There’s a chili casserole I make with Wolf Brand Chili with Beans (2 cans), pasta (typically either elbow macaroni or spaghetti), half a white onion chopped, a small can of sliced black olives and a small can of Del Monte mixed vegetables. When I eat a bowl of it, I sprinkle Sargento Mexican 4 Cheeses on top and zot it in the microwave.
I mention it because, as you may have guessed, I just made one. The hardest part of making it is boiling the pasta. The rest is mostly just opening cans — and chopping up half a white onion. It’s kinda like Frito Pie only with pasta. I mention it also because its a tasty, hearty, fast (and cheap) one-dish meal. You can put this casserole together in about 20 minutes and feed six off it if some of them are children and/or you practice portion control. You don’t have to bake it; everything in it is already as cooked as it needs to be. Just sprinkle cheese on it and heat it up in the microwave.
I cooked a whole package of elbow macaroni but only used about half of it in the casserole. (I’ll eat the remaining pasta with some undiluted Progresso Beef Pot Roast soup on top — I can get two meals out of one can of soup that way.) If you use spaghetti, you need to break the sticks of spaghetti into thirds before you boil it.
This is what I call a “template dish” — you don’t have to use the exact ingredients I use. Just whatever brand of canned chili is available (with or without beans), and cheese of choice. You can make it with or without the vegetables. You could use lasagna noodles and layer it like lasagna with mozzarelli, or make it with bow tie pasta or rotini. You could throw in chopped bell peppers or jalapeños, use green onions as well as or instead of white onions, or use pearl onions. You could top it with Asiago cheese, or sharp cheddar. Instead of putting the cheese on top, you could dice some Velveta cheese and mix it in.
If you’re a single person or there’s just the two of you, that’s why some lunch meat comes in plastic containers that are too good to throw away. It’s also why God gave us freezers. Moi? I am my father’s daughter. I’ll eat it for lunch and supper until it’s gone, and relish every bowl of it.