I made some (to be super humble) kickass homemade ravioli the other night. Noodles from scratch, slow simmerer sauce with tomatoes that were being neglected on the counter, and an asparagus and ricotta filling. While they took 2 hours to make, and maybe 3 minutes to eat, they were totally worth it.
There were some leftover bits from this whole production and being the thrifty hipster I am, worked up something equally as delish for a second meal….
We all have that box of lasagna noodles that sits in the cupboard only 1/3 full, right? Because just like that stupid hot dog to hot dog bun ratio (it’s a conspiracy!) you just don’t need that many noodles for a batch of lasagna. So. This is what I did.
Slap everything together after you’ve boiled your noodles and bake in those little loaf pans.
Bake at 375° for 40 minutes or so and boom. Badass leftover mini lasagnas.
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.
I am not the biggest fan of corn tortillas. I mean, I guess I like them just fine, but I prefer the flour tortillas myself (you know – closer to that whole bread thing that I love so much). So, when you have 3 dozen corn tortillas in the house and the main tortilla eater is leaving, you make chips. And yeah – I will eat the sh*t out of some corn chips.
Lightly brush one side of the tortilla with oil and stack.
Cut the stack in half and then cut in half again, so you have 4 equalish triangles of future chippy goodness.
Lay evenly on a pan – oil side up – and sprinkle with salt.
Place in your preheated 400° oven for 8-10 minutes or until crispy.
Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes to finish crisping up.
And then maybe make some nachos with leftover chicken taco meat. Repeat last step of instructions.