So we’re all spending lots of time in the kitchen now. If you’re like us, a lot of your day is spent figuring out what to make and how to get the ingredients you need. While we hope that this stage of life doesn’t go on for a long time, we wanted to share a couple recipes that do stand the test of time. Once you try them, we think they’ll be in your menu rotation for good. We’ve decided to share a couple simple casserole recipes (the ultimate comfort food) that each of our Mom’s used to make. They’re so easy and delicious! But before that….
Take pleasure in the little things
Let’s talk about all the time you’re spending in the kitchen. With all the time you have, you’re probably looking around and seeing things as you haven’t before. Maybe it’s time to concentrate on little things that bring joy. I’m not Marie Kondo-ing here, but it’s important to treat yourself a little. My thought is this: I’m using potholders all the time, why not use a cute one? Or, maybe your wooden spoons aren’t worthy of all your great cooking; maybe it’s time to replace them. Take a look at your measuring cups; have you lost the 1/2 dry one like I have? Little things matter.
Here are a few things that can add some fun to your kitchen duty: spoons, cute measuring cups, towels, aprons, berry baskets, etc. (click on item to order.)
(Wooden Spoon Set – Amazon $24, Black & White Ceramic Measuring Cups – Amazon $24, Bowl Shaped Measuring Cups – Amazon $21, Cute Dish Towels Sets of 2 – Amazon $39, Print Aprons – Anthropologie $32-$34, Striped Apron – Amazon $22, Berry Baskets Set of 4 – Amazon $27. And because paper towel is hard to come by Cute Dish Cloths – Anthropologie $24.)
2 Easy, Delicious Casseroles
My mom was a fantastic cook. She made meals; not dinners. There was a main, veg, salad and bread with every meal. Every meal! What was really cool about her cooking is that she could pull off something complex without blinking an eye, but at the real core of her cooking were some delicious basics that we’d request over and over. Even better, she was the queen of less than 10 ingredients, many of which were already tucked away in the pantry. This is especially important now, right?
My sister, Katie, and I still make her Noodle Bake. I’m sure it’s a recipe that many of you will say, “Oh yeah, my Mom used to make something like that!” that you enjoyed at some point in your childhood. What’s great about this casserole: 5 ingredients! Yes, only 5! (I’m not counting the pepper.) It’s so easy that she’d make it for the babysitter to pop in the oven when she and my Dad would go out for the evening…until my Dad started requesting it for dinners when he was home! Every time I make it, it reminds me of her.
Note: There’s some variance in terms of measurements here. That’s because I don’t actually follow a written-down recipe for this. I eyeball it and because I know salt is very subjective, I’ve added a couple ranges. You really can’t go wrong….that’s the beauty of casseroles, in my opinion. Taste it as you go along and wing it!
Billie’s Noodle Bake:
1.25 pounds ground round. (I’ve used as much as 1.5 pounds.)
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 – 3/4 T garlic salt
Optional: Pepper to taste
1/2 package noodles/pasta of your choice. You can use traditional egg noodles or some smaller type of pasta, like tortiglioni or even elbow macaroni.
1.5 cups of sharp shredded cheddar.
Preheat oven to 350.
Step 1: Lightly spray an oven safe casserole with cooking spray. Set aside.
Step 2: Brown ground round in a skillet. Drain completely.
Step 3: Add one can of tomato sauce, the garlic salt and pepper to taste. Combine well and bring heat to high for about 30 seconds. Then, lower heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes.
Step 4: Boil noodles per package directions, even a minute less if you like as the noodles will be baked in a casserole. Drain completely.
Step 5: Alternate layers of noodles and meat, starting with noodles. You should have a layer of noodles, then meat sauce, (add a bit of cheese), more noodles, ending with the sauce. Scatter the remaining cheese on top.
Step 6: Bake in a 350 oven in the middle rack for about 25-30 minutes, until cheese melts. ENJOY!
My mother, Sally, also prepared FULL meals every night. We ate dinner in the dining room at a set table. We sat down as a family, ate and spoke about the events of each family member’s day. My job was to set the table. I would mix dishes and choose the linens. Oh, and every dinner was candlelit (a Sally table trademark.) Life seemed so much simpler back then. Fast forward to today. Between my two boys, one of them has some sort of sporting game/practice every night. I love a simple meal that can be reheated to create a still- delicious meal before or after practice. Given that we are all housebound, this is a great opportunity to sit down as a family and connect over a meal.
On that note, here is Sally’s Bengal Tiger Chicken Recipe:
4 Chicken Breasts (boned, split and skinned)
1 cup Mayonnaise
2 Tbsp Butter (divided 8 ways)
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup (condensed)
1 tsp Lemon Juice
1 tsp Curry Powder
3/4 cup Shredded Swiss Cheese
3/4 cup Pepperidge Farm Stuffing (or more if needed)
Pre-heat over to 300 degrees. Place Chicken in 8 x 12 inch glass dish. Dot each piece of chicken with a chunk of butter. Combine soup, mayo, lemon juice, curry, & cheese in bowl and spread over chicken. Sprinkle stuffing on top and dot with extra butter. Bake @ 300 for 1 and 1/2 hours, serve with rice or couscous. (P.s. it’s just as good the second day!)
A few things to create a beautiful table Sally’s way – click on item to order:
(Mackenzie Childs new SoHo collection – $68-$200, Rattan Chargers set of 4 – Amazon $23, Crystal teal lights set of 4 – Amazon $26, Tea lights 200 pack – Amazon $24, Linen napkins set of 4 – Amazon $33, Gold & Silver flatware 20 piece/set for 4 – Amazon $33, Crystal salt & pepper shakers – Amazon $55, Mackenzie Childs placemat set of 4 – Amazon $86, Hammered Gold salt & pepper set – Amazon $31.)
Enjoy these easy casseroles; we hope they’ll be included in your recipe rotation. In the meantime, stay home and please stay safe!