In my last post I spoke about tough times for everyone due to rising costs of groceries and other items we need. I also mentioned I can make a pound of meat “stretch” to make three meals. One of my favorite recipes I developed when going through tough times was Cream of Mushroom Casserole.
Obviously you need a can or two, depending on how large of a casserole you may need. If you are feeding 1 to 6 people, 1 can is sufficient. My recipe is for a family of 6.
Along with cream of mushroom soup, some meat is needed. Now this can be ground meat approximately 1/2 a pound or 2 cups of cooked and deboned chicken or a large can of tuna.
Noodles are added. Again this can be various type of noodles. My favorite is egg noodles, but I have used what was in the pantry at the time, elbow noodles, spaghetti and linguini noodles. I have even used ramen noodles in a pinch. This is where you can make the “meat stretch”, as the noodles are the filler to make more food for the family.
Peas are also a good add to this dish. Frozen peas work best, as you add them when frozen, and they do not get smashed during the mixing in stage. But fresh or canned peas work, you should fold in the peas when they are added.
Optional ingredient to add, provide there is money is a can of black olives.
Directions for creating the meal.
If using ground meat, brown the meat and season with garlic and black pepper to your taste.
Chicken – I like baked chicken, and I have used leftover fried chicken that is deboned and chopped into bite size pieces. Cream of chicken soup works great if using chicken.
Tuna – I add to the noodles after they are cooked to my liking – al dente.
Cook the noodles according to the directions of the noodles you are using. Drain off most of the liquid, but not all as you will need some liquid for the can of soup. After draining the liquid, add the can or cans of cream of mushroom soup (if using chicken, cream of chicken soup works good), peas and olives.
Cook over low heat until hot enough to eat for stove top.
Oven – mix ingredients, add smashed saltine crackers to the top with some cheese. Bake at 350 F, until casserole is bubbly.
There are many vegetable variations you can use with this recipe. I have used onions, bell peppers and squash, sauteed until tender and then added to the mix.
I hope you enjoy, and maybe will give you some variation.