Category Archives: chicken

Always order from the white board

Peking Palace is in a strip shopping center just across from the Target and next to HoneyBaked Ham. For the most part, it’s a traditional Chinese restaurant with some Japanese items thrown in for good measure. And then there’s the white board.

The cheerful attentive staff is Asian, some with limited English. That’s always a good sign. And there are other Asian people in there on a regular basis to eat. That’s also a good sign. King Daddy and I have been going there for years. The servers don’t know us by name but they know our faces and, I believe, since we started ordering off the white board exclusively we have gained a small measure of respect. We like their food.

And as an aside, I would just like to say that a restaurant where the servers are named Bambi and Ian and the chopsticks are plastic is not a Chinese restaurant. P.F. Chang’s is not a Chinese restaurant. It is a faux Chinese restaurant for people who are scared to actually frequent the real thing.

But I digress. The white board. It appeared a few years ago and our lives have never been the same.

White Board

Our waitress appears with her ordering pad, expecting King Daddy and I to order Kung Pao Chicken and Sweet and Sour Soup. “We would like the Pho,” I tell her completely mispronouncing it (it’s “pha”). I see a faint glimmer in her eyes as though we have immediately gone up in her estimation.

A plate with aromatics such as fresh basil, cilantro, bean sprouts, jalapeno peppers and a fresh lime wedge appear along with two bowls. We do not know what to do with them. We wait, humbly, for instruction. Then a giant steaming bowl of pho arrives, with paper-thin sheets of beef, chunks of Chinese sausage and almost transparent rice noodles swimming in a  thrillingly exotic broth.

You put vegetables in bottom of bowl and spoon pho on top, she says.

We do. We taste. We are goners. We demolish the entire giant bowl.

You like?

We like. No, that’s not accurate. We are in full-blown love with Pho.



The white board has expanded to include Pad Thai and Zha Jiang Mian (two insanely delicious noodle dishes – the first from Thailand and the second from China) and our current obsession, the Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwich.

Banh Mi

Thin slices of highly seasoned pork with pickled vegetables on a homemade – homemade – French roll. When we order it, which we do every single time, we just roll our eyes and the table falls silent. It’s that good.

King Daddy, Dammit Boy and I are at Peking Place probably two or three times a week. I remember one moment of shame, absolute shame, when we walked in and I ordered General Tso’s Chicken. I know. It’s not even remotely Chinese. I just had a craving.

General Tso’s Chicken? No Pho? No Zha Jiang Mian? The waitress was genuinely puzzled.

I have never done it since.

So here’s my take away on this. Always order from the white board. Or get the special. Or ask the waitress what she would get. We are blessed in the greater Nashville area now to have all kinds of authentic food – Mexican, Honduran, El Salvadoran, Laotian, Ethiopian, Vietnamese and Indian. God bless our immigrants. They have so much to teach us.


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Sissy Eidt’s Chicken and Artichoke Casserole

Sissy Eidt Chicken and Artichoke Casserole

As most of you know by now, I am besotted with Natchez, Mississippi, and I promise I will move on to other topics after just this one last post – for now.

Sissy Eidt is a caterer in Natchez and provided my tour group with a very tasty lunch one day.


Isn’t that pretty? I have never met Sissy but I can report that she knows her Southern food, through and through. First of all, you’ll notice that the finger sandwiches are crustless. This is key. You can always spot a Yankee finger sandwich a mile away because the crusts are still on the sandwiches, which is completely barbaric. No offense. At St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, the women in charge of receptions have been known to discreetly remove crusted finger sandwiches from the reception table and take a knife to them in the kitchen.

Secondly, Sissy has a cookbook/primer on the ladies of Natchez and their propensity to just take over everything (in a nice way) and run the show as it should be run. I understand this mentality completely. If I lived in Natchez I would knock down every door to join them. And listed as ingredients in her recipes, not exclusively of course, are these Southern necessities: cream cheese, frozen whipped topping, poppy seeds, Jiffy cornmeal mix and – last but certainly not least – cream of fill-in-the-blank soup.

You can not underestimate the importance of cream of fill-in-the-blank soup in the all-encompassing arena of casseroles. There are uninformed people who tend to be snobby about this. We look down on them because they are morons. They also don’t understand the intrinsic value of Crisco, Velveeta or Bourbon Slush. But I can assure you the ladies of Natchez do.

So when I got back from Natchez, I was feeling a little homesick for this boozy, eccentric and charming small town. And I made Sissy’s Chicken and Artichoke Casserole just to make myself feel a little better. You have to love a recipe with a sauce made from two types of cream of fill-in-the-blank soup and a soup can of mayonnaise.

Sissy Eidt's Chicken and Artichoke Casserole
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10-12 servings
  • 1 10½-ounce can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 10½-ounce can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 soup can of mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 box Wild Rice Blend (cook as directed)
  • 3½-4 pound chicken, cooked, deboned and cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 14-ounce cans artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
  • 3 cups grated Cheddar cheese
  • Freshly chopped parsley for garnish
  1. Blend the soups, mayonnaise, basil, thyme, lemon juice, pepper and Worcestershire sauce together. Reserve.
  2. In a 9 by 13-inch casserole, layer the rice, chicken and artichoke hearts. Top with sauce, cover and chill overnight or 3-4 hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the casserole from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature. Bake, covered, until hot and bubbly, 35-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with cheese. Let rest a few minutes and sprinkle with parsley.
I used a rotisserie chicken for this recipe and after adding the cheese I popped the casserole under the broiler for a few minutes.


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Eating my way through Natchez

Peoples of the South, I am stuffed. I do not need to eat another morsel for at least three weeks. After I have my seafood gumbo tonight. Not one more crumb. Except the peanut butter pie I’m having tomorrow at Weidmanns in Meridian.

So I thought I’d just catch you up on eating my way through Natchez. Let’s start with Mammy’s Cupboard, renowned for its sandwiches on homemade bread and its pies.


Here’s my chicken salad sandwich with vegetable beef soup and potato salad at Mammy’s. They bake the bread every morning. The locals mix the potato salad into the soup. I did not.



And the coconut cream pie. Yes. That is all.

The next day we had a catered lunch at Brandon Hall, which is a magnificent antebellum home off the Natchez Parkway. Hold on to your hats.


We had the tomato bisque soup. And the chicken salad, shrimp salad and tossed salad with blue cheese, pecans and balsamic dressing. And the croissants. And the bread pudding, lemon squares and brownie bites. I had seconds. I am ashamed.

I skipped the evening entertainment, but I had smuggled a couple of mini buttermilk biscuits and sausage patties upstairs from breakfast. They were quite delicious with imitation grape jelly. By the way, the Grand Hotel has a spectacular complementary breakfast. Some of the best grits I’ve had. If I could have figured out a way to get them upstairs in a napkin, I would have.

On to today. How about a little Brandy Milk Punch at historic Linden Hall to prime the pump?


In a silver cup, naturally. I have never had Brandy Milk Punch, which is kind of like a boozy vanilla milkshake. I rather liked it.  I had two servings. I would have had a third but I didn’t want to trip getting on the bus.

Lunch was at Routhland, another magnificent antebellum home that is privately owned. Yes, once again we crashed somebody’s private residence for a lunch from famed Natchez caterer Sissy Eidt.


Assorted finger sandwiches, pasta salad, fruit salad and deviled eggs with:


Chess squares and brownies. I had seconds and bought Sissy’s book – Ladies’s Legacies in Natchez, Mississippi – later in the day just for the recipes she serves at prestigious events and parties.

So, Peoples of the South, I am finding Natchez much to my liking. The people are unfailingly hospitable, the city is utterly charming and the food is irresistable. It’s a pity we have to leave tomorrow. After the seafood gumbo.


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Filed under breads, breakfast, chicken, lamb, pasta, salads, seafood, sides, sweets, tea sandwiches

Hot chicken salad: Everything old is new again

Hot Chicken Salad

Celebrity chefs may have signature dishes, but Southern girls have signature casseroles. Southern women will practically break down your front door to bring you a casserole. It’s a compulsion.

Entire cookbooks have been written about casseroles but that is not where you find the best recipes. Community cookbooks are what you want because every woman who contributes is bringing her A game. You might not care if you write a lousy casserole recipe for a mass-produced book, but you will be mortified if you turn in something substandard in the casserole genre to a community cookbook and your bridge group finds out.

In the casserole universe, everything old is new again and I rediscovered that this week while thumbing through a very fine community cookbook published by the Newnan Georgia Times-Herald in 1967.  There are the usual antiquated flourishes of recipes written at a time when Cool Whip, marshmallows and lime Jello were mainstays of the culinary landscape.

But right there on pages 57 and 60 – surrounded by recipes for Reception Salad (lemon Jello, crushed pineapple and cream cheese) and Seven Cup Salad (cottage cheese, fruit cocktail and miniature marshmallows) – was a “salad” that I first read about in a 2005 Paul Deen cookbook: Hot Chicken Salad.  A casserole that dates back at least 47 years that is still on my all-time greatest casserole hit list. It was so popular in 1967 there are two recipes for it in the cookbook, one of them almost identical to old Paula’s. In fact, I got to wondering if  Paula had a copy of the Favorite Recipes from Coweta County Kitchens since she’s from Georgia, too. No matter.

The thing that makes Hot Chicken Salad is the potato chips. Once you assemble the casserole, you top it with a gracious plenty of crushed potato chips. Golden Flake are the best in my opinion because there is more grease trapped in a Golden Flake potato chip than at a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise.

I have made this casserole mine over the years by adding rice at the bottom, more lemon juice than Paula wanted to use and a few other flourishes. One of the original version in the Newnan, Georgia, cookbook called for pickle juice and grated American cheese.

One last thing about community cookbooks. Back in the day, the authors names were sometimes included at the end of the recipes and they spoke of a time when a woman’s place was in the home and small-town addresses were easily remembered:  Mrs. A.H. Sprayberry, 4 First Street, Newnan; Mrs. J.B. Johnson, Jr., grandniece of Mrs. Parker; and Mrs. Ross Beavers, Route 1.

And when salads contained canned asparagus,maraschino cherries and tomato soup.


Hot Chicken Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8 servings
  • Breast meat from one rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 1 ½ cups celery, diced
  • ½ cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • ½ teaspoon minced dried onion
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 3 cups cooked rice
  • ⅔ cup crushed potato chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together the chicken, celery, almonds, onion, lemon juice mayonnaise and cheese. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
  3. Butter a 13-by-9 inch baking dish. Put the rice in the bottom and top with the chicken filling. Liberally sprinkle the crushed potato chips over the top.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes or until the casserole is bubbly.




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The Big Easy

I know you want some of this - turkey from the Big Easy Oil-less Turkey Fryer

I know you want some of this – turkey from the Big Easy Oil-less Turkey Fryer

I have fried a turkey the traditional way once. ONCE. It was at Bunny and Paul’s house in Knoxville and here’s how it went.

I buy a turkey frying kit for about $80. I like fried turkey plus I regularly engage in pastimes that are traditionally male like competition barbecue, high heat grilling and never asking for directions. Frying turkeys falls into that category. I load the turkey fryer into the CC and head to Knoxville with King Daddy and Dammit Boy for Thanksgiving.

I buy about $40 of oil. I’m already starting to get skeptical. This turkey has already cost me more than $100. And that’s without actually buying the turkey. Plus, my mother in law is not pleased.

“Where are you going to fry the turkey?” Bunny asks skeptically.

“On the driveway,” I answer confidently.

“No, you’re not. There are a lot of children and dogs in this neighborhood. It’s a fire hazard.”

True enough. “How about the basement patio?”

“Just don’t get too close to the house. Your father in law already has a heart condition.”

So I lug the turkey frying kit and the 5 gallons of oil downstairs and set up shop. This is going to be great!

Long story short, it wasn’t. First you have to fill the giant turkey cooking vessel with water and lower the turkey in to gauge how much oil you need. If the boiling oil spills over the top as you lower the turkey, you will die. Then you have to completely dry the turkey. If you don’t, when you lower the turkey into the vessel any residual water will cause the boiling hot oil  to shoot into the air like a lunar rocket. And you will die. And then, of course, as you are frying the turkey – should you still be alive – you cannot use a digital probe thermometer to check for doneness because if you stick the probe in the boiling hot oil. Well, you know.

And then there’s the matter of cleaning up. The turkey fryer instructions say you can strain the oil and save it for another use. And I actually did that. Once. It sat in my garage for six months before I decided that it didn’t look quite right. I think I disposed of it illegally. Don’t tell.

So what I use now is the Char-Broil Big Easy TRU-Infrared Oil-less Turkey Fryer. Yes, I blog for them but my love affair with all things Char-Broil goes back way before the All-Star team was formed. When I wrote a cookbook about grilling, I needed a gas grill and the salesman at Lowe’s took me straight to the Char-Broil grills. I loved that first Char-Broil so much I almost moved it into the bedroom with me.

No complicated instructions - slather a turkey breast with butter mixed with Cajun seasoning, put it in the fryer basket and take it for a spin.

No complicated instructions – slather a turkey breast with butter mixed with Cajun seasoning, put it in the fryer basket and take it for a spin

So how, you may ask, can an “oil-less turkey fryer” fry a turkey? Honestly,  I don’t understand it. It’s magic. I believe. I was hooked after my first bird. I get shatteringly crispy skin, a juicy moist interior and no clean up. Actually, I do not believe the Char-Broil folks brag on this as much as they should. After the turkey’s done, just leave the heat on for about 15 minutes and it burns away any debris. And the Big Easy costs less than the old-fashioned fryer when you add in the cost of oil. With no potentially deadly results.

This 5-pound turkey breast was done in an hour and a half.

This 5-pound turkey breast was done in an hour and a half.

So now I use it for turkey, but also for pork butts, chickens, pork loins – any large cut of meat. With Thanksgiving coming up next month, you might want to think about getting a Big Easy. It also clears up oven space for some of the equally important stuff like the dressing, mac and cheese, and green bean bundles. Tell me you have green bean bundles at your house on Turkey Day. No? We’ll have to have a talk.







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Pounding the Preacher

The parishioners of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church just ooze hospitality.  Recovering from surgery? We will break down your door to bring you a casserole. Need a ride to the doctor? We practically create a traffic jam getting to your house. We might as well run around with pineapples hung around our necks we’re so hospitable.

We are getting an interim rector to temporarily replace our beloved Father Bob. It’s an Episcopal thing. Priests, usually retired, specialize in shepherding the flock for a period of time while a new rector is chosen. And we have ours now. The Reverend Dr. J. Wesley Smith and his wife, Christina, moved into the rectory yesterday. And we were ready for him.

We revived an old custom called Pounding the Preacher – bringing our new spiritual leader a pound of this and a pound of that to stock his larder before he moved in. And this should give Father J. or Father Wesley or whatever he desires to be called an indication of what he has gotten himself into. As usual, we did it excessively. I hope we didn’t scare him off.



Seriously. Really. Nothing succeeds like excess. Wait until the reception after his first Sunday preaching. We have glass plate receptions and silver platter receptions. This will be a silver platter situation. The man has no idea.

I made my award-winning-in-my-own-mind Chicken Divan for the Pounding so the Smith’s would have a nice home-cooked meal on their first night in the rectory. In a disposable aluminum pan. That is the first rule of hospitality when it comes to banging down the door with a casserole. Never make the recipient wash a dish and have to return it.  We have many more rules. Iron-clad rules. But you have to know the secret handshake to get them.


Chicken Divan
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 1 Rotisserie chicken
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ teaspoon curry powder
  • Shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Milk to thin
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen French-cut green beans, thawed
  • 2 pouches Trader Joe's frozen organic brown rice
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs mixed with 2 tablespoons melted butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Remove the chicken meat from the carcass and shred it. Reserve.
  3. Mix together the soup, mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice and curry powder.
  4. Add the cheese, combine thoroughly and add enough milk to thin the sauce.
  5. Microwave each rice pouch according to the package directions and put in the bottom of a casserole dish. Sprinkle the green beans over the rice. Mix the chicken in with the sauce and top the green beans. Finish by sprinkling the bread crumbs over the top.
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes.


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Grilled Filipino adobo chicken wings

Filipino Adobo Chicken Wings 1My beloved Tennessee Volunteers will take the field once again a week from today. We are going to battle Utah State and I believe we will prevail. It’s been a tough few years to be a UT fan. I will not disparage the two worst ever in the world coaches who got us into this pickle, but I’m counting on Butch Jones to get us out of it.

King Daddy and I always watch the games in separate rooms. I cannot stand the yelling. When Noah was little he actively became afraid of football because of the screaming at the screen. Normally, King Daddy is a very composed individual, but not on UT game days. He watches in the den and I watch in our bedroom and when he hollers at the TV I can still hear him. Chardonnay helps. With both the yelling and, in the past few years, the games.

But I always do football food in the hoped-for spirit of victory. This has backfired on me more than once since the more the game deteriorates so does King Daddy’s appetite. One game last year, I couldn’t even get him to try the hot Rotel, Velveeta and Tennessee Pride Sausage dip. The man loves his hot cheese and sausage dip (he can take or leave the Rotel since tomatoes are a vegetable – actually a fruit, but that’s another discussion).

By the way, the first game of the year is on a Sunday. I take that as a sign of divine intervention because we’re going to need a lot of that this year. I will be making Char-Broil’s Filipino Adobo Chicken Wings. You will be alarmed when you see what they’re marinated in, but I guarantee they will cure even the most forlorn UT fan. The recipe is over on the Char-Broil LIVE site. Go on. Get on over there and you can thank me later.

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Sometimes things go wrong

I am quite certain you read this blog for recipes that work. Or perhaps my witty commentary. But sometimes things go wrong and I have to admit that I do not always turn out spectacular food.

It seemed like a good idea yesterday to make the Chicken Sofrito from the Jerusalem cookbook, one of the greatest cookbooks ever produced in my opinion. By all appearances, it’s a simple recipe: slowly cook chicken in its own juices and add a nice bed of crispy fried potatoes underneath. Chicken, potatoes, a few spices and an onion. What could be easier? I miscalculated.

The recipe calls for you to put the chicken in a large pan with low sides. I do not have such a pan. So I cram the chicken in a smaller pan with low sides. I know as I am doing this that it’s not going to work. Dang it. Remove chicken from pan, find larger cast iron skillet with high sides and wash previous pan after scraping off encrusted barely cooked chicken parts.

Put chicken on the stove on low. It’s supposed to cook for an hour before the potatoes go in. How hard is it to fry potatoes? Not hard. Just incredibly messy.

Exhibit A:

IMG_4406And I start to realize it will take King Daddy and I until Labor Day to eat all those potatoes. No matter. It is more of a problem that I didn’t have enough oil and have to fry the potatoes in batches of three. It eats up the entire hour.

At this point, I am to add the potatoes to the chicken which, according to the recipe, should be beginning to fall off the bone. I open the lid. Oh, dear.

Exhibit B:

IMG_4397It is not falling off the bone. It is entirely, sadly, intact. I am more than an hour into this recipe and I sense disaster. I briefly consider throwing everything away before King Daddy gets home, but the chicken is organic and it is apparently some kind of International Court violation to throw away anything that once had a beak and and two scratchy legs. So I pause a moment to ponder.

Exhibit C:

IMG_4403The saddest selfie ever recorded. Wine and cigarettes were required. I sit on the deck for a few minutes reviewing my options. I am already so screwed, but I decide to proceed apace and live with the consequences.

Exhibit D: IMG_4398Well, alrighty then. The potatoes and the pan juices look pretty tasty. Only a half hour to go so what the hell. Chicken goes back on top and it simmers covered for another 30 minutes. Meanwhile, King Daddy comes home and I warn him that this meal may rival my worst suppers ever made (Fish Jello being at the top of the list). He seems to think I am over-reacting.

Exhibit E:

Chicken SofritoIt is…acceptable. The chicken, as predicted, did not fall off the bone but it was moist. The potatoes were quite tasty. And I learned a few lessons in the process, the most important being that when you make a recipe for the first time follow it exactly. I substituted chicken breasts for a whole cut-up chicken because K.D. and I don’t like dark meat. But the legs and thighs would have added a lot more moisture and juice, thereby getting the chicken to that fall-off-the-bone stage.

And, most important, do NOT equate a less-than-stellar result with Armageddon. Although I always try.


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Rotisserie chicken

Chicken 1

I try to keep King Daddy provisioned at all times when I am called out of town. I literally count the plastic containers of leftovers in the refrigerator to make sure he will not starve. I realize this is my failing. I have conditioned King Daddy to expect to be fed at all times, whether I’m in town or not. I think that might be called enabling.

So I was out of town on a super secret project that I will reveal to you at the proper time and I call KD on my way back just to report that I am still alive. “The refrigerator is empty,” he says wistfully. I think he might have over-eaten a bit, but I do not call that to his attention. “That’s fine,” I tell him. “I’ll cook supper when I get back.”

Have I mentioned to you that it’s pouring down rain and there are tornado warnings? I am thinking grilling a steak is just not an option. So when I get back to Brentwood I head to my beloved Publix for the single best invention of the 21st century – rotisserie chicken (and yes, you greedy people, there’s a recipe coming for repurposed rotisserie chicken).

Rotisserie chicken has saved my life many times. First of all, you cannot tell it’s not homemade. You can take that chicken right out of the paper bag, plop it on a platter and tell a huge fib that you made it yourself for a dinner party. Of course, I have never done that. It also makes quick work of a casserole, which most people don’t realize takes more time and dishes than a country club buffet. And like Sister Schubert yeast rolls, I can’t make it any better or cheaper. That is my definition of a revolutionary idea.

And an added bonus is that even King Daddy cannot eat an entire rotisserie chicken in one sitting. So his anxiety level due to the vast spaces of emptiness in the refrigerator is greatly reduced because now, once again, there are leftovers.


Chicken Tetrazzini
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
  • 1 rotisserie chicken
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
  • ¼ cup Marsala
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 8 ounces thin spaghetti
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan
  • ¼ cup dried Italian-style breadcrumbs
  1. Shred chicken and set aside. Melt one tablespoon of the butter and add the mushrooms. Saute with a little salt and pepper until well browned. Add the marsala and reduce any liquid in the pan. Remove the mushrooms and add the onion, sautéing until tender. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Combine the mushrooms, onion, garlic and thyme and set aside.
  2. Melt two tablespoons of butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and whisk for about a minute. Ad the milk, cream, broth, lemon juice and nutmeg. Continue whisking until the sauce thickens slightly. Salt and pepper to taste. Note: This will be thinner than a regular cream gravy but it’s all good. The warm pasta will absorb much of the sauce.
  3. Cook the pasta until it is al dente. Mix the pasta with the chicken, mushroom mixture and sauce. Mix the Parmesan and the breadcrumbs. Put the chicken mixture in a casserole dish and top with the cheese/breadcrumb mixture.
  4. Bake at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the casserole is bubbling.


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Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

This whole thing started with the croutons entirely because I am cheap. I cannot stand to throw food away and, dammit, onion poppy seed hamburger buns come in packages of eight. I just needed two for a sandwich project. So I had six left over, staring at me every time I opened the pantry door. Taunting me to do something with them.

CroutonsSo I made croutons. I actually have a beef with store-bought croutons and I don’t understand why everyone doesn’t make their own. Store-bought croutons are generally hard as rocks and exhibit all the taste of a hardened cube of sand. And since I have become a dedicated package ingredient reader after several alarming revelations about processed foods, I just don’t want any preservatives or other funny stuff in my croutons. Plus I have to tell you if you make these with melted butter rather than olive oil, you will just end up eating them straight out of the bag without any trip to a bowl of salad.

Once I had my croutons, I had to have something to put them on. Talk about the chicken and the egg. Decided on a Chicken Caesar Salad since that’s also a beef of mine. Why are they so bad at restaurants because they’re so good with a homemade dressing and some grilled chicken?

The croutons store in the fridge for a few weeks. They never last that long at my house. I’ve eaten two bags of them already. Without the salad.


Chicken Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • BBQ rub
  • Spray oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, minced
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • Dash hot sauce
  • 1 10-ounce bag romaine lettuce
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat the grill to medium.
  2. Trim the chicken breasts of any fat or cartilage and sprinkle with the BBQ rub. Spray one side of the chicken with oil and grill for 4-5 minutes, oiled side down. Spray the other side, flip and grill for an additional 4 minutes or until the internal temperature is 160 degrees as determined with a digital probe thermometer. Remove from the grill and reserve.
  3. Combine the garlic and parsley in a small bowl. Add the anchovy paste, mustard, lemon juice, mayonnaise and hot sauce. Combine thoroughly and chill the dressing in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  4. Put the romaine lettuce in a large bowl. Cut the chicken into strips or cubes and add to the lettuce along with the dressing. Toss thoroughly. Sprinkle with salad with the Parmesan cheese and serve.

Homemade Croutons
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 3-4 cups leftover bread or buns
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil or melted butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut the bread or buns into cubes and put on a foil lined, rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil or melted butter. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and oregano.
  4. Bake for about 10 minutes or until they are browned to the degree you like.
These croutons will store in a baggie in the fridge for a good two-three weeks.


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