Hacks from my Happy Place – XIII

I’m focusing this post on all things chicken. I once saw a book called 1001 Recipes for Chicken, and although I neither bought it or even leafed through it, I already know some very versatile ways to create entrees using this poultry meat.

I have two favorite casserole recipes for chicken (though I think I could probably create some new ones if I put my mind to it). Ironically, many of the items in each can be interchanged with the other, creating more variety. The common components in both are cooked, cubed chicken and Campbell’s cheddar cheese soup. For what my mom called “Chicken Devan”, you spray an oblong pan with non-stick spray and place frozen broccoli (I prefer florets but you can use the full ones with stems) on the bottom. Place a nice layer of the cubed chicken on top. Mix the cheddar cheese soup with a can of milk, as directed, in a separate bowl. Pour the mixture over the top of the chicken. Cover with foil and bake at 350(F) for 20 minutes. Remove foil and return to the oven for an additional 5-10 minutes, until the top begins to turn golden brown. Remove from oven and let the casserole rest at least 5 minutes, then dig in and serve!

For my recipe, which I call Chicken and Stuffing, you use a sprayed oblong pan. In a large bowl, mix one can cheddar cheese soup with one 8-oz container of sour cream until thoroughly mixed (do not add any milk). Add cubed chicken pieces to the mix and stir until blended. Place this entire mix in the bottom of the casserole dish. Meanwhile, use one box of stuffing mix (any brand) in chicken flavor and make according to directions. Spread the finished stuffing mix over top of the chicken mixture. Again, cover with foil and bake at 350(F) for 20 minutes. Remove foil and return to the oven for an additional 5 minutes, until the stuffing has just a little bit of crust on it. Remove from oven and let the casserole rest at least 5 minutes, then dig in and serve!

One time, I wanted to make this recipe and didn’t have any stuffing mix on hand. So I improvised and melted a stick of butter/margarine and crushed up about 1-1/2 stacks of Ritz crackers into pieces, stirred them into the melted butter, and spread that over the top instead. A slightly different taste, but still good!

Of course, you can add broccoli to the Chicken and Stuffing casserole, or use the cheddar cheese and sour cream mixture in the Chicken Devan. Experiment!!!

I always look for boneless chicken breasts when they are on sale, then buy a lot of them, boil them in water until they are cooked, rinse them well and let them cool until I can handle them. Then I cut all of it into cubes and freeze portions separately in my freezer so I have some on hand. In addition to these casseroles, I use them for PA Dutch pot pie and my cabbage soup.

I could easily eat chicken 5 days a week as long as I have various ways to eat it. So, if you’ve got a really good (and preferably, easy) recipe for chicken, please share it with us here!

Meanwhile… if you’ve got a lot of turkey left over from your holiday feast, simply de-bone and dice it up and use it in place of the chicken! This might save you from having the turkey doldrums!

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