Thursday, August 4, 2011

Day 28: Mini Caserole

My patented (ok not really) "I have too much tomato sauce, and I'm hungry now" mini casserole.  It is incredibly simple, and makes for a great college meal, although it is a bit slower than I might like.  Basically, it is exactly the same as a full size casserole, just miniaturized.

I started with the sauce that I created a couple days ago (at the time) and a pot of boiling water.  The sauce came out of the fridge to start warming up a bit (not required, but whatever) along with a little bit of ground beef.  Normally I'd go with a single Italian sausage with the skin removed, but I just went with what I had this time.  I dropped about a bowl's worth of elbow macaroni into the salted water and while it cooked I browned the meat.  After the meat finished browning I poured the sauce I had remaining (about a cup, maybe a cup and a half) over the top of the meat and mixed it into a very simple chunky meat sauce.

With the sauce ready and the pasta pulled out it was construction time.  I grabbed my handy mini-casserole dishes (they actually aren't hard to find, and are well worth it for anyone who will be cooking for 1 regularly) and put down a small layer of olive oil, just to help limit sticking on the bottom.  The pasta goes in on top of that, and the sauce goes over the whole thing.  My sauce was thick enough that it needed a fair bit of mixing in order to get an even coat, so I did.  Finally, no casserole is complete without cheese.  Honestly, anything you have will work fine, I prefer an Italian blend (mozzarella, provolone, and some parm) but this time I went with a Mexican blend that we had on hand.  Mostly its cheddar with a few others (like Monterrey Jack) mixed in, and I sprinkled a bit of Parmesan on top for good measure.

With everything assembled, it was time for the toaster oven.  Yup, because these are so small I just turn the toaster oven on to 350-400 and wait for the cheese to fully melt, and the mix to start to bubble and steam a little bit.  After it does that, its ready, just pull it out, give it a few minutes to cool off and dig in for a very simple, tasty, dinner for one.

The recipe:
Elbow Macaroni, about 1.5 cups
Tomato sauce from day 24
ground meat, any mixture you prefer
Cheese to taste.

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