Sunday, March 20, 2011

Surprising Spring Supper (Hooray!)

It's the first day of Spring. Real, honest to goodness, Equinox-making SPRING.
Oh, how I missed it.

I can't speak for you, but the first thing I wanted to do today was throw all vestiges of Winter out on its rear and really roll out the welcome mat for my pastel, Easter-egg studded friend.
And what says welcome Spring more than a casserole? Can anything, really?

Okay, I know you may be prudently reminded of the great Tuna Noodle Casserole debacle of a few weeks ago. Rightfully so. Such a tragedy that oddessy turned out to be. An utter waste, I tell you.
But one can never move forward if one's foot is planted in the past. On the heels of that wisdom, I found myself pulling out my Casserole Cookbook. (Imagine! A WHOLE book devoted to the creation of casseroles. Wowie-zowie.)

Searching through it, my eyes alighted on one "Linguine With Ham & Swiss" beauty that looked promising. A quick scan of the ingredients assured me this meal was already at our house, just not put together yet. And so I began.

The thing about making a new recipe (which I love to do, incidentally), is the element of unknown that surrounds it. Maybe it's just me, but whenever I make something new, I find myself tripping all over myself in apologies to everyone who will be eating it. Because it may not be good. At all.

You just never know.

To my absolute delight and shock (there was a "Cream Of" in this gem, and you know how I feel about THAT), this was good. Really good. As in, "Holy cow I could make this again". As in, "Add it to the Go To list of weeknight meals".

As in, "Even the kids cleaned their plates." Need I say more?

But as LeVar Burton so wisely said, "You don't have to take MY word for it"....

Linguine With Ham & Swiss Cheese
The Stuffs:
8oz linguine, broken in half & cooked according to directions (and drained, don't forget that too).
2 cups cubed fully cooked ham (oink oink oink)
1 can Cream Of Mushroom soup, undiluted ("Look ma! I'm cooking with a Cream Of!")
1 cup (8 oz) sour cream (The Light variety was great, allowing for less guilt)
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese (replaces the guilt eased by the use of Light sour cream)
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped green pepper
2 TBS butter, melted (Hey, you got away with Light sour cream. Gotta pay the piper somehow, right?)

How it Works:
In a large bowl, combine the cooked noodles, ham, soup, sour cream, 1 1/2 cups Swiss cheese, onion, pepper, and butter. Mix it all up just a good as you can. Transfer to a greased 9 x 13. Cover and bake the glorious thing for 35 minutes at 350 degrees. Then, uncover it. Take a moment to admire the smell........(isn't that nice? It's the little things, really), and top it with the remaining 1/2 cup of Swiss cheese. Bake (uncovered) for another 10-15 until cheese melts.
Scoop. Bite. Chew. Swallow. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat......

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