Rick’s Pandemic Chicken Noodle Casserole

Since Price Chopper cancelled my pick-up order, I have turned to my pantry to feed the six of us (a couple of my grandchildren and their parents are quarantining with us.) You know those cans of chicken breast you bought at Costco or BJ’s in case you wanted to make chicken salad or there was a pandemic, now is their time to shine.

This is a one dish casserole that many people (my wife included) had so much as a child that she can’t bear to look at it. I kinda like it. It’s not the typical recipe I put up here, but everything is different now.

Ingredients

1 lb. egg noodles or other pasta

2 12.5 cans of of chicken breast in water (or leftover cooked chicken)

1 can Campbell’s cream of chicken soup (yes, I know, stay with me here)

1 can Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup

1 package of frozen peas, thawed more or less

2 cups of cheese (cheddar or whatever you’ve got)

1 cup of Mayonnaise

Bread crumbs (or Panko or crumble crackers for topping)

1 stick of melted butter to put on top of the crumbs

Recipe

Boil water for the noodles. Preheat the oven to 350 f.

In a large bowl put the two soups, mayo, peas, cheeses. Stir to mix.

Drain the pasta, and mix it in the bowl.

Butter a baking dish and put  the whole smear in it.

Cover with the crumbs. Pour the melted butter over it.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until it is bubbling and the top is browned and crispy.

Let it cool for a few minutes.

Serve with your favorite box wine, red or white. I suggest red.

Stay safe, wash your hands. God bless you.

 

 

Spicy Stir-Fried Chicken with Mushrooms and Broccoli

We have an Asian dish at least once a week in our rotation. My wife loves mushrooms and broccoli, so this easy chicken stir-fry is always a hit.

Ingredients

1 Lb boneless skinless chicken breast, sliced (You could also use boneless, skinless thighs)

8 ounces white button mushrooms, stems removed. Cut any big ones in half

2 tablespoons  peanut oil

A good sized broccoli crown cut into florets

Sauce

1 tablespoon minced ginger

1/2 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 cup oyster sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/2 cup chicken or beef broth (or water if you don’t have broth on hand)

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon dark sesame oil

1  teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon cornstarch

Garnish

Sesame seeds (you can toast them if you want to get fancy)

Two chopped scallions

Recipe

Put the sauce ingredients in a medium bowl, whisk to combine.

Add the sliced chicken to the bowl with the sauce and let it marinate for at least a half hour in the fridge. (Pro tip: put the chicken in the freezer for half an hour before to firm it up before slicing. It makes it easier to get nice slices.)

Put a wok or skillet over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of peanut oil. When the oil shimmers add the broccoli. Stir-fry for about five minutes, adjusting the heat so it doesn’t burn. Put the broccoli on a plate.

Put another tablespoon of peanut oil in the wok, and when the oil shimmers add the mushrooms and stir-fry until they give up their liquid and are nicely browned, about three or four minutes. Put them on another plate.

Add the chicken and the sauce to the wok over high heat.  Stir-fry for about five or six minutes, then add the mushrooms and stir to coat them with sauce. Then add the broccoli and stir to cover with sauce for a minute or two. Pour it all into a warm serving dish and garnish with sesame seeds and scallions. Serve over rice.

(Photo by R.L. Floyd, 2020)

Seared Sea Scallops with Pepper Garlic Saffron Linguini

This is really one of those “no recipe” recipes that you throw together and comes out great. The better the sea scallops, the better the result, so I recommend “dry” (also known as “diver”) scallops, although I have to admit I’ve had pretty good results with frozen wild-caught American sea scallops. (Yes, I know all scallops come from the sea, but “sea scallops” are the big ones to differentiate them from the smaller “bay scallops” or the the even smaller “calico scallops.”) Continue reading

Rick’s Nearly Indian Black-Eyed Peas with Mushrooms

In our house we love mushrooms, and there were some beautiful white button mushrooms in the market this week. Many years ago, when our kids were little, this dish was in regular rotation. I got the original recipe from Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking, the first Indian cookbook I owned and still a good one. She called this dish Lobhia aur khumbi and back then I followed her directions slavishly, soaking and cooking the black-eyed peas and using fresh tomatoes. Lately, I’ve been using canned black-eyed peas and canned diced tomatoes and it is still pretty darn good, and it is low-fat and vegetarian for those of you who like that sort of thing. Continue reading

Rick’s Nearly Moroccan Beef Tagine

I don’t own a tagine (the vessel) but you can make a very good facsimile of a tagine (the dish) in a Dutch oven, which is the way I have done it here. For authenticity this would typically be lamb, but I had a nice chuck roast and, as you know, good home cooking is all about innovation and flexibility so beef it was tonight. Don’t be scared of making this, it is basically a pot roast. I know you can do it. You can make it hot by adding cayenne pepper, but be prudent. Continue reading

Rick’s Blackened Red Snapper

Red SnapperThe late great Paul Prudhomme, who died last year, brought Cajun cookery to national attention with his 1984 classic Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen. His most iconic recipe was “blackened redfish.” Redfish was a humble fish that suddenly was in high demand. His recipe called for scorching high heat. I made it several times and it was delicious, but set off the fire alarms. Continue reading