Windus Macaroni Casserole

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Lisa’s modified version of Windus Macaroni Casserole made with white rice angel hair pasta. *A short style pasta – on the bottom layer – is the optimal way to prepare this hearty one dish meal.

1 lb ground beef

1 whole onion – chopped

1 – bulb garlic – cloves peeled & chopped

3 tblsp. Italian herbs

2 –  16 oz cans chopped tomatoes (*drained or with liquid – see notes below)

4 – 6 cups cups macaroni (partially cooked) – enough to fill whatever sized baking dish you have

Pour macaroni into greased / sprayed casserole dish. Top with remaining ingredients and back uncovered at 350 degrees 30-45 minutes.

 

Lisa’s additions:

2 fresh zucchinis thinly sliced

one bunch of fresh, chopped parsley

juice from one lemon

pinch of salt

Notes: For the version that I prepared (photographed above), I used an entire 8.8 oz package of white rice angel hair pasta. (This is what I had on hand.)  It worked, but with the added zucchini, a short pasta would have been better to soak up the extra juice. Pasta on the bottom, as the recipe instructs, is the right way to go. short-pasta

*Include the juice from the chopped tomatoes or drain it depending on how much liquid you need to make this dish moist.

 

Upon receipt of the recipe, I noticed several things. There was only an ingredients list – no measurement amounts, and like the other family recipe collections that I’ve studied, casserole cooking used to be popular.  The lack of measurements told me that Virginia was a cook, like my Grandma, who could get the proportions right by ‘feel’ or eyeballing it. She had a lot of mouths to feed and casseroles were an economical way to satisfy it.

Casseroles in the US became popular after World War II, when the Campbell’s Soup Company distributed a booklet entitled Helps for the Hostess, published in 1916. Recipes from this book became staple meals in Baby Boomer homes. Click on this link to learn more about the history of condensed soup and its impact on American culture.

 

 

margaret-windus

 

This recipe is from the Adrian (Bud) Schmidt collection. (Betty Wrysinski’s younger brother.) It was passed down through the family from Margaret Windus, maternal grandmother to Mary Schmidt Schwaller. Margaret was a neighbor to Betty’s mother, Lillian Schmidt.

 

 

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French Onion Soup

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15-20 small to medium onions – sliced
(both red and yellow)

Water for broth (as much as desired) with enough bouillon added to taste.
( 1 1/2 tblsp. beef bouillon + 2 tsp. chicken bouillon)

Saute onions in a generous amount of olive oil until translucent and slightly browned.

3/4 – 1/2 cup brown sugar

Add flour – 2 – 4 tblsp. blended to smooth paste with water

Mix into stock pot – add other spices as necessary.

Additions:

*Liquid Aminos, Port,  herbs of choice

Croutons:

Cut bread of choice into 1/2 inch cubes. (Sourdough)

Spread out into single layer on baking sheet.

Liberally coat with olive oil.

Generously sprinkle with italian herbs and a pinch or two of salt.

Place in 350 degree – 400 degree, preheated oven.

Watch closely – flip bread crumbs once browned on one side.

Immediately upon removal from the oven, sprinkle bread crumbs with your favorite grated cheese.

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boulion

 

Here’s another good crouton variation.

Squash (Pumpkin) Shepherds Pie

A good sized squash –  cooked **
Potatoes  – cooked

Vegetable_pumpkin
In approx. 2 tblsp. oil – saute in saucepan till done:
4 cloves fresh garlic – chopped
4 stalks celery – chopped
3 carrots – chopped
1 onion – chopped
1 lb. ground meat (beef/ turkey/ chicken/ pork)

add:
approx. 1/4 cup flour
approx. 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce) to taste
salt & pepper to taste
add about 1/2 of the cooked, mashed squash

Shepherds Pie

Mash remaining squash & potatoes together
add approx. 1 1/2 cups grated cheese (sharp)
add a little milk to desired smoothness

Place thickened meat / vegie mixture into the bottom of an oven safe baking dish
Top wth squash /potatoe mixture

Broil for 5 minutes until browned

Top with pumpkin seeds

** Lisa’s squash cooking method:  Rinse the outside skin of the squash then place it (whole) into baking dish in a preheated oven at 400 degrees. After about an hour, pierce it with a knife or press on the outside to see if it  is soft. Once the squash is cooked through, remove it from the oven and let it cool to room temperature before slicing it in half and scooping out the seeds.