I’m starting a new series on the blog where every Wednesday I will take a recipe and modify it for a person cooking for one. This week the recipe is for Mom’s Overnight Casserole, which I’ve edited a little to try to make it a bit more healthy. This is a standby recipe my mom has used for years and it’s a great make ahead casserole when you have a busy week. I will warn you though, this makes a 9×13 pan and I love it so much I usually eat it until it’s gone! Even though it seems like a lot, it never goes to waste!
Mom’s Overnight Casserole
- 1 3/4 c uncooked macaroni noodles
- 1 1/2 cups of chopped chicken (you could use tuna also if you prefer – I run this through my food chopper so it’s in smaller pieces)
- 2 cans cream of chicken soup (could use 2 cans cream of mushroom or 1 can cream of chicken & 1 can cream of mushroom. I just prefer cream of chicken b/c I’m not a huge mushroom fan)
- 1/2 lb american cheese (I buy the velveeta block cheese. You can also use less than 1/2 lb and use more like 1/2 c – depending on how cheesey you want it)
- 1 c chopped vegetables of your choice (I like peas, carrots, celery, finely chopped broccoli – anything on hand will work)
- 2 c milk
Take out a large bowl and dump all the ingredients in it. Mix it together to make sure everything is coated then pour into a greased 9×13 pan. Make sure the macaroni noodles are covered with the milk because this will soak overnight and the macaroni noodles will absorb the milk to make them softer. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. I put it in the refrigerator around 6 pm and then let it sit a full 24 hours before I cook it. I wouldn’t let it sit much longer than than or it might end up with mushy noodles.
When you are ready to bake it, let it sit on the counter for about 15 minutes (so you don’t go from cold to hot quickly and damage the pan you are using) before putting it into a 350 degree preheated oven. Let it cook for 1 hour. About halfway through the baking, take the pan out and stir it up to make sure the cheese is evenly distributed throughout. You can also top with breadcrumbs for the last 20 minutes of baking. This can be served with a vegetable or fruit salad on the side. Warning: it really does take an hour to cook so don’t wait until you are starving to put this in the oven! You will likely stand there and stare at it and will it to be done faster because it smells so dang good!
Like I said, I don’t ever end up with leftovers for this because I love it so much but if you want to plan ahead and have something in the freezer for later, divide it up in 1 cup containers and freeze. When you are ready to eat it, take it out the night before to make sure it’s thawed. It freezes very well and is great to take to work for lunch.
I meant to take a picture of this the last time I made it but I forgot!!! So that’s why you see an empty pyrex pan in the photo. The next time I make this, I will take a picture and update the post!