Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Redemption of the Humble; Casseroles, that Is...

The corned beef experiment was a success-- a huge five pound success.  After days of reheated leftovers and sandwiches, I've just about overdosed on the stuff so the time has come for the final expression of the corned beef magic.  As is often the case in this household, the final stop is the unfairly maligned casserole.

I have fairly strong opinions on this handy American standby.  First and foremost, I am against condensed soups as ingredients.  I have this nagging suspicion that they lie at the root of most cases of diabetes.  Is this a fair assumption?  No.  Am I likely to have Campbell's attorneys send me a "shut the heck up" letter?  Maybe.  Still though, I mean it.

Casseroles, as by my experience, have standard components that lend themselves handily to wrapping up leftovers in a tasty fashion.

1.)  Starch (rice, egg noodles, pasta, or even potatoes) cooked.

2.)  Protein (tuna, leftover corned beef, fish, meat, beans, etc.) cooked.

3.)  Liquid (cream, milk, bechamel sauce, stock).

4.)  Vegetables.

5.)  Topping (bread crumbs, crushed crackers, french fried onions, croutons, chow mein noodles, etc.)

6.)  I have a hard time not adding cheese (gruyere, cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan, etc.)

Mix #s 1, 2, 3, 4, & 6 together.  #5 goes on to.  Bake at 350° for 30 minutes and dinner is served!

Corned Beef Casserole:

12 oz bag of egg noodles cooked.

Leftover frozen vegetables from the freezer (6 oz. carrots & 6 oz of peas)

Small carton of mushrooms sliced and 1 chopped onion sauteed in butter w/ a little salt and eer.

2 pounds of leftover corned beef and cabbage chopped.

2 C of cream brought to a boil.  Remove from heat and add 1/2 C sour cream.

Squirt of mustard.

Combine in large mixing bowl along with 3/4 C chicken stock.

Top with shredded parmesan (I would have used Swiss if I had it) and pumpernickel bread crumbs.

Put it into 2 buttered 13x9 baking pans (like a lasagna pan).  Bake one now (350° for 30 minutes) & put the other in the freezer for later.  Take that, leftovers!!

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