Babci’s Beef Noodle Casserole (Bites from Heaven)

The other day, my wife Sarah was having a rough go of it. Just a bad day over all. My first thought on how to comfort someone is always with food. So, on went the thinking cap. After a few minutes of going through some recipes, I came across one that my mother-in-law had sent to me to put in my cookbook. This recipe was passed down to my mother-in-law from her mother, Sarah’s late grandmother. She’s better known in the family as ‘Babci.’ (Babci is Polish for grandmother.) Unfortunately, Babci is no longer with us, but she touched the hearts of everyone she met. You could always count on her for a heartwarming hug “hello” and “goodbye.” To lead the family in prayer before each holiday meal or gathering. A phone call to sing “Sto Lat” (Traditional Polish Birthday song) to you on your birthday. And, to give you her honest opinion, whether you wanted it or not. Babci was a humble woman but so proud of her family. I would sometimes glance over at her at a family picnic or party and catch her looking around at everyone with a grin on her face, taking it all in. Her family was everything to her, as she was and still is everything to them.

I debated on making a few changes to the recipe to make it my own, but I left it as it is. Why fix something that isn’t broken?

As I was prepping the ingredients for the dish I asked Sarah if she remembered this from her childhood, to which she answered “No,” but was excited to try it. As it was coming together and the ingredients started to permeate the air, Sarah yells into the kitchen “You know, that does smell really familiar!” As it baked in the oven, the aromas intensify and our bellies are started to growl. After a few heavenly bites, Sarah was whisked away back in time to her Babci’s kitchen table. Nostalgia starts to set in and she begins to reminisce about memories with her Babci. Isn’t it crazy how food, or the taste or smell of something, can do that to you? It’s funny how comforting a simple meal can be when you cook with love. Have you ever tasted something so delicious and you can’t quite put your finger on what makes it taste that good? Well, I believe that’s the secret ingredient of love. Babci’s favorite ingredient.

I hope you guys enjoy the recipe as much as we did. This was my first time having it and it was quite delicious!

Babci’s Beef Noodle Casserole

Babci's Beef Noodle Casserole
Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 30 minutes | Servings: 8 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

4 cups medium egg noodles (4 cups uncooked egg noodles is the equivalent to cooked)
2 lbs ground beef
2/3 cup yellow onion, chopped
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded (divided to 1 1/2 cups and 1/2 cup)
2 cans tomato soup (20.5 – 21 ounces total)
1 cup corn
1 cup green beans, chopped
1/2 cup water
2 tsp yellow mustard
2 tsp salt

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350°

1. In a large stock pot, bring water to a boil. Season water with salt and boil the noodles. Drain, toss with a touch of olive oil, and set aside.
2. In the same pot, add the ground beef and chopped onions. Cook until the beef has browned and onions are cooked.  Be sure to break up the beef as you cook it. Drain off the fat.
3. Stir in the 1 1/2 cups of cheese to the beef and onions until the cheese has melted.
4. Gently stir in the tomato soup, cooked egg noodles, corn, green beans, water, yellow mustard, and salt.
5. Transfer to a lightly greased 9×13 baking dish and top with remaining cheese. Bake for 30 minutes.

Written by Brendan

I am the oldest, funniest, and best looking of the three pieces of fruit to come from our parents loins. Hmmm… if I was a piece of fruit, I think I’d be a peach. Fuzzy on the outside, a little soft, a little juicy, and a big ol’ heart in center. I believe I was 17 years old. The year was 2003 (holy crap, that was 15 years ago?) when I decided to make the change and become a vegetarian. Born and raised in Northeast Pennsylvania, being a vegetarian was not all that common. And, because it wasn’t all that common, I had to figure out the vegetarian lifestyle all on my own. I quickly discovered how much more energy I had and how much better I felt. A few years later I met the macaroni to my cheese, the basil to my pesto, someone that really made my dough rise, the love of my life, Sarah. Many of you already know the story of our first date and are still wondering why she said yes to a second. For those that don’t know the story, I don’t know if you’re lucky or if you missed out. While only being together for 6 months, we decided to move in together. Actually, Sarah the Stalker found an apartment in Jim Thorpe, PA – where I lived. She had lived just 20 minutes away in one of the next towns over and couldn’t bare to be that far away from this piece of Porter House steak. Can you blame her? So, she bought me a tooth brush for her place and gave me a key, at which point it became our place. Here is where I rediscovered how much I loved to cook – by making our nightly dinners. Also, I may or may not have had a small obsession with Rachael Ray. Fast forward to 2016, and my now wife Sarah and I are moving to the Carne Asada capital of the world, Tucson, AZ. No more cold and no more snow! Tucson is a charming little city with a small town feel in Southern Arizona, about a stone’s throw away from Mexico. There is a lot of Mexican influence here from the street names, the adobe style homes, and the FOOD. The food is incredible here. There’s an old wives’ tale here about the salsa in Tucson. How hot the salsa is depends on how angry the lady in the kitchen making it is at her husband. We have had some mild salsas and we have had some salsas that made you feel like you sold your backside to el diablo. I’ve always had an interest in food, ever since I was a little kid. I have great memories of being in the kitchen with my grandparents and mom that inspire me to continue to cook for people and write recipes. Last June, with the support of my wife, I quit my career of 13 years in banking to focus on writing a cookbook. My cookbook will incorporate dishes I ate growing up, recipes I created, and a modern twist on some classics. My focus is not going to be strictly vegetarian recipes. I have plenty of recipes that include meat. My days start with a large cup of coffee and a walk on the treadmill or a hike through Saguaro National Park. It continues in the kitchen either testing a recipe, writing one, or working on my new website! The cookbook is taking longer than I anticipated, so I decided to start sharing my recipes online and to start to gather a following. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions and don’t forget to subscribe to never miss a recipe!

2 comments

  1. Brendan, this is a beautiful tribute to my mom, that brought tear to my eyes bringing back the memories…thank you so much for this heartfelt writing about her recipe. I have to say, it was my favorite. When my girls were young, their dad would be working so I would go to my parents and just have long visits, which included supper! Times with my mom (and dad) are precious and built a loving bond that has never been broken! …and you are right, a delicious meal is comforting when you are with the people you love! Thank you again for a beautiful memory xo!

    Like

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