There’s a ‘Master Recipe’ in my Ultimate Casserole magazine which allows you to design your own casserole. Big Kid saw the recipe and thought it would be fun to make it. He selected the combination and we put it together this evening. I had my reservations about his combination but I went along with it so this casserole will be truly his! He helped to make it too and he liked the end result as did his brother. However, if it’s up to me, I wouldn’t use ham or tomato soup!
8 oz packaged dried Pasta e.g. macaroni, farfalle, egg noodles. He chose macaroni.
1 pound meat e.g. ground beef, bulk sausage, ground turkey; 2 6-oz cans Tuna; or one 15-oz can Beans, rinsed and drained. He chose chopped ham (2 cups).
1-1/2 cups Frozen Vegetables e.g. peas, peppers, mixed vegetables. He chose broccoli.
1 cup Shredded Cheese (4 oz) e.g. cheddar, Mexican blend, Monterey Jack. He chose Italian blend.
3/4 cup milk. 1 10.75-oz can Condensed Soup e.g. cream of celery, cream of mushroom. He chose Tomato.
1/4 cup Goodie .e. sliced mushroom, canned sliced water chestnuts; drained, sliced olives. He chose slivered almonds. (This is Little Guy helping.)
1 teaspoon Seasoning e.g. Cajun seasoning, dried basil, chili powder plus 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 cup Topper (optional) e.g. coarsely chopped nuts, crushed potato chips. We used Panko.
1. Grease a 2-quart casserole; set aside. Cook Pasta according to package directions; drain.
2. In a large skillet cook Meat until meat is brown. Drain fat; discard. (If using ham, tuna or beans, skip this step.)
3. Combine cooked Pasta, Meat, Condensed Soup, Frozen Vegetables, half of the Shredded Cheese, the milk, Goodie, and Seasoning (which we omitted as the Tomato Soup was seasoned with Oregano and Basil) to cooked Pasta.
4. Stir well to combine.
5. Transfer Pasta mixture to the prepared casserole. Sprinkle with remaining Shredded Cheese.
6. Bake covered, in 350 degrees F-preheated oven for 45 minutes. Uncover; if desired, sprinkle with Topper. Return to oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more or until heated through and Topper (if using) is lightly browned. Makes 6 servings.
If using Panko or soft bread crumbs as Topper, melt 1 – 2 tablespoons butter and stir together.