Monday, March 28, 2011

No Soup Tuna Casserole

Personally, I'm not a fan of cream-of-whatever soups. My husband, however, is a big fan of tuna casserole. So I made it my mission to discover the best way to satisfy both interests. I tried versions where I made the cream of mushroom soup, I tried a variety of roux (is there a plural for roux, anybody know?), but eventually settled on this recipe featuring sour cream and mayonnaise. It's even easier than opening a can.


  • 3 c. wide egg noodles
  • salt for the water
  • 1 6.4 oz pouch chunk light tuna
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 1/3 c. mayonnaise
  • 1/3 c. green onions, sliced
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Fill a stockpot with water. Salt the water, at least a healthy pinch. Heat on high until water comes to a boil and add in egg noodles. Cook egg noodles until soft. Drain noodles and then return them to pot.

3. Combine egg noodles with tuna, sour cream, mayonnaise, green onion, yellow mustard, salt and pepper. Stir until noodles are well coated. Transfer mixture to a 2 quart casserole dish.

4. Bake, covered, in oven for about 20 minutes, or until heated through.

Source: Cats and Casseroles original recipe

Friday, March 25, 2011

Casual Suppers

This is one of the many books in my ever-expanding cookbook collection, and I aim to review and catalog them all, so hold on to your chair. As I may have mentioned before, my mom runs a used book fair, something I hope to get involved with this spring. One of the perks of this is a sneak peak access to budget cookbooks. I believe this book came from the fair, but I've had it for several years and am iffy about its origins.

No longer in print, the copyright on this is 1996. You have to consider that food does not age at the same pace as everything else. Like there are dog and cat years, there are food years. So while a mere 15 years old in our time, this cookbook is positively retro in the food world. There's a heavy focus on casseroles, and several of the recipes call for an ingredient called "spaghetti sauce mix," whatever that is. There is a vegetarian section, a nice option, but several of those recipes include meat or poultry stock. Maybe vegetarianism was different all the way back in the Clinton era, who knows.

Even with the negatives, I really enjoy this cookbook. It doesn't reinvent the wheel, but the recipes I've tried are pretty tasty, and even tastier after I give them an update. This book helped inspire my "Oodles Noodles Casserole" recipe (which I hope to have up on site in the coming weeks). There's something very comforting about the simple, no fuss food in cookbooks like this. Sometimes it's nice to put dinner on the table without worrying about it being nutritionally complete or locally sourced or "omg, is this meal contributing to the obesity epidemic?" When that's the case, this book is here for you. And it's a keeper for me.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Muddy Buddies

Anyone else up for a trip down memory lane?

Muddy Buddies are awesome. I loved them when I was eight, and I love them now. A friend's mom cued me into these delicious morsels. Neither of my parents cooked, and seeing ordinary breakfast cereal turned into a chocolaty treat was magical for me. This snack holds a special place in my heart. It's perfect for young cooks because all it requires is a microwave.

Start with 9 cups of rice chex, or similar, cereal. Put it in a really big bowl, bigger than you think you'll need.
It was a tough choice between having breakfast tomorrow morning and making Muddy Buddies, but my sweet tooth craving won out. I think I made the right call. Put 1 cup semi-sweet chips, 1/2 cup peanut butter, and half a stick of butter into a Hello Kitty microwavable bowl. I guess you could use a container without Hello Kitty on it, but I can't guarantee the results.
Microwave, covered, for a minute on high. Stir. If the mixture is smooth, you're done. Otherwise, give it some more time, in 15-30 second increments. And when in doubt, stop. Over-nuked chocolate is never pretty. Now add in a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Not me, because I forgot. But you totally should. Then pour the mixture over the cereal and stir until evenly coated.
Transfer cereal to a gallon, resealable plastic bag. Toss in 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar. Shake, shake, shake... and done!
It's not the prettiest dessert out there, but it's really, really good. I promise.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Quick Note About Japan

I've always been fascinated with Japan. When I was eight, my family went to Disney World. Instead of being excited to see Mickey and Cinderella, all I wanted was to go to Epcot Japan.

My thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the quake.

Goals for the Week

1. Blog more! Last week was our anniversary/my birthday week, and we were out celebrating, so I didn't get around to updating.

2. Mulch. My dad assures me that March is "a great time for mulching." We'll see about that. It's still pretty cold here.

3. Make croissants in the bread machine. That might turn out to be a total disaster but I have to try it. It'd be crazy not to, right? Imagine croissants being that easy.

4. Work on lap quilt for my Grandma. It's a simple deconstructed nine patch and should not be taking me this long.

I added a couple of pages to my blog. I want to use the recipes tab to keep track of all my favorite recipes, including some of the original recipes I have been working on. I don't really have the camera to be a food blogger (a point and shoot and no photoshop), but I'll try my best. With the Hello Kitty tab, I hope to catalog my collection. My crafting and decor tab is to organize all my sewing, knitting, gardening, ect. projects. I'd love to add a tutorial section one day.

And now for an adorable Sundae picture to kick off my week:

That's her at our screen door hunting... leaves.

Maybe my goal should be to stop blogging about my cat so much. Hmmm. Probably best not to make goals I can't keep.

Stay tuned!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Helper Cat

Picking out upholstery: everyone has an opinion.

She looks cute right there, but she's actually flicking her tail and mad at me because I wouldn't let her chew on the samples. I'm a no-fun cat mom.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Don't Go To Pickles

It's my husband's and I's seventh wedding anniversary, and I'm having trouble believing it's been that long. Seems like just yesterday, I was a scared kid being nudged down the aisle by my daddy's shotgun (kidding, hardy har). But really, time does fly when you're having fun.

It all started out with a whimper. We went out to dinner at a steakhouse we'd driven past a bunch of times and thought "we should try that place sometime" but never did. And we never should have. Because it was the worst dinner ever. Ever. I ordered a ridiculously expensive New York Strip, and when it got to the table it was grey. Grey. And not surprisingly, well over done. Growing up, my dad believed in cooking steak to the point of shoe leather. I'm not a stranger to a chewy slab of beef. But a grey steak is a first. Moreover, it didn't look like a New York Strip. It was thin and squarish. I sent it back, of course, while my husband looked on like a starving puppy because he didn't want to eat without me, and it came back exactly the same way. So I ordered a cheeseburger, because I was past the point of wanting to drop more than a few bucks at this place, and there's no way to mess up a cheeseburger, right? Sadly, I was very wrong.

Now for a pallette cleanser to wash out the negativity, and memory, of that horrible restaurant:

Ah, that feels better.

Of course, not everything about the night was bad. We capped off the evening with a trip to Hobby Lobby, where I got some pretty cotton yarn. And then there were the presents:

A limited edition Hello Kitty bobble head celebrating Sanrio's 50th Anniversary. So cute.

This adorable little plush will make a great addition to my collection. I'm a sucker for all things kimono.

Overall, not a bad anniversary.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Extreme Bargain Shopping

I have been to the jungle, and I survived.

My mom runs an annual charity book sale. This year, I decided to stop by the sale to see if I could find some good bargains. As you can see from the picture above, I made out pretty well. I'm still a little bitter at the dude who managed to snatch up Marcella Harzan from right in front of me. Apparently I'm not aggressive enough for highly effective bargain shopping. Still, I got some real gems. That's 7 cookbooks and one gardening book (because this is going to be the year I get stuff to grow) for $20.50. Yep, I got all this recipe goodness for 20 bucks. Can you believe it?

So if you live near Wilmington, DE and would like some out of this world deals on books-- every kind of book you can imagine-- head to the Concord Mall and check it out. It runs through this Sunday, March 6th. It's for a good cause, and my mom did a kick-ass job organizing it all. I'm proud of you, mom!

Cats and Casseroles

I'm excited to be starting a blog. I see this as somewhat of a personal journal, but I'd also like to think I have something valuable to share with those who might wander by and read this.

So, for my first post, I had to write something about my precious cat Sundae. Everyone thinks their cat is the most special, smartest, cutest cat ever. But my cat really is all those things! Here she is, in a state of extreme adorableness:

Thank you for reading my very first post at Cats and Casseroles!