I don’t know about you, but about this time of year I feel the pace start starting to pick up – there is more traffic, the stores are more crowded and the little squares on my calendar are sporting designs worthy of an LA tagger! The one thing that doesn’t increase though is time and in addition to all the holiday preparations there are still the mechanics of life to contend with including the serving of an evening meal – oh and did I mention that this “season” also includes sports play offs and tournaments???? ( I love high school athletics, but do we really need to have games 6 nights in a row??) At times I am tempted to go back to bed, pull the covers up and put a sign on the door that says “do NOT disturb until January 2nd!!”
So, when that feeling starts to take front and center space in my brain I know it is time for.. you guessed it, more comfort food!! Casseroles, soups and stews are all things that I can stash in the fridge for those evenings when my house seems more like Grand Central Station than a home. For me, that is true comfort, knowing that I have dinner covered and that in the midst of games, lessons and study sessions, there is something nutritious and filling for dinner or a post game snack that only needs to be re heated. So, to the onslaught of holiday activites about to decend I say “bring it on – I’ve cooked and I am ready”!!!
Salmon Noodle Casserole
My re make of this American Classic
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 small leek, rinsed and sliced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 1/2 cups low fat milk
- 3 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp. sherry
- 8 oz. wide egg noodles
- 1/2 cup grated jack or gruyere cheese
- 2 Tbsp. minced fresh dill (or 2 tsp. dried)
- 2 – 6 oz. cans salmon or 2 cups cooked and flaked salmon
- 1 cup panko crumbs
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- If cooking immediately, pre heat oven to 375 degrees.
- Spray a 7 x 11 casserole dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the leeks, onions and celery and sprinkle with a little salt.
- Cover the skillet and cook over medium heat until the vegetables are tender and not brown – stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
- Remove the lid and add the flour and the nutmeg – stir with spoon until the flour is mixed in. Add the milk and stir. Cook for approximately 5 minutes or until the mixture thickens slightly, stirring occasionally.
- Add the sherry and the lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and white pepper.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with salt and add the egg noodles. Cook until tender. Drain.
- Add noodles to sauce and stir in dill and cheese. Fold in the salmon. Transfer mixture to the prepared casserole dish.
- Combine the panko and the parmesan in a small bowl and stir to mix thoroughly. Casserole can be made up to this point, covered and refrigerated.
- Sprinkle panko mixture over the top of the casserole. Cover the casserole with foil and bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes or until heated through. Remove foil and place casserole under the broiler for approximately 2 – 3 minutes or until top is nicely browned. For a refrigerated casserole, let sit out for 15 minutes before baking and bake an additional 10 minutes.