Audrey’s Corned Beef and Noodle Casserole

My friend Rich told me about a casserole that his wife, Audrey, used to make for him. Corned beef, noodles and canned soup were the main ingredients he remembered. I was intrigued and asked for the recipe. He found it and delivered a handwritten copy. Unfortunately, I seem to have lost it.

A few weeks ago I searched the Web and found several recipes that sounded like what Rich remembered. I then created a version using some corned beef left over from a St. Patrick’s Day dinner. I showed him the recipe below and gave him a generous sample of my version of Audrey’s casserole.

His report was favorable. The recipe looked familiar and the dish tasted just about like he recalled. “There was more corned beef than I remembered, and I’m not sure about the peas, but it tastes just as good as Audrey’s corned beef and noodle casserole. It’s a go.”


3 T butter, divided

8 oz. Egg Noodles

2 – 3 cups canned or leftover corned beef

1 cup Cheddar cheese

1 can condensed cream of chicken soup

1 cup milk

1/2 cup onion

2 cups frozen green peas

2 – 3 slices bread


Chop the corned beef into a half-inch dice and finely chop the onion. Soften the peas a little in your microwave. Cut the bread into a quarter-inch dice and melt the butter in a small bowl in the microwave. Preheat the oven to 350º and grease a two-quart baking dish with a tablespoon of the butter. Toss the diced bread with the remaining butter.

Cook the noodles to al dente. While the noodles are cooking, blend the milk and soup together in a larger mixing bowl. Stir the meat, cheese, onion and peas into the liquid.

Drain the noodles and combine them with the other ingredients and spread the mixture in the baking dish. Top the casserole with the bread crumbs and bake about  40 minutes until the top is lightly browned.

Remove the casserole from the oven and allow it to cool for two or three minutes before serving.

Kielbasa and Cabbage

As I have written before, Mom’s Boiled Dinner was one of my favorite meals. Paired with fresh homemade bread and some lunchmeat for a sandwich, it was the perfect meal on a cold winter’s night. Kielbasa and cabbage is a good warm-weather dish that gives you that same wonderful combination of meat and vegetables cooked in one pot with only just enough broth to blend the flavors. There is plenty of meat, so you can skip the sandwiches.

Kielbasa is the Polish word for sausage, but there are varieties of sausage called Polish sausage that are not Kielbasa. Today most Kielbasa is found as a smoked cooked sausage, but this recipe uses the fresh variety, which Polish speakers call Kielbasa biala (White Kielbasa). White kielbasa must be cooked. The browned slices of sausage combined with the sweet onions and cabbage give this dish a unique, rich flavor.

1 – 1 1/2 lbs. Fresh Kielbasa
2 T butter, divided
1 1/2 cups sweet onion
1 small cabbage(4 to 5 inches in diameter)
3 or 4 medium carrots
2 or 3 medium potatoes
1 stalk celery
1/2 cup water
1 tsp. beef bouillon
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut the sausage into thin slices and put them into a large skillet with a tablespoon of butter over low heat while you prepare the vegetables.

Cut off the stem and root ends and remove the dry outer layer of the onion. Chop it into a quarter-inch dice and set it aside in a small bowl.

Remove any damaged leaves from the cabbage and wash the head. Cut it into medium wedges about two inches thick and set them aside in a mixing bowl. Scrub or scrape the carrots, remove the stem ends and chop the carrot into half-inch slices. Peel and chop the potatoes into half to three-quarter-inch cubes. Clean and chop the celery into half-inch pieces. Put these vegetables together in a mixing bowl.

Raise the heat under the skillet to medium and fry the sausage until it is well browned. Use a slotted spoon to transfer it from the skillet to a bowl.

Reduce the heat and put a tablespoon of butter into the skillet. Add the onion and cook it until it is translucent but not browned. Add the vegetables, water and bouillon along with quarter teaspoons of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover the skillet and steam the vegetables for ten minutes. Stir in the sausage, add a little water if necessary and replace the cover.

Continue cooking the meat and vegetables for about twenty minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Serve in bowls with bread and a good beer

NOTES: You don’t need to peel thin-skinned new potatoes. If you have some of those tasty potatoes in your pantry, just scrub them well and chop them into pieces. It is easier to slice the sausage if it is partially frozen, but uniform slices are not important. Just be sure that the sausage is cut into small bite-sized pieces.