Lemon Picatta Chicken Casserole

lemonpicattachickenbakeIf you try this, you may never want to go back to the tried and true way of making chicken piccata!  My son deconstructed his normal oh-so-good way of making this dish with delicious results. The method could not be simpler. Try the recipe below or use your favorite Lemon Picatta Chicken recipe. Farfalle (Bow-Tie) or Penne pasta adds to the appearance and texture of the dish.  After you cook the chicken breasts, transfer to cutting board, cool slightly, and cut into bite size pieces to combine with pasta in your favorite baking dish. Our family may rename this Ben’s Chicken Picatta.

Lemon Chicken Picatta Chicken Casserole

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 2 ounces grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken cutlets, pounded to about 1/4 inch thick
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons drained capers
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons fresh juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
  • Fresh lemon slices for garnish

16 ounces Farfalle, or Bow-Tie, Pasta, cooked al dente.

Set three wide, shallow bowls on a work surface. Add flour to the first one, beaten eggs to the second, and panko and Parmesan cheese to the third. Mix panko and Parmesan thoroughly.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Season chicken cutlets all over with salt and pepper. Working with one at a time, dredge a cutlet in flour with your left hand, shaking off excess. Transfer to egg dish, then turn cutlet with your right hand to coat both sides. Lift and allow excess egg to drain off, then transfer to bread crumb mixture. With your left hand, scoop bread crumbs on top of chicken, then gently press, turning chicken to ensure a good layer of crumbs on both sides. Transfer cutlet to prepared baking sheet and repeat with remaining cutlets.

Fill a large skillet with 1/4 inch oil. Heat over high heat until shimmering. Working in batches and using tongs or your fingers, gently lower cutlets into the pan, laying them down away from you to prevent hot fat from splashing toward you. Fry, rotating cutlets for even browning, and adjusting heat as necessary until bottom side is browned and crisp, about three minutes. Flip cutlets and fry until other side is browned and crisp, about three minutes longer. Transfer to paper towels to drain and season with salt right away. Repeat with remaining cutlets, topping up oil if necessary.  When cooled slightly, cut chicken into bite size pieces.

Drain all but one tablespoon oil from skillet. Add wine and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, cooking about two minutes while scraping browned bits from skillet. Add capers and butter, whisking until butter has melted. Lower heat to medium and continue whisking and reducing until sauce is smooth and creamy. Whisk in lemon juice and parsley, season with salt and pepper, and remove from heat.

0Add chicken pieces and cooked pasta to sauce in large baking dish, tossing to combine.  Sprinkle top with shaved parmesan.  Place in oven just until heated through but not brown.  Scatter chopped parsley over top and add a few fresh lemon slices at serving time.

 

Pepperoni Breakfast Casserole

Pepperoni Breakfast Casserole

I developed a habit the first few weeks of my marriage that has served me well for over 52 years now.  I like to do a quick survey and make a mental list of what is available or needs to be used in the pantry and refrigerator.  Then if I am going to make a meal that has not been planned and prepared for, I can browse a cookbook or Pinterest category and pair the “what we already have” with a recipe that looks worth trying. Only rarely does that produce anything but a thumbs up from my family.  That was certainly the case with this breakfast casserole. Back to my favorite Breakfast in Bed Cookbook compiled by Carol Frieberg for this recipe from Healdsburg Inn on the Plaza in Healdsburg!   I am sure it is lovely, but I love our own B&B right here in Richmond, Texas.  For my version, I used sourdough bread cubes and shredded Swiss cheese and increased the amount of pepperoni..

Pepperoni Breakfast Casserole

2 cups sour dough bread cubes

1 cup shredded Swiss cheese

5 large eggs

2 cups whole milk

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (I use Penzey’s Tuscan Sunset)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt.

1/2 cup chopped pepperoni

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place bread cubes in greased 10-inch square baking dish. Cover with cheese. In a bowl combine eggs,milk, and seasoning; pour over bread and cheese. Top with pepperoni. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until set.

Creamy Chicken Tetrazzini

CreamyChickenTetrazinni

Every cookbook has its own version of this dish.  Our own favorite through the years was a recipe given to us by Jean McGuire, who was our back door neighbor when we lived near San Antonio in Kirby, Texas, in 1966. This version is also a keeper.  This is a great dish to make when you have leftover rotisserie chicken and pasta.

Creamy Chicken Tetrazzini

3 large chicken breast halves, cooked

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

about 4 cups cooked spaghetti (half a pound  uncooked)

1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms (may use canned, sliced)

1/2 large green pepper, chopped

1/2 large red pepper, chopped

1 onion, choppped

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup flour

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup half and half

1 can cream of mushroom with roasted garlic soup

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 cup sherry

3/4 cup sliced almonds

paprika

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook chicken and pasta and drain. (I use rotisserie chicken and leftover spaghetti noodles when possible, but if you are using raw chicken and uncooked pasta, you can cook those while you assemble and prep the other ingredients.

Spray a large baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.  Shred chicken.  Saute mushrooms, pepper, garlic, and onion in butter in a large sautee pan.  Stir in flour, salt and pepper, stirring constantly.  Cook for one minute, stirring gently. Add shredded chicken, half and half, mushroom soup, cheese, and sherry.  Mix well.  Spoon mixture into prepared baking dish and bake 25 minutes.  Scatter almonds on top and continue baking for 5-10 minutes longerl

 

 

Mary Ann’s Favorite Morning Casserole

IMG_1062 There are hundreds of make- ahead  egg based breakfast casserole recipes! Our church has a famous sausage and egg casserole recipe that gets passed around every year at Easter when we all have breakfast together in between an early Easter service in the prayer garden and a later one at regular worship time. I love that recipe because it reminds me of Easter and our church family. I am fond of another recipe that uses hash browns along with eggs, peppers, and onions. There are Southwestern style breakfast casseroles served with plenty of salsa that are delicious.  But this casserole is my hands down favorite for making breakfast special.  I like to make it when we have overnight guests and pop it into the oven to bake while we have coffee in the kitchen.  I found the original recipe in a cookbook called Breakfast in Bed collated by Carol Frieberg which is a collection of wonderful breakfast recipes from various B&B’s and inns in the Pacific Northwest. This one is a favorite at Pensione Nichols in Seattle, Washington – located in a residence that is over 100 years old in the historic Pikes Place Market in downtown Seattle. I modified the recipe’s seasoning, and have used a variety of toppings.  It is delicious served with fresh fruit.

Mary Ann’s Favorite Morning Casserole

Prepare the day before:

16 slices white bread (thin slice) with crusts trimmed

16 slices Canadian bacon

16 slices sharp cheddar cheese

6  large eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped green pepper

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

3 cups whole milk

1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

For topping  – add the next morning before baking

1/2 cup butter

1 cup crushed cornflakes or other unsweetened cereal of your choice

 

In a large Pyrex baking dish (9X13 inch), place 8 of the bread slices. On top of this, layer all slices of Canadian bacon. Then ladd all slices of cheese. Place remaining 8 slices of bread on top.  In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs, then add milk, all seasonings, onion and green pepper. Pour evenly over the layers of bread, cheese, and Canadian Bacon, pressing slightly with back of spoon.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt butter and drizzle evenly over top of casserole.  Crush cornflakes and sprinkle on top.  Bake uncovered for 1 hour.  Remove from oven, let stand for about 10 minutes, and serve.

Cook’s notes:  I like to stand my stick of butter in a small ceramic cream pitcher or pyrex liquid measuring cup and microwave for 1 minute or until melted.  Then it is easy to drizzle the melted butter evenly on top of the casserole.  For the crushed cornflakes, place cereal in a Ziploc bag and crush with the heel of your hand on top of counter. Easy!

Summer Squash Casserole

IMG_0575Summer squashes come in all shapes, sizes, and colors -round balls or long, shiny zucchini, glossy yellow globes of  crookneck yellow squash, scalloped patty pans, and dozens of others. But growing up in East Texas, when gardeners talked about squash in summertime, it was always the crooknecks.  By the time they appeared on the dinner table, they were sliced, dipped in cornmeal, and fried along with chopped onions in bacon grease.  Once in awhile, a squash casserole showed up at a church potluck.  Just about every church cookbook, and all cookbooks featuring Southern Food will have some variation of this recipe. In our own church cookbook, it is billed as “pastor’s favorite.” This particular recipe is my adaptation of one found in Jan Karon’s MItford Cookbook and Kitchen Reader under the title Puny’s Squash Casserole.  Truth be told, you could use any thin skinned summer squash, but yellow ones make a lovely dish.

Yellow Squash Casserole.

2 Tablespoons butter plus enough to butter the baking dish

6-8 medium yellow squash, sliced into rounds

1 sweet yellow onion, chopped

2 large eggs

1 cup grated sharp cheddar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup crushed Ritz crackers or potato chips

Sprig of fresh rosemary or parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Butter a 9 X 13 baking dish.  Steam squash and onions until tender, place in bowl and mash slightly with potato masher,  add butter and stir to melt butter. In a small bowl,  whisk eggs, cheese, salt and pepper, then add this mixture to squash before pouring into baking dish.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, remove from oven, and add topping.  Return to oven for 10-15 minutes to brown..Add garnish.

 

 

Pat’s Tater Tot Casserole

011I have been sorting old recipes, those on 3X5 inch cards, various scraps of paper, and clippings from newspapers and magazines.  Some of these were clipped and saved, hastily jotted down when I asked someone for a recipe, or sent to me by my mother or sister.  Almost all of them have a stain or spatter on them, some used so often they are tattered. I have recently become more aware how much I treasure those that are handwritten.  Most of us pass on printed recipes these days.  As I handled them, I realized it has been a long while since I cooked many of them.  Our family has grown up and started families of their own.I seldom use canned soups and vegetables. I garden more and use more fresh herbs and vegetables than ever before and love the healthy benefit of doing this  But I think it will be fun to pick some of these older recipes to try again.  This week I made a casserole that a good friend from our early marriage used to make. Thank you, Pat Tarver!

As I assembled this, I did what I almost automatically do these days, a recipe “rehab” that is likely to produce a healthier version, but I cooked it by Pat’s recipe. There are versions of this online today and most advise browning the ground meat prior to assembly.  That reduces  baking time but baking all the ingredients in one pan means one pan to wash!

Pat’s Casserole

1 lb. ground meat

1 can green beans

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 can cream of celery soup

1 bag frozen Tater Tots

1 Tablespoon onion flakes

salt and pepper to taste

Press the ground meat into a pyrex baking dish. Sprinkle with onion flakes.  Drain green beans and pour on top of meat layer.  Spread one can cream of chicken soup over beans.

Spread frozen Tater Tots for the next layer and cover with Cream of Celery Soup, smoothing over the tops of the Tater Tots.  Bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.

 

 

 

Ben’s Best Mac and Cheese

I have never made this recipe myself. But I have eaten it!  and leftovers were today’s lunch!  It was made in my kitchen last night by our youngest son, Ben, who has made it before and declared this his best!  I offered him the chance to be a guest blogger on Kitchen Keepers and when he declined he said I could share the recipe on the blog.

Joe had an emergency hospitalization which prompted fresh gratitude for the helping hands of two of my sons who live nearby.  Sean came and helped take his Dad to the hospital on Monday.  Ben came to help last night and cooked our dinner.  Try this when you are craving  cheesy, delicious comfort food!  By the way, Sean recently made his famous homemade Corned Beef Hash for us.  I will include his recipe sometme soon.  And just so you know, son Jeremy who lives too far away to pop over for week night suppers, is a gourmet cook, too. I am one blessed Mom, and their wives appreciate them, also!

Ben’s Best Mac and Cheese

Sea Salt

1 pound Dreamfield’s Penne Regate pasta

2 cups of chopped Canadian Bacon

3 cups milk

8 tablespoons (1 stick)  butter, divided

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

8 ounces Gruyère, grated (2 cups)

8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)

1 cup crumbled Gorgonzola

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp Penzey’s French Four Spice  or 1/2 tsp nutmeg and 1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1  cup Panko bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Into a large pot of boiling salted water.add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Put chopped Canadian Bacon in skillet.  Heat and stir until slightly browned.

Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large (4-quart) pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyère, Cheddar, Gorgonzola, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and spices. Add the Canadian Bacon and cooked pasta, stirring to mix.  Pour into a buttered 3-quart baking dish and top with bread crumbs.  Dot with small pieces of remaining butter.  Heat in oven until bread crumbs are golden brown and the sauce on pasta is bubbling.

Sausage and Rice Supper

There are some of our family favorite meals that are asked for all year round.  Sausage and Rice is one of those, but I keep it in my mental filing folder of cool weather dishes.  The flavors of root vegetables, peppers and sausage are heartily complimented with Basmati rice.  The colors even look like Fall.  And it makes enough to satisfy the most robust appetites as temperatures begin to come down and we are working more outside.  I have no “first made” date penned on the recipe I originally used, but since it was torn from an entire Southern Living magazine page, I look to see if the magazine date will tell me. I smile as I turn the page and look at the coupons on the back of the recipe and picture:  they expire in the fall of 1982.  So it is an easy conclusion that I have brought this to the table for nearly 20 years.  Our version that has grown during this time varies little but I do change the vegetables occasionally.  This is a dish that can easily be stretched by adding up to 1/2 cup rice and additional chicken broth.  Last night I served Basil Cucumbers and a fresh fruit cup for sides. A wonderful companion dish is apples with  butter, cinnamon and brown sugar baked along with the casserole. Wonderful for potlucks, and  definitely “good food on a budget!”

                                        Sausage and Rice Casserole

                                         1 cup uncooked Basmati rice

                                          2 cups sliced carrots

                                          1 large onion, chopped

                                          1 cup chopped celery

                                         1/2 cup chopped green pepper

                                          2 cups chicken broth

                                          1 pound pork sausage.  (we like maple flavored or hot and spicy)

                        Spread rice over bottom of large casserole dish which has been coated with cooking spray.  Scatter vegetables over rice, then pour chicken broth over all.  Brown and cook sausage, then add to top of vegetables.  Cover and bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  Remove from oven, stir well, replace cover and bake an additional 30 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is done.  Makes 8 large servings.

                                                         Basil Cucumber Pickles

 I like cucumbers and vinegar to keep in the refrigerator in the summertime.  My mother and grandmother always peeled and sliced garden cumbers to add with layers of chopped or thinly sliced onion, salt and pepper and cover with white vinegar.  One of our favorite Indonesian dishes is Acar which is diced cucumber, carrot, onion, and hot peppers added to vinegar, sugar and water.  These cucumbesr may be the best yet.  I use unpeeled long seedless cucumbers from Canada and slice them thinly.  A handful of basil leaves from the garden and a touch of sweet mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)  give these pickled veggies a unique flavor that was perfect with our sausage and rice.

                    1/4 cup sugar

                     1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

                      3 tablespoons mirin

                      1 tablespoon sea salt

                      1 English cucumber, sliced into thin rounds

                        1/2 cup shredded fresh basil leaves

Whisk vinegar, mirin, sugar, and salt in a non reactive container.  Add cucumbers and basil and toss, covering as well as possible with the vinegar mix.  Refrigerate 3 or 4 hours, stirring occasionally.