Sunday, May 9, 2010

Take Them a Meal

I think everyone should have one good go-to casserole or make-ahead dish in their recipe file. I don't. I know whenever I want to bring another family a meal I always ALWAYS struggle with what to bring. What do they like to eat? What do they NOT like to eat? What will be easiest for them to save or freeze? I've done a bunch of random things... baked ziti, grilled chicken, ready made salads for quick lunches, strata for breakfast. But I don't feel like I really have that one go-to casserole dish that I know is delicious and mostly everyone will eat. What do YOU bring??

My friend sent out a link to this website to organize dinners for a grieving friend. I had never heard of this and I thought it was such a fantastic idea!! It is called Take Them a Meal. Its really easy for others to sign up and see what others are bringing. I think I might bring this casserole. Here's what I liked about it... it was *fairly* easy. The ingredients were straightforward. The flavors are good but mild, so anyone would like it. You can freeze it. The ingredients are cheap. Super Healthy? Well, no.. but its not terrible either. Plus who cares if its healthy if someone else buys it, makes it and brings it over to you. But the greatest thing about this casserole was... my son ate it!! The one who eats NOTHING. He ate it!! I was doing cartwheels in the kitchen. 9 months pregnant. Seriously... if he ate it, anyone will.

PS If you don't read Pioneer Woman's blog, you should!

Pioneer Woman's Chicken Spaghetti Casserole
(I changed a few small things, but mostly stuck to her recipe)

1 can cream of mushroom
cheddar cheese
1/2 a green pepper, finely diced
1/2 an onion, finely diced
1 4 oz jar of chopped pimentos
2 cups (when broken up) of thin spaghetti
Lawry's Seasoned Salt
Cayenne Pepper (just a touch)
2 chicken breasts

Bring some water in a pan to a rolling boil and poach the two chicken breasts. I added salt, garlic powder and bay leaves to the water to add a little flavor.

Then in a bowl mix the can of cream of mushroom, the finely diced green peppers and onions, and the pimentos (drained).

Then, while your chicken is still cookin', break the spaghetti into small pieces and measure out about 2 cups.

Chicken's ready! Take it out and shred/chop it up. DONT DRAIN THE WATER YOU BOILED THE CHICKEN IN!!

Because its already boiling, and this makes your life so much easier. Just throw the pasta in.

AND reserve about 1 cup of the chicken broth-ish liquid. I saved 2 cups, but really only used 1 cup.

Now in that bowl with the cream of mushroom stuff, add the chicken...

When the pasta is ready, add that in...

About 2 cups of cheese... and 1-2 tsp of Lawry's Seasoned Salt and just a dash, small small dash of cayenne pepper for a little kick. Oh, and some black pepper.
OH and, add the 1 cup of reserved chicken stock liquid.

Then stir it all together and put it in a casserole dish!

Top it with some MORE cheese. Just do it. And if you're bringing it to someone else, bring it this way. They can either freeze it like this, or bake it when they're ready.

When its time to bake it, do so at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes. Til it looks all hot and bubbly like this...

Proof that even the pickiest of the picky will eat it...
You might even break into a silly face like this if you really like it. :)


Rebecca Samson said...

This looks delicious!! I know what you mean. I'm making a tried and true crock pot chicken dish.

Todd said...

Wow... great meal. With picky eaters- I was happy to see both kids ask for seconds! I substituted green onions for pimentos, mainly because I had no idea what they were...

Katy said...

I am making this tonight!!! It looks SOOOO good! :)