Sometimes its the quick and simple things that are closest to my heart and soul. Especially when it's been a long day or week....or I'm just flat out tired (and maybe crabby)! One of the reasons why this recipe made it to my hearth was the fact that not only is it quick and simple but it doesn't include a single can of cream of something soup. I'm not sayin' that I never use the stuff....but I think they're overly used when it comes to casseroles. Once you see how simple it is to not use a cream soup as the base for a casserole, maybe....just maybe you'll choose the
You know...casseroles bring back a lot of memories. They're sorta nostalgic for me. I think (I could be wrong)...but I think casseroles peaked in the 60's, and even continued with a bit of momentum in the early 70's. I remember eating them quite a bit. More often at friends houses than my own. One of the most famous casseroles from my generation is the
Now all I need to really bring the memories flooding back a drop leaf table. My brother and I use to eat on one of those for every meal until we moved into a bigger house after my first sister was born. At breakfast time, the leaf was down (you don't need a lot of room to eat when you only have a bowl of oatmeal or cereal), and we'd get yelled at for playing with it....I mean, come on...when you're a kid, if something could move....it became a toy of sorts, right?
Speaking of "toys"....how would you like to win a nice Gift Certificate to buy yourself something fun? Yes, you heard me right. I'm hosting a Giveaway for CSNstores.com and they have a ton of stuff to choose from. Not just kitchen stuff (although you know that's where you'd find me) but stuff for your home, kids, garden, pets, office...etc etc. Yep, you can even find a drop leaf table over there.
Here's how it works.....US and Canada Residents (sorry for leaving the rest of you out)
Prize: $75.00 Gift Certificate for any CSNstore (they have hundreds). Shipping and handling charges are not covered with the gift certificate. But you know what? They have a ton of stuff that ships free.
Leave a comment - Make sure that there's a way for me to get in touch with you. If I can't find you, I can't give you your prize and I'll have to give it to someone else. That would be such a bummer (well, for you, but not for the replacement winner haha). If you don't want to participate in the giveaway, but you want to leave a comment, just specify that in the comment.
It's always nice to have new followers but it's not necessary. But hey, if you don't already follow me, and you decide you'd like to....sure I'll give you an extra entry. Just leave a separate comment stating so.
I have a Peaceful Cooking Facebook Fan Page....if you wanna follow me there, sure...I'll give you another entry. Just leave a separate comment stating so.
Stumble this page and you'll get an extra 2 entries. Just leave a separate comment stating so
There are other hoops you can jump through if you'd like...the old...Twitter, Facebook Share..etc etc. Whatever you want to do, go for it. Just leave a separate comment stating what you did.
Contest ends: Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. PST. The winner will be announced 10/19/10
And now....let me introduce you to a new fun casserole dish. I found this recipe in my Everyday Food mini magazine. I've been finding a lot of recipes in there lately, but hey...I subscribe to the darned thing so I figure I'd better get some use of them, right?
Chicken and Spinach Casserole
(I wish I could say that I baked that bread, but I'd be lying)
2 cups torn bread
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Oil (whatever you like to use for sauteing)
4 cups packed spinach
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove (or 2 or 3) minced
1/4 cup white wine (or chicken broth)
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups half and half
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup shredded or chopped pre-cooked chicken
Preheat oven to 450' F Lightly spray or grease a 2 quart casserole dish
In a medium bowl, drizzle the bread with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with a bit of salt and set aside.
In a medium sized skillet, heat 1 1/2 teaspoons of oil over medium high heat. Add the spinach, season with a bit of salt
Cook, while stirring until it's all wilted (and it looks like you hardly have anything left). Drain the spinach in a colander until it's cool enough to touch. Squeeze all the water out. Trust me...lots of water comes out of a little spinach. It always surprises me
Then give what's left of your spinach a rough chop.
Ya, that's all that's left. Doesn't look like much does it?
Clean out the pan you used for cooking the spinach and saute the onions and garlic until tender. (Actually, you can do this while the spinach is cooling off in the colander.) Add the white wine (or chicken stock) to the onions and continue cooking until almost all of it has evaporated. This will take about 5 minutes. Add the flour to the onion mixture and cook while stirring for 30 seconds.
Gradually whisk in the half and half (or milk if you're slimming things down). Squeeze in a bit of fresh lemon juice (it says 1/2 teaspoon...but honesly....it can handle a bit more than that....maybe a teaspoon or two). Bring the mixture to a boil.
Remove from heat and stir in your chopped spinach and chicken.
Let me say something about the chicken. The more flavor your cooked chicken has, the more flavor your casserole will have. Roasted or rotisserie chicken is best. Of course you can use boiled or baked....but it just won't be as flavorful. That's all.
Season with salt and pepper. Pour into your prepared casserole dish. Top with the bread crumbs that you set aside earlier.
They just look so rustic, don't they? Oh...and check this casserole dish out....
Isn't that just the coolest? It was my mother in-laws. I bet she got it way back when casseroles were the rave! Back when just about every dinner table had a casserole on it at least once a week. I imagine Sally (my mother in-law) coming home after volunteering for PTA and throwing together her ingredients and within an hour, this baby graced the table and fed 2 adults and 3 kids. (of course Sir Sportsalot doesn't ever remember seeing this dish before. (men!)).
Bake until the bread is golden brown and the mixture is nice and bubble....about 10 minutes or so.
I really enjoyed this dish. It was like eating croutons on your meat and veggies (who doesn't like croutons?). I think next time I'll add a few mushrooms. Not too many because I don't want to throw off the sauce to meat / veggy ratio and end up with a dry casserole. Hmmm...then again, I could increase the sauce by half and really go to town on more stuff in this thing. See? That's what's so cool about casseroles. They are so versatile. Just change up a few things and make it your own....to represent your families tastes.
This is my entry this week for The Hearth and Soul Blog Hop.
If you haven't checked it out, I highly recommend it. You are bound to find lots delicious recipes you're gonna wanna make. And maybe you'll have one you'd like to share with the hop too. How fun would that be?