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Editor’s note: At the Table with the Gabels features tasty recipes and tips from Vanessa Gabel and her daughter, Kaitlyn, of Danville.

Kaitlyn: I think everyone can agree that pierogies are a timeless dish that no one can get sick of.

While you could easily buy the pre-made ones and just throw them in the microwave or cook, homemade just overall tastes better ... except no one wants to go through the hassle of actually making them from scratch.

This recipe is cheap overall, easy and delicious. Who wouldn’t want that?

The “lazy man pierogies” are perfect for picnics or events because it’s easy to double or triple the recipe and it’s perfect for picky eaters.

Jazz up the dish by adding some salt and pepper into the mashed potatoes and melted cheese on the top.

This dish is perfect for on-the-go families and even families with smaller kids because it’s easy to prepare and bake. Don’t be surprised if it doesn’t last long though, it’s too delicious!

Vanessa: It’s interesting to note that the pierogi was introduced to the United States around the time of the Great Depression. They were made by immigrant families, as well as in ethnic restaurants.

While the origin has been disputed, it’s commonly thought of as a Polish dish, as it first appeared in Polish cookbooks around the 17th century.

I’ve never made these filled dumplings, but have enjoyed them in various forms over the years.

When I tried this recipe for the first time, I was very surprised. It had the appearance of macaroni and cheese, so the flavors caught me off guard. I quickly fell in love with this dish. Not only is it fairly effortless, but this is a fantastic recipe for those leftover mashed potatoes from holiday meals.

It can easily be cut in half if you aren’t feeding a crowd or don’t have as many leftovers to use up.

This particular recipe calls for American cheese, but show off your personality with alterations like cheddar cheese, chives, garlic, or even bacon. Instant mashed potatoes make it easier, but feel free to use real mashed potatoes.

PIEROGI CASSEROLE

1 box Mafalda noodles, cooked

1 stick butter

1 medium onion, sliced

1 pound sliced American cheese (24 slices)

4 cups instant mashed potatoes flakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Saute the onion in butter.

Prepare the instant mashed potatoes as directed for 4 cups of dry flakes, set aside.

Line the bottom of a 9-by-13 inch pan with half of the cooked noodles.

Place one layer of cheese (8 slices) on the noodles.

Spread all of the mashed potatoes on top of the cheese.

Place another layer of cheese (8 slices) on the potatoes.

Add the rest of the noodles.

Top with the last layer of cheese.

Pour sauteed onions and butter over the top of the casserole.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until slightly browned.

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