Tag Archives: one-dish meal

Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

Am I the only cook on the planet who hasn’t heard of Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole?  Apparently, when it comes to church food Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole has been a hit for a long, long time!  My friend, Lila, made this casserole for a Community Bible Study fellowship lunch this spring.  At first, I thought I must have just been really, really, hungry because I couldn’t get enough of this creamy, crunchy, tasty casserole.  Other members of our class seemed equally hungry, because I noticed most of us had second helpings!

I couldn’t figure out all the ingredients my first time around, but by the second helping, I discovered a layer of Rice A Roni that seemed a lot more flavorful than I ever remembered for Rice A Roni.

If you are not familiar with Rice A Roni it is a pilaf-like boxed food mix that consists of rice, vermicelli pasta, and seasonings. To prepare, the rice and pasta are browned in butter, then water and seasonings are added and simmered until the water is absorbed.

“I’ve had this recipe for years,” Lila told our group as we ooh’d and aah’d quite appropriately!

Although lately, she has had trouble finding the exact rice called for in the recipe which is Rice-A-Roni Fried Rice with Almonds.  I couldn’t find that exact flavor and so I used a mixture of one box chicken and garlic and one box chicken and broccoli. Whew!  I highly recommend the chicken and garlic. The garlic creates a flavor layer that really adds to the overall taste of the casserole. The broccoli gave me that false sense that I was eating healthy! 😜

The Rice A Roni is made according to box directions and then becomes the bottom layer in a 9″x13″ baking dish.

I always start any chicken casserole with gently boiled chicken breast, trimmed to remove any fat or stringy pieces.  Then I shred it and the resulting chicken is so white, fresh, and ready for my casserole. (For speed and ease, canned chicken breast will work well in this recipe also.)

Mix the cooked chicken with soup and sour cream for the next layer.  Crushed Ritz crackers and poppy seeds top the chicken layer.  Lila’s recipe calls for a cup of melted butter mixed with the crushed crackers.  I omitted the butter and sprinkled the top with slivered almonds.  Oh my goodness!  Can you just taste it now?  

I know our vegetable should be about twice the amount of the main dish, but I promise, you can start with a smaller amount of casserole but you will be back for more before the broccoli cools off!

Thank you, Lila, for the outstanding recipe!  Keep ’em coming!

Blessings and Happy Cooking!
~Catherine

P.S.  Can you taste poppy seeds? My Chief Casserole Eater husband says he couldn’t taste the poppy seeds.  I don’t think they are meant to be tasted as much as they add texture and color.  What do you think?

Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole
 
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Love it! Packed with flavor, very versatile and especially easy to make.
Author:
Recipe type: Main Dish, Casserole
Serves: 12 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 to 2 lb. chicken breast, cooked, chopped or shredded
  • 16 oz. light sour cream
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 3 cups Ritz crackers, crumbled
  • 1 cup butter, melted *Optional
  • 2 Tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 2 boxes Rice-A-Roni (Fried Rice with Almonds or any favorite flavor)
  • Slivered Almonds *Optional
Instructions
  1. Cook rice according to the package directions.
  2. Heat oven to 350⁰. Spray bottom of 9 x 13 pan.
  3. Spread rice in bottom of 9"x13" baking dish.
  4. Combine chicken, sour cream, and soup. Spread on top of rice mixture.
  5. Mix melted butter and crushed Ritz crackers. Layer over chicken.
  6. Top with poppy seeds and slivered almonds.
  7. Bake for 45 - 60 minutes, uncovered.
Notes
1 lb. of chicken works fine, originally recipe calls for 2 lbs.
Any flavor of Rice A Roni will work well.
May use canned or fresh chicken breast.
Poppy seeds and almonds optional.
Melted butter mixed with the crushed crackers optional.

 

 

 

Cabbage Roll Casserole

Do you make cabbage rolls?  You know, the cabbage leaf stuffed with cooked meat, rice, onions, and seasonings?   Cabbage “rolls” are popular among Europeans and traditionally served among the Jewish on  Simchat Torah. I’ve read that stuffed cabbage is said to have entered Jewish cooking some 2,000 years ago.  Recipes vary depending on region; Romanians and northern Poles prefer a savory sauce, while Galicia and Ukraine favor sweet-and-sour.  Unfortunately, that is all the description that I can honestly give because I have never made cabbage rolls.  Knowing this, why in the world would a recipe headline “Cabbage Roll Casserole” catch my attention?

Maybe it was this picture from the Taste of Home website.

Or,  most likely it was the head of cabbage I had in the refrigerator and the looming dinner hour that was fast approaching!

A quick check of ingredients and I was good to go.  I swapped out ground turkey for the ground hamburger, and I used a can of Ro*Tel tomatoes for part of the tomato sauce.  I knew my Chief Casserole Eater would appreciate the flavor kicked up a notch.  I “hoped” my Sous-Chef Dish-washing mom could tolerate the heat.  It turned out great!  Spicy enough to please The Chief and mild enough to keep mama happy! 😜  By using ground turkey I skipped the “drain the cooked meat” stage.  I also added more bacon.  The Taste of Home recipe called for 4 strips of bacon.  Come on, really?  Four strips of bacon only wet our taste for bacon.  We could smell it cooking but couldn’t find it in the casserole.  I suggest 8 strips of bacon or even better yet, “bacon to taste!”

This recipe makes a BIG 9″x13″ casserole.  Some recipes call for a 9″x13″ pan but it isn’t really “full.”  This isn’t one of those recipes.  This will fill your pan and easily make 12 to 16 hearty servings.

We absolutely love this casserole.  It is hearty, fragrant, and loaded with flavor.  Tomato based recipes often times improve with age and this one definitely does.  The first night we had it right out of the oven it was delicious.  The second time we had it “warmed up” the flavors had melded and improved.  But the third time we had it for a lunch meal, oh my goodness, we all agreed “this just keeps getting better and better!”  I put one-fourth of it in the freezer and anticipate yet another outstanding meal in the future.

This casserole “layers” beginning with cabbage, topped with the meat sauce, another layer of cabbage, meat sauce and ending with cabbage.  A bit of the sauce is held out from the meat mixture and finishes the top.  Add the cheese the last 10 minutes of baking.

Oh yum!  I want some now.  It is a little bit past lunchtime and seriously my mouth is watering! I used a medium head of cabbage (about 2 pounds) chopped up.  However, pre-packaged coleslaw mix will work just as well and save you some time. If you and your family can take a little heat don’t skip the Ro*Tel – I think it absolutely made this casserole outstanding.

Speaking of heat, it is spring in Tennessee.  It was almost 80 degrees yesterday and The Chief and I got out on the golf course.   Our peach trees have bloomed and just yesterday winter gave way to this beautiful iris.

Having said that, it is cold today and we have a freeze warning tonight!  Such is the personality of Mother Nature in the spring.  Wherever you are I pray you are having a good day and a blessed week!

Happy Cooking!
~Catherine

 While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat, summer and winter,
day and night, 
shall not cease.”
Genesis 8:22

Cabbage Roll Casserole
 
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Many European and Polish descendants will know Cabbage Rolls as a holiday favorite. But how about making them into a casserole? This is easier than making the rolls but the end result will thrill the family all the same!
Author:
Recipe type: Main Dish Casserole
Serves: 12-16
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) tomato sauce, divided
  • 1 can Ro*Tel Tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dill weed
  • ½ teaspoon rubbed sage
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 8 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled (Or bacon to taste)
  • 1 medium head cabbage (2 pounds), chopped or shredded
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375°. In a large skillet, cook beef (or turkey) and onion over medium heat, crumbling until the meat is no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Drain if using beef. Stir in one can of tomato sauce, Ro*Tel tomatoes, and next five seasoning ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 15 minutes. Stir in cooked rice and cooked and crumbled bacon; remove from heat.
  2. Layer a third of the cabbage in a greased 13x9-in. baking dish.
  3. Top with half of the meat mixture. Repeat layers; top with remaining cabbage. Pour remaining tomato sauce over top.
  4. Cover and bake 45 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with cheese. Bake until cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
  5. Yield: 12 servings.
Notes
Minimize mess by using 90% lean ground beef or ground turkey (so you can skip the draining step) and use coleslaw mix (so you don't have to chop cabbage).

 

 

Easy (and Delicious) Homemade Chicken and Noodles

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Chicken and Noodles Served Over Mashed Potatoes

Growing up in Nebraska,  chicken and noodles was a favorite meal of mine.  My sous-chef dish-washing would buy a “whole chicken in a can”.  At that time, there was no such thing as fresh deli rotisserie chicken, like we can buy now in most grocery stores, Sam’s or Costco.

I remember when mom would open that can and dump out the gelatinous goop of meat and bones.  She would painstakingly pick the bones clean placing the meat in a pot of boiling water that would become a thick, beautiful, fragrant start to her chicken and noodles.

But wait there’s more! Click to continue reading

Macaroni and Cheese, The Ultimate Comfort Food

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” Acts 20:24 NIV


Macaroni and cheese seems to be near the top of the list for ultimate comfort food! Whether you are browsing through a favorite cookbook or surfing the internet you will find as many different variations of mac ‘n cheese as stars in the sky! I tend to use one basic recipe and then change-up the cheese or sometimes add some meat.  In the recipe I posted last fall, Mac n’ Cheese, instead of using cheddar cheese I used three different cheeses joined to make an outstanding flavor.

In today’s recipe I wanted to make a one-dish meal so I started with one of my very favorite healthy  foods, aidells Chicken & Apple Sausage. First of all, it has chicken instead of pork (healthier) and when they threw in the apples, in my mind, that has to put the healthy meter over the top, right?

I started out by a quick saute’ of the thinly sliced sausage.  I put a bit of a crunchy browning (looks burned, but it’s not) which will add awesome flavor to the macaroni and cheese.

While those were cooking I cooked up some elbow macaroni. I cooked them just to under done.  They will finish cooking in the oven and this keeps them from going mushy. A quick mix all together.

In the meantime I made the cheesy white sauce.  Yum. This particular time I used 4 cups, which is 16 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese.

Everything gets mixed together, topped with some crushed Ritz crackers (or whatever you have on hand) and into the oven for 30 minutes.
You will find the full recipe at the bottom of this post.  In the meantime, please don’t forget to stop by my new Facebook Fan Page and click the “like” button! www.facebook.com/praycookblog .  You don’t have to have a Facebook account to view fan pages!

Also, if you are walking through the Bible this year with me, here are the links to this week’s reading.  We are at week 18 and going strong!

Walk Through The Bible In One Year
Week 18 reading plan 1 Chronicles 27 – 2 Chronicles 29

Click on the colored link to read each day’s scripture.
Monday 1 Chronicles 27-29 , Tues 2 Chronicles 1-5,
Wed 2 Chronicles 6-9, Thursday 2 Chronicles 10-15,
Friday 2 Chronicles 16-20,
Saturday 2 Chronicles 21-25,
Sunday 2 Chronicles 26-29
Blessings as you read!

Macaroni, Chicken Apple Sausage & Cheese
 
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Make a family-pleasing one-dish meal by adding a healthy chicken apple sausage to this ultimate comfort food.
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 16 oz Elbow pasta
  • ½ cup Unsalted butter
  • ½ cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic, minced
  • Salt and Pepper To Taste
  • 5 cup Milk, whole or 2%
  • 4 cup Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Topping
  • 15 Ritz Crackers, crushed
  • 5 aidells Chicken Apple Sausage, sliced thin
  • Butter to Saute' Sausage
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Thinly slice chicken sausage and saute' in small amount of butter.

  3. Cook the pasta according to the package directions for al dente. Drain and set aside.
  4. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour, then add the onion powder, garlic, salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in the milk. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens and the mixture begins to bubble slightly. Add the cheese and stir until the cheese melts.
  5. Add the cooked pasta and nicely browned sausage. Pour the mixture into a slightly greased 9x13-inch baking dish. Mix together the crushed Ritz crackers and the melted butter until add the crumbs are moistened, then sprinkle over the top of the pasta mixture. (Pulsing on and off in a food processor will crush your crackers nicely and then it is easy to add the butter too!)
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes and serve,
Notes
aidells sausage is low in fat as well as loaded with flavor.

Saltine crackers can be substituted for the Ritz crackers.

Pepperjack, Monterey Jack, Mexican Mix or any of your favorite cheeses can be substituted for some of the cheddar cheese.