by Noel Lizotte
My grandmother’s recipe box is wooden and full of hand written index cards. There are all kinds of recipes, but most of them have one thing in common – they are easy to make. My grandma didn’t really like to cook. I mean, she did a good job feeding the family, but she didn’t want to spend all day in the kitchen.
Her recipes typically require only a few steps to complete and the ingredients are ones that she could find at the grocery store uptown. She didn’t want to travel out of town just to buy groceries. Grandma was also a fan of boxed mixes and canned goods.
While many of the recipes she saved were desserts, grandma had a good number of casseroles in that box. I imagine that’s because she could combine all the ingredients into one dish and call it supper!
Grandma’s Lil Smokies Casserole
½ lb (8 oz) elbow macaroni
¼ c parsley flakes
½ lb sharp cheddar cheese
1 package (12 oz) smokie links
4 TB butter
4 TB flour
¼ tsp salt
2 c milk
½ c bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Boil water and cook macaroni noodles. Drain and spread in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Cut the cheddar cheese and smokie links into ½ inch pieces. Spread the cheese and smokie links over the noodles. Sprinkle the parsley flakes evenly over the casserole. In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter and stir in the flour and salt. Add the milk and stir while cooking over low heat until the sauce thickens. Pour sauce over casserole and top with bread crumbs. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
Make it a meal: Serve with green vegetables or a small salad. A cup of soup is a nice way to round out this meal also.
Approximate Nutritional Information: Servings per Recipe: 10, Amount per Serving: Calories: 340, Fat: 22g, Cholesterol: 47mg, Sodium: 640mg, Total Carbs: 21g, Protein: 14g.
Variations: You can mix in frozen vegetable before adding the sauce, if you want to make a complete meal in one dish. I sautéed some diced onions and added to the mixture the last time I made this dish. If you don’t have elbow macaroni, you may substitute any small pasta.
This is a good hot meal on a cold evening. We like to have this casserole when we’re tired of regular macaroni and cheese. It’s a similar dish, yet the savory flavor is a welcome change.
Leftovers keep in the fridge for a couple of days, if you have any leftovers! You can freeze this dish for up to four weeks. Thaw in refrigerator for a day prior to serving.
Reader Response: Winter fruit cobbler is a good way to use up apples and pears, but you can make it any time. If you don’t have refrigerated biscuits on hand, you can mix up an oatmeal crumb topping by using 2 cups of oats, 1/c cup flour and 4 TB butter.
This recipe is similar to ones printed in her cookbook Apron Free Cooking which is available on the website www.apronfreecooking.com.