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My first year in college, I was forced to live in a 10′ x 20′ box with two other girls.  Dorm occupancy was required for all freshmen, and we all got randomly assigned roommates, which was a pretty terrifying concept for this spoiled, Type-A, only-child.  I lucked-out with my awesome and patient freshman-year-roomie from San Diego; without her, the trials and tribulations of forced communal living might have left me with an ulcer.

In my dorm building, there was one kitchen for about 200+ students.  It was surprisingly clean, mostly because nobody every used it.  Since we had to carry everything downstairs in order to cook, my friends and I liked to make it worth our while by making a big meal whenever we did get around to using the kitchen.  One meal that I remember my sunny, SoCal friend making for us was a yummy Chicken Paprikash with Nokedli; her family has Hungarian heritage and this meal was some great Hungarian comfort food.

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For this recipe, I wanted to take the happy and comforting flavors that I remember from the meal my friend made for us and put it into an easy casserole.  This casserole uses egg noodles as it’s starchy base, but I think it would be tasty over a bed of leftover rice or mashed potatoes as well.

Chicken Paprikash Casserole – Served with ciabatta bread

Serves 4 – cost approx $1.19 per serving, including bread

Ingredients

  • 1 package egg noodles ($.89)
  • 2 Tbs butter or bacon grease
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced ($.29)
  • 1 bell pepper, thinly sliced – I had half a green and half a yellow bell pepper ($.99)
  • 2 tsp paprika – to cut costs, I used 1 tsp nice smoked paprika and one tsp cheap regular paprika
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 1 can condensed Cream of Mushroom or Cream of Chicken soup ($.50)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream ($.25)
  • 1-2 cups shredded chicken – this is a great use for leftover chicken, I had a couple leftover thighs from earlier in the week ($.37)
  • 1/4 cup fresh herbs – I used parsley and thyme ($.25)
  • 6 oz package of feta cheese ($.47, great deal at my bargain grocery store!)

Begin by par cooking the egg noodles, drain the noodles (reserving the cooking liquid) and lay them in a casserole dish.  Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Heat the butter or bacon grease in the same pot over medium (it’s not important that it’s the same pot, but I like to cut down on dishes) and slowly saute the onion and pepper slices for 15 minutes, until cooked and translucent.  Add in the paprika, nutmeg and condensed soup.  Stir in two cans of pasta water or stock into the mix.  Let simmer 5 minutes then stir in the sour cream, chicken and herbs.  Taste the yummy sauce and adjust the seasonings, adding salt to taste.  Pour the sauce over the noodles, sprinkle over the feta cheese.  Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the cheese is browned and the sauce is bubbly.  Let cool and dig in!

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