Friday, February 7, 2020

Keep Calm and Carry On Casserole

Since Wednesday I have had a hankering for Mrs. McNally’s Spinach Casserole. Tonight I finally made it. I didn’t have all the ingredients, so I made do. 

The first time I made this casserole, I wrote a note in the recipe.  
Made this on Sep 24, 2019 (the day Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced formal impeachment proceedings against President Trump).

So it’s no wonder I had a yearning for it this week.  Wednesday the Senate had their  shameful vote to acquit in President Trump’s impeachment trial.  The President has wasted no time in exacting revenge on his opponents.  Today he fired two of the witnesses, and also a witness’ brother (who was himself not a witness).  I understand that he wouldn't want people who testified against him to be working in his administration.  But you could have them leave quietly, rather than have them escorted out in front of the media.  And it seems to me that retaliating against your opponent’s family is the stuff of despots.

The reason I couldn’t make the casserole on Wednesday was because I had to attend a rally to inform my Senator that I reject his coverup of the President’s abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.  One of my Senators has a deficit of integrity, courage, and democracy.   My other Senator voted to convict.

I owe a debt to Mrs. McNally (whom I may have met once).  Not only does her casserole provide a vegetable in a format that most of my family will eat, but it provides calm and stability on our dinner table. 

I also owe a debt to Marianne and to Tony, who live at opposite ends of the country, without whom I would not have this recipe.  None of us are related to each other or to Mrs. McNally, but all of us have a bond formed through the Music Interest Floor on Wilder 9 and the MIF Annex on Wilder 8, in the early 1980s.

Tonight for dinner I also made fresh-baked bread, from store-bought frozen bread dough.  It tasted fine but it didn’t rise very much so it looked a little odd for a loaf of bread.  The Common Household Husband brought Younger Daughter home from college for a weekend visit.  He saw the bread and said it looked like a manatee, which it kind of did, except without the fins and tail.  The dinner conversation went thusly:
Husband:  I’m just tired and worn out tonight.
Younger Daughter:  Like the antelope.
Husband:  What?
YD: Like the antelope being chased by the lions.
Me:  Did you say Yenta Loaf?  I thought maybe you were referring to the bread, which Dad said looks like a manatee.
Husband:  Yenta Loaf – a loaf that knows all your business.
YD:  The Loaf of Knowledge.
YD:   What other news is there?
Me:  Let’s see… I made a speech at the protest on Wednesday.
YD:   What did you say?
Husband:   Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears!  I come not to bury Caesar but to market his merchandise.
YD:   Now $5.99!  New stabby knives!
Husband: Buy here – these coins inscribed with Caesar’s face!
YD:   Buy a pancake that has Caesar’s face burned onto it!
Me:  What?!
YD:   It’s like when people see the image of Jesus in a potato chip.
Me:  Ooooh.  Those people have overactive imaginations.  Besides, what does Jesus look like?  Where’s the original picture of Jesus?
Husband:  We need to dig up the Dead Sea video tapes.  Or ask a Dead Sea Squirrel.

The spinach casserole was very popular and there is none left.  Thanks, Mrs. McNally!

Mrs. McNally’s Spinach Casserole
(the original recipe)

2 packages frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
1 small jar sliced mushrooms (or 2 jars)
2 cups Italian bread crumbs (or 1 cup Bulgar, cooked)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
¼ pound butter
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
1 onion, chopped
1 egg, beaten

Saute onion in butter.  Add rest of ingredients to defrosted spinach.  Place in casserole.  Bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees.  Sprinkle extra cheese and/or bread crumbs on top.

Carolyn’s Keep Calm and Carry On Spinach Casserole
with Deep Gratitude to
Mrs. McNally, Marianne, and Tony
Mrs. McNally must forgive me for what I did to her recipe.

(Disclaimer: Both times I made this, I did not have mushrooms. It would be really great with mushrooms.  I think it would make sense to put in a smaller amount of bread crumbs, if you don’t have the mushrooms.   I also left out the salt, because I don’t like overly salty things, and the bread crumbs and the cheese already have salt in them.  My husband hates when I give food disclaimers like this.  So carry on. And keep calm.)

1 pkg frozen chopped spinach, defrosted.  (drained a little, but not dry).
1 cup Italian bread crumbs (probably should put less)
(I left out the salt and it seemed fine)
¼ tsp pepper
1 Tbsp canola oil or butter for frying onions
1/8 cup Parmesan cheese
1 onion, chopped
2 eggs (otherwise, it was too dry, but if you have the mushrooms, it probably wouldn’t be)

Saute onion in oil or butter.  Add rest of ingredients to defrosted spinach.  Mix thoroughly. Place in greased casserole.  Bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees.  Sprinkle extra cheese and/or bread crumbs on top.  (I forgot to do this, but the clientele ate it all up anyway.)

Bonus: Images of Jesus, not in a potato chip:


Melissa said...

Indeed, we need these recipes to nourish us and build up our fortitude in trying times. I feel like the revolution might hurt, but maybe it's become necessary.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Late in commenting but I agree with you and with Melissa.
I might need to try that casserole (when I can buy the ingredients).
I'm exhausted by the status of everything (politics, pandemic responses) and in awe of your ability to keep plugging away at injustice. Carry on, my friend and fellow progressive!