Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

I like chicken Cordon Bleu but I don’t like all the steps that go to making it. That’s why this casserole is so good – no pounding chicken, no making filling, dredging, breading, frying. In fact, with the cheese sauce covering everything, this might actually be better than traditional. You can even make it easier by buying already cooked chicken. You’d need about 3 cups of cooked chicken.

This is a recipe that can be made ahead – make it and put it in the casserole dish and you can refrigerate it until ready to cook. Add in time to take in account that it is going from cold.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper, to taste
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1/3 cup flour
2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cup cooked ham, diced
2 cups Swiss cheese, grated
10-20 Ritz crackers, crumbled

Preheat oven to 350.

Heat oil in cast iron skillet. Cut chicken breasts into strips and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brown all sides in the skillet, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat to a plate. Wipe out the pan.

Melt butter in the skillet. Sauté the onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook for 5 minutes more, stirring constantly. Add the milk in several small batches – whisking well after each addition to make sure there are no lumps in the sauce. Bring sauce to a simmer. Add all but a half cup of cheese to the pan and stir to melt.

Cube chicken. Add it and the ham to the skillet and stir to combine. Spoon it into a casserole dish.

Add remaining cheese to crumbled crackers. Mix with your fingers and then sprinkle over the top of the casserole.

Bake uncovered for 30-45 minutes, depending on how deep your casserole dish is. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

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Baked Brunch Bombshell

We started the morning with some Monkey Bread (from the freezer section of most grocery stores) but that was way too much sugar to satisfy us for long. I made up a terrific skillet dish for brunch – filled with sausage, grits, cheese and eggs, it is very satisfying and delicious. If you wanted a nicer presentation, you could cook it in a 9×13 casserole dish.

Grits Sausage Brunch Casserole

1 lb bulk sausage
1 cup grits – not instant!
3 cups water (or, for a more savory casserole use chicken broth, I did 2 cups chicken broth plus one cup water)
2 cups milk, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
4-6 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Brown the sausage in a large, 12 inch cast iron skillet. Drain off the grease.

Bring water, broth and 1 cup milk to a boil – with one cup of grits, you will need 4 cups total liquid to boil it in. Whisk in the grits and the salt. Stir regularly until grits are cooked.

Slowly add in the cheddar cheese by the handful until it is all melted together. Beat the eggs with the remaining cup of milk and the black pepper. Slowly stir egg mixture into the grits. Stir in the sausage and the transfer the casserole back to the cast iron skillet.

Slide the skillet into a preheated 350 degree F oven and bake for 50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

 

Skillet Corn Casserole

I confess that many times, I will just use a box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix as a short cut for a quick and delicious corn casserole (recipe courtesy of Paula Deen). Tonight, I decided to go a slightly different route. I used corn put up from Michelle’s Grandpa’s farm along with bacon, onion and bell peppers to make one helluva good side dish.

corn-casserole

Skillet Corn Casserole

4-6 slices bacon
1 small onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
3 1/2 to 4 cups fresh or frozen whole kernel corn (or 2 cans 12 to 16 ounces each, drained)
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese

In a large skillet, fry bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from skillet, crumble and set aside. Reserve 2 tablespoon of drippings, drain off the rest. 

Sauté onion in drippings until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add bell pepper, flour and seasonings. Stirring regularly, sauté until the flour taste has cooked off, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream until smooth. Add corn, half of the bacon and about half of the cheese. Mix well.

Sprinkle top with remaining cheese and then the bacon. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 20 minutes or until heated through. 

Carne Enchilada Casserole

I like enchiladas but I really don’t like making them. Instead of going through the process of making the filling and rolling, I decided to look for a casserole version. There are quite a few recipes out there that I browsed before I decided to make up one. For the meat, I used some of the BBQ pork shoulder I had grilled and frozen but you can use cooked, shredded chicken just as easily.

As it makes sort of an enchilada lasagna, I invited several guinea pigs, I mean friends over to taste test it for me. Thanks so much Conan, Julie and Kenny!

enchiladas casserole

Carne Enchilada Casserole

1 pound pulled pork (about two cups meat)
1 15 ounce can pinto beans, drained
1 can Rotel tomatoes and peppers
 (your choice of heat level)
1 8 ounce container sour cream
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
12 6 inches corn tortillas
1 10 ounce can enchilada sauce
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
2 cups Monterey jack cheese, grated

In a large mixing bowl, stir pinto beans and Rotel into pulled pork.

In a smaller mixing bowl, stir together sour cream, flour, garlic powder and cumin until combined.

Pour the can of enchilada sauce in a glass measuring cup. Place ¼ cup of the sauce in bottom of a 13×9 inch rectangular baking dish. Cover with tortillas. Top with half of the meat mixture, half of the sour cream mixture and half of the enchilada sauce. Sprinkle on one cup each of cheeses. Repeat, starting with another layer of tortillas.

Cover dish with plastic wrap; chill in refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 350F. Remove plastic wrap; cover dish with foil. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until bubbly. Uncover and raise the temp to broil. Cook 5 minutes more until the cheese is golden brown. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

A Drink and a Casserole

As you may remember, my sort of resolution for 2013 was to try and eat a bit better. Toward that end, I purchased brown rice. Of course, I had completely forgotten how much I dislike its gooey, gummy consistency.

I have found I can mitigate a lot of the issue by lightly toasting the rice first and by making casseroles with it.

Tonight, I started with a Paloma and then made a Chicken Mushroom Casserole.


Paloma

1/4 cup fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
1 T agave syrup
1 T lime juice
1/4 cup tequila
Salt the rim of a highball or margarita glass.

Place all of the ingredients in a shaker with some ice. Mix well, pour over ice into prepared glass.

 

Chicken Mushroom Casserole Recipe

1 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice

2 1/2 water

2 chicken breasts

2 tablespoons Creole seasoning

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 lb mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
1 large onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped


2 large eggs

1 cup cottage cheese

1/2 cup sour cream

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a quart saucepan, heat a couple of glugs of olive oil. Add in the dry rice and toast lightly for just a couple of minutes. Pour in the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes. Once done, allow to cool slightly before fixing the rest of the casserole.
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Rub a 9 X 13 baking dish with a bit of olive oil or butter and set aside.
Cut chicken breasts into pieces and sprinkle with Creole seasoning. In a large cast iron skillet, brown chicken over medium heat in a little bit of olive oil, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
In the same  skillet, melt two tablespoons
of butter. Saute the mushrooms. Stir every minute or so until the mushrooms have released their liquid and have browned a bit. Add the onions and cook for another 4 or 5 minutes or until they are translucent. Stir in the garlic, cook for another minute. Remove from heat and put the chicken back in the pan with any drippings.
In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, cottage cheese and sour cream. Add the cooled rice. Combine the rice mixture with the chicken and mushrooms. Stir until well combined and then turn out into your prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese, place in oven for 30 to 45 minutes or until hot throughout and golden along the edges.