80s Style Chicken Broccoli Noodle Casserole

I am in a mood to share recipes recently!  I don’t know if I should add a tab just for recipes or not!  Eh, probably not.  A lot of the recipes I have posted have been reviews.  Or maybe I should do a review tab?  Hm.

Anyway, this recipe was devised during the late 80s, meant to fill up a young child and a hungry husband and be nutritious on a meager budget.  It ticked off all those requirements and managed to be delicious!  While the budget has expanded somewhat, this dish is a perennial favorite and still ends up on the dinner table for busy evenings.

Yummy, yummy!

Yummy, yummy!

8 oz. dry egg noodles

1 pound broccoli

½ red onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 10 ½ oz. cans cream of chicken soup with herbs

1 can milk

1 can chicken broth

1 tsp herbs de provence

1 ½ – 2 cups cooked chicken, cut up

1 ½ cups of grated cheddar

 

Preheat oven to 350°F, spray a 9 x 13 baking with oil.

1.)  Fill Dutch oven 2/3 with water and 2 tablespoons of salt.  Put on the stove to boil.

2.)  In the meantime, chop the onion and put into a medium-hot pan.  Mince the garlic while onion is cooking.  Sauté onion until almost tender, then add the garlic.  Cook for another two minutes, turn off the heat and set aside.

3.)  Water should be close to boiling by now.  Prepare the  broccoli and chop off the big stems, then put in the water with noodles and stir.  Let those cook by themselves for about 8 – 9 minutes.

4.)  While that’s cooking, mix the chicken soup, milk, chicken broth and herbs de provence in a large bowl until well blended; set aside.

5.)  For the chicken, I use leftovers or you can use canned or rotisserie.  It just makes things easier.  You can also cook up two medium sized chicken breasts.  Either way, chop it up at this point.

6.)  Check the noodles and broccoli; they should be done.  Let drain for a few minutes – nothing worse than a watery casserole!

7.)  You now have time to grate the cheese.

8.)  Everything is ready to put together!  Dump the noodles and broccoli back into the Dutch oven, along with the sautéed onions and garlic, sauce, chopped chicken and about 2/3 of the cheese.  Incorporate the ingredients well.  Pour into the prepared baking dish, then top with the rest of the cheese.

9.)  Bake, uncovered, in preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until bubbly around the edges.

 

Enjoy!

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Chile Rellenos Casserole and Green Rice

For those of us who love our chile rellenos, but cannot handle actually making them (gringos), I’ve concocted my own recipe.  In my version, I put this together with the intent of staying as true to the original dish as possible.  Of course, since we’re talking about a casserole here, there are elements that would feel more at home in a Yorkshire pudding than your favorite Mexican restaurant, but I think this captures the spirit.  Do not be discouraged by the detailed instructions!  That’s mostly the chile handling and preparation.

I’ve also thrown in a newly discovered favorite of mine, green rice.  This is a variation on the more common red Mexican rice that for some reason I’ve just really taken to.

Will feed about 4 people with lunch leftovers!

Chile Rellenos Casserole

9            Poblano, Anaheim or pasilla chiles

10 oz.    casera cheese (queso fresco)

2              cups shredded cheddar cheese

6              eggs

1              tsp. baking powder

¼             tsp. salt

¾             cup flour

½             cup milk

  1.  Char your chiles on a comal, or in a cast iron frying pan or over an open flame.  Do not be afraid to toast these suckers good.  What you are doing here is giving the chile flavor and making it possible for you to skin the chile with ease.  When they are burnt to your liking, put them in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap and let them sit for at least 30 minutes.
  2. During this rest time, grate the cheddar cheese and make the batter for pouring over the peppers.  Get your favorite 9 x 13″ pan and spray it with oil or grease it down, then turn on the oven to 350F.
  3. Now that the chiles have sat, they should be ready for prepping.  Important:  If you are not accustomed to handling peppers, BE CAREFUL.  I’ve handled peppers all my adult life and by and large, they don’t bother me, but they may bother you.  To be on the safe side, get yourself some medical gloves or rubber gloves or whatever and make sure you DO NOT rub your eyes with the gloves still on!  It hurts!!!  I know, this may seem a bit basic for some, but having to flush your eyes with water and possibly damaging your cornea is not worth it.  Granted, these are mild peppers, but you’ll notice as you’re seeding and skinning, you’ll need to sneeze, or you’ll feel it in the back of your throat, so there is some heat there.
  4. The chiles will be limp and require no special paring tools, especially if you’ve given them a good char.  Because they can be fragile, carefully remove the skin – I like doing it over a clean sink under some cool, running water.  They can be very slippery! – with your hands, and then, if you need to, make a slit in the pepper using your finger and remove the seeds and any fascia.  This is when you’re going to notice the burn, if any.
  5. Now comes the easy part.  Bring out your casera cheese and cut into sticks to fit in your chile.  That’s why I didn’t have you do it earlier. Each chile will be different, and you want it to wrap around and completely cover the cheese.  This may not be 100% possible, as there will most likely be some tearing in the earlier cleaning process, but do what you can.  They’ll be covered up anyway!  Arrange them in the baking dish and cover with the batter.  Top with the cheese and put them in the oven for 30 minutes.

For an extra kick, I like using El Pato Mexican tomato sauce.  I didn’t have any at the time, or the pictures would have looked different!  Also, just to let you know, the casera cheese will not be melty – it’s fresh, so it won’t melt.  But there, I was being true to the spirit.  If you must have melty cheese, use a decent Monterey Jack.

Green Rice

2              cups chicken broth

2              cups water

2              tsps. salt

2              cups medium grain rice, if possible

½             bunch of fresh cilantro

3              cloves of garlic, peeled

½             of a medium onion, peeled and wedged

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the broth, water and salt to a boil.  Stir in the rice, and wait for the water to boil again.  Reduce the heat to low, stir one more time, and cover and let cook for 15 minutes.
  2. Toss your cilantro, garlic and onion into a food processor and puree to your heart’s desire.  I actually pureed some  more after taking the picture because I noticed a little chunk of onion.
  3. After the 15 minutes is up, remove the rice from the heat and let set for another 10 minutes – do not lift the lid!
  4. When the rice has set, you may remove the lid!  Fluff the rice, and put in your puree at that time.  I used maybe 1/4 cup.  You may want more or less – it’s up to you.

Serve!

MexiCali Squash Casserole

Mexicali Squash (1)At my home, we’ve been incorporating more and more organic foods to our pantry and fresh fruits and vegetables. This means we have had to severely curtail our intake of meat, as there just isn’t the room for it in our budget. But that’s ok. As I’ve talked about before, I’ve been trying to cut it out of my diet as much as possible anyway.  That means I’ve had to get creative, and sometimes, the results haven’t been so good.  But we keep trying.

And then, out of the smoke haze of failed dinners past, comes a creation so good, it’s worthy of sharing.  Not only that, it makes a goodly amount so there are delicious leftovers for lunch.

But I wax poetic and you just want the recipe!  So, without further ado, here it is.

 

 MexiCali Squash Casserole

2              lbs yellow or zucchini squash, cubed or sliced

4              eggs

½             cup of milk

1              lb. Monterey jack cheese, shredded

1              tsp. salt

2              tsp. baking powder

3              tablespoons flour

½             cup chopped cilantro

4              roasted, chopped poblano chiles

1 ½         cups of crushed tortilla chips

 

Cook squash in water until barely tender.  Drain.  While squash is cooking, combine all the other ingredients, minus the chips; pour into a greased or Pammed 9 x 13” baking pan.  Put half of the chips on the mix, then top with squash, then sprinkle the rest of the chips on top.  Bake at 350° for 40 minutes.

 

Serves 6 – 8-ish

I served it with my version of Mexican rice.  If enough of you want the recipe to that, let me know and I’ll post it also.  That is a tried and true dish that is sure to please.

Enjoy!

National Chocolate Cake Day

So easy, so delicious

Why?  Why did no one tell me?!  Well, yours truly will be whipping up a fast and delicious Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake.  Yup.  And that’s a previous one that I made pictured above.  It is a universally loved recipe, but it’s origins are unknown.  Does anyone know where this may have originally popped up?  Would love to hear that story!  I’m going to add my version of it here for your perusal.

Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake

 

2              cups flour

2              cups sugar

2              eggs

½             tsp salt

1              tsp vanilla

½             cup sour cream

1              cup butter

1              cup water

4              TBSP cocoa

 

Mix all ingredients together, except last 3.  In sauce, bring last 3 ingredients to a boil.  Then add flour mixture while hot and cream well.  Pour mixture into greased cookie sheet and back at 350 for 20-25 minutes.  Frost while hot.

Frosting

 

½             cup butter

4              TBSP cocoa

1              tsp vanilla

6              TBSP whipping cream

1              lb. box powdered sugar

 

Mix all ingredients well.  Frost while cake is hot and refrigerate after.

 

See what I mean?  What is your favorite chocolate cake recipe?  How often do you make it?  Let me know!

Click on the image and it will take you to a website with interesting chocolate facts.

Confetti Eggs

It’s a dreary, rainy Saturday here in north California – yay! – so that means I got up around 11:00.  Yea, one of the perks of empty-ish nest is you get to sleep in!  However, it was too late for brunch, but I still wanted my eggs.  Recently, I’ve been discovering online organic food shopping, and now I have a whole bunch of vegetables that need to eaten.  So what does one do?  Let’s do a saute!

This is a versatile, great brunch/lunch or light supper that uses up the vegetable you have in your crisper – doesn’t have to be organic.  You will notice that the images provided are not the same as in the list of ingredients.  I used what was on hand when I first wrote this; since then, there have been many variations on the dish and I’m sure there will be more.

Cook time: 15 Min Prep time: 15 Min

Serves: 2


Ingredients:
4 Tbsp fresh basil or cilantro
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/2 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
1 small zucchini, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
4 eggs, any style

Directions:
1. Saute onions until transparent, then add the minced garlic. Cook for another minute, being
careful not to burn garlic.
2. Add vegetables all at once.  If substituting vegetables that require longer cooking
times, add them in first and saute until almost finished THEN add quicker cooking ingredients.
3. When vegetables are almost done, prepare eggs however you like. Be careful not to finish
them before the vegetables are ready to go; nothing worse than cold cooked eggs – ick!
4. Place cooked vegetables on plate and top with your eggs.

Enjoy!

 

 

And I’m Still Not Done

My Thanksgiving was unexpectedly small, but relaxing.  We hadn’t planned for a gigantic gala to begin with, but my daughter opted to dine with friends and my husband got called in for work, so with only two of us in attendance for this annual pig-out, I was able to streamline the menu and relax, unlike most other years.  Instead of cooking a whole turkey, I got a breast and threw it in the crock pot with some chicken broth and seasonings, believing this would alleviate the inherent dryness.  I’m sure if I’d been a little more diligent that it would have turned out fine; however, I learned that yes, you can still overcook in a slow cooker.  *sigh*  Everything else turned out fine and my mother and I were able to gobble away.

As for making all of my Christmas gifts before Black Friday, somehow, I’ve managed not to even after getting a head start in September.  It’s not that they’re incredibly complex, it’s just that there were other obligations, life got busy and here we are.  I have only to finish one more hat that’s about halfway done, but it’s been lying neglected in one of my many project bags, just waiting for me to pick it up again.  I imagine having company doesn’t help.  After my mother had been here for a few days she asked me, “Do you ever not knit or crochet?”  I took this as a sign that she wanted me to pay more attention to her.  So the unfinished hat remains…just that.

My mom should have been a concert pianist...really.

My mom should have been a concert pianist…really.

Since we both can't hear, if we're in a noisy environment, we text each other!

Since we both can’t hear, if we’re in a noisy environment, we text each other!

I have also discovered that if I take my Foxy Hooded Cowl to consignment shops, they sell.  They don’t sell on Etsy, but they sell locally.  Good enough.  I closed the account anyway.  So, any of you crocheters who want a little extra cash this season, you may have a little cash cow pattern here.

Aside from being derailed on my Christmas gifts schedule, it’s all been good.  How was your turkey day?

 

 

Homemade Everyday Pizza

You know what I mean. It’s Wednesday.  You’re trying to save money so no eating out, the leftovers are looking nasty (even though they’re not) and you’re hangry because you’ve spent the last three hours doing hard labor in the yard.  So what do you do?  Make a pizza!

Whoa, whoa! you’re thinking.  Glenda, we’re hungry and want to eat.  We don’t have the time nor energy.  And I respond with, Surprisingly, yes you do.  I don’t especially like to cook and when I do, I try to make it as quick as possible, unless it’s a Julia Child recipe; then, I plan for that weeks in advance.  I know I ain’t making it out of there under four hours.  So, if this is your approach to dinner, then this recipe will definitely be right up your alley!

Point made.

Recipe ~

DOUGH:

1 C.                        warm water

1 pkg.                    active dry yeast OR 2 tsp. active dry yeast

1 tsp.                     sugar

1 tsp.                     salt

2 TBSP.                 oil

2 ¼ C.                   flour

In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water.  Sprinkle a scant amount of sugar over the top to help the yeast bloom.  While this is happening, gather together the other ingredients and put in the same bowl.  Stir vigorously with a sturdy spoon 20 times.  If the dough gets too thick, get your hands in there and do some mix/kneading for about half a minute.  Let the dough rest for at LEAST five minutes.

Preheat oven to 425°.

While the dough is resting, make your sauce and prepare your toppings.

SAUCE:

8 oz.                       tomato sauce

1 tsp.                       salt

1 ½ TBSP.             fresh oregano OR 2 tsp. dried oregano (I use dried – easier!)

¼ tsp.                     garlic powder

Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl.  See what I mean?  Easy.

Now that your dough has rested for a bit, shape on a greased 15” pizza round, or pat into a greased 9 x 13” pan.  I like fluting my edges, similar to a pie crust, just so I have a kind of “handle” to hold my pizza in my hands.  Now add the sauce and your desired toppings, pop in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes.

Done.