Ok. So maybe it’s a casserole, but that word brings to mind so many icky things. Like, root canal. Community dinner theater. Or time-share pitch.
With that said, I actually grew up digging tuna noodle casserole – the old school version, with canned cream of mushroom soup. So, whoa. But in my old and whizz-ened years, I no longer voluntarily eat canned cream-of-anything, and my dude isn’t as into the baked tuna aspect, but this basic recipe is a total Leftovers Into Something New badass. It’s cheap. It’s super easy. And it’s totally flexible for whatever you happen to have on hand.
- Chop and sautée one whole small onion. Throw a whole, diced and seeded (unless you really like all the ends to sing) jalepeño in the pan as well to soften up.
- Add 2 handfuls (this is scientific stuff here, people) of frozen peas into a large bowl.
- Drain and dump a can of corn in the bowl as well. And by now your onions and peño should be done. Dump those in too.
- Boil and drain egg noodles (or macaroni if that’s what you have, however the egg noodles keep it a little lighter and I always have those on hand. Not so much the macaroni.). I don’t measure stuff – just dump the noodles from the storage canister – but I know someone will ask, so, let’s call it 4 large handfuls.
- Add the noodles to the bowl.
- In a medium sauce pan start a roux (knob of butter with 2 or so TB of flour and cook out).
- After you have cooked your flour, add 2 cups of hot water with a generous dollop of Better Than Bouillon while whisking in the flour. Salt, pepper and generously cayenne and remove from the heat when thick. Finish off with a spoonful of sour cream and whisk once more.
- Add the sauce to the bowl.
- Chop up the leftover potroast in the fridge. Or polish sausage, drained tuna, chicken chunks. Honestly whatever you have works great. Add your substitute mystery meat to the bowl and mix it all up.
- Salt. Pepper. Add more cayenne.
- Dump the bowl mixture into a lasagna pan (13 X 9? Sure.), sprinkle with panko and cover with foil.
- Bake covered for 20 minutes at 375°, uncover and bake for another 10.
It might not be pretty, but it is damn delicious. Almost everything is substitutable and super forgiving.
Now, add it to a bowl with a piece of (leftover) garlic bread, and you’re good to go! Cheap. Easy. Delish.