By Becky Samford, Publisher Duluth, Norcross, Suwanee, Johns Creek & Peachtree Corners Macaroni Kid April 15, 2024

This is the formula for a one-dish, comfort food wonder that will fill your belly while emptying your fridge! Win-win!! 

I call it a formula, not a recipe, because you can customize it with whatever foods you have on hand. As long as you follow the basic formula, you can make an easy, delicious meal with leftovers and pantry items that your family will love.

These ingredients will fill a standard 9 X 13 in casserole dish (3 quarts). If you need more or less, just figure out the ratio and adjust everything.


  • 7 cups total of ingredients from your fridge or pantry like leftover chicken, ham or beef,  bell peppers (red, yellow or green), green beans, sautéed mushrooms, pine nuts, water chestnuts, pineapple, peas, carrots, beans, beets, asparagus, broccoli, or wilted leafy greens (spinach, kale, etc).  Almost any vegetable will work.
  • 1 cup of starch like cooked rice, pasta, cubed potatoes, tater tots or even cubed, stale bread.
  • 1 can "cream of something" soup. 
  • 1/2 cup creamy item. Mayo is my 1st choice, but sour cream, or plain Greek yogurt will also work.
  • 3/4 cup grated cheese such as cheddar, Colby-jack, mozzarella, swiss, gruyere, etc. You can use just one kind or several mixed together.
  • Salt and pepper plus any other dry seasonings you like Italian, Greek, garlic, rosemary, basil, red pepper flakes, etc
  • 1/2 cup of something crunchy like crushed potato chips, corn chips, Ritz crackers, saltines, or bread crumbs.
  • 1/2 stick melted butter.


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9X12 inch casserole dish.
  2. Fill the dish 3/4 full with meat, veggies and starchy food mixture. Do not pack down.
  3. In a saucepan, heat the cream of something soup until it is liquid but not boiling.
  4. Remove from the heat and mix in mayo or other creamy item, along with the cheese and seasonings.
  5. Pour the liquid over the other items in the casserole dish. You may need to "poke some holes" so that the liquid penetrates everything. 
  6. Top with cheese and your crunchy item.
  7. Bake 20 minutes, then drizzle with butter and cook another 10 minutes or until the topping is crispy.
  8. Remove from oven and let it sit for about 10 minutes before serving.