Oh Thursdays. How you mess me up so! I set aside Thursday to do some crazy crafting and I forget all about dinner. Not only that, I sometimes forget that Reg has class on Thursday night. The worst is when I am so tired from being crafty I fall asleep and wake up and say, “Holy crap! It’s dinner time already?”
This is how I discovered the power of leftover spaghetti, a can of tomato soup and some panko breadcrumbs. I introduce to you, my quick & stupid beefaroni.
The Ever-Changing Recipe
Years ago when I lived in Vancouver my friend Cathy taught me how to make spaghetti sauce with a can of tomato soup. It tasted remarkably like that sauce Chef Boyardee uses for everything. You add some olive oil, some spices and voila!
Well on one of my now-traditional flustered Thursday evenings I saw that I had some spaghetti sauce leftover from the night before but not enough for dinner. So… I added a can of tomato soup. Remember, you must also season even after adding the tomato soup. This is a fast dinner so no time for anything fresh. Use garlic powder, red chilli pepper flakes, Italian spices, salt… Whatever floats your foodie boat.
Also, to help it evolve from just being a spaghetti sauce I add a creamy element at the end. Whatever I happen to have: old cheddar, sour cream, mascarpone cheese, heavy cream… Then I take the pot off the heat.
Oh yeah and get that water boiling A-S-A-P! I cook the pasta the shortest time the package says to. This is not a casserole that is going to sit in the oven for 30 minutes. We need food now!
While all that is going on I get out the panko breadcrumbs, some freshly sliced Parm, olive oil, salt and pepper to make a crumbled top. No measurements. Just toss together to make the crumbs.
Once the pasta is done I drain it and top it with the sauce.
Put the pasta and sauce into a greased baking dish and top with the panko mixture.
While everything is cooking, crank up the oven up to a broil. Put in the casserole dish and wait a few minutes.
Take out when everything gets nice and brown and crunchy.
No, definitely not pretty but more than edible. We actually ended up really enjoying this dish. Amazing what you can do when you wake up confused with less than half an hour to cook dinner.
So please share your ideas! Your stories! Am I the only one that gets totally caught off guard making dinner? What do you make on no-time-to-cook nights?
Debra She Who Seeks says
You know, that DOES look pretty tasty! I like the idea of a panko crumb topping.
What are Panko crumbs?
Suzie Ridler says
It IS tasty Debra! Yum and made me feel like a kid. I never had beefaroni growing up so I am making up for lost time.
Amelia, Panko bread crumbs are Japanese and they are very crunchy. If you use them to cover meat like chicken, shrimp… You can bake them and get a deep-fried texture without deep frying. They are more expensive than regular breadcrumbs but totally worth it.
The casserole looks so yummy and I’m impressed with how fast you put it together. My mom used to put tomato soup in her chili, it’s definitely a pantry staple here.
If I’m in a real time pinch I turn to breakfast for dinner. Usually pancakes or crepes with eggs. No one complains about that!
Ms. Maida says
Suzie, I love this post! The boyfriend and I often face the challenge of a last minute dinner, and your post made me laugh when I saw the can of Campbell’s Tomato Soup, because that always ends up being our dinner of choice! I’ll usually toss in some steamed mixed frozen veggies into my portion of the soup, and the boyfriend throws some crackers in his. We usually eat it with various types of crackers and some cottage cheese – a very quickly made meal!
I’m very inspired by your pasta – thanks for sharing!
As We are still living on the poor college student budget here, we often have to deal with the problem of “what do we make for dinner?” We sometimes have meat to play around with, but usually not. We’ve been turning to a quick stir fry if we do have meat. If we don’t then it’s pasta or grilled cheese and tomato soup. Not the healthiest options, but we do what we can!
It’s crazy how you were able to portray a feeling of being rushed through your pictures. This sounds really yummy, actually.