Monday, October 18, 2004

Tuesday Night Casserole...on a Monday night!

I am making one of my all-time favorite comfort foods for dinner tonight - Tuesday Night Casserole (a.k.a. T.N.C.). Yes, I realize I'm commiting a slight breach of etiquette by making it on Monday night, but I will be having the leftovers for dinner tomorrow night, so it's legit.
My family called it Tuesday Night Casserole when I was growing up because we'd usually have it on piano lesson nights which were always on Tuesdays. It was the perfect piano lesson night food because: it was quick to make, it contained all major food groups, it tasted good, and it took one-hour and fifteen minutes to bake (enough time to: throw it in the oven, drive five minutes to piano lessons, take two 30-minute piano lessons - one for me and one for my sister, drive home, eat!). It's one of those nice childhood memories that will kind of stick with me forever from growing up in good old Wheeling, IL. Yes, I remember it like it was yesterday...driving with my mom and sister in the 1973 orange Vega to the music store that was next to the liquor store and across the street from the K-mart, squeezing into the tiny practice room with my teacher who always smelled of bourbon and cigarettes, her leaving the room every now and then to refill her "coffee" cup, her gigantic platinum blonde wig, and then...home for some T.N.C.!!!
Well, the piano skills have waned (although I WILL begin playing again someday!). However, T.N.C. lives on! It has to be one of the easiest dinners in the world to prepare. Mrs. TBF claims she isn't crazy about it, but she finally broke down and told me once that she wouldn't mind having it once per month. Now, that Mrs. TBF is on Weight Watchers (she's lost 12.5 pounds so far), T.N.C. is off-limits. So, I tend to make it when she's out of town. Here's the recipe if you want to give it a try:

Preheat your oven to 375ºF/190ºC. Take 2 lbs./1 kilo ground meat (beef, pork, mixed, whatever) and add a couple of eggs, a handful of bread crumbs and whatever things you would add when preparing ground beef for hamburgers (i.e. minced onions, Worcestershire Sauce, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, black pepper, parsley, etc.). Mix well and mash into the bottom of a 9" x 14"/23 cm x 36 cm casserole dish. Drain a 28 oz./850 ml. can of green beans and spread evenly over the meat. Drain a 14 oz./425 ml. can of sliced mushrooms and spread evenly over the green beans. Take one can of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup (don't add any water) and spread evenly over the mushrooms (if you're reading this in the Basel area, you can buy Campbell's Soup at Globus). Finally, take a bag of frozen Tater Tots (not sure of the size in the U.S....probably about 1 lb.) and spread evenly over the top (In Switzerland, you can use a 600 gram bag of Pommes Duchesse from Coop, or any backofenfertig potatoes.). As the Brits would say...bung it into the oven for one-hour and fifteen-minutes, and....Bob's your uncle!

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