Yum Peaceful Cooking: Soul Casserole

Friday, September 3, 2010

Soul Casserole

I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't go back to sleep. (don't you just hate when that happens?) It was around 3:00 am and I tossed and turned. Couldn't get comfortable. Couldn't shut my mind off. Not to mention that Sir Sportsalot was happily snoring away.

After over an hour of this nonsense, I decided to revert to my childhood. It seemed that whenever I said my prayers, I'd fall asleep in the middle of them. So there I lay...saying my prayers in my head at 4 something. When all of a sudden the word CASSEROLE yelled in my head.

What??!! I don't even LIKE casserole. What's that suppose to mean? Casserole? Well, some casseroles are good. But they aren't my favorite. So why did my mind yell casserole to me in the middle of my "help me fall asleep prayer"?

So of course....instead of falling asleep, I was then thinking about casseroles.

Now here's where I let you have a sneak peak into a part of who I am. I like analogies. It's the way my brain works. Helps me to have a deeper understanding of things. Helps me to connect. So I started wondering what casseroles had to do with prayers.

The dissection process started....casseroles are a one-dish meal. Everything combined together into one. Prayers are soul related. A belief (should you so believe). Souls are windows into who you are.

Ok...so how are casseroles and souls related.....

I posed the question to some friends to see what connection they'd make. I'll share their views before I share mine.

Here's the question....(feel free to leave your version of an answer, if you'd like)

Food for thought.....how are souls like casseroles?

"they rhyme" (giggling)
"....because a good soul, like a good casserole, brings comfort in times of difficulty" (nice)
"thank God I haven't burned any lately" (hahaha)
"I guess that makes me a cheesy turkey" (LMAO)

You gotta love how people think!

I think the connection lies in the "ingredients". Every ingredient in a casserole affects the whole thing. For the good or the bad. Just like every action, choice, life experience affects our soul...who we are.

After I solved that little analogy, I happily drifted off to a dreamless sleep. But woke up still thinking about casseroles. So I figured I'd better make one for dinner.

This is a simple recipe I came up with during my afternoon break at work. I love alfredo sauce. I wanted the sauce to shine, so there aren't any other strong flavors in this recipe. I chose chicken (cuz well...how often do I not choose chicken?). Zucchini is mild and replaced my initial thought to use broccoli. Then followed the tomatoes. For the fresh, delicately sweet flavor they'd add.

I LOVE this casserole. I love the cheesy alfredo sauce. I love the mildly sweet flavor of the tomatoes. I love that it wasn't loaded down with a gazillion spices. I also love that this was a small casserole, that can be easily doubled to make a "regular" sized casserole.

Soul Casserole

1 heaping cup of pre-cooked chicken (I used a store bought rotisserie chicken)
1 heaping cup of egg noodles
1 heaping cup of sliced zucchini, quartered (about 1 smallish zucchini)
1 heaping cup of bite sized tomato cups (about 1 medium tomato)
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 cup butter, divided
1/4 cup or so, pasta water
1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 350' F
Spray an 8x8 casserole dish with cooking spray (more of a precautionary thing than a necessity)

Cook the egg noodles according to package instructions. Drain, saving the pasta water. Do not rinse the pasta (you want the starch. It helps to thicken the sauce)

While the pasta is cooking, cook your zucchini. Any way want. You can boil 'em, steam 'em, saute em. I boiled mine. I thought about sauteing but I didn't want to dirty up another pan, so I actually boiled the zucchini with the pasta....only I had to scoop them out after a few minutes so they didn't get mushy cuz it doesn't take as long to cook zucchini as it does for pasta to boil.

In a medium bowl, while the pasta is still hot, combine the pasta, 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup of butter. Stir until butter is melted. Stir in the pasta water along with the garlic powder, salt and pepper until you have a "runny" sauce. The pasta will probably soak up some of the sauce and it will thicken as the dish cools after cooking.

Toss in the chicken, cooked zucchini, and the tomatoes and toss

The picture shows garlic powder added at this time but I think if you add it while making the sauce, you're guaranteed that the sauce will be evenly garliced. (ya I know...it's not a word, but it works.)

Pour into your prepared 8x8 dish. Melt the other 1/4 cup of butter and combine with the bread crumbs. Crumble them evenly over the pasta. Then sprinkle 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese on top. 

Bake for 30 minutes, until bubbly, melty and you know....yummy. Let rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

Go ahead...take a bite! Taste the cheese..the chicken...the buttery bread crumbs and then the burst of freshness from the tomatoes. 

And know that this casserole is probably better than my soul. (giggles)

Danielle on Foodista


  1. I love this post. I hope you don;t mind if I reference it in my Macaroni post that I am writing right now, cause it fits in with what I was rambling about... Awesome casserole BTW !!!!

    All earlier kidding aside, I think casseroles are like souls because (and maybe I am repeating what you said) a casserole has many ingredients, but they make up a cohesive whole, just like the many facets of a person's soul.

    Did that make sense, it's late... LOL

  2. I thought this was going to be a post about a sole casserole (as in the fish!!!!)

    Just shows how my mind works :-}

  3. mmmm...tried taking a bite with my eyes! ended up drooling all over my keyboard! yummy indeed!

  4. mmmm...I wish I had a plate of this to feed my soul! Looks delish =)

  5. This is a cute blog. Found myself giggling too, anyway.. this is a nice Soul Casserole recipe. If you wont mind I'd love to guide Foodista readers to your post. Just add the foodista widget to the end of this post so it will appear in the Foodista pages and it's all set, Thanks!

  6. This looks delicious! I wish I had seen your post before I attempted to make an alfredo sauce.

  7. You redefine "soul food" with this one. Great casserole, Danielle. It looks decadent and creamy.

  8. Hello!!

    I saw your blog in Foodista. Thank you for adding that widget. Looks great. YOu can also put Foodista widgets on your other blog posts so it will be visible in Foodista. I think there's a new feature now that blogs are being added as a Foodista page like a food page. =)


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