Frankenstein Pasta and Bean Casserole

31 Oct

Happy Halloween! I have a trick, rather than treat, for you today! This week, my boyfriend made what would appear to be a tasty, healthy, pasta and bean casserole. But as you see, this post is not part of the “Boyfriend Cooks” series.

Frankenstein Pasta and Bean Casserole |

The original monst…. errr I mean casserole.

Now, I’ll preface this by saying Chris worked really hard to make this #unprocessed dinner all on his own while I relaxed on the couch after teaching Zumba. He followed the recipe almost exactly. While it baked in the oven, I kept raving about how amazing it smelled. So the result is not his fault.

But it required some Frankenstein action to make it edible. Ok, the original version WAS edible. We both choked down a bowl of it the first night. But oh how spicy it was! The pasta-to-bean ratio was way off (hello carb city). The cheese on top was too crisp. And the casserole itself was as dry as a skeleton’s bones.

Alright, it wasn’t THAT bad, but it did require some heavy salvaging in order for us to eat the rest of the huge 9×13 dish. I’m a big fan of leftovers and not wasting food, so that’s where Dr. Frankenstein comes in. Perfect timing for Halloween, eh?

My brain went to work and the next day, I had a plan. How do you transform a failed casserole into something tasty? Make it into a soup! The end result wasn’t exactly a soup, though. It was more like a creamy pasta dish – something we were both happy with.

So instead of a traditional recipe, I have some more basic instructions for you, should this happen in your kitchen.

Frankenstein Pasta and Bean Casserole |

This is a corpse in need of help.

Frankensteined Casserole / Creamy Pasta

Serves 8

  1. Start with a failed pan of leftover casserole. Something that’s too spicy, too dry, too much of one ingredient, over-baked, or all of the above!
  2. Dump it into a large pot set over medium heat. In my case, I retained some of the pasta from the casserole to adjust the ratio of noodles to beans. I tossed out that extra pasta. I also added a can of rinsed/drained cannellini beans to increase the protein.
  3. Pour in about 1/2 cup of your preferred milk + 2 cups of vegetable broth. Break apart the casserole and stir everything together. The milk will make it a bit creamy and reduce the spice factor (if that’s an issue for you). The broth will add great moisture to the whole thing.
  4. Now is when you might want to add other seasonings. I simply added 2 bay leaves to give it some depth of flavor. Try Italian seasoning, oregano, basil, parsley, or paprika.
  5. Bring the pot to a boil and reduce to a simmer, covered, until the casserole is broken down completely and it looks more like a soup.
  6. Sample your Frankenstein dish – add more broth if you’d like it soupy.
  7. Serve into bowls and top with more cheese (too much cheese is NEVER a problem!)

We found this to be wonderful! The spice was greatly reduced, but still had a touch of heat to it. The crispy cheesy topping had melted down enough to make it creamier. The extra beans upped the protein and fiber. And the bay leaves just added a nice herby taste to it.

So, don’t be afraid of a casserole gone wrong! I’m told that my great grandfather always said, “the best part about cooking or baking is that you can eat your mistakes.” And right he was. A few modifications and additions, a little creativity, and some extra cheese can make for a great Frankenstein dinner.

Frankenstein Pasta and Bean Casserole |

Doesn’t that look better? Even better than Frankenstein’s monster did!

What’s the scariest dish you ever made? Mine has to be failed blueberry eggs.


2 Responses to “Frankenstein Pasta and Bean Casserole”

  1. Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine October 31, 2014 at 8:44 am #

    I am all about eating your mistakes! You can always salvage a recipe in my opinion!

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