Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Mama's Tuna Casserole

This recipe is not trendy. It has no highfalutin vegetables like kale or rutabaga (in fact, it doesn't have any vegetables at all...) It uses that sinful ingredient that elite chefs sniff at and refuse to allow into their cupboards: cream of chicken soup.

Yet I really don't know how people survive without a recipe or two like this in their repertoire. It's quick to make, with ingredients I always have in my cupboard. Creamy, cheesy, and delicious, it's just right for those days when you feel terrible and need a quick, comforting casserole dinner. Plus, it has fish! Everyone knows we're supposed to eat fish once a week. Done!

It's also marvelously forgiving; you can increase or decrease the amounts to your pleasure (or to suit what you have in the fridge and pantry). In fact, mom never measures when she makes this. Neither do I.

1 lb pasta, cooked just to al dente and drained. Rotini, macaroni, farfalle, and shells all work well.
1.5-2 10.5 oz cans cream of chicken soup
1 12 oz can of tuna packed in water, drained
1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese + extra for sprinkling on top
Pepper to taste
1/3 cup milk
Crispy fried onions (like French's brand)

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine cooked pasta, cream of chicken soup, tuna, and cheese to taste. Pepper to taste (you can add salt, too, but honestly, there's already a lot of salt in the tuna, soup, and onions, amiright? I leave it as is, but feel free to add some if you're inclined!) Add milk and stir until desired texture (about 1/3 cup.) Pour into a casserole dish or 9x13 pan. Sprinkle with cheese and onions. Bake for 30-35 minutes until bubbly.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

DIY Magnet Board

Delys and I are in the process of re-decorating a bedroom for her daughter, and one of the things that it lacked was a place to display favorite photographs and art projects. So I took a large, framed print that hung over her bed, removed the backing, took out the print, and threw away the glass. I carefully worked around the screw eyes and wire that we used to hang the picture so that we could use them again. (I wish I had taken a photograph of the original framed picture, but I thought about it too late.) With the same chalk paint that I bought to refinish her dresser (link), I painted the frame with two coats of paint, allowing the paint to dry thoroughly between coats, and then applied a thin coat of wax.

Then I made a quick trip to Lowes and purchased a 24 x 36" sheet of metal that I had seen in the plumbing department on a previous visit. (It cost $9.99.) Our frame is 24 x 30, so I used the print as pattern, drew on the metal with a sharpie, and then cut it to size with tin snips.

I smeared a liberal amount of E6000 glue on the back of the metal, making sure that the glue was close to all the corners and edges, and then glued it to the cardboard that had been the backing for the original print. I piled big books on the metal hoping that the weight would help everything adhere better.

After the glue was dry, I put the metal in the frame and secured it with glazing points.

And here you go!