, so it's just not something she made.

That said, now that I'm an adult and the primary cook for my family, I can't help but turn to quick and easy weeknight meals like casseroles.  When you don't feel like slaving over the stove after a day at the office, casseroles are the perfect hands-off approach to dinner.  And who says it has to be tuna anyway???

Weeknight Noodle Casserole
1/2 package of wide egg noodles
1 cup chopped leftover chicken, beef, ham, pulled pork, or canned tuna
1 cup frozen veggies (peas, broccoli, etc.)
1 can of cream of celery soup, golden mushroom souup, or broccoli cheddar soup
water or milk
1/2 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons of butter, melted
salt & pepper to taste

1) Cook and drain noodles according to package directions

 2) In a separate bowl, mix the bread crumbs and butter until it resembles wet sand.

3) Heat a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add the frozen veggies, can of condensed soup, and use the empty can to measure 3/4 of a can of milk or water.  Stir with a whisk and heat until the mixture smooths out into a sauce.  Add the chicken and salt and pepper to taste if needed.  Remove from the heat.

4) Mix the noodles into the sauce, thinning with a little milk or water if it gets too thick.  Pour the mixture into an oven-safe casserole dish.

5) Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture evenly over the top.  Bake in a 350 degree oven until the top begins to brown and the mixture is bubbly and heated through.

6) Serve and enjoy!

Side Notes: For those of you who prefer to cook "from scratch," the soup can be easily substituted with a medium white sauce (aka bechamel).  I've done it when I don't have soup on hand and it works beautifully.  Just add a bit of salt and ground pepper for seasoning.  Add some cheese for a cheesy casserole.

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