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Jul 1, 2009 08:45 AM

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!