when it’s 9:30pm at night and you’re tired and hungry and you want something really kind of good and pretty easy, you have a ton of delicious cabbage you lusted after and bought but then didn’t have a chance to do anything with it yet and you just got off work, wait, how did that stupid crane fly get in here again?….Rueben Casserole.
Looking at the mass of delicious fresh red cabbage in our fridge leftover from a run to the local produce market, Blake’s cogs got to ticking on an easy meal we could make at 9:30 at night when we both usually get home from work. What is more simple, hearty and indulgent than a casserole??
Blake’s Grandma Phyllis has a version of this recipe that we hope to acquire later and post on here as an alternative. In the meantime, Blake went with what he remembered and what he dreamed up and came up with this yummy yet easy feast!
- 1/2 a head red cabbage (about 3 cups chopped)
- 1/2 a large white onion
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 8 oz. of the beer you are drinking
- Dash of Cayenne pepper
- 1/2 a cup of frozen peas
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- 6 oz. chopped corned beef or 1 tin of canned corned beef (they were the same price at the grocery store here, so we got the “fresh” stuff!)
- 1/2 a box of whole wheat rotini pasta, cooked al dente
- 1 tbsp. spicy brown mustard (or deli style mustard)
- 1/2 a bag of cheap-o plain potato chips
- 1/2 a cup of sauerkraut
- Swiss cheese, sliced (enough to cover top of casserole)
- Low-fat mozzarella (to fill in the gaps between the Swiss, if desired)
Cook up 1/2 a box of whole wheat rotini pasta al dente, drain, and set aside. Why? Because Hannahs know that everything is better with pasta in it! Casserole veterans know elbow macaroni or egg noodles are the traditional pasta of choice, but rotini is what we had on hand.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. While it’s warming up, chop cabbage and 1/2 a large white onion and cook it down in a large skillet or wok with 1/4 cup of white vinegar and 8 oz. of beer. Cook only about 10 minutes on medium heat until slightly wilted, but with a bit of a crunch remaining.
Toss the cabbage & onion mixture together with Cayenne pepper to taste, 1 can cream of mushroom soup, 6 oz. chopped corned beef (or 1 tin canned corned beef–generally saltier, but still yummy,) the cooked rotini, and 1 tbsp. spicy brown mustard.
We didn’t have any cream of mushroom soup at the time, so Blake made his own version by creaming some leftover mushrooms we had in a blender with dried tarragon leaves, black pepper, fat free cottage cheese and water.
Place a layer of frozen peas in the bottom of a large casserole dish. Add the pasta, cabbage, soup mixture next, then a thin layer of sauerkraut (1/2 a cup) on top of that. Layer on top enough slices of swiss cheese to cover, using low-fat shredded mozzarella to fill in the gaps if desired. Finally, top it off with a layer of crunchy-greasy-goodness: crumbled potato chips (another casserole staple!).
Pop that sucker in the oven and cook at 400 degrees for 20-30 mins. while you watch the end of Yasujirô Ozu’s Tokyo Story that you accidentally fell asleep during the night before. Or at least, that’s what we did!
P.S. Here’s one of the recipes Grandma Phyllis sent us that you can download from our website: Reuben Casserole