When we were growing up, every holiday or special occassion meal included Seashell Casserole. For years, I thought it was a Jewish food since we always had it at Hanukkah! It's anytime celebration food. It was originally called Seashell Casserole because it was made with seashell shaped noodles. I am so happy to have the original recipe in my mom's handwriting, straight from her own cookbook. As the official casserole baker for the family, I have fiddled with the recipe over the years and landed on the way we like it best. You can still use sheashell shaped noodles if you can find them, but wide egg noodles are eaiser and cheaper. Be warned, this an expensive casserole. Cheese suddenly costs a lot and I use only Sargento. This recipe tastes different with different brands. This is a fact. We have all tried this recipe with multiple variations (full fat sour cream, Healhy Request soup, vegetarian soup, Kraft cheese- none as good). The exact recipe I use is below with the brands I use. If you like your casseroles saucier, use less noodles. I like mine sort of on the dry side. You could use one bag of noodles instead and this will be saucy and delicious (Karen likes it really saucy). The really saucy way is best with the large seashell noodles so the sauce fills the shells.
Combine everything except the noodles in a giant bowl and mix well. Set aside and boil the water for your noodles. Follow noodle package directions for cooking the noodles. When the time is up (I think mine cook for 12 min), drain the noodles and add them to the massive bowl of sauce. Mix well. Your arm will be tired. Spoon the casserole into real classy big foil lasagne pans (I use 2) and put in the oven uncovered for 30 minutes. At 30 minutes, be very careful and stir the casserole. Use oven mitts and a big spoon! Bake for another 30 minutes. EAT! This tastes even better the next day. Follow obvious casserole instructions (refrigerate unused portions). When it comes time to do dishes, you will be so happy you used foil pans.
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