Monday, November 26, 2012

Busy Woman’s Thanksgiving Insider Tip

I LOVE holiday food (love, love, love it) but I always felt like Thanksgiving and Christmas are way too close together to kill myself cooking so many different things twice. So here is my insider tip. Make all your awesome casseroles and desserts only once. Make a double recipe of your cornbread dressing, broccoli casserole, mirliton (chayote) casserole, corn casserole, green bean casserole, Mississippi Mud Pie, pumpkin pie, etc. Buy some disposable tins from the store to keep it all in the freezer. Use common sense of course, not every food freezes well. The ones listed above are the ones I make and freeze. I started doing this a few years ago and it works very well for me. I’ll cook a fresh turkey and ham for Christmas but the desserts and casseroles I simply thaw out. This way I can spend more quality time with my little ones.
As an added bonus, here is my fully loaded cornbread dressing recipe.

This is what it looks like before going into the oven.

Angela’s Loaded Cornbread Dressing Recipe

6 slices of bread torn into pieces
1 whole chicken fryer boiled and deboned (save broth)
6 boiled eggs, peeled and sliced
2 chicken bouillon
1 lb Jimmy Dean Breakfast Sausage – (regular or sage)
Corn bread (3 boxes of Jimmy or 2 recipes of another brand like Aunt Jamima, cook as directed)
1 bag bread stuffing (any brand: Pepperidge Farm, Oroweat, etc.) will use 2-3 cups (maybe whole bag)
2 chopped bell pepper
5 stalks celery chopped
1 large onion
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 raw eggs
1 Tbs parsley or some fresh if you have some on hand
1 heaping tsp sage
Salt & pepper to taste
Garlic powder to taste

Boil eggs. Boil chicken until meat is falling off the bone. Prepare cornbread recipes. Remove chicken from pot, let it cool then debone. Keep the broth. Skim off as much fat as possible from broth and mix in 2 chicken bouillon cubes. I usually cut the larger pieces of chicken up with a knife. When finished deboning, put meat back in the broth to keep moist until you are ready for it.

While the chicken is cooling chop all vegetables and peel and slice eggs. In a skillet brown the breakfast sausage, breaking it up as you cook. Add and sauté celery, onion and bell pepper. When everything is translucent and the celery is tender mix in the cream of mushroom soup, parsley, sage and garlic powder. Once blended remove from heat and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. This recipe will make about two 9x12 inch pans of dressing . Spray the pans with Pam and set aside.

Strain out the chicken meat from the broth. In a very large bowl begin mixing everything together (with the exception of the raw eggs) including the remaining ingredients: cornbread, stuffing, salt and pepper. Hold out the bag of stuffing until very last. As you mix everything together slowly start adding the chicken broth to the mix. Slowly add the bag of stuffing and broth until it reaches the desired consistency and taste you want. Once it is the taste you like, add the two raw eggs. I like my dressing very moist so the consistency will be juicy.

Spread the dressing into the pans, cover with foil and place in oven, after 45 minutes remove the foil cover. The dressing will be done in about an hour when it is cooked all the way through and golden brown on the edges. If it starts getting too brown on top cover loosely with foil. I always freeze the second pan.

Enjoy my recipe.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Chicken and Broccoli Curry Casserole

With Thanksgiving around the corner I thought I would share a holiday feast favorite. This recipe has a bit of history. I was making the original version of this 15 years ago with it swimming in mayo and Ritz crackers. At some point I decided to add noodles, skip the crackers and go a little more healthy. This is what I believe to be the "Perfect" incarnation of this dish. 

1-2 large package(s) frozen broccoli florets (depends on the size of the bags. If you don't use it all, Hey, more steamed broccoli for later. It's a win, win!)
4 chicken breasts cubed or whole Rotisserie Chicken deboned if you are in a hurry
1 large onion
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/3 cup lower fat mayonnaise 
2 tbsp lemon juice or fresh squeezed lemon
Heaping 2 tsp curry powder (more if you really like it)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp white pepper (or black pepper, it is the same thing minus the color, i.e. bleach)
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
3 ½ - 4 cups cooked noodles (I use an entire box of whole wheat elbow macaroni)
1 cup hot water with 2 chicken bouillon cubes dissolved 

Cook noodles as directed, set aside.  Cook broccoli but leave firm, I sometimes microwave it.  Cook chicken and onions in a skillet then add the cup of water with the two dissolved bouillon cubes in it. While the chicken is cooking, combine chicken soup, mayonnaise, lemon juice, curry powder, salt, and white pepper in a large bowl.  In a large bowl combine this mixture to the cooked noodles. Next add the chicken and onions and lastly add the broccoli.   Once everything is well mixed, place in a large casserole dish.  Cover with cheese. To keep it from drying out, I always cover the dish with aluminum foil. This recipe is very forgiving to modifications.
Bake in a large casserole dish for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. 
Rotisserie Option                                                                        Raw Chicken Breast Option

Steaming tons of Broccoli

Cream of Chicken, Curry Powder & Ground White Pepper

Yes it looks strange, mix it together anyways along with the lemon juice

Have your "helpers" assist with spreading the grated cheese on top

Finished Product