This is our family's version of a popular gut Amish dish. Its kinder-friendly comfort food and it travels and freezes well. Great for sharing with a recovering friend or bringing to a pot-luck dinner, AND you probably have everything you need for it in your pantry and freezer.
I never bring home leftovers. In fact, I'm surprised I haven't shared it here before. If you Google the name, you'll come up with a half a dozen varieties on both the ingredients and the spelling of the recipe name. A friend shared this with me over ten years ago and its in regular rotation at our house!
1 lb. ground beef
(*optional: 1 small onion, diced)
1 can tomato soup
2-3 tbs. brown sugar OR molasses
American cheese slices (1/2 a package or so, I guess) (yeah, I know, but I said its comfort food, right?)
1 lb bag egg noodles (however wide you like)
1 can peas, drained (or equivalent amount frozen, steamed lightly) (*optional)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/4 to 1/2 cup or so of milk (or evaporated milk)
Brown ground beef, break apart into chunks. Drain. If you use an onion, chop it in small pieces and saute it in a little olive oil. Add beef to pan with onion. Add brown sugar or molasses to meat and stir, stir in tomato soup. If its looking a little dry, add about 1/4 cup (not much!) of water to the can and swish to get the rest of the soup out.
Meanwhile, boil your noodles following package directions. Drain them and stir in the cream of chicken soup. Add milk to the can and swish good to get the rest out.
In a 9x13" dish (or any casserole pan - I usually divide this recipe into two pans and freeze one for later), layer about 1/2 of the meat mixture on the bottom of the pan. Spoon out about 1/2 of the noodle mixture over top. Cover this with the peas, sprinkling them over all, including the edges and corners. Layer the cheese slices (1 slice thick) to cover all of the peas/noodle mixture.
Layer the rest of the meat over the cheese, being sure again to cover it completely. Layer the rest of the noodles over that, spreading to cover. Finally, put a final layer of cheese over the whole thing.
Bake it in the oven at 350* for about 20-30 minutes, or until the cheese is melty and possibly the edges are starting to brown. Really, don't be ferhoodled...you're just blending the flavors and heating through; everything is already cooked.
This is best when its been made several hours ahead of time and the flavors have time to meld. But honestly, es gut right out of the oven; the whole thing takes about 1 hour from start to finish including cooking and cleanup.
Let me know if you made it, and if so (most importantly), what did your family think?