November 25, 2014Company Casserole – A Vintage Recipe Test
By Sara In AZ
Wait, what? Did y’all think you made it to the wrong blog and accidentally went on over to the Mid Century Menu by mistake? No, I can assure you that you are, in fact, reading No Pattern Required!
Some of you may remember a post I did a while back called Kitchen Time Capsules where I found a vintage recipe booklet left behind in the back of one of the kitchen cabinets at our retro ranch. There was a recipe in the book called ‘Company Casserole’ that I was kinda intrigued by but had absolutely no time to make back then. Fast forward a few months and things have settled down a bit…..so I thought now was the time to give ‘Company Casserole’ a whirl!
Let me just say up front that I am no Retro Ruth! I bow down to you and your vintage recipe making ways girl…..you are definitely the Queen of the Mid Century recipe kingdom! I wound up being a huge chicken and *tweaked* the recipe a bit, you’ll see what I did in a minute. With that said let’s see what I’ve come up with!
…………but let’s back up a bit and see how I got there!
This recipe came from The Republican Congressional Cook Book from 1974, though I have to say this is really more of a booklet than a book.
The ‘Company Casserole’ recipe came from the wife of then Congressman John Rhodes, Mrs. Betty Rhodes.
I figured that if the Congressman’s wife had submitted this recipe it had to be pretty fabulous….I mean would she really want to disappoint all of the First District here in Arizona? I think not!
1 8 ounce package of noodles 1 cup Swiss cheese, grated
1.5 pounds of ground beef 1 cup creamed cottage cheese
2 tablespoons butter 1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon salt 8 green onions with stems, chopped
1/4 teaspoon pepper 1/2 cup parsley sprigs
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt 1 cup tomato sauce
Cook noodles according to directions on package. Drain and rinse with cold water.
Melt butter in skillet and brown meat, crumbling as it cooks.
Heat oven to 325 and butter a 2-quart casserole.
Add salt, pepper, garlic salt and tomato sauce to meat. Cover and simmer 5 to 10 minutes.
Blend together cottage cheese, sour cream, onions, parsley sprigs – in blender or by hand.
Mix noodles with sour cream mixture and spread 1/3 in bottom of casserole. Top with 1/2 the meat. Repeat layers, ending with noodles. Top with Swiss cheese. Bake about 30 minutes, or until brown on top.
The ingredients are gathered.
OK, so here is where I fess up to the ‘tweaking’. We had some ground turkey in the freezer I wanted to use up, so we used turkey meat in this recipe instead of beef – also I switched out the parsley for cilantro. Initially I thought I had more of a ‘noodle’ type noodle, but then all I could find were spaghetti noodles until…………..I finally found these ‘No Yolks’ noodles.
So just forget you ever saw those spaghetti noodles in the picture above!
One 2 quart casserole and some cooking spray at the ready!
And we are now browning the turkey meat and ……
…boiling the noodles – no spaghetti noodles….those never existed…..like at all…ever!
OK, here is my last tweaking confession. In the recipe above it never actually says anything about ‘draining off the fat’ after browning the meat so I am assuming you were actually supposed to leave the drippings in as sort of a flavoring additive if you will. And I know that turkey meat has even less fat in it but I still just could not bring myself to leave the drippings in there. It was like seriously driving me insane. Maybe next go round I will try to be more true to the recipe and leave the drippings in, but please forgive me dear readers for making this last alteration to the recipe. I thought I should still add the butter however, so *plop* there goes the butter.
Adding the salt, pepper, and garlic salt and……
….the tomato sauce.
Tomato sauce is now all mixed into the meat and is proceeding along with it’s 5 to 10 minute simmer.
Now we turn our attention to ‘creaming’ the cottage cheese, which I probably didn’t do a super great job at but we are just rolling with it.
Adding the sour cream.
There go the green onions!
And finally the cilantro. I probably should have chopped the cilantro more finely but Mike, the expert cilantro chopper, was not here when I made this so we’ll just go with it.
Noodles are now married to the sour cream mixture.
And we are finally filling in the casserole layers.
Here is ‘Company Casserole’ all ready for the oven – oh and don’t tell anyone, but I also added some cheddar cheese on the top in addition to the Swiss. I know, I am truly horrible aren’t I!? Eeps!
Fresh and hot, just out of the oven!
All plated up for Mike to test.
And the first bite, along with an unsure look.
“So, what do you think?”
My thoughts: The first night we had it we both thought it was a little bland – which is where the fat drippings would have probably helped the flavor out enormously. The second night I warmed some of the leftovers up and mixed in some cheddar cheese as well and that did help out – the casserole held together better too. I liked the cilantro but some people might be averse to that flavor profile. Next time I’d try the parsley just to see how it varies from the cilantro. Also, I’d use less noodles – using the full 8 ounce bag just seemed like noodle overload to me….and yes, next time I promise to use the fat drippings!
Let me know if anyone out there gives this recipe a try, I’d like to know how it goes for you!