Growing up with an Irish/American mother, I naturally ate fantastic home cooked Italian dinners most nights of the week. No, my dad didn’t cook. My mom was lucky enough to have been taught by a lovely Italian woman who lived in her building. I never tire of my mother’s cooking and I love to cook Italian food myself, but I as I grew older, I wondered about “American” food. When I was a kid, I dreaded eating at friend’s houses. I had seen mothers preparing Hamburger Helper and Tuna Noodle Casserole, and I was less than interested. As I grew older, those classics begin to pique my interest.
John works in really nice places filled with really great food. It didn’t intimidate me too much, just a little. After trying to compete for a while, I decided that what he needed was the furthest thing from fine dining that I could create. So, I started to learn how to make casseroles. I will grant that one doesn’t “learn” casseroles, rather one figures out which ingredients taste nice together when thrown into a dish with condensed cream soup. It all started with Summer Zucchini Casserole. John loved it and so did I (I will admit I had flashbacks of tuna noodle casseroles – I hear people really enjoy them, but I don’t like tuna so I’ve never tried it). Since then, I’ve assembled many a casserole and highly recommend them especially for busy moms. All you need is a mixing bowl and casserole dish. You don’t have to worry about dishes, you can use up leftovers and they’re done in about 30 minutes. It’s also a great way to pack a lot of veggies into yourself (or the kids).
Tonight, I made possibly the best casserole yet, even if it was the least healthy. It included Velveeta Cheese, Stove Top Stuffing, Cream of Chicken Soup, Roasted Broccoli, and Leftover Chicken. I still am a little frightened of hamburger helper, but I do make a lot of meals that involve cheese sauce, ground meat and noodles.
Do you make casseroles often? Do you have happy childhood memories of them? Are you skittish about trying them? What’s your favorite recipe?
Please let me know by leaving a comment!