16 Cheesy Chicken Noodles

This one’s easy-peasy. And talk about your comfort food! It’s noodles. And chicken. And cheese. And some creamy stuff. What more could you want?

And, no, you don’t have to count the noodles.  Since I didn’t have to count past 10, I just kept my shoes on.

Preheat your oven to 350.

Here’s what you need:

2 cups of cooked chicken: I bought tenders, put them in a pan, sprinkled some salt and pepper on them, baked them, then chopped them up.

2 cups of cooked macaroni

2 cans of cream of mushroom soup: fat free if you’re counting calories. And I am.

2 cups milk: fat free if you’re counting calories. And I am.

8 oz. of cheddar cheese, cut into cubes.

Now, hear me carefully: Dump it all in a bowl. Stir it up. Pour it into a greased, 9×13 pan. Cover it with aluminum foil and bake it for 45 minutes. Take the foil  off and bake it another 15 minutes or so, until it gets to the consistency you’re looking for.

Amen.

Oh, and the 16?

2 cups cooked chicken
2 cans cream of mushroom
2 cups cooked noodles
2 cups milk
8 oz. cheese

Equals 16! Yay, me!

Here’s the printable: 16 Cheesy Chicken Noodles

Over and out,

AinW

Note: I do not do WW new PointsPlus. I have no idea how it works. My Points’ values are the old version.

Tortilla Casserole: All the Ole! Less of the Lard

So, you get stuck at home for a day because you have a Sick Diva. Let’s just say.

You realize the following:

1. You’ve known it was coming for awhile. It’s been building. The sore throat, the stuffy nose, the cough. It’s always the same progression.

2. You’ve been in denial.

3.  You’re lucky to have made it to mid-February without her getting sick so far this winter.

4. You need something to do to keep yourself from going crazy. You could do laundry, but you still have a few pair of clean underwear, so it’s not necessary. You could clean the house, but the cleaning fumes might upset Sick Diva’s sickness. Yeah, that’s it. You could do doctoral work, but nothing’s due for two more days. It’s not nearly time for that. You work better under pressure.

5. Remembering you’re back on the wagon, you decide to cook yourself silly, so you’ll have appropriate food in the house. Away with the Cheez Doodles and the Oreos! On to the good stuff.

6. You start with two pans of muffins in chocolate and carrot cake. That takes up an hour or so.

7. You look around and wonder what else you can make. You find the ingredients for fudge in the pantry/fridge. You make that. There goes another 30 minutes.

8. You tap your teeth with your newly attached, plastic fingernails. They’re not really plastic, sort of, but you wouldn’t expose them to open flame.  They’re cute but not fire retardant.  “Oh!” you say to yourself. “I can make that yummy Tortilla Casserole that I love but the Diva doesn’t because she doesn’t feel like eating today anyway!” (She doesn’t like it because it’s sprinkled with fresh cilantro, and she’s just sure that’s something good for her because it’s green. She wants no part of that nonsense.)

And off you go…

You gather up the ingredients: taco seasoning, six corn tortillas, a can of kidney beans, a can of diced tomatoes, a can of chopped green chiles (yet another offense to the Diva), a cup of fat free sour cream, a pound of extra lean ground beef, 3 oz. or so of cheddar cheese (you can use the already-grated stuff…this is what I had), and some fresh cilantro.

You also get a big skillet, a 9×13 pan, and some butter-flavored CFC spray because, if you’re going to ruin the ozone, it might as well taste good.

First, you preheat the oven to 350. Then, you brown the ground beef.

You’ve got the supporting actors (beans, tomatoes, chiles, and taco seasoning) ready on the side because you’re that prepared. You drain the beef, return it to the skillet, add the supporting actors…

…stir ’em up, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for five minutes or so.

While that’s happening, you get the pan ready.  You’re sure to coat it in plenty of butter-flavored CFC’s so your stuff won’t stick. Then, you cut the tortillas in half.

And put six halves in the pan, overlapping as necessary. You’re about to build a lasagna-type thing.

While the meat stuff is still simmering, you also chop the cilantro…

…and grate the cheese.

While you’re grating the cheese, you may or may not skin the end of one of your plastic fingernails, and you may or may not get bummed. The bumming may or may not be temporary, as you realize that this gives you an excuse to visit the nice people at the nail shop for a touch-up. You perk up.

After five minutes of simmering, the meat stuff looks like this:

You take it off the heat and spread half of it over the tortilla halves.

Then, you cover that with the sour cream.

More tortilla halves.

More meat stuff.

Now bake. 25 minutes. When it comes out of the oven, sprinkle the cheese on top…

…and cover with aluminum foil. You’re very careful because you know  the pan’s hot, and you may or may not have previously burned yourself putting aluminum foil on a hot pan.  You let the cheese get melty good for a few minutes. Then, you remove the foil and sprinkle the cilantro on top.

You cut the thing into six, equal portions because each one has about 300 calories, or 6 WW Points. You could serve it alongside a portion of fat free refried beans with cheese sprinkled on top, or you could eat it just like this.

Gotta go! I’ve got a, uh, Sick Diva to tend.

Here’s the printable: Tortilla Casserole

Adios,

AinW

The Diva Cooks: Creamy Potato-Corn Soup

She’s cooking again, y’all!

Last time, she made Sausage Quee-chee while I sat on the couch and ate mellowcreme pumpkins. “We” felt like that little experiment was so successful, that “we” tried it again.

She’s a cheerleader!

She’s a photographer! (Mirror image=camera words in reverse.)

She’s a southpaw chef! She’s the total package!

Okay, so here’s the real story: a few days ago, she was sitting on the couch watching T.V. I had a hundred things I needed to do, one of which was make this very simple soup. That’s when it hit me: what lesson can she learn watching T.V.? None. That’s what! We homeschool, and there’re lessons to be learned in the kitchen, dang it!

See how I did that? Smooth, huh?

Luckily, she loves to cook. It was a win-win.

She came in to cook. I went on to my other chores, stopping as often as I was sweetly called summoned to photograph the blessed event.

The beginning:

Wash, peel, wash again, and dice 5 medium potatoes. We didn’t have medium potatoes. We just had these little things, so we used 8. Or 9. Ish.

Note: If your potatoes happen to have eyes on them, it’s okay (apparently) if you freak out, declare them to be “like totally gross” and call your mother into the kitchen to remove the offensive buds prior to washing, peeling, washing, and dicing. She’ll be happy to help.

When they’ve all been through the process, put them into a large pot and cover them with water.

Bring them to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, gather the other ingredients:

Two cans of cream of celery soup, one pound of shredded cheddar cheese, two pints (that’s one quart for those of you who don’t habla) of half-and-half, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, 1/2 tsp. paprika, 2 tsp. onion salt, corn.

Now, about the ingredients:

Half-and-half: It’s called creamy soup. Just close your eyes and pour it in when the time comes.
Onion salt: You’ll notice I used powder. I have issues with my pressure. If your pressure’s good, salt away.
Corn: I used one can; however, two cans would be better and three cans best. A large bag of frozen corn would work, too.

The Diva wanted to mix the next ingredients (everything but the cheese) together in a mixing bowl while the potatoes were boiling. I said, “More power to ya!” from the couch, where I was eating Christmas cookies the bedroom, where I was changing the sheets on the bed.

The bottom line is this: when the potatoes have boiled for 10 minutes, add everything else to the pot, except the cheese. Simmer for 10 more minutes.

My photo editing skills need work. Sorry.

Now, at this point, the soup seems a little thin. That’s okay because the cheese is gonna fix all this. It usually does.

Lastly, add all the solution to your problems cheese.

Simmer another 5 minutes.

Feel free to dive right in. The water’s fine!

I know the Diva did!

Big Daddy likes his with more cheese and bacon bits on the top (real, not in the jar, of course). I say it’d be good with some cooked chicken, turkey or ham in it. I also need more black pepper. But that’s just me. The Diva? She’s a purist.

Oh, and she likes this, too.

PW’s chocolate sheet cake. Duh.

Now, she learned, we ate, chores got done.  Am I Mother-of-the-Year, or what?

Go make soup! The Diva’s Creamy Potato-Corn Soup

AinW

Yummy Chicken Casserole (aka Leftover Turkey Idea #1)

Thanksgiving’s coming, y’all!  It’s one of my favorite holidays for a number of reasons.

Reason #1

Reason #2: the focus is on food, not on the commercialization of the holiday like my formerly favorite holiday, Christmas. I don’t have to worry about what to buy everybody and going broke. I only have to worry about the food…my favorite worry.

Reason #3: Adam Sandler’s Turkey Song. Besides Amazing Grace, it may just be the best song ever written.

If you’re like us, after Thanksgiving you have leftover turkey at your house for awhile. You go to the fridge, look at it, and wonder what the heck to do with it. In the end, though, you close the fridge and go down to the Krystal’s for some sweet balls. Wait, maybe that’s just me. Then, after a few days/weeks/months/years of this, you throw the turkey in the trash.

No more!

Between now and Thanksgiving, I’ll be posting a series of recipes that will help you turn that turkey into something yummier than blah turkey sandwiches.  This is the first.  I make it with chicken here, but turkey is just as yummy in it…if you like turkey. You’ll remember that I don’t, which may or may not mean I have communistic tendencies. I also don’t care for apple pie or barbeque, which means I should be named something-o-vich probably.

It is what it is.

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

A can of cream of chicken soup, a can of cream of mushroom soup, two boxes of chicken-flavored stuffing (the recipe calls for one, but I’m a two-box kind of stuffing girl), a soup can’s worth of milk, and a whole, cooked chicken pulled off the bone.

Please try to ignore the fact that my pantry looks like a Great Value commercial.  Help! I’m buying Great Value stuff, and I can’t control myself!  Their best product is this one:

Mine’s all sucked in because I use it to death.  Time for a new bottle. I use it for everything: cleaning the bathrooms, kitchen, tea stains off the tea pitcher…everything! I’m thinking of spraying Big Daddy down with it when he comes home from work.  Or the next time he goes out and catches an unwelcome visitor and RELEASES IT TO ITS OWN RECOGNIZANCE!

Bitter! Party of one!

I’m waaaaayyy off-task here. Back to the casserole: Oh, you may also want to find your local Diva and ask her to practice her guitar and serenade you Jewel-style while you cook.  But that’s optional.

You may remember, from the Chicken and Dumplin’s, that I cook my whole chickens in the Crock Pot. Put the bird in there, cover it with water, and cook it on low for 8-10 hours.

When she’s done, she looks like this:

She’s kind of exposed there on the right, and I’m sorry about that, but she’s got issues. She’s about to be picked apart limb-by-limb.

Once she gets in this position, just pick the meat off the bones and put it into the bottom of a greased 9×13 pan.  You could also use one of those yummy roasted chickens (or leftover Tom from Thanksgiving) from the grocery store. So good!

Oh, and save that broth! That’s homemade goodness.

Refrigerate it. Freeze it. Whatever you gotta do. That’ll save you some money and be healthier than that salty, deadly, canned stuff.

Now, in a bowl, mix the two soups:

Fill one of the soup cans with milk:

Pour the milk in with the soups and mix until it looks like this:

Then, pour it over the chicken/turkey:

Next, cook the stuffing according to the package directions:

Then, put it on top of the chicken (turkey)/soup/milk mixture:

At this point, the thing is cooked, but needs to be heated through.  Bake her for 30ish minutes at 350 degrees.  The best point, however, is that you can cover it with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for later in the week (I LOVE make-ahead food!) or even wrap it up and freeze it.

You’ll just need to thaw it and bake it until it’s warm.

Super yummy! Big Daddy likes it. The Diva likes it. Heck, everybody likes it! Make it today.

Oh, and it goes really well with Mammaw’s Good Green Beans or one of those bagged, Caesar salads and some applesauce. How easy is that?

Here’s the printable recipe card: Chicken-Turkey Casserole

Happy Turkey Day!

AinW

Fish Friday

It just wouldn’t be a week until we cooked something together, now would it?

This week, the theme is fish. Now, I’m not a fish-y person. I don’t, technically, eat seafood. Of any kind. It’s a smell thing. You wouldn’t understand. However, these I will eat. Oh, and tuna salad. My mama made both for me when I was a kid, and they remind me of eating at the table with my mom and dad and my brat baby sister. Got nothin’ but love for you, Sis! Holla!

Fish Fridays? No, I’m not Catholic. Why do you ask? I did, once, work for a woman who was Catholic, and she had to have fish every Friday. So, we’re havin’ fish, and I’m dedicating it to my friends who are Catholic.

Here’s how you start:

You’ll need canned salmon. You can use the fresh stuff if you like. It’s just not in my budget. Neither is the Pink Princess or whatever they sell, but Wal-Fish? Now, Wal-Fish is in my budget! I use two cans because I have Big Daddy to feed, but you can pick the amount. You’ll also need one egg per can of salmon and a little flour, all-purpose.

Oh, and oil, for frying, at about 350 degrees. That’s medium on my stove. I don’t know what it is on yours, but if you invite me over, I’ll come check out the situation for you.

When I got married, I decided I wanted these Salmon Patties, and my mama told me how to make them. What she neglected to tell me was how unpleasant dealing with canned salmon can be. She did that on purpose. You have now been warned, though I will spare you the graphic pictures. Basically, this is what it looks like after it’s been de-skinned, de-boned, and de-turded.

Now, to the bowl you’ll add your egg/s, one for each can of salmon you used. If you’re like me and have a spare Diva lying around, you can rouse her from her reading stupor and get her to do it so you can stand around looking busy. What you’ll really be doing during this time is chain-eating mellowcreme pumpkins. Remind me to add those to the ingredient list.

Now comes the fun part: add about a heaping tablespoon of flour per can of salmon used.  Then mix. With your hands. It’s the only way to do it.  Continue mixing until they can be formed into patties. Like this:

While you were mixing, you could have added all manner of onions, celery, spices, etc., but my crew won’t eat ’em like that, so I don’t.  That’s not how we roll.

Once the patties are formed, begin frying. Lay about 4 or 5 down in the oil and let them fry until the edges are brown.

Then, carefully, flip.

Fry on the other side until browned, then remove from pan and place on a plate lined with a paper towel.

Beautiful! Crispy on the outside, and yummy in the middle!

Now, you could eat these with a fancy-schmancy side dish, but my birds just like these with boxed macaroni-and-cheese (unless I’m in the mood to make homemade…and I wasn’t) and a slice of my homemade, Amish white bread. Oh, and ketchup. Lots of ketchup.

And tea. Duh.

Click here to print: Salmon Patties

Happy Rocktober!

AinW

Pot Roast Redux: Kicked Up Another Notch

At our house, we LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the pot roast!

And when I say “we”, I mean Big Daddy and the Diva. I am not a pot roast person, but I eat it when I make it because we eat “what’s put on the table” (it’s a rule), and I make it because they like it.

However, we were eating at McAlister’s, which “they” also love (I’m seeing a trend here…), and I noticed they had a Pot Roast Baked Potato. Now, for those of you who have never been to McAlister’s or don’t have one (ahem, CA), they take two, huge baked potatoes, cut the ends off, shove them together and fill them full of stuff.

Like this:

Well, kind of. This one’s been et (translation for non-Southerners: eaten).

Anyhow, they fill them full of cheese, grilled chicken, chili, bacon, and tons of veggies.  Oh, and pot roast.

Not all at the same time, for goodness’ sake! Order what you want! These are just choices…

Since I live here in the boonies, McAlister’s is quite a drive. However, I said to myself, “Self! You can make this from your own pot roast! And you already know how to bake potatoes (I was feeling very smart about this time.).” What can I say? I needed some comfort food after my harrowing experience with the local law enforcement.

So, I went for it.

First, I made the pot roast, omitting the potatoes and carrots in the recipe (although I could have left the carrots, but I don’t like them, and I figured this was my chance to leave them out…what about my needs?).

Then, I baked the potatoes (400 degrees for an hour or until my Diva/Pele got home from soccer). I didn’t bother with aluminum foil or anything. That’s just too much work!

Then, I took two of those potatoes, cut the ends off, squished them together, and loaded them up with pot roast and gravy.  I put a little cheese on mine, because I figure what’s better than meat-and-potatoes except meat-and-potatoes-with-cheese, right?

Here’s the finished product. When you look up “comfort food” on dictionary.com, you’ll see this picture.

I’d teach you how to make biscuits, but it’d just make you mad. I don’t measure anything, ever, when making biscuits.

AinW out.

Need Nachos?

Sometimes you just do, right?

Well, at least I do.

Here’s a recipe for the perfect nacho. My fam LOVES these. None of those only-the-chips-on-top-have-stuff-on-them nachos, either. Nope. Each chip has the same amount of goodies on it.

And, in case you’re not a nacho person, here’s a book I found while touring Rock City last week.

It’s helping me transition back into Southern culture after my 4-year stint in California. Be sure to read the fine print subtitle across the top. “The definitive guide to that most important and festive of Southern rituals…”

Here’s what you need for the nachos:

1 lb. ground beef
1 pkg. taco seasoning (I like the Taco Bell kind, but this one was on sale.)
1 can refried beans
tortilla chips
shredded cheese (whatever you like)
sour cream
black olives (in my case, but they make Big Daddy gag)
tomato
whatever else you’d like to put on top of the nachos…lettuce, avocado, salsa, etc.

Preheat the oven to 350.

On two baking sheets, lay out chips: 20 chips per baking sheet.

Only use the whole, flat-ish ones. Give the other ones to your kids. Or your dog.

Now, brown the ground beef in a skillet on medium heat.

Drain the fat of and add the taco seasoning, refried beans, and 3/4 cup of water to the pan.

Now, here’s the thing: the beans are hard to work with when they first come out of the can because they’re cold.  Just keep stirring them around, folding the meat into them and, eventually, the mixture will look like this:

Keep cooking it over medium low heat until the water is cooked out. It should look like this:

Now, using two tablespoons, spoon the meat mixture evenly onto the 40 chips.

Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 5-7 minutes, until cheese is melted.

Oh, my.  I think I need to go to confession.

Wait, I’m not Catholic.

Going can’t hurt though, right?

Focus?

Now, put them on a plate and top with whatever you have/like.

These are mine.

Don’t gag, Big Daddy. At least they don’t have the fungus on them. Olives don’t grow in a turd.

Printable recipe: click, print, cut and go.

Nachos