A friend left a comment asking for my tuna casserole recipe, so I thought I’d blog casseroles.

Casseroles are one of those dishes that can stretch your food budget and fill your family up. The challenge is finding a formula you like and having enough variety that no one cringes when you put it on the table.

Here’s my basic casserole recipe:

All-Purpose Noodle Casserole Formula

1 to 1 1/2 cups of cooked meat, bite sized (smaller is better)
half a bag of egg noodles, cooked to package directions and drained
1 to 1/2 cups veggies (frozen is fine)
1 can of cream of something soup
1/2 to 3/4 of a soup can of milk
seasonings

Mix everything well in a large casserole dish and cooked covered for 30-60 minutes at 350 degrees. (Less than 30 minutes it may not be hot through; more than an hour and it may dry out.)

The way noodle casserole can stretch your budget is saving you meat. One chicken breast might be a serving for one person, but chopped into a casserole it’ll serve four. Remember, you need less protein every day than you might think! You can also add more veggies or noodles if you want to stretch it. Remember that the more stuff you have in there the more milk you’ll need to add; you want it saucy, not soupy or dry.

Seasonings are anything you’d think would go well. Try thyme with pork, ginger with chicken, Italian seasoning with almost anything.

Basically the whole recipe is mix-and-match. Here’s some examples:

Ham and Broccoli Noodle Casserole

1 to 1/2 cups chopped leftover ham
half a bag of egg noodles, cooked to package directions and drained
1 to 1/2 cups chopped broccoli
1 can cream of cheddar or cream of broccoli soup
1/2 to 3/4 soup can of milk

shredded cheese (optional)

Variation: omit the noodles and top with mashed potatoes like a shepherd’s pie. Uncover 5-10 minutes before it’s done to brown the potatoes.

Not Hamburger Helper Casserole

1 pound ground beef, browned and drained
half a bag of egg noodles, cooked to package directions and drained
1 to 1/2 cups mixed veggies
1 small can mushrooms pieces
1 can of cream of celery soup
1/2 to 3/4 of a soup can of milk
1 tablespoon brown gravy mix

I keep a large container of Tone’s brown gravy mix (get it at Sam’s Club) in the pantry. Stir a tablespoon or two into the milk when using beef and your casserole will taste less bland.

Almost Green Bean Casserole

1 cup diced leftover chicken
half a bag of egg noodles, cooked to package directions and drained
1 can french-cut green beans
1 small can mushrooms pieces
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1/2 to 3/4 of a soup can of milk
French-Fried Onions

Stir some french-fried onions into the casserole, and use the rest to top the casserole (put them on 5 minutes before you take it out of the oven).

Chicken Noodle Casserole

1 to 1 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1/2 bag of egg noodles, cooked according to package directions
1 can cream of celery soup
1/2-3/4 soup can of milk
1 cup mixed frozen vegetables
1 teaspoon chicken bullion

Add the bullion to the milk to avoid a bland casserole.

Oh, goodness, I almost forgot the Tuna Casserole!!

Tuna Casserole

1 can of tuna, well drained
1/2 bag of egg noodles, cooked according to package directions
1 can cream of celery soup
1/2-3/4 soup can of milk
1 cup mixed frozen vegetables

Advertisements