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Chicken and Rice Casserole

Chicken and Rice Casserole

Cool weather makes me hungry for comfort food. Comfort food for me is the food of my childhood, which for me either means fried, sauce-laden or full of carbohydrates. Sometimes it is a combination of these. The combination of cool weather and the month of March make me hungry for some comfort food that my mother has been making since probably 1976. The reason March makes me think of this recipe is that my mother still makes this Chicken and Rice Casserole for my youngest brother’s birthday every year.

Mother told me the other day that she has all of the ingredients except the chicken purchased for the traditional birthday chicken and rice casserole. While this is not the way my mother or I cook or eat regularly she still makes it exactly as the original recipe is written with cans of soup, white rice, and a whole stick of butter.+.

I have made healthier versions of chicken and rice casserole for myself and my family dozens of times. However, the cold front that came in yesterday made me hungry for the unhealthy version. It might have had something to do with having had a few days of 60 – 70 degree temperature only to have a cold and snowy morning yesterday. My subconscious must have wanted processed soups and carbs to replace the spring-like weather!

The family must have been very happy that I needed comfort food, because they loved the full fat unhealthy version of chicken and rice casserole. I did not even need to serve the steamed broccoli on the side, because although it made a lovely accompaniment, the family was content without it.

I believe the real secret of this casserole is the low and slow cooking time. It allows the chicken to be cooked perfectly, but also lets the soupy goodness soak into the rice and marry the flavors together. The use of a whole chicken also contributes to the goodness since everyone can have their favorite piece and the juices of the cut up chicken flavor the rice as well.

If you are a fan of poultry and are in need of a dish of homemade comfort food this is the perfect dish. Give it a try and tell me what you think! What is your favorite comfort food or cold weather dish?

Chicken and Rice Casserole

  • 1 – 2 whole chickens (cup up)
  • 1 ½ cups white rice (uncooked)
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1 can cream of celery soup
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 soup can of water
  • Salt to taste
  • Paprika
  1. Grease a large casserole dish. The dish needs to be large enough to hold all of the cut up chicken pieces in one layer.
  2. In a saucepan on the stove or a glass bowl in the microwave melt the butter.
  3. Add soups and water to the butter and mix well.
  4. Place uncooked rice in bottom of greased casserole dish.
  5. Pour half of soup mixture over rice and stir to mix.
  6. Place cut up chicken pieces over rice mixture. Sprinkle chicken with salt and paprika.
  7. Pour remaining soup mixture over chicken.
  8. Bake for 3 hours at 275 degrees. Do not cover.
  9. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving.

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2018 in Dinner Recipes

 

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Egg-cellent Hard Boiled Eggs, Deviled Eggs, and Roasted Potato Salad

Egg-cellent Hard Boiled Eggs, Deviled Eggs, and Roasted Potato Salad

Egg-cellent Hard Boiled Eggs, Deviled Eggs and Roasted Potato Salad

Family is so important to me and always has been. Over the years I do not spend as much time with my siblings and their children as did when we were all younger, but I am still very connected to my family. When I got the invitations to my oldest nephew’s college graduation and party I knew I wanted to make something for the party. Then, I got the invitation to his brother’s high school graduation and party. They were having a combined graduation party and I got on the phone and asked my sister-in-law what I could bring. She told me what she was serving: meat and cheese trays for sandwiches and Sloppy Joes. I asked if I could bring potato salad or deviled eggs. She was thrilled and said that either would be great. That’s when I decided to make egg-cellent hard boiled eggs, deviled eggs, and roasted potato salad.

I have a favorite potato salad that is just a little different than the “old standard”. Also, since I knew I was having my oldest daughter (Daughter Number One) staying with me for a few days over that weekend making both dishes wouldn’t be a problem. It was also a bonus that the potato salad calls for hard-cooked eggs, so I could get that part of the potato salad done while I was getting the eggs cooked for the Deviled Eggs.

I posted the recipe for my Roasted Potato Salad in 2012. I highly recommend you check it out. It always gets rave reviews, and this even was no different than any other.

http://ortsofsorts.com/2012/01/17/new/

I put Daughter Number One to work on the deviled eggs. She and I have slightly different ways to make deviled eggs. She uses much more mayonnaise than I do, and more mayonnaise than anything else. I asked her to add a tiny bit of vinegar to them. She did, and we were both delighted with the results. Now, the best part of this recipe is the way that I am going to share the most perfect way to hard-boil eggs so that they peel without incident. Every. Single. Time.

Deviled Eggs

  •  6 eggs, hard-boiled
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon white vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Paprika for garnish

Halve cooked eggs. Gently remove yolks and mash with a fork until crumbly. Add mayonnaise, mustard, and vinegar. Mix until smooth. Add salt and pepper. Fill egg whites to neatly with egg yolk mixture until heaping. Sprinkle tops with paprika.

World’s Best Hard- Boiled Eggs

Fill a pan, large enough to hold the desired number of eggs enough that it will cover the eggs. Bring the water to a boil. Gently add the eggs to the boiling water. Return the water to a boil, and boil for 15 minutes. Immediately drain and run cold water over the eggs for several minutes. Drain the eggs again, and let sit until cool. Once cool, peel the eggs. Perfect.

perfect peeled egg

Give these recipes a try for your Memorial Day weekend food. I promise that the Roasted Potato Salad and Deviled Eggs will be appreciated by whomever you are cooking for, and you will never be frustrated by trying to peel hard-boiled eggs again!

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Picadillo and Sofrito

Picadillo and Sofrito

Picadillo and Sofrito

It’s been a busy couple of weeks with work and family, so I have not been able to write about all of the cooking I have done and shared in so far this month. I am not going to share all of the awesomeness at once, so be prepared for me to play catch up for a few days. I’ll start with recipes for Picadillo and Sofrito.

I did some cooking to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, I helped cook for a graduation party for two of my nephews, and I did some cooking for my mother’s retirement, which we celebrated on Mother’s Day. It really has been a busy month, and it’s only half over!

Let’s start with the first week of May. I love cooking for holidays and making food with a theme, and I absolutely love Mexican food and Hispanic food. I wanted to start with a dish I had never made before. I chose a Cuban dish that had a little edge, Picadillo. I worried that my husband and girls would not like it. The best surprise was when all of the girls told me they loved the dish and when my husband said it was better than any he had eaten since he was in the Navy and one of his Cuban friends took him to eat it in San Diego.

Picadillo

  • 1 pound lean ground meat, turkey breast or ground beef
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon capers, drained
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 6 ounces sofrito
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Cooked rice

Cook ground meat  in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until browned , stirring to crumble. Stir in salt, raisins, oregano, and cumin; cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in water and next 4 ingredients; cook 5 minutes or until slightly thick. Remove from heat. Stir in chopped parsley. Serve rice. Garnish with parsley, if desired.

I had never heard of sofrito, and was not sure I would be able to find it where I live. I decided I would read about it and make it myself.

Sofrito

  • 8 ½ garlic cloves
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 1/3 cups onions, finely chopped
  • ¾ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¾ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • ½ dried bay leaf
  • 8 ounce pureed fresh tomatoes or canned tomato puree
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Put the garlic into a tall jar or beaker, then process to a paste using a hand-held blender. Put a saucepan over medium heat and add the oil. Fry the garlic until browned. Meanwhile, process the onion in the blender. Add to the pan with the garlic. Lower the heat, add the herbs, then fry, stirring frequently, until the onion has browned. Add four-fifths of the tomatoes and cook for 30 minutes. Add the remaining tomato, cook for 30 more minutes, then season with salt and pepper.

I will be making the sofrito again and again and again! Not only did I use it in the Picadillo I also used it in a dish I made the next night, and ate it all week with chips. It was delicious.

This entire meal was top notch. Both the Picadillo and Sofrito were easier to make than I had expected, and it was incredible. It will make our regular meal cycle and raise our eating experience to a new level.

I strongly suggest that you give this a try. Throw caution to the wind, even if you don’t think you will like meat with raisins – try it. These morsels are worth the risk.

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Fried Mushrooms

Fried Mushrooms

Fried Mushrooms

Have you ever tried a food that holds so many memories that just one taste takes you back? For me, one of those foods is Fried Mushrooms.

It has been a busy end of Winter, beginning of Spring and so I have not been doing quite as much cooking of new or fun foods. I also have to admit that I have been a little bit lazy on the healthy eating. So, I’m going to share a dinner that we had one day last week…as long as you promise not to judge. Really. No judging!

As I mentioned, last September we purchased a Fry Daddy to make homemade French fries for my mother on her anniversary. It has been seldom used and sits in a lower cabinet.

The Hubs thought that French fries sounded great, and I knew that I had some fresh mushrooms in the fridge so told him that as long as we were getting it out, we might as well do a couple of things. While he sliced up the potatoes I found a recipe for breaded fried mushrooms.

Then I decided that if we were going to do this thing we would do it with gusto! As I tell my girls, if you have a whole ass, use it. Never do anything half-assed. I had some avocados that I cut up and a can of large black olives that I thought would lend themselves to battering and deep frying. (You’re not judging, right?)

Growing up my dad learned how to make breaded fried mushrooms for my mother after she had some at a tavern. He was always trying to duplicate recipes that he and mom had tried. Also, he was always trying to make foods that mom loved. They always make me think of him.

Below is the recipe that we used for our insanely awesome mushrooms! They were some of the best I have ever had. The avocados were fine, the French fries were delightful, and the black olives were interesting. I would like to try them again, with maybe a filling for the middle of the olives. I’m thinking of a spicy cheese mixture. (Judging yet?)

I definitely recommend trying these mushrooms if you are a fan of those little treats! I like to serve mine with Ranch dip or dressing. These are some delicious morsels.

Fried Mushrooms

  • 10 ounces whole mushrooms
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • 1 cup breadrumbs (my dad used cracker meal)
  • Oil for deep frying
  1. Heat the oil in the deep fryer to 375 degrees. Wash the mushrooms and remove any woody stems. Pat mushrooms dry with a paper towel. Coat mushrooms with flour, lightly tap to remove excess flour. Dip in eggs. Coat with bread crumbs. Set aside to set the batter. Deep fry mushrooms in batches, turning if needed to cook evenly, 3-4 minutes or until golden brown.
  2. Drain on paper towels or a rack and serve warm.

 

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2015 in Recipe

 

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Zucchini Noodles

Zucchini Noodles

Zucchini Noodles

While I love to cook and try new recipes and new techniques I am not one of those people who run right out and buy the newest gadgetry or feel the need to try out a new fad food. However, when I started seeing endless recipes calling for vegetable noodles, especially zucchini noodles, I had to find out how to do this.

On an occasion where I was shopping with my mother I happened upon a spiral vegetable cutter; a Vegetti. I told Mother what it did, and she was intrigued. We purchased one.

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Unfortunately, there was no zucchini at home that night. I made sure to pick some up at the store the following day so I could try my new gadget.

According to the package directions I could boil the noodles, microwave the noodles, or sauté the noodles. I chose the sauté method. My first thought was to only serve the zucchini noodles. On second thought I decided to make regular spaghetti, too. I’m glad I did. I personally enjoyed the zucchini noodles with the marinara. The Hubs thought the zucchini noodles a la Vegetti were good…as a side dish. He did not think they would be a good replacement for the pasta. Daughter Number Four was good with the regular or the zucchini, but Daughter Number Three was NOT having it.

I will definitely have to try using other types of vegetables in my Vegetti. Also I will find other ways of cooking the zucchini noodles.

Overall I think using this gadget was a huge success. 3 out of 4 people at my dinner table enjoyed the zucchini noodles – and no one would have expected Daughter Number Three to have liked them.

Whether you buy a Vegetti or use a peeler or some other gadget to create your own vegetable noodles, I highly recommend you try!

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Cherry Jam and Cherry Pudding

Cherry Jam and Cherry Pudding

Cherry Pudding Recipe

The weekend was a continuation of cherry jubilation. With the help of my assistant daughters I made cherry jam and an old family favorite, Cherry Pudding.

I had never made jam or jelly before. I know my parents had made some jellies when I was young, but I don’t recall being a part of it. The Hubs made apricot and cherry jam last summer. The apricot was amazing, but the cherry did not set, or jell. I have used it as a glaze or marinade for pork all year!

The girls pitted the remainder of the cherries we had picked last weekend. I measured out the 4 cups of cherries called for in the jam recipe and was astonished at how many cherries were left! In fact, after making the jam and the pudding and sharing a cup of cherries with my mother to make her own pudding, I still have quite a large amount of cherries.

Since I had never made jam before I used a recipe from the Sure-Jell pectin website. I’m glad I did. It turned out great! The only adaptation I made to the recipe was I decreased the amount of sugar it called for by 1 cup. It is plenty sweet.

 

The other success of my first jam making experience is that it was also my first ‘canning’ experience without assistance of a more experienced person. I’m thrilled to announce that all four pints of my jam sealed.Gas Service Cookbook

This recipe is one that my mother has been making as long as I can remember. I didn’t check the copyright date in the little book that it came from, but I did snap a pic of the cover. It’s called “The Way to a Man’s Heart” it and it was t out by the Gas Service Company. Oh!

As I was putting this together with my assistants I had to explain that this was not the type of pudding they were used to. I reminded them about the pudding we had tried on our trip to Ireland, which was nothing like the puddings they were used to. Then I quickly explained that this was not Black or White pudding and there was NO blood in this pudding, except cherry blood. After I pulled the finished product out of the oven it was all I could do to keep their little fingers out of it. I didn’t want them to burn their fingers in the molten hot cherry goodness! We let it cool and then served with some vanilla bean ice cream. I think they were glad they waited, but I had to keep their fingers out of it the rest of the day.

 

Cherry Pudding

As I said, this recipe was as big of a hit with my girls as it has always been with me. Daughter Number Two even liked it, and she is not a fan of cherries.

Stay tuned to see what other great things we make with the remainder of our fresh cherries during this summer’s Cherry Jubilation!

Fresh Cherry Jam

  • 4 cups fresh pitted cherries
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 box Sure-Jell Fruit pectin
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  1. Bring boiling-water canner, half full with water, to simmer. Wash jars and screw bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water. Pour water not quite but just prior to boiling over flat lids in a saucepan off the heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain jars well before filling. Chop washed, stemmed, and pitted cherries. (I used my food processor and chopped some fine and some a little more coarse) Measure exactly 4 cups of the prepared cherries into 6- or 8-qt. saucepot. Stir in lemon juice.Stir pectin into fruit mixture in saucepot. Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar and extract. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 min., stirring constantly. Remove from heat; skim off any foam with metal spoon.Ladle immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two-piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Place jars on elevated rack in canner. Lower rack into canner. (Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add boiling water, if necessary.) Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 10 min. Remove jars and place upright on a towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middles of lids with finger. (If lids spring back, lids are not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)

 

Cherry Pudding

  • 2 cups liquid (cherry juice and water)
  • 1 cup canned cherries (I used fresh)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons butter

Pudding Foundation

  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  1. Combine first 4 ingredients and cook 10-15 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

  3. Grease a casserole dish. 

  4. Cream butter and add sugar gradually and mix until creamy. 

  5. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together 3 times and add alternately with milk. 

  6. Pour Pudding Foundation into greased pan and pour cherry syrup mixture over the top. Bake 30-35 minutes, until top is golden brown and set.

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2014 in Dessert Recipes, Recipe

 

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