Chicken Casserole

Chicken Casserole

Chicken Casserole reminds me again of childhood and this is my take on my Mom’s classic. It’s another one of those ultimate comfort foods! It’s also very versatile. Throw in what you like, bake and about 40 minutes later you’ve got a hearty meal! How comforting is that?

What You’ll Need For The Topping:
2 cups of cornmeal
1/2 cup of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda
2 teaspoons of baking powder
2 eggs
1 1/2 – 2 cups of buttermilk (You may need more or less depending on humidity. You are looking for batter consistency.)

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Mix all ingredients and put into a baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Let cook and then break into crumbles and set aside.

Chicken Casserole

What You’ll Need For the Chicken Casserole:
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1/2 a large onion, chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
4-6 cups of crumbled corn bread (See recipe above)
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of thyme
1 teaspoon of rosemary
1 teaspoon of sage
1/2-1 cup of chicken broth (Notes: You are using this to moisten the topping. See the notes below in the recipe itself.)
2-3 cups of cooked chicken breast, chopped (Notes: Use 2 if you use extra mushrooms, 3 if you choose not to)
2 cups of mushrooms sliced
2 cans of cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup of fat free half and half

Saute celery and onion until just tender. In a large bowl mix cornbread, celery, onion, broth, a pinch of sea salt, some freshly ground black pepper, thyme, rosemary and sage until mixture is moist. Use more or less broth depending on consistency. (Note: You are looking for the constancy of stuffing or dressing.) Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Spray a 13 X 9 inch dish with non-stick spray and set aside.

In a large bowl mix together chicken, mushrooms, cream of chicken soup, half and half, a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Once mixed spread mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Top with stuffing mixture and spread out to cover the chicken mixture entirely.

Bake for 30-45 minute, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Notes: I sometimes add sage and/or thyme into the topping for a bit of a twist.

Potato Salad

Potato Salad

This is my take on a classic Southern potato salad. Growing up in Tennessee when you had a barbecue or a day at the lake, chances are there would be potato salad. My mom taught me how to make it way back when, in fact I don’t even remember how old I was, I just remember always knowing how to make potato salad. In the south there are potato salads with mustard, and potato salads without. Whichever way you had it as a kid, is the way you’re partial to, and people take their potato salad very, very seriously.

At some point when I was in high school when the occasion arose to make potato salad, the duty became mine. It’s one of those things that you just do by heart. It’s good cold or hot. It’s very versatile. In fact my mom and I often would have a little bowl when it was warm, while we let the rest of it chill. Try it, you’ll like it!

What You’ll Need:
4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
2 eggs, boiled and chopped
1/2 cup of cheddar cheese, shredded
A pinch of sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of celery seed
1/4 teaspoon of onion powder
1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon of paprika
1/4 of a large red onion, chopped fine
1 large celery stalk, chopped
1/3 cup of sweet pickle relish
2 heaping tablespoons of yellow mustard
1/4 cup of mayo

Boil potatoes until fork tender. (I usually boil the eggs in the same pot with the potatoes. It kills two birds with one stone!) Drain potatoes and place in a large bowl. While the potatoes are still hot add cheese and seasonings and stir to mix. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. You can serve the salad warm or chilled. I like it either way, but some people prefer it chilled.