The wife cooks (gasp!) Beef Noodle Casserole

November 10, 2006

Today’s recipe is striking a blow for feminism! Despite popular culture’s insistence that women don’t belong anywhere near the stove or oven, women can cook! They are more than capable in the kitchen. Of course, I am being facetious. But today’s recipe is a flip of our usual things here at MHC. I, the husband, will be introducing one of my wife’s recipes, well not hers per se, but one that I don’t even attempt because she is its master—Paul Prudomme’s Beef Noodle Casserole.

For those of you who don’t know our story, my wife was the one who got me into cooking in the first place. When we started dating, we were both teenagers and seniors in high school. She is the oldest of three, and her parents, both very successful science types, had let their daughter take over the task of cooking dinner every night for her family. It was by helping her to peel vegetables and chop things, and sitting down to dinner several nights a week with them for a meal (to my own mother’s consternation) that I learned the value of food as a bonding experience.

Flash ahead 12 years today, and the roles are now reversed, but that doesn’t mean my wife can’t hold her own in the kitchen. The girl can really make things happen in there. So I hope you enjoy our culinary version of a Sadie Hawkins dance.


Wife’s Backgrounder…
My husband cooks, yes. But before he became a master-chef extraordinaire, someone had to put food on our table. That was me.

Now my mad skills have gotten a bit rusty, and I’m content to sit at the dinner table — fork and knife in hand, napkin tucked under my chin — waiting for the meals to come to me. There are, however, a few dishes that my dear husband considers me “expert” at making, and he’ll occasionally yield the spatula to me.

Unlike my husband’s cooking — which is usually inspired by a recipe and then altered, tweaked and prodded by him into something wholly his own — I am a slavish follower of recipes. Indeed, our cooking does reflect our personalities. I am, ahem, a bit anal and have a strong deference to authority; he is a cantankerous lawyer who likes to “parse” the rules and thumb his nose at the big boss. (Which is why he works for himself.) We’re perfect together, obviously.

This is one of the recipes that I am “expert” enough at making to allow my husband to cede the kitchen to me. It’s from that idol of mine, Paul Prudhomme, a celebrity chef of old who cooks awesome, New Orleans-rooted food. This Beef Noodle Casserole is from his cookbook tour de force Seasoned America, where he takes traditional — and perhaps tired — recipes, and sprinkles a little magical Paul Prudhomme dust on them. I mean to say, “This ain’t your mama’s Beef Noodle Casserole.” (No offense to your mom.) It’s full of flavor and richness, with wonderfully seasoned, moist meat and homey delicious egg noodles. And the best part may be the hint of sour cream and cream cheese that gets thrown in at the end… or maybe it’s the golden crust of cheese covering the whole concoction. I love it, and my husband does, too!

Alas, there will be no backgrounder on how I came up with this extraordinary recipe since, um, I didn’t come up with it. I’ll just give you a fair bit of warning: It’s not a simple recipe. Prudhomme’s layering of flavors translates into “makes a lot of work for you.” But I promise it’s worth it.

Indeed, rather than violate copyright laws, I’m just going to link to Paul Prudhomme’s Beef Noodle Casserole recipe, reproduced word for word from the book. The only changes I make are:

1.) If I don’t have green onions or fresh parsley (and I usually don’t!) I just leave those two ingredients out of the sour cream mixture.
2.) I don’t add 4 tbsp. of unsalted butter midway through the process. I usually think the dish is rich enough, but that’s probably because I typically use a fattier ground beef than sirloin.


Try it! You won’t be sorry.


  1. My god…..your photos drive me mad!!!

    I should NOT allow myself to read food blogs early in the morning. It’s just too cruel to my relatively empty stomach.

    But that looks great. I may have to try it. Of course, in a way that doesn’t involve licking my computer screen.

  2. Oh, that looks so wonderful! I have been craving comfort food since September, but especially the last few weeks, when my computer was down and I was writing too darned much about politics (I work for a newspaper and was once the political writer on staff, before I got smart and turned to food).

    I just want to dive into that casserole! At the very least, I want to eat it with butter rolls and a huge class of skim milk.

    Carbs be damned!

  3. Sorry to be so slow to respond. Our kitchen is finally back open because we had folks in painting…

    This dish is awesome. Its also a dish that keeps well. Give it a little time in the fridge then take to work the next day and microwave. It is still awesome. There is something to be said about leftovers that stand up.

  4. I was really excited to try this recipe – but the link isn’t working anymore. I’ve searched a bit on my own but can’t find it…any suggestions on where to find it? Or can you post a few more details? I tried making something similar from your succession of pictures but I’m guessing it’s not anywhere near as spectacular since I’m completely faking it. It was edible…but not delicious. Thanks!

  5. Here ya go, Interested in SD:


    This is a truly great recipe. Cutting back on the butter like the author said is a good idea (esp. when using fattier ground beef). I found it a good idea to make a little more beef broth and to throw in some extra sour cream and cream cheese to keep the dish from getting to dry while baking. My version also has a tendency to get a bit too salty for my tastes, so consider cutting back on that as well. You can always add more if it needs some later, but it’s much harder to take it out if it has too much. Happy cooking!

    • I just wanted to add that while the article states that this “ain’t your mama’s beef noodle casserole”, it *does* happens to be a favorite of my parents (both of whom are in their seventies 😀

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