‘Mans’ Casserole

‘Mans’ Casserole

Let’s get this right out in the open. This might be the worst name for a recipe. Ever. I realize this came from a different time; the different ideas of society and different ideas of gender roles. I imagine the name depicts a hearty meal – something that the ranch hands and cowboys would be able to fill up on to sustain themselves. But it is still such an unfortunate name.

Oddly, this is another recipe that we use quite a bit and it’s interesting to see how it’s changed over the years. The way my mom taught me is far simpler and quicker. I didn’t even know that ‘liquefied nonfat dry milk’ was even in the original version. 

The best part of this post was that I got to make and share this meal with a local family that’s been hit hard from the pandemic. A good friend of mine, along with local churches and restaurants, have teamed up to feed as many people possible. I had reached out the other day to see if she needed any help and as luck would have it – there was a family that still needed a meal. 

Since this was going to be delivered to another family – and not my unsuspecting guinea pigs of a family – I decided to go with the way I’ve always done it. I wanted to make sure it worked and that it would be tasty. Also…nonfat dry milk- not something I keep in the pantry. (I had to look up what the hell it was)

It is a rather easy meal to put together. Saute the onions and brown the beef and drain off. You can get wild here with the beef and add whatever spices or flavors you like, or just keep it easy: salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, a touch of garlic powder. Turn off the heat and dump the entire can of cream of celery and two eggs into the mixture and mix it up. It’s not attractive at this point. Sort of a gloppy mess.

The recipe calls for layering – which is not something I’ve ever done. I take the whole pot of meat stuff, dump it into the pot with the noodles and mix it all and transfer to a casserole dish. Top the whole thing with an enormous amount of cheese. Like a lot of cheese. When you’ve added enough – add a touch more. It’s cheese y’all.

Bake at 350 for 30 to 45 minutes. Cheese should be slightly crispy on top.

This is one of my go-to recipes for lunch at the office…..when I used to have an office to go to! I would make it on the weekend and then packaged servings to take to work. I loved having my lunches sorted throughout the week and it heats up super easy in the microwave.

All of that said…it’s still a terrible name for a recipe. I have another recipe that I use from time to time called ‘Man Pleasing Chicken’…can’t decide which is worse.

Being able to help another family in need was a really gratifying experience. Despite being laid off, I truly know that we are luckier than some. We are very fortunate to have what we do. I encourage all of you to please take a moment to check out HerndonCares.Org. If you can donate, please do.

And if you’ve got a better name for this dish – please feel free to let me know. Seriously.

Easy Cheesy Chicken Crescents

Easy Cheesy Chicken Crescents

Let me start off by saying that this dish does not photograph well. It especially does not photograph well off of a blue plate. I have a ways to go in my food styling. I’ve seen so many meme’s about ‘mastering a skill’ while in quarantine – maybe that’s the one I should work on. My husband might be a little irritated though when I grab the tuna fish sandwich out of his hand insisting that the light isn’t right.

Today’s recipe fits all the new rules for this website:

  • Do I have all the ingredients? I’m not going to store unless we run out of wine or toilet paper.
  • Do I think my family will actually eat it? Now is not the time to be wasting food for sport.

The truth of the matter though is that I didn’t think they would eat this as is. Boring ass non-seasoned chicken wasn’t going to sell this dinner to my family. So I made a simple rub to spice things up a bit.

  • Teaspoon of each chili powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, garlic powder, salt & 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Personally – that’s a bit spicy for me. If I were to do it again I would use:

  • Teaspoon of each turmeric, coriander, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt. 2 teaspoons oregano and a touch of pepper.

Dry rubs are really simple to make up on the spot. If you don’t like it hot – eliminate that spice. If you like garlic, like I do, add more of that.

You can google chicken dry rub and get a million returns. Or you can check out this slide show from Southern Living. It’s a bit heavy on the pop-ups and ads, but it gives you a break down of how to create your own rub.

Once you’ve decided on a mix – stir it all together so it’s combined.

Cut 2 chicken breasts into small cubes and throw it in a gallon bag and throw the dry rub in. Seal it up and smush everything around. Try to get everything as coated as possible. Heat up a medium to large frying pan with some olive oil and cook up the chicken (in batches if necessary), until done. Set the chicken aside and continue on with the recipe as written.

I will be honest, this was damn tasty. I was actually surprised. My husband said it was comfort food – and it seems that comfort is something we can all get behind during this time. It’s hearty and heavy – so not something I would lean towards on a hot summer night. Also, I think really easy to change up with your own ideas. Next time I’ll use a better cheese – like a gruyere maybe. Best part is, unlike toilet paper and yeast, these are easy things to come by at the store.

I told you it didn’t photograph well.

Let me know if you try it and what changes you made.

Easy Cheesy Chicken Crescents

Pinch and Peck
Comforting and filling with easily found items!
Course Main Course

Ingredients
  

  • 2 Chicken Breast Cubed, cooked and chopped
  • 1 8 oz Crescent Roll
  • 1/2 cup Shredded Cheese Use a good quality melting cheese if you can
  • 1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1 portion Dry Rub of your choosing Experiment with: Chili Powder, Ground Cumin, Smoke Paprika, Oregano, Garlic Powder, Salt & Pepper

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Cube 2 chicken breasts and mix with dry rub of your choice
  • Cook chicken (in batches if necessary) over medium heat until cooked through. Remove chicken to bowl and add 2 tablespoons of cheese. Set aside to cool a bit.
  • In medium saucepan combine the soup, milk and 1/4 cup of cheese. Heat until cheese melts.
  • Chop or shred the chicken cubes to make rolling in the cresecent easier.
  • Place about 2 tablespoons worth of chicken/cheese mixture onto the large edge of crescent triangle and roll up. You should have eight total at the end.
  • When the cheese has melted in the soup mixture add roughly half of it to a 8 or 9 inch casserole dish. Place the rolled chicken crescents into the casserole dish. The bottom of the cresent rolls will be sitting in the hot soup mixture.
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes – or until golden brown. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and return to the oven for a few minutes for it to melt.
  • Optional: Servce with the remaining soup/sauce. Poured over top or on the side.

Rice Rave

Rice Rave

Originally I was going to push this recipe to the back of the pack. Straight out of the gate, there are a few ingredients here that are troublesome. For starters, when my daughter was in elementary school she asked if I would fill her emergency card out to say that she couldn’t eat broccoli for religious reasons. Secondly, I’m not a big fan of green peppers, and quite frankly green peppers and cheese whiz doesn’t sound like a winning combination.

However, I started this as a challenge, so I need to not wuss out now. For Gods sake – I made Lime Crab Mold – anything is going to be an improvement over that.

After an embarrassing text to my mother asking was PET Milk was, I got all my ingredients together and got rolling. There is one thing that keeps coming out of all of this and that is that almost all of these recipes so far have been damn easy. They haven’t all been great – but they’ve been easy. Simple ingredients and simple process. Obviously cooking has advanced a great deal in the last 75 years and our dependency on processed and canned food has (thankfully) changed and new and fresher options are becoming available on a daily basis. But that doesn’t mean that things can’t still taste great AND be simple.

This isn’t exactly one of those. But I can see the potential! Did you see Cheese Whiz in the recipe? Do you like Cheese Whiz? If so, this dish is for you. Did I mention the CHEESE WHIZ!

Honestly, that’s pretty much all you can taste after a while. We actually had this as a side with our regular dinner. The first few bites were “Huh, that’s not too bad”, but then after another few bites I could tell no one was really touching it anymore.

This reminds me of a church Potluck dish. I think it could really be great – with a few tweeks. That’s for another day though.