Sunday, May 9, 2010

Individual Chicken Casseroles

My Venture into Motherhood

To be celebrated properly, Mother's Day needs to be a lot longer than a single day! After all, for many of us, your mom was there to fix you dinner, keep your house clean, hug you when you were sad, teach you right from wrong, be your #1 fan at sporting events, and protect you from the monsters that lived under your bed. Cardinal Mermillod once said "A mother is she who can take the place of all others but whose place no one else can take." Truer words have never been spoken.

Today's recipe is quick and easy-to-make. It's really tasty and nice to serve in individual gratin dishes. Don't make this for Mother's Day. It's not special enough. Instead, as a surprise, make it for Sunday dinner sometime when she's least expecting it just to remind her that you still care.

I am blessed to have such as great mom who inspired me with her great cooking. I hope you've all been equally blessed and have wonderful memories from your childhood. I know I do! One thing that many of us can agree on is that we love our mothers but they can be a little nutty sometimes – my mother being no exception. I'm sure we all have tales of the crazy, little things our mothers did when we were growing up. For today's post, I came up with a list of things you can do to prove you're a good mother.

You know you're a good mother if you can…
1) Gracefully smooth things over when grandma asks "Now who's that nice young man you brought with you today?" while pointing to your daughter's lesbian girlfriend.
2) Spin your head around like that girl in the Exorcist while driving down the freeway and, in a possessed voice, threaten your son with bodily harm if he doesn't stop bugging his sister.
3) Give your husband the look of death when he asks you to come change the channel since he can't find the remote control for a TV that's 10 feet away.
4) Scream from the bathroom "%$^&#!!! Who left the &@#$% toilet seat up?!" – not realizing a priest is standing in the living room after having just arrived for an unexpected visit.
5) Resist buying something at the store unless it's double-coupon day at the Piggly Wiggly.
6) Guilt your kids into doing something by reminding them that you were almost ripped to shreds after 36 hours of labor that required a 5-stitch episiotomy.
7) Remind your kids on several occasions that, 35 years ago, you ruined her priceless collection of records by using them to skate across the basement floor.
8) Yell loud enough to be heard at a friend's house down the street because somebody ate the last %&#$@ can of fruit cocktail.
9) Smack your husband for allowing your daughter to shave the cat with your leg razor while he calmly watches the nightly news.
10) Maintain your girlish figure while taking care of 4 young kids and subsisting on a diet of entirely Pepsi and cigarettes.

My mother must be a GREAT mother because she's done several of the above things. I love you Ma and Happy Mother's Day!

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Individual Chicken Casseroles
(Printable Version)

2 TBSP softened butter
1 bunch of scallions (white and light green parts), chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (10 3/4 oz) low-sodium cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup
1/2 c milk
1 tsp chicken bouillon granules or Better than Bouillon (or 1 chicken bouillon cube)
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 oz softened cream cheese
1 3/4 c sharp cheddar or your favorite cheese, divided use
1 c cooked cubed or hash brown potatoes (I use Simple Potatoes brand in the refrigerated section of my supermarket)
2 c cooked chicken cut into bite-size pieces (I used leftovers from a roasted chicken)
25 butter crackers (such as Ritz or Townhouse), roughly broken into small pieces
2 TBSP butter, melted
1 c french fried onions (optional)
Garnish with chopped scallions and finely diced red bell pepper

Preheat oven to 350F.

Heat a skillet over medium heat with the butter. After the butter has melted, add the scallions and cook about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Add the soup, milk, bouillon, paprika, and black pepper and stir to combine. Heat until the mixture is hot then add the cream cheese and 1 cup of cheddar cheese (reserve the remaining cheddar cheese for the top). Stir until the cheeses melt. Fold in the potatoes and chicken. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.

Spoon the chicken mixture evenly into 3 individual gratin dishes (or an 8x8" baking dish) that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle 1/4 c of cheese on top of the chicken mixture in each dish.

In a medium bowl, break the crackers into small pieces (about 1/2"). Do not pulverize into crumbs. Add two tablespoons of melted butter and stir to combine. Top each gratin dish with 1/3 of the crackers. Place the gratin dishes on a sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes or until the top is nicely browned and the casseroles are bubbling around the edges. If using french fried onions, add to the top during the last 4 minutes of cooking. Garnish with chopped scallion tops and finely diced red bell pepper.


  1. Hello Blog Buddies! Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

  2. That sounds SOOO good, perfect comfort food. I'm going to make that for my family some day in the near future...Thanks so much, and I love your blog!

  3. Love hearing about your mum!! She would definitely fit into the School of Chinese Mothering very well :D will definitely give this one a whirl - it sounds like perfect Sunday dinner fare...I finally got a mini oven so I can do oven things now - oh joy!


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