CASSA MY ROLE
The dog days of summer - August is almost half over!
Cicadas are serenading, school has begun, summer clothes are on super clearance, and I’m beginning to think about the change in season, although the temperatures are still summer. I'm thinking about one of my all time favorites - the CASSEROLE! I love a casserole. Always have, and a good thing, because when you’re raised in the south, the casserole is sacred. They are staples at church dinners, potluck dinners, and banquets. The first thing that arrives from good southern lady friends and neighbors during a crisis or special occasion (births, deaths, illness, and houseguests) is a casserole, and if you’re lucky it’s accompanied by a pound cake.
The casserole is a derivative of a French word “casse”, meaning “pan”, and the food dish “casserole” originated in the mid 1800’s. Casseroles are also known as the “one dish wonder”, meaning that main dish casseroles consist of meat, vegetables and a starch. Around the 1950’s many casseroles were made with condensed soup, such as Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom or Cream of Chicken. And there really is nothing wrong with that! Anyone that knows me quickly learns that many of my dinners for family and friends will feature a broccoli or squash casserole, or an Italian type main dish casserole. But one of my all-time favorites is the Chicken and Dressing Casserole. Comfort food at its best – cornbread dressing gussied up with savories and creamy goodness, with the addition of chicken – can’t be beat! Here’s my version:
Twink's Chicken and Dressing Casserole
- 1 cup celery, finely chopped
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 3 cups packed crumbled cornbread (can be made several days before)
- 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
- 3 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken
- 1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 (4.5-ounce) jar sliced mushrooms, drained (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
Sauté celery and onion in hot oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat 7 minutes or until vegetables are tender; set aside. Combine cornbread and poultry seasoning in a large bowl.
Layer half of cornbread mixture on bottom of a lightly greased 11- x 7-inch baking dish.
Combine onion mixture, chicken, and next 6 ingredients in a bowl. Spoon mixture evenly over top of cornbread mixture in dish. Top evenly with remaining half of cornbread mixture, and drizzle with butter.
Bake, covered, at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Remove from oven, and top with cheese. Bake, uncovered, 10 more minutes or until cheese is golden.
Serve with a salad, green vegetable, and if you are really craving comfort - mashed potatoes for maximum enjoyment!!! Stay tuned for more of my casseroles in the upcoming weeks.
I boil my chicken first and shred it so it’s nice and moist. You can use rotisserie chicken if you wish for a shortcut.
Until next time, be kinder than necessary, always. And sometimes it's not the load that weighs you down, it's the way you carry it.