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The Most Atrocious Casserole EVER!

I recently learned of something called a chicken stuffing casserole. My understanding is that it is pasta shells stuffed with chicken and Stove Top stuffing and then topped with a mixture of cream of mushroom soup, cream of chicken soup and mayonnaise. I think its finished off with canned parm cheese.

This got me thinking about casseroles and, how there are a slew of bad, bad combinations out there. Not to mention a lot of non-food. So, what have you had or heard of that you would nominate for the Most Atrocious Casserole award?

*I nominate chicken stuffing casserole. :-P

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  1. I've never made it but I have a cookbook that has one with canned tamales and canned mushrooms, tomato sauce, chicken, rice, and chicken soup..... oh my.

    5 Replies
    1. re: chef chicklet

      Wowza! There is little that disturbs me more than canned mushrooms. They remind me of slugs.

      1. re: lynnlato

        What about the canning process turns delicious mushrooms into those rubbery pieces? I love mushrooms, but can't stand the canned ones and I don't understand how such a great beginning product could become so wrong.

        1. re: TampaAurora

          Ever order a pizza and get those nasty canned mushrooms on top? Hate it when that happens!

        1. re: fern

          I've seen casseroles using those canned tamales more than once. Never tried it, but who knows, to each their own. I think what ruined it for me was the mushrooms with the tamales...

      2. A very sweet relative once offered us lasagna with cottage cheese instead of ricotta. Had no choice but to eat it. Really gross. Aside from that, any tuna noodle casserole makes me nauseous.

        27 Replies
        1. re: southernitalian

          Now sometimes I do add cottage with ricotta for my lasagna, but otherwise it is all fresh. I like the texture difference, but it is mostly ricotta with fresh parm and mozz. I do like a little cottage in there however.

          Tuna, YUCK! Sorry, can't eat that.

            1. re: Sal Vanilla

              I just adds something. Growing up my mom used large. YUCK. It was years before I started adding it again after finding the large white chunks, lol.

              1. re: kchurchill5

                i used cottage cheese years ago when I was first learning to cook. Over the years I started to use ricotta more and more and now that and my other cheeses make up the lasagne. I don't have any aversion, just prefer the ricotta. Make it the way you love it, that's all that matters, and no one should say "ick" "gross" or etc. If I'm invited to someone's home and they make their lasagne using a layer of cottage cheese, believe me I dive into that with the same enthusiasm as if it didn't . I really don't think there is any different tastes. It's all good.

                1. re: chef chicklet

                  I'm the same. My mom always used cottage cheese - I think, like the post below says, ricotta was hard to find in the south. I use ricotta now because I love it and could eat a tub by itself :)

              2. re: Sal Vanilla

                My mom did that too. Ricotta was just not widely available in the south and southwest or Japan. Always small curd.

                Years later in northern NY state we had a neighbor hood grocery, sadly gone now, that has wonderful bulk fresh cottage cheese. I think I coud buy a lb. and just stand there and eat it.

            2. re: southernitalian

              I LOVE tuna noodle casserole. Guilty pleasure, I guess.

              1. re: LulusMom

                I don't eat it often but a good tuna casserole is comfort food to me. If it wasn't so warm I'd make one today.

                1. re: KTinNYC

                  Comfort food - that is exactly it. Glad I'm not alone.

                  1. re: LulusMom

                    I have a recipe for a 1 pot quick tuna casserole that we make frequently. DH will pick it over anything else I offer. :)

                    1. re: LulusMom

                      As a young child, growing up in NYC, my mother would cook these lovely meals every night, using James Beard recipes. The neighborhood women discussed the recipe published in the Times each week, and consider the best places to buy ingredients. It was lovely. Fancy sausages, cherries jubilee, crepes.... sigh.

                      And then, something terrible happened. My mother started to wanted to work on presidential campaigns and become part of a group that started a women's magazine. James Beard was relegated to the back shelf and my mother began to make recipes from Good Housekeeping.

                      She actually bought canned onions! Our pantry, which had only housed tuna, spices and canned pineapples, was no longer big enough to hold all the canned goods required.

                      To me, tuna noodle casserole represents the downward slide of my culinary childhood.

                      1. re: smtucker

                        Great read, smtucker! I nearly teared up, imagining the downward "slide" and your bewilderment.

                        1. re: smtucker

                          Funny how memories are so strong when food is involved. My mother made all day meat sauce for spaghetti, cooked a mean wild duck a l'orange, taught me to make hollandaise when I was eight or so. I inherited her cookbooks and the ones I couldn't keep filled 1/4 of a half-yard dumpster. To sum up. Mom was an awesome cook by any and all standards and accounts.

                          When I was 12 or so I slept over at a friend's house one Friday and I just could not wait to tell Mom about this miracle dish I'd experienced. I remember telling her, "Ok, so there's noodles, and then you add a can of tuna, some cheese, onions, celery and a can of cream of mushroom soup. It's called 'Tuna Casserole.'" The look of horror that crossed her face, I'll never forget. Her response? "Oh, yes I know all about tuna casserole and before you were born our family practically lived on it. If you ever want to have it in this house you will have to make it yourself." And so I did, again and again.

                          These days I make it sans can and without tuna, so it's just a cheesy vegetable casserole, but I still love the dense and slippery combination, the weird alchemy of the casserole, I guess.

                          1. re: MplsM ary

                            Another great story. You, my friend, had a "blessed" childhood. :)

                          2. re: smtucker

                            "To me, tuna noodle casserole represents the downward slide of my culinary childhood."

                            For some of us, it was the best our families could afford. It sure is comfort food to me, whether or not it's culinary genius.

                            1. re: almond3xtract

                              i think u hit that right on the head for me... we weren't exactly poor, but money was certainly carefully watched in our household. (ministers didn't get paid much those days, apparently)
                              The things I grew up eating were definately budget foods, some of them I still love. Tuna casserole is one of them! :)

                          3. re: LulusMom

                            When I was young my aunt would make me a tuna casserole for lunch when I can home early from school on the very rare half days. I probably just associate the joy of getting to leave school early with the tuna casseroles but I don't care. I still enjoy them.

                            There are people who just poo poo things to seem sophisticated but I don't really pay any attention to those people.

                            1. re: KTinNYC

                              And that is one of the wonderful things about food. So much is about memory and associations. Your Aunt made you tuna casserole with love and you remember special times. I remember that my Mother was no longer interested in being at home or cooking when she began making tuna noodle casserole.

                              The same food, and yet what it represented was very different.

                              I don't actually remember disliking the casserole. I remember disliking that the family was no longer her focus.

                              1. re: smtucker

                                I always thought Mom made tuna casserole so often because it was just about the best food in the world, and we didn't have it every day because she didn't want to spoil us! And hers was strictly by the book: canned tuna (grated was best and cheapest, no longer apparently available), noodles, cream of mushroom soup. Period. I introduced my wife to it - she had the misfortune to grow up in more privileged surroundings - and she adores it. I add a bit of sour cream, an egg, frozen baby peas and cheese.

                                1. re: Will Owen

                                  Those frozen baby peas are essential! Love that bit of pop in the mouth.

                                2. re: smtucker

                                  An excellent and well-stated point, smtucker.

                        2. re: southernitalian

                          I occasionally make lasagna with cottage cheese blended with Parmesan, spices, and egg. My normal version uses a white sauce in place of the ricotta. I cannot stand ricotta—both the flavor and the mouth feel.

                          1. re: southernitalian

                            OMG, SI, i despise cottage cheese - and that person should be apprehended and brought to justice! lol

                            1. re: southernitalian

                              I just read the bit about smtucker's negative and MplsMary's positive associations with tuna casserole to my dad (born 1934, Brooklyn, Irish-Catholic). His response: tuna noodle casserole was a hell of a lot better than the dry fried cod cakes that were the alternative on Fridays. Context is everything...

                              1. re: southernitalian

                                I'm sorry for that, but did you give the dish back to my mother?

                                1. re: southernitalian

                                  I personally can't stand lasagna with cottage cheese; I don't like the random lumps.

                                  1. re: southernitalian

                                    I swear I have an awsome tuna casserole. Mmmm

                                  2. My MIL makes something similar - stuffing mix, zuchinni, cream of something soup... not sure what else, but it was intolerably salty.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: jujuthomas

                                      My MIL makes her lasagna with cottage cheese, pepperoni and those Kraft indiviually wrapped cheese slices. She is very proud of it because she came up with the recipe on her own.

                                      1. re: Buttons

                                        that just sounds REALLY gross! I thought my MILs habit of putting cheese slices on frozen pizza was bad! It's crazy what people do, isn't it?!?! :)

                                        1. re: Buttons

                                          Ding, ding, ding, I think we have a winner! I hope you do most of the holiday cooking, Buttons

                                          1. re: Buttons

                                            Gross. My sis IL ALWAYS makes green bean casserole (you know the one) barf

                                          2. re: jujuthomas

                                            That is part of what has me so disturbed. All the sodium, fat and chemicals that must be in this stuffed chicken casserole. Does anyone know the nutritional information? Man, I would like to see those numbers!

                                          3. I simply can't top this. That is amongst the most disgusting food-like recipes I have ever seen.

                                            1. I nominate two of my mother's specialties, remembered from my childhood. The first is a version of the infamous tuna casserole. Canned tuna, cream of mushroom soup, canned peas, and a bag of crushed potato chips are layered in a baking dish and baked for 30 minutes at 350. This dish has left psychic scars.

                                              The second is "a salad," rather than a casserole, but its awfulness merits mention here. My mother would combine two cans of pork & beans, a little chopped onion, one chopped tomato, and two whopping spoons of mayo, all mooshed together. The unfortunate result is a bright pink sauce with brown beans and tomato chunks swimming in it. Not knowing any better, my sister once took this dish to a pot luck dinner. She was mortified that no one touched the salad all evening, and she slunk from the party without claiming the salad or the bowl it was in.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: camilled

                                                That tuna casserole sounds disturbingly familiar and I was just about to nominate my mother's 'creation' here when I saw your post. My mother's version had BBQ potato chips on top, to add that zesty touch, I guess. God, I still have nightmares about that dish.

                                                Mom is actually a good cook but she went through a scary casserole phase in the early 70's.

                                                1. re: camilled

                                                  All thought both sound revolting, I don't think they beat my original nomination - after all, the stuffed chicken casserole has no veggies! :)

                                                  1. re: camilled

                                                    My mom made the very same tuna casserole and it is the ULTIMATE comfort food for me. Although she always used frozen peas, which IMO, taste a little better.

                                                    To each his own I suppose!

                                                  2. This is a bit off ... but. I went to a party and there were 2 green bean casseroles. It was pot luck. One got ate, the other no. There were 2 sides to the table with basically equal food for the most part but everyone picked the one green bean over the other.

                                                    I tasted both. Almost identical. But the one put in a plain aluminum tin, no garnish, just text book.

                                                    The other a nice dish. layed some toasted baguettes around the side with melted cheese and sauteed mushrooms, added a little pimentos to the dish. did the onions in the center and pre toasted the breadcrumbs which were fresh. Same flavor just a few presentation tips. It looked gorgeous. It was gone before 5 scoops out of the other 1. So does presentation or the way you serve the meal help. Absolutely. Now taste, of course, but we do eat with our eyes first. It can make a simple dish look great or a simple dish look like crap (sorry) but it is true.

                                                    I have had frozen spinach just slopped on a plate, then I have used frozen spinach added a few things like grated lemon, fresh herbed butter, patted it dry, and some fresh parm. Nothing fancy but what a difference for basically the same dish and just a new way to present it.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: kchurchill5

                                                      Sandra Lee semi-homemade!

                                                      She is pure evil. :)

                                                      1. re: lynnlato

                                                        True, but it was good. I have to admit. I would make a similar version from scratch, but it still was decent and it shows that sometimes people do eat what they see first.

                                                        And I don't like Sandra, she is annoying, but she has some decent ideas. Not many, but a few. I am n ot totally against it. I don't like to cook that way as a habit, but honestly, yes sometimes I have 15 minutes to make dinner for 4. Yeah I may take a few hints or shortcuts. I don't think there is anything wrong with that.

                                                        And my friend asked me to bring a green bean casserole, she meant the standard green bean casserole once. I did because she asked me. I used fresh beans, fresh ingredients, and the other one, was finished and part of mine was left. They liked the original version.

                                                    2. Three thinghs that are delicious separately but should NEVER be conjoined: deviled eggs, cooked jumbo shrimp, and crushed potsto chips. Layered and baked. A Lenten Friday offering at my (otherwise delightful and a wonderful cook at 86 as of today) mother in law's, apparently an old family recipe from her aunt who was also a great cook. I think maybe a 1930's bridge club special?

                                                      11 Replies
                                                        1. re: lynnlato

                                                          Unfortunately not. I can still see it...the recipe...its painstaking preparation...the finished article...it on my plate...aaaaaaaaaaaaghhhhhh

                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                            My sister, not a very good cook, once made a casserole of frozen spinach, canned kidney beans and tomato sauce poured on top, then baked. Need i say more?

                                                            and there was the unfortunate night someone served me a casserole of frozen fish sticks, frozen tater tots and cheese layered with something red that was either tomato sauce or ketchup, then baked. That was most unpleasant.


                                                            1. re: Miri1

                                                              "i know food and that wasn't it!"
                                                              don't remember what movie/tv program that's from, but it comes to mind when hearing of dishes like that. :)

                                                          1. re: Candy

                                                            oh candy! that deviled egg casserole is just plain *wrong*!

                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                              That's it exactly. The recipe must have been published in the Catholic Messenger or something similar since it was credited to a pre-Internet-influenced cook. I had suppressed the memory of the white sauce in it. Truly an appalling concoction (deviled eggs were never meant to be eaten warmed).

                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                dang, that's sacrilege against deviled eggs!

                                                            2. re: Candy

                                                              They should have called that pergatory casserole. YECH!

                                                              1. re: Candy

                                                                I love how they post a disclaimer at the bottom of the recipe.

                                                                "NOTE: Go easy on salt — the shrimp and potato chips contribute plenty."

                                                                Really? Thanks a bunch!!

                                                            3. http://www.saveur.com/search_results_...

                                                              The above link isn't what I wanted - it's just casserole recipes. But if you get a chance you should check out their casserole issue from a few years back - discusses the role of casseroles in American social/cooking history, why they were popular then, etc.

                                                              Also, can anyone remember the name of the website about strange food?... hilariously awful casseroles & jello-based nastiness.

                                                              17 Replies
                                                              1. re: Mawrter

                                                                Isn't it funny how Saveur "respectfully updated" some of America's most revered casseroles. Like tuna noodle casserole, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole (however they still used marshmallows) & chicken divan. That gave me a chuckle.

                                                                1. re: lynnlato

                                                                  I got a Sunset book at the thrift shop recently, "The Sunset Casserole Book", copyright 1965. My husband's family despises casseroles, but I grew up on them, and got it just for nostalgia's sake. For 25 cents how can you go wrong? Some recipes actually look good, but some made me laugh.

                                                                  Forgotten Shortribs: what a terrible name, but they claim "You can put this meat dish in the oven and forget about it all day". I thought they meant when you find some in the back of the fridge and don't remember where they came from.
                                                                  Lamb Parmesan, which includes cream of mushroom soup, tomato sauce, Marsala wine, sour cream and parmesan cheese.
                                                                  Weiner Mix-up, frankfurters, chopped olives, canned corn, canned green beans, cheddar, ketchup, and some spices: described as "Quickly prepared, colorful, well seasoned, and inexpensive".
                                                                  Beef Heart with Green Noodles "Firm-textured heart muscle will be tender when cooked slowly with moist heat. You remove the fat and cut away the tubes for best flavor." No, thank you.
                                                                  Chinese Tuna Casserole "Most supermarkets now carry in cans the Chinese foods called for here--crisp Chow Mein noodles, Chow Mein vegetables and water chestnuts." Recipe also calls for cream of chicken soup,but why with tuna I don't know. Actually lots of Chinese recipes, I think that was as exotic as it got back then.
                                                                  Lima Bean and Pear Casserole. Meat Ball and Lima Bean Casserole. Lots of lima bean recipes, although I don't remember eating any as a kid. Canned sauerkraut baked with orange juice and raisins, then topped with orange slices and drizzled with melted butter. Curried Eggs with Shrimp Sauce.

                                                                  Anyway there are some recipes that look good, but I think I'll just keep it for reading right now.

                                                                  PS My mother made that disgusting mess of a tuna dish, a can of tuna mixed with cream of mushroom soup (splash of sherry of course) and crumbled potato chips on top. I think I would have liked it except for those darn potato chips.

                                                                  1. re: coll

                                                                    My mother used to cook heart (stuffed - think about it, between the ventricles - and somewhere between boiled and braised). Gag-inducing to this day, although she loved it.

                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                      We all adored stuffed heart. Still do. Don't worry - I'll eat your share!

                                                                    2. re: coll

                                                                      OMG, I nearly spit my hot tea all over my computer this morning! The beef heart with green noodles sent me over the edge. "Cut away the tubes"... - good God!

                                                                      Now you've piqued my curiosity. I am going to dig out my Pennsylvania State Grange cookbook. That thing is riddled with stuff like this.

                                                                      Thanks coll!

                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                        I can definitely see potential to the sauerkraut, if you used bagged/jarred and some smothered onion - baking until the OJ reduced to syrup. I'd forego the sliced orange topping, though.

                                                                        Curious about the lima beans and pairs - can you summarize? TIA

                                                                        1. re: greygarious

                                                                          Let's see. 1/2 cup butter (or margarine of course), 6 cups lima beans, 1 can drained and chopped pears and 3/4 cup brown sugar. Half the butter on bottom and half on top. Two or three layers of lima beans topped by pears, topped with brown sugar. Bake 275 for 2 hours. They also mention if you want to take it to a picnic, you should wrap it in a thick layer of newspaper and it will keep warm for 3 or 4 hours. Good luck!

                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                            Oh, the HORROR! This is a new contender for the title.... Not sure what I was hoping for but it was not this. It might be possible to come up with something tasty using pear and lima but only if one went back to square 1.
                                                                            And 2 hrs at only 275? Even worse - not even well-caramelized, I imagine. As for the company picnic, only if you're the Orkin man ;-p !!!
                                                                            But thanks for satisfying my curiosity if not my palate.

                                                                      2. re: lynnlato

                                                                        I love that about Saveur. it is the only food magazine that gives context to things like casserole's. I would have never known that brownies had first been made with Molasses if it weren't for Saveur. They should do a whole issue on casserole's,

                                                                        1. re: lynnlato

                                                                          Hey Lynn - I can't tell if you're trying to infer that _Saveur_ is being sorta ageist/classist, looking down its nose at those casseroles... but I love Saveur *and* also agree that those accusations are legitimate claims. But if you read the article (or are a regular reader of the magazine) they give the backstory of how the typical mid-century American casserole came to be, who cooked it, why, etc.; and of course most of them weren't invented out of the blue. The casseroles referenced "exotic" foods but re-imagined with local ingredients, and for many mid-century cooks (and the advertorials that promoted recipes featuring processed foods), things like those canned fried onions (Libby's, right?) *were* 'the local ingredient'. Sorta! :-)

                                                                          So what I'm saying, badly, is that the new-fangled recipes that are reduxes of tuna noodle, green bean casserole, etc. only seem to crack open a tradition if you see the recipe on the back of the can as The One, The True, The Only. (A view which the corporate recipe writers would have promoted since it would keep us dependent on buying their stuff!) IME cooks working with more unprocessed ingredients don't have such a static notion of most recipes, since we juggle and vary according to what's available... good good spinach, maybe a very spinachy risotto; lousy greens that week, maybe more cheese or dried mushrooms... kwim?

                                                                          I don't think Saveur is saying "Ew!!! Tuna Casserole! What slop!" ... but I do think some of their readers are, and that the article tries to move us from that position to realizing the environment that caused those recipes to be developed and to become popular. Social values, cooking skill, contemporary tastes, availability of ingredients - big, BIG changes in the last 50 +/- years. To take just one example, even in the short 20 years that I've been cooking, the ingredients I've been able to source have multiplied substantially... I've made all kinds of changes to dishes based on what I could source then versus now.

                                                                          Well, I've written this long post maybe only to myself! Still not quite sure what you meant, LL, but it certainly got me thinking! :-)

                                                                          1. re: optimal forager

                                                                            YES! I was really hoping someone would know that one. OptiFor, you rule!

                                                                            Seriously, people, if scary casseroles are what you want, check out that website! You know the expression "to die for"? This is more like "to die FROM"!

                                                                            1. re: Mawrter

                                                                              The "Gallery" is included in my definitive historic trilogy of gawdawful culinations:
                                                                              The Gallery of Regrettable Food
                                                                              Jello: A Biography, and
                                                                              Atomic Kitchen
                                                                              Thank God for grandmothers who knew not of these things.

                                                                            2. re: optimal forager

                                                                              One of my all-time favorite websites. I knew that was what Mawrter was getting at, too!

                                                                            3. re: Mawrter

                                                                              Are you thinking of the Mackerel Pudding Plan, with the snarky comments about weight watchers cards form the 70s? I do love that book.

                                                                              1. re: kolgrim

                                                                                No, I don't think so... but I'm intrigued now! I'll have to try to get a look at that! Thanks, Kolgrim!

                                                                                ... OMG - just looked it up, and ... YES, I remember the online version of that book at Candyboots. LOVE it. http://www.candyboots.com/wwcards.html

                                                                                1. re: Mawrter

                                                                                  I remember this too!! Thanks a ton for posting.

                                                                            4. Bologna casserole. From a utility company cookbook that also had the three can casserole recipe where you had a list of canned meats, another of canned veggies and the last list was canned soup. You were supposed to chose one from each column.

                                                                              Bologna casserole was chopped bologna, canned peas, and cream of mushroom soup with some other stuff I can't remember. Thankfully.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: mtngirlnv

                                                                                Nothing like utility companies to know their way around food. I remember some truly frightening recipes in the "newsletter" that PG&E (in Berkeley) put out.

                                                                              2. My friend's girlfriend wanted to bring something to Thanksgviing dinner, said she would make the green bean casserole. Not my favorite, but OK, some of the people will eat it. Nope, she made it with canned brown gravy with mushrooms instead of cream of mushroom. Nobody ate any, except her, and she didn't eat much. The killer part is I was at her house the next day and the can of fried onions was on the counter, with the correct recipe right on the label!

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: jacquelyncoffey

                                                                                  Yuck. Probably just a mistake on her part, green bean casserole is one of my comfort foods...when I studied abroad in Germany, a group of us made it for a bunch of Germans on Thanksgiving, they were suspicious at first but ended up liking it!

                                                                                2. The first time I ever tasted green bean casserold was at a church potluck decades ago. I encountered the woman who had made it and she delightedly told me how she did it. Canned green beans, canned asparagus, cream of mushroom soup, and canned fried onions. I do remember that I liked it! It sounds awful now. I think casseroles were a way station on the way toward a more creative cuisine. You combined stuff in new ways, and baked it. This was more interesting than plain beef, mashed potatoes, boiled canned veggies, canned peaches. Casseroles don't work as well now because both partners often work and there isn't enough time to bake dinner. And we want fresher food, with brighter taste.

                                                                                  13 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                    Great analysis, sueatmo. Your mention of canned peaches stirred memories for me. I used to eat those things all the time - I had totally forgotten. And here I thought my mother was a healthy cook - ha! LOL

                                                                                    1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                      canned peach with cottage cheese -- it tastes good!

                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                        Home-canned Elberta peaches from southwestern Ontario - the food of the gods. My father and my husband and I saved the last jar of my dear departed mother's canned peaches for the Christmas after her death. A sacrament of a sort.

                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                          Hey AP, I'm "not so much" for cottage cheese. And the peaches, in all that syrup, would send me into a diabetic coma now - ha! Aaaaah, but its good to reminisce.

                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                            Wow, I haven't had that in years but I sure lapped it up in the 70s, when it wasn't peach season. Remember on The Sopranos when Carmella is asking her mom to walk her through a recipe and she starts to try to use regular peaches - her mom cuts her off and says no no no, you have to use canned peaches because you need the syrup. True, right?

                                                                                            I love talking old-skool recipes like that and re-doing them for modern tastes and availability. I'm so not interested in canned peaches (although I'd sure love to try some homemade like Buttertart's mama's!) but surely you could make Carmella's family's recipe with some real peaches and simply syrup? That's fun for me...

                                                                                            1. re: Mawrter

                                                                                              real peaches just aren't the same. they're delicious in their own right, but the canned peach is sui generis. it's sweet, it's velvety, it's....dependable!!

                                                                                              and i like your post above, in defense of the thrifty casserole.

                                                                                              i *like* casseroles, for the most part -- even if they have campbell's cream of mushroom soup! (i have a killer eggplant-cheddar casserole with ritz crackers.....).

                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                If you can find some peaches from Italy, they come in glass jars, in a way they are even better than fresh. I know, I have a great peach farm right down the block, but this is different.Glad you reminded me, I'm going to be near an Italian specialty shop that has them this week and will have to stock up. They're call Pesche allo Sciroppo, 'o Sole 'e Napule is the brand. When we were in Italy, we ended up at a couple of hotel breakfast buffets and I kept trying to figure out how the peaches were so tender, but not like fresh, and now I've figured it out.

                                                                                                1. re: coll

                                                                                                  i'll look at my local italian store, but i don't recall seeing those peaches.

                                                                                                  there is a place called litteri's that is nearby here in washington, d.c., and it supposedly has a great stock of italian foodstuffs at good prices. i'll check there!

                                                                                                  thanks for the tip! happy independence day!

                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                    I've never had the Italian ones - but I find the peaches and other glass-jarred fruits at Trader Joe's to be far better than typical canned. TJ's are a little firmer, packed in white grape juice for a light-syrup taste. Until you have had them in glass you don't realize how much metallic taste is in canned peaches.

                                                                                                    1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                      ooh thanks greygarious, i'm headin' to tj's today, and will try and remember them!

                                                                                                      1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                        I want some, right now! Thanks for the pointer.

                                                                                                    2. re: coll

                                                                                                      Costco carried jarred peaches. They are really good. Firm, yet slippery sweet. My grannie used to put freestone peaches (of unknown variety) into a simple syrup infused with spice and let them poach on the stove at the lowest of low temperatures. For weeks after we would gorge on them with cream, fried pies or under something doughy. Oh. Sorry. Casserole...

                                                                                                      Um... peaches in a crumble, buckly or a slump. Those are casseroles. Bad ones are done with peaches that still have their skin.

                                                                                                      OK - now I am posting legally and nobody will be able to tsk tsk me for being off topic. TAKE THAT!

                                                                                                  2. re: Mawrter

                                                                                                    Occasionally we would get a jar that hadn't sealed totally and the peaches would be a bit spritzy (fizzy in your mouth). We ate them anyway - food safety be damned - and they were beyond wonderful.

                                                                                            2. My mom used to make this totally vile casserole. Cut a big can of spam into cubes, toss into a buttered baking dish, pour a can of cream of mushroom soup over it, top with shredded cheese and crushed potato chips. Sometimes chunks of margarine scattered over the top. Bake until cheese is melted and the whole mess is browned.

                                                                                              Surely this nightmare is worth a nomination....

                                                                                              19 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: neutral

                                                                                                I'll give you that nomination easily!

                                                                                                1. re: neutral

                                                                                                  DING DING DING DING!

                                                                                                  We may have a winner here. Spam + cream of mushroom soup + crushed potato chips.......surely this is the true axis of evil?

                                                                                                  1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                    No, because there is nothing sweet (or sweet and sour) in it to complete an axis of evil. If someone mixed in BBQ or sweet-and-sour sauce or Miracle Whip or Ranch dressing, then you might have a winner.

                                                                                                    1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                      Karl, you are a very tough judge.

                                                                                                      1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                        Ah ha, now I understand. So sub mini-marshmellows for the crushed chips and then we're talking?

                                                                                                        1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                          Yes. Mix the some Miracle Whip with the CoM soup and it would take the tarnished tiara and dead roses.

                                                                                                          1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                            Not so fast, folks. Did you see chef chicklet's entry? Canned mushrooms are among the very worst canned foods on my list.

                                                                                                            "I've never made it but I have a cookbook that has one with canned tamales and canned mushrooms, tomato sauce, chicken, rice, and chicken soup..... oh my."

                                                                                                            Permalink | Report | Reply

                                                                                                            chef chicklet Jul 01, 2009 11:58AM

                                                                                                            1. re: fern

                                                                                                              "Canned mushrooms are among the very worst canned foods on my list"

                                                                                                              Me too, Fern. Little, slimy slugs. <shudder>

                                                                                                              1. re: fern

                                                                                                                not so for me. I haven't used them in too many years to count, but I don't consider them vile per se.

                                                                                                                1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                  I have a small bag of frozen sliced mushrooms and frozen chopped onions. Back up in case I run out. Not for salads, but in a sauce they work in a pinch.

                                                                                                                2. re: fern

                                                                                                                  Granted fresh are the best, but I keep canned mushrooms on hand for last minute needs. I usually just dump them in with steaming vegetables. I get four cans for the dollar, so it’s worth it.

                                                                                                                  1. re: cuccubear

                                                                                                                    Strictly a personal thing for me, I just never liked them and still don't. I love many foods but there are a few things I'm just goofy about. Sometimes I can't handle raw chicken with my bare hands and must wear gloves! Same can be true of ground meats. I can be quirky and canned mushrooms just heeb me out. 4 cans for a dollar is a great price, wish I liked them, too! :)

                                                                                                                    1. re: cuccubear

                                                                                                                      that's cheap! 4 cans for a dollar?!

                                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                        I call it the "Used Food Store", but Sharp Shopper is the real name.

                                                                                                                        It's a discount grocery store with all sorts of off brands from all over, and it's pretty cheap to boot. They offer fresh produce and bulk spices, flour, grains, nuts, etc.

                                                                                                                        1. re: cuccubear

                                                                                                                          i love that, "the used food store." LOL!!

                                                                                                                  2. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                    Just knowing that you even deigned to type *Miracle Whip* and *CoM soup* in one sentence has caused me to lose some respect for you. I didn't think you even acknowledged the existence of those two products. Shiver.

                                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                      Oh, I grew up with both in my family (hello, I was born in 1961 to parents born in 1924 - the 1950s and 1960s were full of CoM soup, but my mother also cooked from James (Beard), Craig (Claiborne), Julia and Simca, to name a few). Not a fan of MW. I have repeatedly confessed in older threads that I am one of the many Hounds who have fond liminal associations with the CCoM Green Bean Casserole and who do not take kindly to attempts to "improve" it.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                        You're WAY younger than I. I'll also make a confession. Every couple of years I'll make tuna casserole that has tuna, CoM soup, green peas and grated cheddar cheese. Serve over white rice. I love it and don't know why I don't fix it more often :)

                                                                                                          2. I knew there was an Asian casserole that I used to bake! It was like 25 years ago, okay, do don't kill me. And this is before I knew how to use a wok, or make anything remotely Chinese etc. It was a casserole that was on my rotation, and if I remember right, we all loved it.

                                                                                                            1lb ground beef cooked and drained
                                                                                                            1 cup chopped onions
                                                                                                            1 cup cut celery
                                                                                                            1 cup uncooled rice
                                                                                                            1/2 cup soy sauce
                                                                                                            1/2 tsp pepper
                                                                                                            2 1/2 cup boiling water
                                                                                                            1 small can of mushrooms AND the juice
                                                                                                            brown the meat and onions, add remaining ingredients. MIX well. Bake in a 2 qt casserole for 1 hour.

                                                                                                            And then there was one with pork chops, water chestnuts and rice-a-roni. Of course the canned mushrooms. If I remember correctly I would even toss scallions on before serving. Gosh this seems like another lifetime. But I did, I made that stuff, and then a miracle, I learned how to cook Chinese food!

                                                                                                            1. Oh gosh, believe it or not the San Jose Mercury just published an absolutely vile sounding "Hungry Jack Casserole" this week! Diane Bittiker, you lost me at the quart of pork and beans and cup of barbeque sauce . . .


                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: operagirl

                                                                                                                Holy crap! You forgot to mention the Hungry Jack biscuits too - yikes! That recipe could definitely qualify for a nomination.

                                                                                                                I for one am shocked. I would never have expected to find a recipe like that in a San Jose paper. Central PA maybe, but San Jose? :)

                                                                                                                1. re: operagirl

                                                                                                                  Yes, the pork and beans plus BBQ sauce is what tips this into vile territory. If it were the ground beef, some decent veggies and spices, topped with biscuits, I might consider it. Hey, I am always up for decent and easy dinners.

                                                                                                                  1. re: operagirl

                                                                                                                    Ho Jeeze!!!!!!!
                                                                                                                    I made this with my best friend over 22 years ago, when we were in jr high!! A California native-her Mom was the one that taught us (the same woman that would boil ramen noodles, squirt ketchup on top and call it spaghetti-to my horror) but it's TOTALLY the same recipe. In fact, I recently came across the sweet recipe cards that we wrote to commemorate the recipe (I LOVE and hoard stuff like that) and I laughed so hard remembering my own dear Mother saying "If you want to make that for dinner, that's fine honey." - she probably HATED it but would never hurt my feelings...

                                                                                                                  2. I submit Ham and Banana Casserole.

                                                                                                                    What is worse is that you haven't any idea there are bananas tucked into it until you get it on your plate or worse... your mouth! I found out Paula was the culprit when everyone at the party was asking with these strange looks on their faces WHERE in the WORLD my most adorable neighbor found that recipe. She, being oblivious to all facial queues, merrily informed them it was a super recipe from Paula Deen.


                                                                                                                    1. reminds me of the time about 20 years ago when I made a meatloaf and thought that a cup of Courvoisier cognac would be good to the mix..
                                                                                                                      It was by far the grossest thing I have ever made and the taste was so disgusting!
                                                                                                                      DH and I still bust gut on how gross it was..

                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                                                        holy cow, beach chick -- a CUP of courvoisier? that HAD to be gag-a-maggot foul.

                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                          Should of used Captain Morgans.. ; )

                                                                                                                      2. Thanksgiving green bean casserole and crookneck squash made with egg as the binder both turn my stomach even thinking of them.

                                                                                                                        1. When I was a young bride my sweetheart of a mother-in-law did her absolute best to make me feel welcome. Because I'm Italian - thus exotic - this is what she served for my very first meet-and greet the family gathering.

                                                                                                                          "Eye-talian" Casserole!

                                                                                                                          Take two pounds of the cheapest hamburger you can find and pat very, VERY firmly into the bottom of a lightly Crisco-ed casserole dish. Spred lavishly with canned mushrooms and chopped pimento olives. Next, layer pre-cooked Minute Rice and top with two cans of undiluted tomato soup, Sprinkle heavily with dried marjoram and the cheese from the green can. Bake till the fat from the hamburger bubbles and oozes up through the rice and sauce. Et voila!

                                                                                                                          The relatives, thrifty souls, dutifully ate it all up but there was a lot of tossing past tonsils to get it down. I still cringe when I remember those good North Dakota farmers and their first impression of italian food.

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. re: boppiecat

                                                                                                                            Yours and the lima bean with crushed pineapple just give me the shivers. Yuck

                                                                                                                          2. I nominate.......(pause for dramatic effect)........

                                                                                                                            My rabbit casserole.

                                                                                                                            Mrs H doesnt eat Flopsie so this was supposed to be a treat for myself while she was away. I'd bought the bunny at the market and the butcher had jointed it. I browned it off with some garlic and onion and then casseroled it with some carrots and new potatoes, in cider and thyme. So far, so good, I hear you mutter to yourselves

                                                                                                                            Then I finished it off with cream and this is where it all went horribly wrong. I'm still not sure what it was. Maybe the cream was "off" and I didnt notice. But, it all went an awful and extremely unappetising shade of beige. Then it went sort of curdled (but not really curdled). Anyway, I tried to eat it and it was just vile. I got the bunny out and tried to eat it without sauce and just couldnt. Dinner ended up being a very nice cheese sandwich.

                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                              My mother is, and has always been, quite possibly the worst cook in the world. Nearly every dish she has ever made was smothered with cream of mushroom soup. On the few occasions she would serve vegetables, it was a box of frozen whatever (usually corn or lima beans) cooked beyond all recognition and then covered with AN ENTIRE STICK of Blue Bonnet margarine. Just a little background. It's somewhat difficult to decide which of her culinary treasures to nominate here. Her version of goulash could be it, but no - I'm going for the pork chop casserole.

                                                                                                                              Undercooked pork chops smothered in cream of mushroom soup, covered with a ton of cheddar and disgusting canned wax beans - then cooked until black on top.

                                                                                                                              1. re: janehathaway

                                                                                                                                I'm just realizing why we had so little obesity back then....

                                                                                                                                1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                  funny! And probably sort of true ...

                                                                                                                              2. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                THAT'll learn you to eat god's cute widdle creatures! :-)) (I can't eat rabbit, either. It's hypocritical, I know, but I.Just.Can't.)

                                                                                                                                I think had you cooked it and added the cream at the very end, after the cider had cooked down - lost most of it liquid & acidity - you might have avoided the curdling problem. Cream + cider would have to be handled v-e-r-y delicately. But don't tell the bunnies I told you!

                                                                                                                              3. Have a friend who tried to give me her recipe for 'Stuffed Soup' - it was frozen chicken breasts (the flash frozen kind that go in looking like angel wings and come out lookin like grey misshapen ufo's...) - and then you mix up 2 cans cream o'mushroom soup with DRY Stove Top Stuffing mix, AND butter (she used Country crock) and slap that on top of the chicken hunks, then top it with crunched up potato chips and cheese over the whole shebang- and bake.
                                                                                                                                I almost asked her if you then go out to eat?
                                                                                                                                Sorry N- love ya babe but can't embrace the Stuffed Salt. I mean...Soup.

                                                                                                                                1. I had a &^^%&* deprived childhood.

                                                                                                                                  Gonna have to make my own lamb Parmesan, weiner mix-up, beef Heart with green noodles, Chinese tuna Casserole lima bean and pear, canned sauerkraut with orange juice and raisins (thanks coll), and Spam and cream of mushroom casseroles MYSELF!

                                                                                                                                  So much to do, so little time.

                                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                    If you start up with all that you may have less time than you think.


                                                                                                                                    1. re: fern

                                                                                                                                      good one, fern!


                                                                                                                                      sam, how will you ever choose which delicious dish to start with, since each one is uniquely tempting?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                          You have now been demoted from one of my major gods to at least minor.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                      Umm, u forgot the Stove Top, Sam. Geesh.

                                                                                                                                    3. My mother used to make something called "cheese pineapple bake." She put velveta and canned pineapple in a casserole dish....and baked it.
                                                                                                                                      I never had the courage to eat it, but it looked just as bad as you might imagine.

                                                                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: perk

                                                                                                                                        Perk - you just can't throw that out there without some elaboration. Where in the Sam Hill did she get the "recipe"? Once she baked it, did she just eat it straight up? Was it a dip? I can only imagine the color of it!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: southernitalian

                                                                                                                                          LOL! I'm trying *NOT* to imagine the color! ;-)

                                                                                                                                          1. re: southernitalian

                                                                                                                                            Take a look at this Paula Deen version.


                                                                                                                                            I found other recipes, but no pix.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: cuccubear

                                                                                                                                              It has an average 5 star review....

                                                                                                                                              1. re: cuccubear

                                                                                                                                                It's actually really good served w/ ham. Eaten it at a lot of church dinners, that sort of thing.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: southernitalian

                                                                                                                                                I am pretty sure there is, or used to be, a Pineapple Cheese Whiz, or some other similar cheese-like substance sold in a juice-glass type container in the diary section. Maybe the brand was Old London?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: southernitalian

                                                                                                                                                  I misspoke (miswrote?) when I said it "looked as bad." That was really just what I was imagining. She never really made it. I refused to stay if she did. (I was visiting Florida from California....so that was quite a statement.) She was (and is) always a horrible cook.
                                                                                                                                                  But I would take the red eye to Florida on Christmas Eve, and I think she felt obligated to make something that resembled food for Christmas Day. Then, the rest of the time, I would cook or we would go out. Now that I think about it, I believe she would make the worst thing she could think of, until I finally said "Don't cook. No matter how tired I am, I'll make something!" And it worked. She never cooked again.
                                                                                                                                                  But where she got the recipe for that....I have no idea. Maybe in her head? Is that possible? Could I have inherited that?
                                                                                                                                                  Oh God, please, no.......

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: perk

                                                                                                                                                    I CANT BELIEVE I READ THE WHOLE THING !...
                                                                                                                                                    Holding my sick tummy I giggled the whole time....
                                                                                                                                                    many old memories.. maybe that is why I've become
                                                                                                                                                    a pretty GOOD cook...in DEFENCE..certainly not by example.

                                                                                                                                              3. rabbit pot pie. goshdarn barf with crust.

                                                                                                                                                1. I have to tell you that years ago, I read in our local newspaper that a large number of people had become ill from food poisoning after eating a dish one of them had brought to a family reunion. All I remember is that the dish included both chicken livers and bananas. These were somehow combined, with who knows what other ingredients, and then apparently driven in a car's trunk on a hot August day from New Jersey to Massachusetts.
                                                                                                                                                  Blows the mind.

                                                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: somervilleoldtimer

                                                                                                                                                      Where do yoy get a large number of people who would eat a chicken liver and banana casserole? Seems they needed the Darwin award anyway.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                                        It was some sort of traditional family recipe. Hard to believe, I know.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                                          exactly what I'm thinking ... I can't imagine I know even one person who would eat that.

                                                                                                                                                      2. I am not ashamed to say that I appreciate a good tuna-noodle casserole. It's a comfort food thing.

                                                                                                                                                        My nomination for worst comes from the side of a Triscuit box. Now, when I was in high school I'd cook for our family often. Mom liked having the night off (and even in high school I was a better cook - that's 'cause mom *hated* to cook). Mom cut a recipe out of the Triscuit box and said to me "you cook so much Chinese food, why don't you try this?"

                                                                                                                                                        The recipe, as I remember it, was basically a savory bread pudding with Chinese vegetables and crushed-up Triscuits instead of the bread. They entitled it "Egg Foo." I still can't get that out of my head.