Chicken Rice Casserole

 
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File this under “Comfort food” as this is one recipe my kids will ask for whenever they come home.  It’s easy to throw together, easier still if you use chicken meat from a grocery roasted chicken, and great to make in the morning and pop it in the oven in the evening.  Serve with a salad and bread and you’ve got your meal. 
 
 
Chicken Rice Casserole
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
 
1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
2 cups chicken broth
4  half chicken breast, roasted or boiled , then diced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup diced celery
1 tablespoon chopped onion
1 can cream of chicken soup
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1 cup Ritz crackers, crushed
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup butter, melted
 
 
Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a medium sized saucepan and add rice; reduce to a simmer and cover.  Cook for 15-20 minutes, until all the broth is absorbed.  Set aside.
 
Combine the chicken, celery, onion, cream of chicken soup, mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt and curry powder  in a large bowl and mix well.  Mix the rice into the chicken mixture and turn into a large baking dish that has been sprayed with a non-stick spray.   Combine the Ritz cracker crumbs, almonds and butter and sprinkle over the top of the casserole.
 
Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes until golden brown. 
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Skillet Pasta and Sausage

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This dish is a good one to make when you’re short on time because it’s all done in one pan, and yet it’s still a crowd pleaser. It’s also an easy dish to add to, so feel free to go through your fridge and toss in some bell peppers, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, or anything else you find in there that sounds good at the moment. 
 
                                            Skillet Pasta and Sausage
 
2 tablespoons garlic flavored olive oil
1 14-oz link of smoke kielbasa sausage, sliced
1 small brown onion, diced
2 cups chicken broth
1 10-oz can Ro-Tel Tomatoes and Chilies
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 oz uncooked penne pasta
Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
2 cups shredded cheddar and jack cheese
 
Heat olive oil in large oven-proof skillet; add onion and kielbasa and cook until onion is soft (about 5-7 minutes).  Add the broth, Ro-Tel, cream and salt and pepper; stir until blended well.  Stir in the pasta, bring to a boil and cover; reduce the heat and continue to simmer about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
When the pasta tests tender, turn heat off and stir in 1 1/2 cups cheese. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and place pan under the broiler for just a few minutes to
melt the cheese. 
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Spaghetti Aglio, Olio, e Peperoncino

Super simple with just 4 ingredients, Spaghetti  w/ Garlic, Oil and Red Pepper is  a traditional Italian dish that’s great to throw together when you have little time but still want a great tasting meal.  Add a salad and bread and you’re set.  The pasta is the star of the show so be sure to cook al dente.
 
 7 oz spaghetti, cooked al dente and drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ to 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
 
Place the drained spaghetti in a serving platter; add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.  The amounts of the garlic and red pepper flakes can be adjusted to suit your own taste. 

Pasta, Peas and Pancetta

  • 1/4 cup Extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounce pancetta
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch green onion (whites and about 2 inches of greens thinly sliced)
  • 10 oz box frozen peas, thawed
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1  pound spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Cook the pasta according to directions on the box for less than 1 less minute then the box indicates! Just as it is done, reserve 1/2 cup pasta water for cooking with.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over med heat and cook pancetta until most of the fat has rendered; add the garlic and green onion and saute until soft (about 2 mins).  Add peas and pasta water and cook another 2 minutes. Add pasta to pan, toss with salt and pepper, then plate and top with Pamesan cheese before serving.

Penne a la Vodka

1 pound penne pasta, cooked al dente and drained
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 to 1 whole brown onion, chopped fine
3 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup vodka
1 14oz  can tomato puree, sauce or crushed tomatoes
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 generous pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
ground black pepper, to taste
grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
 
Saute the garlic and onion in 2 tablespoons of the butter and the olive oil over medium heat in a large saute pan until soft.  Pour the vodka into the pan, being careful if you have a gas stove! Cook and reduce for 3-5 minutes, then add the tomato puree, stirring until combined well. Reduce heat to low and simmer 2 minutes more, then add  cream while stirring continually. Reduce heat to lowest setting  and sprinkle in red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Finally, add remaining 1 tablespoon butter and stir well.  Pour the drained pasta into the sauce and, using tongs, toss to coat. Plate and serve with Parmesan cheese.

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