A casserole is an easy week night dinner.  Just throw a few things together and bake!  Gluten- and egg-free Taco Casserole is a great example.  Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • 1 lb hamburger
  • 16 oz package of brown rice noodles
  • half package of cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning
  • 1 cup water

Let’s get moving!

  1. Play with children.  Feed their attention meters in hopes of good behavior while you cook.
  2. Step kids up with a movie, snacks, drinks, hugs, blown noses, blankets, trips to the potty, untied knots, etc.
  3. Empty the dishwasher.
  4. Fill the dishwasher with dishes from sink and counter.
  5. Wash pots and pans needed to cook dinner in the now empty sink.
  6. Dry pots and pans.
  7. Clear counter space.
  8. Feed pets begging for food at your feet.
  9. Check on children and repeat step 2 as necessary.
  10. Clean up any messes from children and stop any crazy behaviors (such as using an upturned chair’s leg like a balance beam).
  11. Look up recipe on Pinterest.
  12. Take out any remaining pans and utensils needed to cook.
  13. Fill pot of water and set to boil for noodles.
  14. Preheat oven.
  15. Take out meat and weigh correct portion.
  16. Package remaining meat to freeze.  Don’t forget to label and date the bag!
  17. Wash hands.
  18. Disinfect counter.
  19. Take out trash you realized as full when you threw out the meat package.
  20. Shoo children from the kitchen.
  21. Wash hands.
  22. Put new liner in trash can.
  23. Take out noodles and poor into boiling water.
  24. Fish empty noodle package out of the trashcan to read cook time and set the timer.
  25. Start meat browning.
  26. Look up recipe again because you’ve forgotten it.
  27. Find paper and pen to jot down recipe.
  28. Check Facebook.
  29. Check on children including, but not limited to: Breaking up a fight over Legos, getting misty eyed at Mufasa’s death scene, and applauding a performance of “Let it Go” sung into an echoy plastic microphone.
  30. Return to kitchen and gather remaining ingredients.
  31. Stir noodles and browning meat.
  32. Notice spots on casserole dish when you go to grease it.  Wash dish.
  33. Grease dish.
  34. Wash greasy hands.
  35. Investigate suspicious behavior from children, such as prolonged running water in the bathroom or extreme quiet.
  36. While waiting for noodles and meat to finish, clear the kitchen table for dinner including sorting mail; completing reading logs; putting away doll shoes and light sabers; throwing rocks, sticks or acorns back outside.
  37. Attend to boiling over noodles.
  38. Thank a child for “helping;” (for example, washing the hall floor with a sopping wash cloth).
  39. Consider asking a child to help set the table.
  40. Decide to do it yourself instead.
  41. Ask a child to stop doing something (such as cleaning the coffee table with the cloth used on the floor).
  42. Drain noodles in colander in the sink.
  43. Drain fat from meat.  Careful not to get the fat on the noodles.  Maybe you should have done this one first.
  44. Locate scrap of paper with the recipe on it.
  45. Ask child to leave the kitchen.
  46. Allow child to help finish setting table when his lip begins to quiver at your request to leave the kitchen.
  47. Add taco seasoning and water to meat.  Set timer!
  48. Poor noodles into casserole dish.
  49. Soak colander and noodle pot in sink.
  50. Offer a cracker to child holding her nose saying the kitchen smells yucky.
  51. Start planning sides for children who won’t eat casserole.
  52. Pour cheese over noodles.
  53. Stir meat.
  54. Say, “Yes, yes, uh huh” to a child without knowing what you are agreeing to.
  55. Stir cream cheese into meat.
  56. Prep sides for children.  For Taco Casserole, avocado and tomato slices pair well, as does the standby of bread and butter.
  57. Turn off meat and stir into noodles.
  58. Put casserole in oven.
  59. Praise cool things children are doing in the living room (like Ninja Turtle drawings, elaborate block dog houses, or a slumber party on the floor).
  60. Soak pan from meat.
  61. Clean up ingredients.
  62. Say, “In a little while” to a child asking, “How long until dinner?”
  63. Realize you forgot to set over timer.
  64. Check recipe for cook time, and realize you forgot to put cheese on top.
  65. Get cheese back out of fridge and take casserole out of oven.
  66. Sprinkle cheese.  (Recipe says to use a certain amount, but measuring cup is in the dishwasher).
  67. Put casserole back in oven.
  68. Start washing pots and pans.
  69. Go to living room to figure out what a child is trying to say to you.
  70. Set oven timer after realize you forgot again when child asked again how long until dinner.
  71. Wipe down counter and stove top.
  72. Hang out with kids.  Or sneak into the bathroom with a glass of wine and a book.
  73. Serve dinner.
  74. Watch kids only eat sides as you lead family discussion of the day’s events.
  75. Pack leftovers and wash dishes.

Approximate preparation time: 2 1/2 hours

Serves: 8 adults or 50 picky children — but your mileage may vary!