There are a lot of things that I didn't understand before I had kids. Perhaps the weirdest is casserole.
I never understood why you'd cook everything once, then put it all together and cook it again. It seemed like a profound waste of time to me, when I was working full time and didn't have babies.
Now that I have children, I totally get it.
Casseroles enable you to cook when it's convenient for you (like during naptime) and still have everything hot and ready to go at suppertime. They also make it possible to hide veggies. And they take some of the pressure off of the evening rush. You can wash all the dishes ahead of time, so that you only have to wash the dinner plates (or use paper if it's a really busy night!) and the casserole dish.
Casseroles make a ton of sense for parents. And they're nice, warm, comfort food for a snowy evening like this one. Tonight I cut up a package of boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked 6 cups of brown rice, and put it all together with a can of broccoli cheese soup and a bit of milk, as well as a package of "Mexican style" (although there is nothing Mexican about them that I can see) mixed vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, corn, bell peppers... Maybe they're Mexican bell peppers). I topped it all with cheese (colby, I think... something orange) and stuck it in what my grandma would've called a "slow oven" - about 325. When BJ and MG get home at 6:15 from gymnastics, it'll be ready to rock. Maybe I'll get real fancy and crumble up some potato chips on top!
I've always said that if they did an "Iron Chef - Midwest" the main ingredients would be cream of... soup, crumbs of potato chip, and Velveeta. I could totally win. Dessert would involve Jello.
I still don't understand Jello.