Well kids, today is the one-year anniversary of the Friday Night Casserole Blog! And it’s also the birthday of the woman who inspired it…Mary Ann. (Check out her photos below!) So you know I need to pay tribute to Mom and re-post the infamous Friday Night Casserole recipe. Have you tried it yet? If you have, you’ve probably cancelled your subscription to this blog. So let’s hope you haven’t.
Thanks for all your support this year; I hope you’re enjoying the posts…even though I’ve become a little lazy (busy) and haven’t posted regularly each Friday. I’ll do my best to keep entertaining you, or, activating your gag reflex…whichever.
Friday Night Casserole:
There were two kinds of Fridays in our house: Pay Day Friday and Casserole Friday. We loved Payday Friday. Dad would come home from his job at Mare Island with a wad of bills. Sometimes he’d even let us hold them. Then everyone would hop into the wood-paneled Ford Station Wagon and head for A & W, or the family restaurant Palby’s for a big night out. Ah, A&W…sitting in the station wagon parked next to the scratchy-sounding order sign/machine thing. My family ordered burgers and root beer—in those fancy frosty mugs of course—however, I always ordered a fish sandwich and grape soda. And yes, they all made fun of me. Except for Coleen who also preferred the fish sandwich. And she believed you weren’t allowed to have a ‘burger’ until you were an adult. She finally had her first Big Mac at the ripe old age of 10. Tracy had to wait till she was 11.
Now for Palby’s, if you never lived in Vallejo or visited the bustling Solano County metropolis with its abundance of 1970’ish restaurants, you might’ve missed Palby’s. Sucks for you cuz Palby’s was awesome. Palby’s was on Hwy 80 between Vallejo and Napa in the area that’s now known as American Canyon. Palby’s was like a freaky dinner theater for kids. Look out the window and there were peacocks. There were seals. But we didn’t eat them. I preferred the deep fried shrimp myself. I recall my little sister Pooh always ordered the ribs and proceeded to happily get the sauce all over her face. Thinking back, Palby’s seemed like a Winchester Mystery House to kids, cuz there were all these different areas with trippy things to see. Or maybe there was just the lobby and the main dining room and I had an over-active imagination.
Sometimes on Payday Friday, Dad and one or two of us kids would just drive on over to Munchie’s on Sonoma Boulevard for 10 cent hamburgers. Munchie’s was a burger joint in a cool round building that sold cheap hamburgers and fries and I just liked saying “Munchies.” Sometimes we’d just grab 300 tacos from Taco Bell, when all they really had was tacos.
But, if it wasn’t a Payday Friday, and you didn’t make plans to get in trouble and stay after school–or better yet, offer to babysit for the neighbor’s heathen kids–you were going to experience Mary Ann’s Friday Night Casserole. God have mercy on your soul.
No rules apply!!!
Check the cupboards for stray cans of stewed tomatoes, cream of mushroom soup, deviled ham or anything else that resembles vomit. Next, go to the fridge and grab any and every leftover you can find saved in old margarine and Cool Whip tubs—these are important casserole ingredients.
Pork n’ Beans
Kentucky Fried Chicken Cole Slaw
Chopped up fish sticks
Creamed Chip Beef Sauce
The last slice of Olive Loaf luncheon meat that will never be eaten
Macaroni and Cheese
Filling for Stuffed Bell Peppers
Chicken Pot Pie
Throw all of the ingredients into a 13 x 9 casserole dish. Feel free to add canned tomato sauce or a packet of onion soup mix to make it fancy.
Bake at 350 degrees. I’m not sure how long you’re supposed to do this. Just hang around the oven to make sure nothing explodes.
Serve to your happy family. Well, they were happy before dinner. Now they hate your guts and are secretly flipping you off below the table. A few of them might be dry heaving into their towel bibs. You will definitely want to plan a huge dessert for later in the evening (stay tuned for “Jello Mold” and “Mayonnaise Cake”).
Mary Ann circa 1982
Happy Birthday Mom!