Cheeseburger Casserole

Last week was a little bit rough for me in a lot of ways, but I got a chance to do some fun stuff this weekend. R and I did some shopping yesterday morning and then we spent the evening with family and friends, and today, we slept in and lazed around for most of the day before a quick shopping trip this evening. She even took a nap on me, which she hasn’t done in ages, and I didn’t realize how much I missed all the time she spent sleeping on me when she was younger. After battling with her all last week, it was nice to see her chill out a bit this weekend. I’m sure that my being away from work and my computer (since I work from home) had a lot to do with how well-behaved and wonderful she was this weekend. I can’t tell you enough how great she was.

Oh, and did I mention that I got a new car? It’s much more family-friendly than my little Cavalier and we’re not stuck at home anymore, thank goodness!

Anyway, I’ve been kind of bad about cooking lately and we’ve been eating a lot of convenience food and frozen meals, but tonight, I wanted to make something different. A friend commented on my Facebook a few days ago about cheeseburger casserole and it’s stuck with me since. The traditional method seems to be putting some Bisquick in the bottom of a square dish, covering it with ground beef and onions, topping it with cheese, and baking until the Bisquick is cooked. It sounds easy, simple, and it’s probably pretty good, but admittedly, I’m not the biggest fan of Bisquick, so I wanted to try this another way. I came up with my own version of cheeseburger casserole and it was delicious. It was so simple and quick to make, I had to share it here.

You will need:cheeseburger casserole

  • 1 lb ground beef (my grocery store sells them in about 1.2-lb packages, that’s what I use)
  • 2 small onions, diced (you can adjust to your taste by using more or less)
  • 1 6-oz can of tomato paste
  • dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water
  • cheddar cheese
  • 1 regular-sized can of refrigerated biscuits, any kind
  • salt and pepper to taste

Over medium to medium-high heat, brown your ground beef. When it’s almost finished cooking, toss in the onions. Continue cooking the beef and onion mixture until the meat is no longer pink and the onions are tender, then drain off the fat. Return this mixture to the pan and add the tomato paste. (Here’s a tip: using a can opener, open up the top and bottom of the can of tomato paste, remove the metal lid from one of the ends, and squeeze the tomato paste into the pan using the other metal lid. You get almost all of the tomato paste out without having to scrape the sides of the can with a spatula or a spoon!) Cook the tomato paste for two to three minutes, then add a dash of Worcestershire sauce (I added about a half teaspoon or so) and the water. You won’t need much, so start with 1/4 cup and add a little more if it’s too thick for you, it just depends on your preference. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Once the water is mixed in, turn the heat off of the mixture and let it hang out for now. Pull your refrigerated biscuits out and check the package directions, then preheat the oven according to what it says on the can. Pop that thing open and cut each biscuit into four pieces. I used the homestyle variety of the Grands Jr. biscuits in the 12-oz can and it was the perfect amount for what I needed. Set your biscuit pieces aside for a moment and pull out an 8″ x 8″ baking dish. Spray the sides to ensure that the biscuits don’t stick, and then pour in your beef mixture. Top that with a generous amount of cheddar cheese (I didn’t measure this, I used about two handfuls) and top the cheese with the biscuits. Bake this for about 10 to 12 minutes or until the top is golden brown. They will not be cooked thoroughly yet! Cover it tightly with aluminum foil and put it back into the oven to bake for another 25 to 30 minutes to make sure that those biscuits are fully cooked when they come out.

After it has finished cooking, let it cool for at least five minutes before serving.

I was really impressed with how good this turned out and I will definitely be making it again. The hardest part is just making sure the biscuits are cooked. I pulled mine out after about 12 minutes and found that while the biscuits looked like they were fully cooked, as soon as I cut into it, the bottom of them were just mush. I baked them for another 25 minutes and they were perfect. This is definitely a winning recipe.

Mechanics are the Reason I Have Trust Issues

I’m pretty sure that wine was first created because there was a mom who, at some point, turned to her partner and said, “Honey, I need a drink, and this crap you’ve got right now just isn’t cutting it.” I am that mom today. I need a glass of wine or two. Or six. (I’ll just have to settle for hard cider, since that’s all we’ve got at the moment.)

I am less than a month from my wedding and today was supposed to be the day I went shopping for a wedding dress. Then we had severe weather that took out our power for a while. When it finally did come back, so many things weren’t working right: the central air, the box fan, the ceiling fan, the stove, the toaster, the washer and dryer, the lights in the kitchen. Possibly other things, . I found out today that the water heater also isn’t working right, which means no showers for us for the time being.

As if that wasn’t enough of an annoyance, my car is also out of commission. I was on the way home from the store last night with R and on the way back, my brakes decided to stop working. To make a long story short, my fiance left last night to park my car where we planned to get it fixed and walked home. This morning, we all got up too late and then rushed over there so that R and I could wait for two hours to be told, “We can’t start the car.”

At this point, I was sitting in the Applebee’s across the street with my toddler, who insisted on standing on top of the table to play with the light fixture above us because toddlers have zero self-awareness and even though I am dying of embarrassment because my child will not listen and is now standing on top of the table, I can’t get her down because she has a complete meltdown and then gets back up on the table again anyway. Such as the life of a mom.

But this isn’t about that. Let me back up a little and tell you a little bit more about my other baby: my car.

I drive a 2000 Chevy Cavalier. The poor thing has had it kind of rough, but I do my best to keep her running and in good condition. The past few months, my starter has been a little bit fussy; sometimes it will take longer than normal for it to turn over and start the car, but it does, in fact, start the car. I actually haven’t been worried at all that my starter would one day just quit working. When I took my car in to this place today, I went strictly to have my brake lines looked at and fixed. That was the only issue. And now, suddenly, it will not start, either. It seems awfully coincidental, doesn’t it?

Best case scenario, the total repair for replacing the starter and the brake lines (which are pretty much completely rusted and leaking profusely, hence the reason I had no brakes) would be almost $700. Worst case scenario, the total repair would be around $1100. That’s for the new starter plus the brake lines plus some of the other things connected to the brake lines that I actually have zero knowledge about, even though the mechanic explained everything to me in detail. Anyway, we’re looking at something within that range. Needless to say, my fiance is adamant that he would like to try to fix it himself but I am too stressed out and tired to deal with it at this point. I left my car in their parking lot, and hopefully we’ll get the thing out in the next couple of days.

After that fiasco, I waited around for a bit for a mechanic to give me a ride home, then changed my mind and ended up walking the two and a half miles (after walking about a mile earlier in the day) with R in the Ergo on my back. She slept part of the way since she missed her midday nap and was a real joy to deal with once we got home. I was sore and tired and hot and dehydrated and that walk was absolutely awful. I would not do it again unless my life depended on it, and even then, that’s a maybe.

This is a pretty accurate depiction of how R felt about our vacation.

This is a pretty accurate depiction of how R felt about our vacation.

Did I mention that we got back from vacation just two weeks ago? We spent five days on beautiful Lake Michigan and it was awesome. It was nice to get away and relax, and R really enjoyed it as well. She was so well-behaved, I wasn’t sure she was actually my child. My fiance and I also had our first date in almost two years that week while we were gone – as in, a date where Mommy and Daddy go by themselves and have a nice meal together without trying to keep a child from throwing forks into people’s faces or standing on top of tables. It was weird, but it was also nice to have that one-on-one time.

I wish we were still on vacation. We have one to look forward to at the end of the month, but it’s too far away. I need a break already.

I guess I’ll just have to settle for that cider instead.

Losing My Mind

Even though I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately and haven’t been getting much sleep at all, I find myself awake at two in the morning and I have to be up in six or seven hours to start my day. My brain won’t shut off.

I’m always thinking about dozens of things all at once. I mean, all the time. Is this normal, is this what it’s like being a mom? Because I didn’t sign up for this constant to-do list that I store in my head. It just keeps getting longer and longer and longer. Why can’t there be more hours in the day for me to do the things I need – and want – to do? I have so much to get done in the next couple of months, and I feel like I’m spending too much time working and not enough time with my daughter and every second of the day, I’m being pulled in a million different directions at all times. It’s mentally exhausting.

We’re going on vacation in just under four weeks. Mommy really needs a break from life for a few days – it can’t happen soon enough.