Mikaela's Wake Up Call

The Casserole Crusader

There’s something in the air over in my neighborhood.  At about 5:00 at night if you drive around my cul-de-sac you’ll smell and maybe see what people told my husband he should fear.  Don’t think the worst here.  It’s not that bad.  Really.

I think I’m nesting.

This is a snapshot of last night:  sour cream and cornflakes competing with frozen potatoes and foiled one-time-use containers on the island in my kitchen.  Hamburger meat sizzling in the skillet with parsley and tomato paste filling in the empty spaces.  Noodles bubbling up in boiling water, turning the water white from the starch.  I’d taken out nearly every slotted spoon I own, a few spatulas, and every single glass measuring tool I own.  This is me in Casserole Mode.  This has got to be nesting, right?  I will not sleep each night until I complete at least two dishes.

As a loose rule, I don’t do casseroles. Maybe you do, and you can give me some guidance on which ones are worthwhile and which ones are not? Marcus actually thinks I only like to make a big show of cooking period on holidays (which might be true) and for parties I’m hosting or visitors.  Then, I will go all out with the most intricate dish you can find.  Not Coq Au Vin or something that intense, but maybe a nice chicken and orzo boursin dish… some Masa Harina cookies.  Otherwise, I do the simple dishes on a weekly basis—chicken in a foil packet, those bagged dinners with extra frozen veggies (great value at the grocer and just as fresh), a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  I smiled as I just typed that.  My husband is right.  I’m a bit lazy on a day-to-day basis in the kitchen.  And he ALWAYS does the dishes. 

If we’re not living the simple culinary life, one that needs a little oomph from Emeril, we’re out to eat.  We know our Columbus restaurants, for whatever that might be worth.  I enjoy the fact that we’re all over the city trying new things when we can, but my wallet probably isn’t feeling too positive about that fact.

So, this casserole-making thing is throwing me for a bit of a loop.  I want to be prepared for this baby, but maybe I’ve gone too far with this planned crusade to fill my deep freeze.  I have a list of 12 items I want to make in the next 4 weeks, including his Grandma’s Lasagna, my Mom’s pistachio pudding, and a mean Chili Dog Casserole that I stumbled onto a few years ago.  Throw in a salad and some fresh fruit when the baby comes, and Presto!  Dinner.

I think he’ll be making a run to Carfagna’s too… grilling will be a top priority this summer with our new little guy.  We’ll be ready for Little T.

We’ve been Getting Ready for Baby every Wednesday morning too on NBC 4 Today. No, I have not been making breakfast casseroles for the morning crew.  Instead, this week, we discussed the products you felt are “must-haves” when you bring a little one home.  We also talked about our consumer culture and if we try to buy too much for new babies.  Your opinions came in quite a range on our NBC 4 Facebook page and mine as well.  Here’s a sampling:

*From Andrea:  ItzBeen timers. I’m a mom of 17 month old triplets and these were a great help to remember when I had last changed, fed, or given them Tylenol. I recommend them to any expectant mother!

*Heather says:  Besides the car seat carrier, a swing. Both of my kids had reflux and without that swing we would have had a lot more sleepless nights (and miserable days).

*Beki adds:  Bumbo seat. We started using it at 4 months for our ‘would-not-pick-up-his-giant-melon-off-the-floor’ kid.

Is there anything you couldn’t live without?  What would you do if you had to go out and buy all over again?  It’s interesting how priorities and needs must change as infants turn into toddlers.  You all are teaching me a lot!

Here’s something for your older ones.  We have some great book picks up for April’s Read Today! segment.  There’s a lot of spring in our theme… from books with gorgeous pictures of gardens in unusual places, to poisonous plants that killed Lincoln’s mother.

Click here to see this month’s suggested books.

I think I may take a break from the casseroles today.  Marcus is about to stage a coup over the condition of our kitchen sink and the number of dishes I’ve been filling it with and not cleaning up quickly.  But if you have some great, simple-make ahead recipes, send them my way for another day!  You can email me at or find me on Facebook under Mikaela Hunt Thorpe.

Posted by  on 04/21 at 08:58 AM



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