Welcome back, UC Davis students! Back to mapping out your careers and your long-term future — and back to tuition fees, textbook fees and monthly rent in the immediate present. In the interest of sacrificing a gourmet diet for a more simple college budget, try cooking this Easy Baked Noodle Casserole tonight.
Similar to hamburger helper-style meals, this is a low-maintenance, child-friendly dinner (sorry to the college students for the comparison, but this dish is palatable to all ages). This dish is exceedingly easy to make for cooks of all technical skill levels.
Fortunately for all the UC Davis students, this Easy Baked Noodle Casserole requires only the basic cookware that is sure to already be present in your kitchen — and if not, should be. If you’ve only just moved in and your kitchen is the barest of the bare, check out the selection of affordable pots, pans and dishware at the local Target in Davis.
In addition to the ease of creation, this casserole provides a nourishing and well-rounded meal. The soy crumbles impart a substantial amount of protein, which combines with the egg noodles for a very filling base. The seasoned protein medley disguises the full array of vegetables in its midst, including carrots, bell pepper, corn, onion and peas. It’s a one-stop meal for satisfying all the food groups. (Remember to look for the Smart Ground soy crumbles in the refrigerated section of the produce at supermarkets like Safeway, or look down the aisle with the deli products at other markets like the Nugget, near the pickles, sandwich meat and olives.)
With a busy college lifestyle in mind, this easy casserole also reheats wonderfully for a quick meal between classes or a late-night study snack. Save your extra money for school necessities rather than eating expensive meals out on the town, and make this Easy Baked Noodle Casserole at home. (For more information on the fall calendar at UC Davis, visit here.)
- 1 package soy crumbles
- 1 package extra-wide egg noodles
- 1 (14.5-oz) can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp celery salt
- 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 red bell pepper, julienned
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1/2 cup corn
- 1/2 cup peas
- 3 roma tomatoes, diced
- 3/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions. Once the onions have softened, add the carrots and bell pepper. (Add the remaining tablespoons of olive oil to the pan as needed.) Continue to saute until all vegetalbes are tender, approximately ten minutes. Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package or box directions.
Next, add the soy crumbles to the pan. Break crumbles with the back of a spoon, and add the canned diced tomatoes, peas and corn. Season with the chili powder, cumin, celery salt, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir in the canned noodles and fresh tomatoes.
Pour noodle mixture into a casserole dish. Sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese. Bake for ten to twelve minutes, or until cheese has completely melted.