Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Chicken and Rice

Ok, tonight we took it easy. Last night was pure hell on me physically. Less than 3 hours of sleep, and not all at once. So, by 11, my body had enough. I slept. 5 hours later, I woke up. I slept through 2 infant feedings. Bad mama. No one woke me up, and Zac wasn't in the room to wake me up. However, he didn't seem to mind. It was like he knew that Mama was much better. I spent the late afternoon, evening, and so far tonight getting the last of 6 chickens cooked, deboned, stock strained, and everything bagged and put in the freezer. I did all but bag the last 2 chickens. So, when it came time to fix dinner, I decided to give my 7 year old what he had been asking to do for a while...the chance to cook dinner for the family. He (we) made chicken and rice, which has to be the easiest thing ever to make.

This recipe goes back to when I was a kid and my mom spent more time at work than at home, or so it seemed. Quick, dirty, and easy after a long day. Also easy enough for kids to do. (Of course supervise younger ones since the stove isn't a toy.) My kids will generally eat this one as well, which makes it even nicer for me.

Chicken and Rice
1 box rice a roni
2 c. chopped cooked chicken
frozen peas

Prepare rice-a-roni per package directions. Once it's done, stir in the chicken and frozen peas, and heat through.

Done. See, I told you it was quick and easy!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Chicken a la (Uncle) Chuck

Ok, before you start wondering how weird I am, this is a recipe that was named after my little brother. My mom made it almost constantly when we were kids, and usually at his request. Once I had kids, the uncle part got added in.

Now that I am a grownup (supposedly) with kids, it really makes sense why my mom was a firm believer in quick meals and clean-out-the-fridge nights. After not having Scouts for the summer, I will again get nights off from cooking since I refuse to cook on a night when we have activities on the calendar. This is a meal that is fast enough and easy enough to possibly be an exception to that rule.

Another perk to this recipe is that it's good for getting kids to eat their veggies. Ok, so it's only peas and not a full serving, but it's a start. My kids devour this one. Even the 7 year old who hates veggies. Kyle ate this last night after Daddy told him that the peas were very well coated in sauce, so they would taste like the sauce. (Low and behold, Kyle listened to him and tried it, then ate most of his bowl.)

While the sauce can be done in the microwave, it doesn't do well in there if you double (or more). Serving options include pastry shells, toast, and egg noodles. Mom served in pastry shells when we were kids, but those have more fat grams than we would like to count. I usually serve on toast or egg noodles.

1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. flour
1 c. chicken stock
1 c. milk
1 1/2 tsp. Tony's
1 1/2 tsp. celery seed
1 1/2 c. chopped cooked chicken
1 c. frozen peas, thawed and drained
2 ish oz. Velveeta (more or less depending on how cheesy you want your sauce)

Melt butter in a large casserole dish. Whisk in flour until smooth. Whisk in chicken stock and milk. Microwave on medium high (80%) until thickened, stirring every minute or two. When sauce is thickened, whisk in seasonings, chicken, peas, and velveeta. Cook on high until heated through and cheese is melted, stirring occasionally.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Dirty Rice

Long time, no write. I know, I have been very naughty. It's been hectic around Casa Johnston lately. I now have 3 kids homeschooling and it's just been nuts!

Dirty rice has to be one of my favorite Cajun dishes to make. It can be either a main dish or a side dish. This particular version is quick, easy, and doesn't use any off the wall ingredients that would send me running. This recipe is also good for feeding a crowd, or freezing. Now that Scouts is about to start back up for the boys, I have to replenish the freezer so that I don't have to cook those nights.

When I say that this recipe is a quick one, I'm not kidding. Literally, it's done in the time that it takes to make rice, and that includes hand-chopping most of the veggies. Sooooo......

Dirty Rice (Southern Living 2004 Annual Recipes p. 289)

3 c. rice
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground breakfast sausage
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 envelope onion soup mix
crushed red pepper

Cook rice per package instructions. Meanwhile, brown sausage and beef. Add onion, celery, and bell pepper. Note: Some grocery stores may have this already prechopped and frozen. This is ok, and sometimes I will use it, especially if I'm in a hurry! Reduce heat, cover, and cook about 5 minutes. If you use the frozen veggies, you'll want to cook of the water that they add to the final product here. Crank the heat and keep stirring. While the veggies are cooking, mix the soups and pepper flakes. Add to beef/sausage/veggies when veggies are soft and water is cooked out. Stir in cooked rice.

I serve this as my late Grandma Brownlee would have, with potato salad and french bread.