10 June 2013


Back in the day, when I was a young mother and wife, I was in charge of the cooking and grocery shopping.  Bob did all the outdoor maintenance, and with the two houses we owned in Columbia and the one we had in JC, required a lot of outdoor work.  Bob would grill on occasion and that was always a highlight.

My grandmothers were fabulous cooks.  My mom would say she wasn't a good cook, but my sister and I loved her fried potatoes with hamburgers, her eggnog and potato soup so much. She could make a mean grilled cheese and Campbell's tomato soup, too!  I loved to bake, and to this day, that's where I like to find myself in the kitchen.

I took a vacation day from school today and was looking through a variety of bags that have stuff in them, mostly stuff to be thrown away, but I did find one bag that held many treasures, Ashley's wedding picture disk, my Zonta application, jewelry appraisals, and a file full of tear sheets of recipes.

Do you remember making tear sheet files?  Back in the day of magazines, when you found a recipe you liked, you tore it out and filed it, to make later.  Sort of a low-tech Pinterest, if you will.

This file of tear sheets had many fun recipes that I had tried, some with good results and some, not-so-much.  One such recipe was Invent-A-Casserole that I found in an old cookbook.  I loved the idea of it so much that I used this Invent-A-Casserole idea for years.  Here's Southern Living's Invent-Your-Own-Casserole that came out much later, like 2003.

I loved them!  I love a warm, cheesy casserole with a side salad and bread so much!!  Getting to combine what ever protein, sauces, veggies, pasta, extras, I felt like a chef!  I'd proudly serve up a new combination weekly for years.  With leftovers for school for all!!   I am not exaggerating.  Years.

If you saw this on our table in the 90s, Invent-A-Casserole was in it!

Some time when Ashley hit her high school years, Invent-A-Casserole took a back seat and eventually took a natural death.  She was so busy, we were busy, and cooking at home became more and more a thing of the past.  It got to a point where we were eating out so we could eat as a family.

When Ashley was getting married, I ran across my recipe tear files again and found the Invent-A-Casserole article.  I was so excited!  I told Ashley, let's invite Eric over for an Invent-A-Casserole night!  Bob and Ashley looked at each other and said, "Let's not."   What???  It comes to light that neither of them liked, even a teeny tiny bit, Invent-A-Casserole night!  I was flabbergasted!  Heartbroken! Even a little, MAD!

Probably deep down I knew they weren't fans.  There were always a lot of left overs by the end of the week, and that is with me taking it for lunch nearly every day.  However, it was cooking survival and I did manage to survive.  Finding and sharing that file with Ashley brought back memories for both of us, with our own unique perspective.

Bob took over cooking when Ashley graduated from high school.  That was nine years ago and I have had some amazing meals since Bob became the chef in our household.  Who knows, maybe years of Invent-A-Casserole led to Bob wanting to learn to cook!  If that's the case, then we all won!


  1. That is so funny! I would love to sit down to one of your invent a casseroles because what's not to love about pasta, canned soup, and cheese?! Your take on it is very wise and mature. Gotta love a man who knows how to cook.

  2. Funny, we just had a conversation with friends about when could you use the term "back in the day". This seems like an appropriate time. Minnesota where my hubby is from, this would be an Invent a Hot Dish. :)

  3. This is a great post! Amazing, isn't it, how we find things out over the course of time. Good thing you didn't know they weren't as enthusiastic about it back then. Eating out is a survival tool for us as well. Chelsea is so picky since her Anorexia and we all enjoy our meals so much more when each gets what they are "hungry" for.


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