We’re bored with life. There is an exorbitant amount of boredom in our world right now. The weekend went as weekends go and now, it’s Monday again. Same old. The snow is melting, time is marching on and bloopey bloopey. This is the kind of boredom that makes you burn inside, you want to scream just to do something about the burning feeling. I call this late February in Minnesota.
Friday I was hopeful and cheery but that’s because it was Friday and as they go, quite a promising chance for fun over the weekend. Going to Target and the food co-op wasn’t cutting it for my enjoyment as a food enthusiast this weekend. I don’t know what’s exactly going on but does this happen to you? I can’t find pleasure in the things that usually make me happy; they are menial chores these days. I’ll get over it.
The trails are muddy/snowy, I am not in the mood to read and we hate wasting gas, so driving around was out of the question. That’s about all we have for cheap thrills. We spent Sunday watching National Geographic-esque shows about snakes, bears and tribes. I tried a Nutella pudding recipe that didn’t turn out as pudding nor did it have any Nutella flavor. I wasn’t even in the mood to cook. I need a serious change of scenery, something inspirational.
A few weeks ago, I was in the mood not only to cook but to create something different from my other recipes. (Even though it turned out to be a shepherd’s pie one way, which is no stranger in this household; I think it’s unique.) I call it potato chip, mushroom and tuna casserole. I decided that you could top it with mashed potatoes or potato chips. Inspiration came from my mom’s tuna and chip dip (I think this was my grandma’s recipe); a creamy dip from my childhood-best with Seyfert’s potato chips. I believe that tuna and chips are great together. (I also think that a large amount of pepper in tuna dip is amazing but that has nothing to do with this recipe.) For my created dish, I didn’t have potato chips but had plenty of taters in the pantry so otherwise, salty chips would’ve been the topper.
Mashed Potato or Potato Chip, Mushroom and Tuna Casserole
Serves 4 to 6
4 large Idaho potatoes, washed, peeled, cut into even pieces to boil for mashed potatoes
3 tbsp butter
½ cup milk
or 2 cups crushed potato chips
2 tsp olive or canola oil
1 cup fresh button mushrooms, chopped coarsely
½ onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp thyme or rosemary leaves (fresh or dry)
½ cup green olives with pimentos, chopped-optional
1 to 2 tsp cayenne, Old Bay or Cajun seasoning
2 to 3 tbsp hot sauce-optional
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 cups canned tuna, drained
3 tbsp cheddar cheese, shredded
Preheat the oven to 375. If you are topping the dish with mashed potatoes, follow the next few steps. If not, skip and crush the potato chips. Boil a pot of water for the potatoes. Peel, wash and cut them. Add the potatoes to the boiling water with a pinch of salt. (Be sure that the water covers them.) Boil until soft, drain and mash with the butter, salt/pepper and milk. Set aside.
In a skillet, add the oil over low/medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, 6 to 8 minutes then add the garlic and mushrooms. After the mushrooms softened, add the thyme or rosemary leaves. Cook for a few minutes until fragrant and stir in the olives (optional), seasoning, hot sauce (optional), salt/pepper and heavy cream. Stir for a few minutes, and then stir in the tuna. Remove from the heat, place in a casserole dish and either top with the mashed potatoes or place the cheese over the tuna mix and top with the potato chips. If using the mashed style, place the cheese on the top of them. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.