Happy 1000th blog post to me!!! And a HUGE thanks to all of you who follow along and take the time out of your day to read my book reviews, recipes and general banter. I appreciate you, I truly do!
I've been in a casserole slump lately. I've lost my 'get up and go' when it comes to thinking up casseroles and I blame my kids. I adore my small humans but they occasionally stress me out because a few (and sometimes all) don't like different foods touching (depending on the dish). Ya, I know. Crazy. Apparently food touching in tacos, subs and pizza are okay but casseroles with pasta, cheese and meat is just ca-razy to them. Say wha?
But Brad and I want leftovers to take for lunches at work so we are, as you say, at an impasse. In order to solve this dilemma I've instituted the 'eat it or starve' mentality because I don't have the desire to keep track of who likes what, nor am I a restaurant and, in the end, I don't like to cater to picky palates.
But I'm not a total culinary ogre so I thought I'd meet the kids halfway. Like many kids, my kids love burgers, bacon and cheese. It's the Mom's Dinner Menu Hat trick. With a little time to ponder the beauty of these three ingredients I came up with the Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta Casserole.
I adore a smokey BBQ sauce and with the ground beef it resembles a Sloppy Joe enough to get most of my kids on board. Paired with a Caesar salad and this was an easy to make, mid-week meal with the bonus of leftovers for lunches for Brad and I the next day. Score one for Mom!
1lb ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
2 1/2 cups fusilli noodles
1 tbsp oil
1 cup real bacon bits (or 4 slices of bacon cooked and chopped)
1 can condensed tomato soup
1/2 soup can of water
1/3 cup smokey BBQ sauce
1 1/2 tsp mustard
1 1/2 cups Cheddar cheese, grated and divided
In a large skillet cook beef and onions until beef is no longer pink and onions are translucent.
Meanwhile, in a large pot cook the noodles according to package instructions until they are al dente. Drain and immediately rinse and sprinkle with some oil to prevent them from sticking together. Set aside.
In a medium bowl combine bacon bits, soup, water, BBQ sauce and mustard. Mix well.
In a large bowl, combine beef mixture, noodles, the bacon bits mixture and half of the Cheddar cheese. Gently mix. Pour into a casserole dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes. Serve immediately with a green salad and crusty bread. Leftovers can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days. The leftovers reheat really well.
Yield: 4-5 servings