Friday, November 11, 2011

Favourite Foods 2- Pasta Casserole

This is one of the more sinful meals that I like to make for the children. But the added advantage of this meal is that both Packrat and I like it too so it's a one dish, everyone can eat meal.

I love pasta. There's a comfort element to eating pasta. I can eat mountains of the stuff. So can the kids.

Why is it sinful? The sauce is a tin of Campbell's cream soup of the chicken or mushroom variety. But one tin for a huge Corning Ware pot of pasta with no added salt, I guess is not so bad. But is tasty yummy goodness.

Anyway, what goes in it?

Ingredients (all this is to make a pot big enough to feed about 6-7 people. We keep the leftovers)

Diced chicken (I usually use 6-7 chicken thighs and cut the meat off the bones. Save bones for chicken stock)
Loads of vegetables.
1 whole Zuchinni
2 packets of Young Corn
2 medium sized Carrots
1 packet of Mushrooms
1 stick of Celery (diced thin so that the kids don't complain)
Potatoes (if you want it more starchy. I don't usually do it with spuds though)
Big yellow onion
All sliced or diced evenly
Chicken stock (boiled from the bones of the chicken thighs)
Pasta ( I use the tri-coloured spirals or shells for the kids and wholemeal spirals for ourselves. The pot is big enough to do a half and half)
Campbell's Cream of Chicken/ Mushroom soup. Can be replaced by healthier versions if desired.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees
Cook pasta al dente (not too cooked) bearing in mind that it is going to be baked after.
Drain pasta and run it through cold water and set it aside.
Sear chicken (flash cook and have pieces brown- don't need it to be cooked). This prevents chicken from flaking and falling apart when cooked again.
Saute garlic and onions in olive oil.
Add in hard vegetables to saute. Saute till relatively soft- not mushy!
Warm up chicken stock in whatever pot is going to be used to bake the pasta. Once warmed, pour out chicken stock.
Use warmed pot for pasta, sauteed veg and chicken. Mix well.
Slowly mix in tin of cream soup, making sure it dissolves. Slowly add it one cup of chicken stock as well to form moist consistency for the gravy.
If pasta is not wet enough, slowly add in another half a cup of chicken stock.

How much chicken stock is added depends on how wet you envision this dish to be.

Once you are satisfied with the consistency of the dish, put it in oven till pasta is bubbling and chicken is cooked.
The surface of the pasta will be crisp.

We've had it two nights in a row. Well, Packrat and I, that is. And to make it fiery, we add some dashes of Habanero Tabasco.

We tried it with melted cheese but it made it too rich and lemak and I didn't like it. At all.

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