Throwback classics don’t always hold up. Just ask us about the time we tried a fun dip; our teeth may never recover. Some dishes, however, do pass the test of time and we have three tasty examples. Two are from our fantastic mom: a twist on the classic tuna melt and a comforting rice casserole. The third is a favorite not just because Porcupine Meatballs are an amazing name, but also a savory, easy to put together comfort meal. We hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane as much as we did cooking and writing about it.
Tuna Melts, Crunchy Casserole, and Porcupine Meatballs
Tuna Melts: Joanna Schulz
A throwback classic from our first favorite cook, our mom, we are in love with these melty, cheesy sandwiches. Added bonus was the foil packaging. A sandwich just for us!
- Aluminum foil or parchment paper works here. Wrapping the sandwich is key to warming it up and not over toasting the bun.
- If you don’t like mayonnaise or tuna, sorry. These aren’t the sandwiches for you.
- Cheddar cheese is a suggestion but any melty cheese would be great here.
- If you are not going to make the full batch, save the filling in a sealed container in the fridge. It will keep for several days. Make your sandwiches fresh and enjoy a non soggy bun.
- We have heard from some, ahem, desperately hungry people that this also works in the microwave. The bun texture suffers but it’s still cheesy and melty. A minute should do it, I mean, so we’ve heard.
Crunchy Casserole: Joanna Schulz
Can’t get a better recipe name that this one! The title comes from the chow mein noodles covering a comforting mix of rice and ground beef. Cream of mushroom and chicken soup make this a classic casserole while soy sauce adds some extra umami. Make this and watch the table go quiet.
- You can find chow mein noodles next to the La Choy products in your grocery store. Look for a blue can about the size of a larger can of mixed nuts.
- Assemble the casserole in the morning or the night before, without the chow mein noodles. Proceed as directed.
- A classic Schulz pairing is green beans on the side and a big glass of cold milk.
All our love to our mom, Joanna Schulz. She’s the reason we love family dinners so much. We wouldn’t be the same cooks or women if it weren’t for you. - Kate and Betsy
Ok, we lied. You can get a better name than Crunchy Casserole. Porcupine Meatballs are a fun description of these quirky throwback to the 70's meatballs with rice mixed in. As they cook, the rice pokes out as little spines like porcupines. Adorable and delicious.
- Use a 2 TB cookie scoop for quick work of the meat balls.
- Mix the salt, pepper, and worcestershire sauce right in the can. Save yourself the dish.
- Kate made these in a slightly smaller pan and ended up making 16 meatballs, just a little bigger. Worked fine.
- Freeze the meatballs on an sheet tray and make a half batch later with a 14 ounce can of tomato sauce and half the worcestershire sauce. Increase the baking time by 10 minutes.
From the Smorgasbord:
We shared some of our favorite childhood sheet cakes.