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Cheesy Mushroom Casserole

By Kathy Little

Fri, Mar 28th, 2014
Posted in All Columnists

“Never say never” is a saying I should always remember. When I forget this saying, I look like a liar or a fool. For instance, as a teen-ager I hated the message “kissing don’t last; cooking do” that was immortalized on a plaque in my grandmother’s kitchen. Heaven forbid that I would witness my grandparents kissing in the kitchen, but I was young and quite sure that kissing would always be more fun than eating. Besides who wanted to cook if you had to do dishes! I envisioned a future filled with much kissing and much less cooking. Tuna salad sandwiches and chips served on paper plates seemed the perfect solution.

Fast forward to reality when I discovered that my husband, who is a very good kisser, replaced “I love you’s” with “what’s for dinner” (breakfast, lunch, or dessert can be substituted for dinner). Fortunately, kissing and cooking can both last in a happy marriage.

I was also 100 percent certain that I would never become like my mother who was always quoting annoying “sayings” like “Only boring people are bored” or “If you’re feeling sorry for yourself, just go and watch people at the Mayo Clinic.” I was also absolutely sure that I would never ever act like her. She loved grocery shopping. It was like a hobby for her. She would clip coupons and peruse grocery adds and then brag about all the money she saved. BORING.

I would never go to rummage sales, rush home with my purchased treasures, and then hide them under the bed so my husband wouldn’t find out about them until later. I would never cleverly stack them in the china cupboard and pretend these dishes had always been there. To actually remove a piece of glass from said cupboard required great finesse, time, and prayers that nothing would be broken or chipped. Something usually was. But did she learn a lesson from this? NO.

I would never hide boxed potato chips in the laundry hamper. I would never make my kids eat every last pea on a plate. I would never make a child eat potato salad which made that child gag; so that the child was forced to hide potato salad in her napkin or on the window sill by her kitchen chair.

I would never limit the number of hostess cupcakes a child could eat in one setting. I would never tell a child that she could cry and carry-on as much as she liked, but could she please go to her bedroom and close the door so that the whole family wouldn’t have to listen. You can see that my mother was an unreasonable woman. I was looking forward to going to college to escape from her craziness !

Hah! I no sooner escaped from home than I started to appreciate her. Some of the things she said and did made a certain amount of sense. Then I married and had children. My mother was actually a genius in retrospect. She had a “method to her madness”. Still she was a bit eccentric; she loved ironing!

Unfortunately, my mother remembered some of my “never statements”. She fondly recalled how I would never eat the kidney beans in chili or mushrooms in any food. Later in life when I learned to love kidney beans and appreciate their health benefits, she would feign surprise and make comments about how she NEVER thought that would happen. I took the high ground and replied, “No comment.”

It was even worse when I discovered fresh mushrooms which were cheaper and had less sodium that canned mushrooms. It was love at first bite. When I served this mushroom casserole, my mother had the grace to only smile and take a second helping.

Cheesy Mushroom Casserole

3 slices bread, cubed,

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup green bell pepper

1/2 cup mayo

1 cup fresh button mushrooms, sliced

pinch of sage

1/2 tsp. pepper

6 slices of bread

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup skim milk

2 eggs

1 can healthy request mushroom soup

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (or less)

Place cubed bread in a 9x13 cake pan. Combine onion, celery, green pepper and mayo in bowl. Spread over cubed bread layer. Saute mushrooms in a lightly butter sprayed skillet Stir in sage, salt and pepper. Spoon over vegetables. Spread SLICED bread with butter, cut into cubes. Spread 1/2 of the cubes over casserole. Beat milk and eggs in a bowl. Pour over layers. CHILL FOR 1 HOUR. Spoon soup over top. Sprinkle remaining bread cubes over top. Bake at 325 degrees for 50 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 10 minutes more. Yield 10 servings. This is a good meatless brunch or supper dish.

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