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Posts Tagged ‘Birthday’

Hey! It’s Friday Night Casserole’s Third Anniversary! You know what that means … a re-posting of the original FNC blog post, “the” Friday Night Casserole. The recipe of all recipes; I mean, the most disgusting recipe of all recipes you’ve ever heard.

I launched FNC on Mary Ann’s birthday, January 31st, in 2011.

Mom would be 71 today. I’m pretty sure she’s celebrating with something besides Friday Night Casserole. I just hope she’s enjoying all these ridiculous posts and crazy recipes as much as my three readers and I am.

So as tribute to my beautiful mom (pictured below in her Graduation photo), and in celebration of the third year of FNC, I give you, once again, “the” Friday Night Casserole.

SAMSUNG

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 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. Ahhh, 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. She thought 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 because Palby’s was awesome. Palby’s was on Highway 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 for kids, because there were all these different rooms and areas with fun, 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 pop 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 we just liked saying “Munchies.” Or, 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.

Ingredients:

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.

Leftover examples:

Pork ‘n Beans
Kentucky Fried Chicken Cole Slaw
Canned spinach
Taco meat
Chopped up Fish Sticks
Creamed Chip Beef Sauce
The last slice of Olive Loaf luncheon meat that will never be eaten
Macaroni and Cheese
Spam
White Rice
Filling for Stuffed Bell Peppers
Bread heels
Chicken Pot Pie
Deviled eggs
Creamed corn

Directions:

Throw all of the ingredients you found 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, perhaps a nice Jello Mold.

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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.

Ingredients:

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.

Leftover examples:

Pork n’ Beans

Kentucky Fried Chicken Cole Slaw

Canned spinach

Taco meat

Chopped up fish sticks

Creamed Chip Beef Sauce

The last slice of Olive Loaf luncheon meat that will never be eaten

Macaroni and Cheese

Spam

White rice

Filling for Stuffed Bell Peppers

Bread heels

Chicken Pot Pie

Deviled eggs

Creamed corn

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

Mom in the kitchen. I think she’s doing a Rita Hayworth-type of impersonation here.

Happy Birthday Mom!

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It’s my birthday weekend so I thought I’d take this week off from the blog, especially since we’re in Santa Rosa for a golf tournament held in memory of our nephew. We were driving all yesterday afternoon and evening and then working the tournament today (well, I’m working and Jay is golfing … lucky). But yesterday I got something that gave me a great idea for a post, and maybe many others in the future. I received a handcrafted birthday card at work, signed by 40 or so people in my department. One of our talented designers, Jon LeBars, creates all the artwork for these cards, and gets his inspiration for each card from a list of ‘favorite things’ each employee creates. My list contains some of my favorite things: Billy Squier, crab, chocolate mousse, Curious George, blue carnival glass and books with funny titles. I have a collection of books with crazy titles that I display in our game room at home. Stuff like “My Daddy Was a Pistol and I’m a Son of a Gun,” or “Blue Eye Shadow Should Be Illegal,” and my personal favorite “Nobody Likes a Drunken Indian.”

So this birthday card gave me a great idea: when I can’t figure out which one of Mary Ann’s casserole dishes to make fun of, I can make fun of one of my crazy book titles, complete with a photo and everything. Hopefully their authors don’t read my blog. As if.

So Jon created my birthday card with a graphic of a Billy record album on the front (of course) and inside was this awesome book cover:

I think I’ve just found a new name for this blog.

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I don’t care what my sisters say, Shepherd’s Pie is Christ in a bowl. On each of our birthdays, Mom would ask us what we wanted her to fix for dinner. My sisters would usually respond with Pizza, Tacos or Cheeseburgers. My request was Shepherd’s Pie. This probably explains why my sisters always wanted to beat the crap out of me (and why on Shepherd’s Pie afternoons, I would find my youngest sister Melissa eating roly polys out of the garden).

After hearing the word’s “Shepherd’s Pie,” Tracy would chase me into our bedroom where I would fling myself onto my bed face up in what I like to call the “Younger Sibling Survival Maneuver” … kicking my legs frantically into the air to try to block the left and right hooks being delivered by my older sister. But I could take a pop or two on behalf of my Birthday Dinner, and in knowing that a Donny Osmond album was possibly among the wrapped gifts waiting for me.

When I was nine, I knew I would marry Donny Osmond. He was so dreamy and nice that I knew my parents would approve. My Mom and Dad actually took me and Tracy to Lake Tahoe to see the Osmonds in concert. It was my first concert ever, and I couldn’t believe how amazing my parents were. (Just think how thrilling it must’ve been for them … and think how hard it must’ve been to plan. No i-Phone, no internet— just a phone book!)

The thought of actually seeing Donny Osmond was like a dream come true. I remember pulling in to the casino parking lot that evening and seeing a stretch limo parked on the side and just imagining the Donald sitting in it. (Yeah, that’s right Donald Trump … you weren’t the first “Donald” … take a number.)

I only remember bits and pieces of that night … for all I know, I was passing out left and right at the thought of seeing Donny Osmond in the flesh. Our seats were in the second section. We had a fancy booth with a circular seat. I remember first seeing Jimmy Osmond for his first public appearance singing “Blue Suede Shoes” Yawn … where’s Donny … then Marie singing “Paper Roses” … c’mon people, enough with the siblings! Bring out the Big Guns! And then it happened. Donny came out singing “Puppy Love.” It was magical. He jumped off the stage and started walking down the aisle shaking girls’ hands. I was excited and freaked out all at the same time. I would’ve killed for Donny to come to our table and shake my hand, but at the same time, I was so nervous I drank three whole Shirley Temples.

Okay, back to my Birthday Dinner Meal and the fancy recipe. Even though both my Mom and Dad have lots of Irish ancestry, our Shepherd’s Pie wasn’t really the delicacy you find at Irish Pubs. I probably wouldn’t touch this version today, but spuds are a main ingredient here, and I love me some spuds.

Ingredients

• 1 pound of hamburger
• ¼ cup minced onions – or chop up an actual small onion to make it fancy
• 1 big can of peas and carrots
• 2 cups of prepared mashed potatoes*
• Gravy: I don’t know what my Mom used, or what she considered gravy for that matter, so you’ll need to improvise this ingredient. I liked whatever she used, but I’m fairly certain I don’t want to know what it was.
• 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
• Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

*Peel and cut up about 6 potatoes. Boil them until tender, about 20 minutes. Mash them up in a bowl with some butter (I mean margarine! Save yourself about 50 cents here!)

Fry up the hamburger and onions in a skillet. When almost done, add the canned peas and carrots. Add “gravy,” Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper.

Pour the beef and vegetable mixture into a 9×9-inch baking dish. Spread the mashed potatoes carefully over the top.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are golden brown.

Reward your efforts in the kitchen with a pint of Guinness. I mean, crack open an Oly. Serve up to your little leprechauns (the Shepherd’s pie, not the beer).

Watch one child devour the dish as if she lived in Ireland during the Great Potato Famine. Watch the other children either fill their cheeks like chipmunks with the entrée until they are excused to the bathroom, or sneakily push the contents under their plates, or “accidentally” drop spoonfuls onto the floor for the dog.

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