Tag Archives: casserole

Twice baked cauliflower casserole

Now, one of my former favorite side dishes to make has always been my “special potatoes”. Love, love, love their cheesy, creamy deliciousness and I used to crave them but now that I am following the ketogenic diet, I choose not to eat potatoes. This way of eating is my choice and I am certainly better for it. So I had seen mashed cauliflower recipes and this and that but none of them really caught my eye. Far as I am concerned, I may as well just do without boiling cauliflower to make it like potatoes. I’ll eat my favorite creamed spinach or some asparagus with my meat and keep on rolling. I get why people do it and certainly does give you some options for sides, but it is not something I have to have. BUT Big Daddy had bought some cauliflower a few days ago and he took some ribs out to smoke this weekend and I needed to come up with a side. I made deviled eggs (a keto no brainer and I even made enough to have for lunch tomorrow!! I had saved this twice baked baked cauliflower casserole a few weeks ago annnddd I had cauliflower so today was our lucky to try it!! So glad I did! It is fantastic! It is creamy and cheesy and the texture is just right! The only thing I think I might try next time is to beat it until it is creamy with my mixer. I mashed it as the original recipe from Kayln’s Kitchen had called for this time just to see how it was and all in all the texture was fine. We had a friend come over to eat supper and he thought it was fantastic. Big Daddy was so excited about it (the man will literally eat a boot if it is smothered in gravy and not complain but he genuinely enjoyed this!!). It is definitely a good side option if you are following keto WOE or living the low carb life!

Twice Baked cauliflower casserole

Stuff you need~

One head cauliflower

1/2 cup sour cream

4 ounces cream cheese, cubed

Green onions

6 slices of bacon, cooked until crispy and then crumbled

1 cup shredded cheddar

What to do with the stuff~

Cut the cauliflower into smaller pieces. Remove the core/stem. Boil in salted water until fork tender.

Drain well and then mash with a potato masher. The original recipe said to leave some chunks in it.

Now, add all ingredients except the shredded cheddar to the mashed cauliflower. I added some Himalayan pink salt and cracked black pepper and some Tony’s to it.

Mix well and then transfer to a 9 x 13 baking dish. I used a slightly smaller dish and it was fine. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. Sprinkle the shredded cheddar all over the casserole and some more crumbled bacon if you did not eat the extra like I did (😏 🥓) then return to the oven until cheese is melted. Enjoy without the guilt! Yum!!

Here are a few pictures my friend Natalie, who is a mom boss who runs Soul Rebels Photography took for us earlier this month. These pictures make me happy on so many levels. Check out more of her work at http://www.soulrebelsphotography.com. She is so very talented and a wonderful person to work with! My family is changing everyday and my kids are growing up so fast, but for a moment she captured us in that moment in a cotton field just before the sun went down. It was a magical evening and the pictures turned out so well.

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Million dollar spaghetti and at the center of it all

So when I was growing up, spaghetti was an event. Spaghetti and meatballs that is. My mom’s spaghetti and meatballs. Took all day to cook and it was worth the wait. It almost always was a meal on a weekend and we would have leftovers during the week. That meal to this day is very special and still very much an event. I do enjoy cooking up a pot of spaghetti and meatballs from time to time, but my family loves and I mean LOVES spaghetti. And as much as I love them, I do not have time to make a pot of spaghetti and meatballs as often as they would like it. So I often turn to spaghetti and meat sauce. My oldest prefers meatballs (mix of pork and ground chuck mom, STAT) but he will endure meat sauce if he has to.
Of course, as much as I adore tradition, I am always looking for good variations on our favorite meals. I like to shake it up sometimes, keep it fresh, and make some noise (ha! Like I have to do that…these cookoo loos over here make enough noise for 3 households) but you get what I am saying. I like to stay out of the dinner time rut. So when I came across this recipe on Pinterest for million dollar spaghetti a while back http://ashleykaitlin.blogspot.com/2011/01/million-dollar-spaghetti.html?m=1, I knew I had to try it.
Well this week has been, um, interesting to say the least. It started off that way and it continues to be so. For different reasons. Swimming pool calamities, sick kids, sick hubby and it’s only Thursday, so I figured let’s just blow it out and doing something crazy! Let’s make million dollar spaghetti!!! Or it went something like that. I have said it before and I will say it again, when things are stressful on the home front and I have an inkling of that feeling that I just want to bury my head under the covers and cry, I shift into crazy homemaker mode. I know that few things are in my control, but what I cook and how I feel in my home, is all me. So I cook something traditional and comforting or I try something new. I try a cleaning tip and do some laundry. I guess my home is my center and I find comfort there. I guess it’s the Narcille and Beulah Mae coming out in me and every other Cajun mama I come from.

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the two sick dudes laid up, everyone else around them (getting infected I can only imagine)…but that’s my chaos and my heart and soul

This million dollar spaghetti was a wonderful alternative to our regular spaghetti and meat sauce. Big Daddy said he could do with less creamy stuff, but the kids LOVED it. Even my BHB (picky man) ate it with gusto. It’s kind of like my lazy girl’s lasagna https://cajunmamacookinblog.com/2013/12/13/lazy-girls-lasagna/, only with angel hair pasta. It really was very easy and delicious. I recommend you give it a go the next time you are feeling stressed to the limit and not quite certain you do this whole being a grown thing another day. It may not change the world, it may not make things 100% better, but it will surely change your outlook. You can look around the table at your family enjoying a meal that you made and think, ” I cannot do it all, but I can make a meal my family enjoys” and “I can bring my family together.” And let’s not forget, that is kind of the point of this whole cooking for these people we live with anyway. Enjoy!!~AMB

Million dollar spaghetti
Stuff you need~

8 ounces angel hair pasta, cooked al dente
2 lb. container Cottage cheese (that’s the taller one)
1/4 cup sour cream
8 ounces cream cheese
1 small jar spaghetti sauce (I am a Ragu girl)
1 pound ground chuck
1 stick of butter (I used about 3/4 of the stick)
2 cups shredded mild cheddar

What to do with the stuff~

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook your pasta according to package directions. Brown ground beef until no longer pink. Drain well.
Stir spaghetti sauce into the drained ground beef. Heat until warmed throughout.
In a mixing bowl, mix together the softened cream cheese, sour cream, and cottage cheese. (I used my standing mixer to do this, as she suggested)
Put half of the butter (sliced into pats) at the bottom of a 9 x 13 dish. Layer half of the noodles on top of this. Now layer all of the creamy mixture on top of this.
Next, layer the rest of the noodles on top of the creamy mixture. Lay the rest of the butter pats on top of the noodles.
Now spread the spaghetti sauce and meat all over the top.
Cook at 350 for 30 minutes.
Finally, sprinkle the cheddar all over the top of the whole shebang.
Cook for another 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is all bubbly and irresistible looking.

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noodles on top of creamy mixture

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more butter pats on top of the noodles

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my handsome boy helping me cook and telling me all about his latest google research. He amazes me.

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layers and layers of yummm

Loaded nacho casserole

Do you like nachos?  Do you like casseroles?  Do you like the convenience of a one dish meal that serves a crowd?  If you answered yes to these questions, than this casserole recipe is for you.  Oh sorry, I think I have been listening to too much public radio.
This casserole is indeed basically one dish that feeds a crowd and has all you need for a complete meal.  I got the recipe from one of my favorite websites…http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2014/03/loaded-nacho-casserole-recipe.html. She tells you all about how she came up with the idea. Let me say…she is a genius!!! BD ate it up.  Kiddos, not so much.  Here is the deal though, if I cooked only what my kids liked there would be no Cajun mama cookin blog.  Unless ya’ll wanted me to tell ya’ll how to heat up Eggo waffles, make mac and cheese, heat up a wiener in the microwave or make a PB&J.   My kids, despite my efforts, do not eat everything that I cook.  Sure, there are the nights when there is a fingernail moon and Mercury and Venue are in sync (can you tell I am not an astrologist?) and they all eat what I make.  What I am getting at is that it is extremely rare for them all to just gobble up what I cook.  I decided a while back that I am not cooking for them.  I make what BD and I like or might like, hope that the kiddos will like it or even love it, and usually one or two of them will eat what I make.  But I by no means attest to 1) my kids eat it or starve.  I tried that approach, but I didn’t care for tucking my kids in and hearing their little bellies rumble.  For me, that was too much.  I admire parents who have that ability, but I don’t.  2) my kids gobble up whatever I put in front of them, never complain and they all have perfect table manners.  They don’t.  I don’t front ya’ll.  I tell you like it is, keep it real, show you the ugly.  For example… I got the cutest burlap place mats that have, get this, a cute little table manner written on each one.  So naturally, my kids become well mannered and perfect when they sit down to eat because their plates are on these well appointed place mats.  Negative Ghostwriter.  Half the time, I forget to put them out.  Yeah, that’s right.  Though I totally convinced myself that I would so put these out for every meal and then pick them back up again after each meal, I lied to myself.  Do you ever do that?  I do.  More than I care to mention.  But I will.  So that you don’t feel so bad about it when you do it.  I will admit to you that there are days when I might give Bree Vandecamp from Desperate Housewives a slight pause before she proceeded to kick my ass in the who is most like Martha Stewart category of Mom of the Year pageant.  Now, Roseanne (from the show Roseanne…to be clear) she might be all like “woah, smart ass comment, check this chick out…she thinks she is Martha Stewart!!” but not in a threatened or impressed way but more of a making fun of me for thinking I come close kind of way.  That’s right.  I can buy all the burlap place mats I want, but I will forget to put them out or pick them up half the time until I am so sick of looking at them that I put them back on top of the microwave until the next time I want to play like I am Madame Fancy Pants again.  So, ain’t  nothing over here in CM kitchen perfect or well appointed.  How I manage to get done what I get done escapes me and I am pretty sure I have the good folks at Keurig to thank for that since this girl runs on her coffee.  So…here we are back at where we started before I took ya’ll off on my verbal journey that gave you some insight into just how whacko I really am.  But I mean, have ya’ll missed the part where I told ya’ll I had 4 kids in less than 5 years?  If that didn’t clue ya’ll in to the whole “this chick is a little whack” than you are not real quick on the uptake. Ha ha! But real. 😳
Anyway, back to the recipe. I know, I know, it is hard to follow me at times and I appreciate you trying. I hope somewhere you are laughing at my candor rather cursing my ability to get greatly off track. Here is the recipe for this cheesy, meaty, everything in it but the kitchen sink casserole. It is pretty awesome and if you brown your ground meat ahead of time, it is a cinch to pull together. So on the days y’all have Tball or Spring soccer practice, ballet, teach a classroom full of kiddos all day (I have 2 sisters who are teachers and a bunch of friends who are…shout out to my teachers out there!) you can have supper prepared super fast. Ok ready?

Six Sisters’ Stuff Loaded Nacho Casserole

stuff you need~

1 pound ground beef, cooked and drained
1 small onion, diced fine
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
2 cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1-8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 small can diced green chiles
1 package reduced sodium taco seasoning
1 10 ounce bag tortilla chips
2 cups shredded cheddar

what to do with the stuff~

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Brown your ground meat if you have not done this already. Now, add in your bell pepper and onion and let them get a little tender. About 5 minutes or so should do you good. Now, just stir in the tomatoes, green chiles, corn, beans, taco seasoning and tomato sauce. Bring this saucy concoction to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. (You could this the night before so you could throw it all together the next night…just a thought). Now, layer half of the tortilla chips at the bottom of the casserole dish. As suggested, I kind of crushed them a little. Next layer half of your sauce concoction. Now, repeat this. Next sprinkle your cheese all over the top. Pop the casserole into the oven and bake until the cheese is all bubbly and the casserole is heated throughout. Let it cool a few minutes and then dish it up, baby!!
Serving suggestion…this would be divine over a bed of fresh shredded lettuce. Kind of a taco salad of sorts. Also, next time, I will use flour tortillas in place of the chips to see if I prefer it that way. It was delish like this but I think it might be awesome with the soft tortillas in there to soak up that sauce.  Oh and i might use shredded chicken in place of ground beef to change it up.  Yum!!  I will let y’all know. Very good, makes a ton and is quick and easy . Hope y’all enjoy it more than my kids did.  😉 what do they know anyway about good food, the little stinkers. Aw who am I kidding? I work for them. Sigh~AMB
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It’s cheesy, loaded with veggies, all in one dish and ready to please your hungry bunch!

Crawfish Casserole

Boy do I have a treat for ya’ll today!!!  My sister came across this little gem several years ago and it has been tucked away in my favorites box for a while.  You know how you find a new favorite and you cook it for everyone you know and then forget about it?  That is what happened with this recipe.  It is absolutely delicious and very simple to prepare, but I forgot about and since it is Festival Season in Louisiana, I decided it was time it made a comeback.  I write the food column for a local magazine, Red River Moms, it is called Cajun Mama Cooks and this is one of the recipes I put in the February issue.  It will quickly become one of your family favorites.  The results are so lip smacking, a mouthful of flavor and a taste that is pure Louisiana.  If you don’t live in our wonderful state, you can make this casserole and make do like you are here.  I really hope you will give this one a try, it is truly a favorite in my household and it should not be tucked away in a recipe box.  It should be shared and enjoyed and celebrated…so I hope you do just that! ~ AMB

 

Crawfish casserole 
Serves 6-8Ingredients 

1/2 cup butter
2 (12 oz.) bags of seasoning blend (frozen vegetables aisle)
1 tsp. or two cloves minced garlic 
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1 lb. crawfish tails with fat
1 1/2 cooked rice 
1/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs 
4 tablespoons dried parsley 
1/4-1/2 cup shredded cheddar 

Directions 

-Cook rice and set aside. 
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees 
-In a large skillet, melt butter and sauté seasoning blend until tender. Add garlic a few minutes before the other veggies are completely tender. Stir in soups and crawfish tails, fat and all.  Let this simmer a few minutes. Stir in cooked rice, breadcrumbs and parsley. Feel free to add a little more rice if you feel it needs it. Transfer to an oven safe 9 x 13 dish. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top. Bake for about 25 minutes or until bubbly. 
-season with Tony’s or salt and pepper to taste 

 

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You should make this…you really, really should.  

Cheddar Cheese Grits Casserole and (im)perfect moments

Grits.  You either love them or you hate them.  There is typically no in between ground there.  No gray area where someone is a little iffy and be swayed one way or another.  I am definitely a grits lover.  I like them with a good bit of salt, pepper and a ridiculous amount of butter.  This year I discovered something surprising…grits are so delicious with garlic and cheese in them.  I mean really, really delicious. Creamy, cheesy with just a hint of garlic to them.  Topped with more cheese…they are a wonderful accompaniment to any brunch.  I told ya’ll this week I was doing “blog about brunch”…I will say again…I am a fool for some brunch.  This grits casserole can find a home on any brunch table.  I have so many brunch recipes that I am not sure I could share them all with you over the course of a week or two…but I will round up some of my faves.  The other day I gave ya’ll the breakfast danish casserole.  Score one for Cajun Mama cause that baby is a winner.   Anyway, this is another excellent addition to your brunch recipe repertoire (say THAT 3 times fast!).

Like anyone, I tend to reflect as one year comes to a close and we usher in another.  I guess the time for reflection and taking stock comes for all of us at this time.  I hate to put too much emphasis on these days because for some it is such a hard time to get around and most of us are ready to move on to another year.  I don’t know what kind of year it has been for many of you.  For me, it has been good and fast paced but also has brought many things to light.  Some good and happy.  Others not so much.  But I do know this..and I hope you do too…I am where I am for a reason.  It is part of my path.  Just like finding these cheesy garlic grits are part of my destiny (I am not kidding…they are that good!), so is whatever you are doing or where you are at this moment.  I will not get all deep because I know ya’ll probably don’t get on here to listen to my insights about life..also because we have some family coming in for New Years Eve.  I have cooking to do.  Shocking…I know.   I will only say this…my in laws came in the other day to celebrate our Christmas.  They wanted to take pictures in front of the tree.  I took some of them and the kids.  They wanted me to get in there.  I had no makeup on.  My hair was not really fixed.  I didn’t know how my outfit would look.  I don’t consider myself a vain woman, but I am a woman.  Taking an ugly picture is not really ever my goal.  But I decided to be grateful for the moment to take pictures with my precious family.  To BE in the moment, instead of wishing to be somewhere else or look another way.  I ended up loving the picture because it captures our joy as a family.  The fun we always (ok…well usually) have together.  Being in the moment is not easy for me.  I tend to want to jump ahead or look behind.  But the good stuff, however not perfect it may seem, for me, is usually right where I am.  Even if I cannot see it or appreciate it at that moment.  So today, I hope you can look around and see the beauty in where you are.  In this moment, or the day, or of your life.  Every moment has something to offer and teach.  Even the imperfections (and mine are so many) can be beautiful.  Anyway, enough of that.  The focus here is cheesy, garlic, yummy, creamy grits.  Make them.  You will be oh so happy you did.  Much love and many blessings to all of you.

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We may not have it all together…but together we have it all (that should be our family motto)

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Garlicky cheesy goodness…so perfectly Southern and perfect 

Southern Living Cheddar Cheese Grits Casserole (Southern Living magazine December 2010)

Stuff you need:

4 cups milk (I use 3 cups whole and 1 cup half and half for extra creaminess but the other way is great too)

1/4 cup butter \1 cup uncooked quick-cooking grits

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (that Kraft kind with Philidelphia cream cheese added is amazing in this)

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

What to do with the stuff:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a 11 x 7 inch baking dish.  Bring milk just to a boil in a large saucepan over medium high heat.  Whisk in butter and grits a little bit at a time.  Reduce heat and simmer, whisking mixture constantly for 5 to 7 minutes, or until grits are cooked.  Remove from heat. Stir in lightly beaten egg followed cheddar cheese, salt and pepper.  Add in finely chopped garlic if desired at this time.  Pour into prepared dish.  Sprinkle with grated Parm.  Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes or until mixture is set.  Serve immediately.  Yummmmm!!!!  The epitome of southern dishes, right on your kitchen table or brunch buffet table.  Be sure to take a nice long whiff of the garlicky aroma before digging in.  I also sprinkle some Tony’s on it before serving.  Adds just a hint of spice and a nice kick of color.

Carol Lynn’s Breakfast Casserole (the best EVA)

So I have already told ya’ll about my precious babysitters and their mama.  They are friends whom we have chosen as family.  Or they chose us.  Either way.  It was destined to be and I am awful glad.  When I was pregnant with baby #4 aka LMB, hot mess, the wild one, those sweet then 14 year old girls decided they wanted to throw me a baby shower to welcome baby Lucas.  It was very unexpected as he was my 4th child in a less than 5 year period and let’s face it…the bloom was off the rose.  Of course, it was very small and only close friends and family were invited.  It was more of a show of support and excitement  than a way to get gifts.  I just don’t want to start one of those debates about whether it is en vogue or appropriate to have a baby shower for subsequent children.  I am not weighing in either way…I will only say that every baby should feel as loved and welcomed as every single one of mine has.  It was not a huge shower it was more of a sprinkle and I felt so very loved and blessed.  Still do every time I look back on these memories.   All I know is that at the time, as I have told ya’ll before, I was not all that comfortable with being the lady with 4 kids back to back.  I was overjoyed to be having my little caboose and after a few miscarriages before and in between, I knew I had been blessed beyond belief, but still…I felt somewhat like a two headed circus freak.  I am completely comfortable now and wear it like a badge of honor, but then, with 3 kids 4 and under and another on the way, on that day, I felt like a queen.  I felt treasured and honored and loved.  So, I guess regardless of whether or not a shower for my 4th baby was en vogue or not…feeling the way I felt that day, was worth any faux paus.  You gotta know when hold them and know when to fold them.  I look back and smile, knowing that those girls and their mama were willing to buck tradition to celebrate me, my baby and ultimately the blessing of my (not so little) family.  Love you girls.

None the less, those girls and their mama planned the sprinkle to a hilt and the food was to die for.  It was my favorite meal…brunch…with cake…yum!!!  My friend and their mama, whom from here on I will refer to as Fairy Godmother, is an amazing cook and has inspired me to try new recipes and branch out, made some of her treasured recipes.  One of them was the best breakfast casserole…Carol Lynn’s Breakfast Casserole.  She got it from a friend (Carol Lynn) and it is oh so easy and oh so good.  I will be making this tomorrow morning for New Years Day breakfast.  It is something you put together the night before and then let it chill in the fridge until morning.  Then you get up and preheat the oven and pop it in.  A little later, out comes a warm and bubbly breakfast casserole.  Sounds fab, right?  Oh it is my friends.  It is.  My fairy godmother is fond of saying “that’s the stuff” or “it’s good stuff” when she really likes something…this stuff is “the stuff”.  So you still have time to get the ingredients if you are so inclined and you might even have most in the fridge already.  I hope you enjoy it when you do make it.

Happy New Year to all my Cajun Mama friends out there.  So glad that you are with me as we go into 2014.  It will be a great year full of new recipes, tried and true recipes, and fun stories.  I hope as we usher in 2014 you feel blessed, treasured and loved.  Knowing you are out there is a blessing to me and you make me look forward to the new year. ~AMB

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Brunch with cake…my favorite…

Blessings abound…the precious cake at my LMB’s baby sprinkle 

Carol Lynn’s Breakfast Casserole

Stuff you need:

3 cups Pepperidge Farm herbed stuffing

1 1/2 lb. bulk breakfast sausage (I use Jimmy Dean mild), drained and crumbled

3 cups milk

2 cups shredded cheese (I use a blend of cheddar and colby jack usually)

6 eggs

1 can cream of mushroom soup

What to do with the stuff:

Prepare your 9 X 13 casserole dish by spraying it with cooking spray.  Layer stuffing, shredded cheese and sausage (in that order).  Beat eggs with 2 1/2 cups of the milk until frothy and pour over the casserole.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  The next morning, whisk together the cream of mushroom soup with remaining 1/2 cup of milk.  Pour this over the casserole and bake 40 to 50 minutes or until firm.

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Looks good, doesn’t it?  

Breakfast Danish Casserole

I love brunch. I am not sure if I have ever shared that little tidbit with ya’ll…but I do.  It is just such a convenient meal.  It is so versatile.  It can be as big and fancy of an ordeal as you want, but it can be laid back and relaxed if you choose.  You can have such a variety of foods when you plan a brunch too.  It is a culmination of all things good.  It’s an ANYTHING goes meal for the most part.  Who doesn’t love that?  The part I enjoy the most about it is that I can have a cup of coffee or two before I have to get cracking.  That makes for a much happier household and Cajun Mama likes happy.  Now, when you factor in that brunch makes it perfectly acceptable to drink at 10 in the morning, that just pushes brunch to the top of my list.  Mimosas, Bloody Marys, and coffee with Bailey’s in it.  I mean….what is not to love?  Over the next few days, I will be sharing my favorite brunch recipes.  I have some yummy, super easy ones and some that are a little bit more involved but totally worth it.  We can call it Blog About Brunch Week!!  Extra, extra bloggin about brunch, ya’ll!!!  Hope you will come back for some more scrumptious brunch recipes.

I am sure it would not tax anyone’s imagination to find out that I have an entire Pinterest board (or two..) dedicated to brunch foods.  So, when I ran across this Breakfast Danish casserole, it was an absolute shoe in for me to try ASAP.  I made it once a few months ago and it was a hit across the board.  Perfect with coffee and a definite kid friendly dish.  It is like dessert..at breakfast!  This is so easy to prepare, I can do it after only one cup of coffee.  That is pretty easy…let me tell you!  I had been pondering what to make for our Christmas morning breakfast.  I wanted to do  a brunch so that it would give us a chance to let the kids open their gifts and give us something more substantial than cinnamon rolls from the can.  Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE cinnamon rolls from the can…just wanted to do something more special for Christmas morning.  Big Daddy asked me to make biscuits and sausage gravy, so I knew we would have that and I LOVE grits and I have an excellent recipe for a cheesy garlic grits casserole (hint hint at my next post)…but I wanted something sweet to round it out.  Yes, I could have chosen fruit and we usually put that in there, but it is Christmas morning and I felt like breaking a few rules.  Being naughty after being nice for so long.  LOL!!  Plus, I didn’t have any fruit and there was no way in the world I was fighting the lines at Brookshires or Kroger to buy fruit.  So, breakfast danish casserole it is!!!  This was an EXCELLENT brunch menu.  With some fruit to add some color and nutrition to it, it would have been perfect!  It was pretty much a cinch to make and everyone was happy and full.

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Scrumptious I tell ya’ll…mmmm

Breakfast Danish Casserole (adapted from Key Ingredient http://www.keyingredient.com/recipes)

Stuff you need:

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened

2 cans refrigerated crescent rolls (like Pillsbury)

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (My mother in law turned me on to Butter Nut Vanilla Extract…excellent in this recipe)

1 egg

1 egg white

1 cup of powdered sugar

milk

dash of vanilla

What to Do with the Stuff:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a 9 x 13 dish by spraying it with a light coating of cooking spray.  Lay out one tube of crescent roll dough (don’t separate) in one long piece on the bottom of prepared dish.  Pinch together any separated pieces or use your pastry roller.  In your standing mixer, cream together cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla until smooth.  Spread the mixture  evenly over the layer of crescent roll dough.  Lay second tube of crescent roll dough over the cream cheese mixture.  Brush the top with the egg white to ensure a nice golden brown top crust.  Pop this into the oven at bake for 35-40 minutes until the top is golden brown.

While the casserole is baking, make up your glaze.  It couldn’t be easier.  Dump powdered sugar into a small mixing bowl.  Add a little milk at a time, whisking after each pour of milk.  Add milk gradually until you have a mixture that is a little more runny than a paste.  You want it to pour but not be super runny.  Not as thick as peanut butter, but not as thin as syrup.  Does that make sense?  Probably more like molasses.  Whisk in a splash of vanilla.  When danish casserole is out of the oven, let it cool for about 15 minutes.  Pour the glaze over the semi cooled casserole.  Cut into squares and serve.  This will stand alone with a cup of coffee or a glass of ice cold milk.  You will love it.  I promise.

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As my Daddy says, “plum larapin”

Ritz Cracker Chicken casserole

Once upon a time, a cajun mama found a recipe called poppyseed chicken aka Ritz cracker chicken in a magical place called Pinterest.  She made it for her cajun family and they all lived happily ever after.  Ok…so not quite but when I tell you that there is a reason Ritz cracker chicken is a classic Southern recipe that is delicious, easy to make, and makes up in a snap, I tell you no lies.  This stuff is amazing and I had been missing out.  Like, how did I live without this dish for all the years before?  It is seriously fantastic.  

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So let’s get down to the brass tacks here.  The nuts and bolts of it all.  The nitty gritty.  I know ya’ll didn’t come here to read my witty repartee.  Some call this Poppy seed chicken casserole and some call this Ritz cracker chicken.  Just make it and I am pretty dang sure ya’ll will just call it GOOD.  

Ritz Cracker Chicken/Poppy seed Chicken casserole  (adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything)

Ingredients

5 cups chicken breasts, cooked and cubed

1 cup sour cream

2 (14.5 ounce) cans cream of chicken soup

2 cups crushed Ritz crackers (about 1 1/2 rolls of crackers)

*I crush mine by putting them in a gallon ziploc bag, closing it tightly, and then rolling a rolling pin over the bag until they are crushed…or you can use your food processor.  I am not that industrious.)

1/2 cup melted butter

1 Tablespoon poppy seeds (in the seasoning aisle of the grocery store usually)

1 tsp. Worcesterchire sauce 

1 tsp. celery salt

1 tsp. minced garlic

1 T. lemon juice

1/4 tsp. pepper 

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Boil uncooked chicken breasts with salt and pepper until done.  Remove from the water and let them cool a bit and then cube it up.  

In a medium sized bowl, stir together the soup, sour cream, Worcesterchire, celery salt, garlic, lemon juice, and pepper.  Pour over the chicken.  

In a separate bowl, stir together crushed crackers, poppy seeds and melted butter.  Sprinkle over the chicken and sauce.

Pop that baby into your preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until the top is a nice toasty brown and the sauce is all bubbly.  (my mouth is watering)  You can serve over rice or noodles.  Or just eat it straight out of a bowl.  This stuff is seriously DIVINE.