I was surfing the web under the guise of research yesterday when I discovered a humorous post titled Why I Love this Man. The author, Karen Hawkins, wanted to make her grandmother’s soup but didn’t have all of the ingredients so she made some substitutions. The quinoa she used in place of the pasta soaked up all of the liquids and the result was a “dry soup”. And my first thought was, I do that on purpose and call the results a casserole.
It is disappointing when something you make doesn’t turn out as you hoped. When one of my experiment doesn’t turn out, I bring it to the table and say, “It’s not much, but it’s hot”. Although this casserole could technically be called a “dry soup”, it is more than just a hot meal. It is hearty, comfort food!
Why do I turn soups into casseroles? Because casseroles are less messy than soups. My 4 year old is the reigning world champion mess maker so I look for ways to reduce messes whereever I can. The Chicken Noodle Casserole was created after the mole trap incident. The Minestrone Casserole was created after googly eyes were glued on the baby grand. Ironically, the messes have become even worse since he has become interested in cleaning. Today he took a bar of lavendar soap and “cleaned” every square inch of the bathroom mirror with it. He was very proud of his hard work, almost as proud as when he labeled the evacuation plan for every room in the house with markers on the walls.
Stew meat is usually sold already cut in rather large pieces. I use kitchen shears to cut each piece up into much smaller pieces. This allows me to use less meat, but still have it evenly distributed throughout the dish. Another way to save money on this dish is to use homemade beef stock or broth.
- ½ pound stew meat
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
- ½ cup diced bell pepper
- ½ pound carrots, thinly sliced
- ½ pound potatoes, diced
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 – 15 oz. can of corn, drained
- 1 pound pasta
- 4 cups beef broth
- 2 teaspoons thyme
- 2 teaspoons basil
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Add stew meat, onion, garlic, celery, and bell pepper to a large, oven-safe pot. Cook over a medium-high flame until the meat is browned.
- Add the carrots and potatoes and cook over a medium flame for 5 minutes.
- Add peas, corn, noodles, broth and spices. Stir to coat noodles. Place lid on pot and place in oven for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove and let sit for 5 minutes.