Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Chicken Artichoke Casserole

This is one of those dishes that tastes so much better than it looks. I took multiple pictures of this dish - in the casserole dish and on the plate- but none of the pictures looked very appealing or did it justice.

What is appealing about this dish is first: the smell. I love the smell of food baking. This recipe is no exception. I also added baked asparagus as a side dish and the smell of both cooking today was yummy.

The second appealing thing is the taste. It is yummy, but what I like about it is that is different - not your typical chicken casserole taste. The artichokes and the bread crumbs give it an unique flavor.

This dinner also reheats well, which I like. It is good to find recipes that also make good leftovers to eat another day.

Well enough said. Here is the recipe. It is from Betty Crocker.

Ingredients for Chicken Artichoke Casserole:
1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup of chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup of sliced green onions

3 cups of cooked chicken

1 can of cooked (14oz) artichoke hearts in water, drained and chopped
1 container (10 oz) refrigerated reduced fat Alfredo pasta sauce

1 cup shredded Asiago cheese (4oz)

1/2 cup of reduced fat mayonnaise
1 &1/2 cup of Romano cheese croutonos (from 5 oz bag) coarsely chopped

Directions: 1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 11 x 7 inch (2 quart) baking dish with cooking spray. In six inch skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add bell pepper and green onions; cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until bell peppers and onions start to soften. In large bowl, mix bell pepper mixture and all remaining ingredients except croutons. Spoon into baking dish. Top with croutons.

2. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until hot and bubbly. If desired sprinkle with additional green onions. (I also add some shredded Parmesan cheese on top as well. I love Parmesan cheese!)

Oh, and if you like the baked asparagus idea as a side dish, it is pretty simple to make:

1. Cut of the tough ends of the asparagus. (They wont bake well and will taste yucky.)

2. Use cooking spray so they wont stick to pan
3. Cut up 1 tablespoon of butter and place strategically across asparagus so it will melt evenly.
4. Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese and soft white or wheat bread crumbs.
5. Bake about 15 minutes at 400 degrees. (I use my toaster oven as the cooking temperatures are different for the chicken artichoke casserole and the baked asparagus.)

Enjoy the yummy smell and taste!

FYI: I don't usually crush the croutons too much just chopped them a little. Also I have used all different flavored croutons and they taste yummy.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Swiss Chicken Casserole

I just made this for the first time. Either I was really hungry (and I was somewhat hungry) or this was really yummy.

I got the recipe from one of those Betty Crocker cooking magazines - the ones with the recipe cards that you can pull out. I am sucker for buying these in the checkout line. Usually, I end up disappointed with the recipes.

But this one was easy and turned out good. And again it was EASY. That was the best part.


4 cups boiling water
2 boxes (6oz each) sundried tomato Florentine long grain and wild rice mix *
4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
8 slices of thickly-slice deli ham (about ten oz) **
1/2 cup of diced red bell pepper (I used the whole pepper diced)
4 slices (1oz each) Swiss cheese, cut in half

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 13x9 (3 quart) baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Stir boiling water, rice, and rice seasoning mixes in baking dish.
3. Cut chicken breasts in half lengthwise, wrap ham slice around each chicken piece. Stir bell pepper into rice. Placed wrapped chicken over rice. Cover with foil. Bake 40 to 45 minutes; uncover and bake about ten minutes longer or until liquid is absorbed and juice of chicken is clear when thickest part is cut.
4. Top each chicken breast with cheese. Bake uncovered 3 to 4 minutes or until cheese is melted.

* I could not find this box of rice and went instead with 2 boxes of plain long grain and wild rice mix. Tasted fine.
** Ask the deli person for the right kind of ham. I forgot the name of the one I used, but I asked for something that bakes well.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Imperial Chicken

This is a long time favorite.

I got this recipe from my roommate in college. I went to her home for the weekend and her Mom, a very good cook and such a nice women, served this yummy chicken recipe. It's called Imperial Chicken and it is very easy to make, and everyone I have ever cooked it for has liked it. It is my partner's favorite. :-)

These are the ingredients:

1- 1/12 lbs of boneless chicken breasts
1 cup of bread crumbs
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup of parsley flakes
1 stick of butter
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
a little milk
white instant rice

Melt one stick of butter in a bowl in the microwave. Combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and parsley flakes in another bowl. Immerse the chicken pieces in the bowl of butter and then roll them in the other bowl of crumbs, Parmesan cheese and parsley flakes until they are completely covered. Place them in a casserole, baking dish, or cookie sheet that has been sprayed with Pam. Then dribble any extra butter over the chicken and sprinkle some additional parsley flakes on top. Cook 30-40 minutes.

Serve with white rice, and make a gravy for the rice and chicken by heating up cream of mushroom soup with a little milk mixed in.

FYI: I do not use fresh breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, or parsley flakes. I use store bought/ label brands for all and it turns out yummy.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Chicken Salad

One day I had very yummy Chicken Salad at my friend Jenn's House, and what was so yummy about it was that it had grapes in it. It would have, of course, been yummy without the grapes, but I just was surprised with how good grapes tasted in a chicken salad.

I love Chicken Salad when it is good. (And Jenn's was good. Yum.).

I use to have a dog walking job (crazy job!) and for awhile I would arrange the order of the pick up and drop off of the dogs, so I could get lunch at a particular convenient store, that had yummy chicken salad sandwiches. I can not remember the name, but I might post it later if I remember. Sometimes changing this order really screwed up my day, but that chicken salad sandwich was yummy.

So any ways, I have never made my own chicken salad, and decided to make chicken salad for a playdate. This time I was not just going to buy chicken salad at Stop and Shop. So my poor friends were guinea pigs to my first chicken salad attempt. Usually I like to have at least made something once before serving to friends.

So I looked first for a recipe at my favorite cooking site, which I have mentioned before, Allrecipes.com. I was trying to find a recipe that was different, but not too different, and that had grapes.

Here is what I found:


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 3 cups diced, cooked chicken breast meat
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 (8 ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups diced Swiss cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups halved green grapes!


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, salt, poultry seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, and lemon juice.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together the chicken, celery, green onions, water chestnuts, Swiss cheese, and grapes. Add the mayonnaise mixture, and stir to coat. Chill until serving.
Serves 8

Now, as I said, I wanted something with grapes that was funky but not too funky, so I decide to leave out some ingredients: The water chestnuts and the Swiss cheese.

One of the things I like about Allrecipes is that you can read reviews of the recipes to find out ways to make it differently or to just find out how others liked it. So when looking through the reviews, I found that a couple people said it would taste just fine without these ingredients. I left them out this time. I intend to try out the original unmodified recipe some other time (with no guinea pigs though!) Cheese and water chestnuts just seems like strange things to add to chicken salad, but before trying Jenn's Chicken Salad, I would have said that about grapes...

So how did it turn out? I thought it was good that day. But the next day, my mom came over and we had the leftovers, and it was so good then. Yum. I loved it.

There was a couple of healthy bonuses to this recipe:

I thought it tasted better with wheat rolls than white. I used Natures Promise wheat sandwich rolls.

I also used lowfat mayonnaise. I used Cains. I did not miss the high fat mayonnaise at all.

I also made Swedish Meatballs. I think this was a nice side dish to add to Chicken Salad sandwiches. I overcooked them a little though. :-(

Others brought stuff too. We also had a yummy salad with dressing that I loved and yummy cookies which my daughter loved!

Afterward, we took the kids outside and it was a surprisingly warm day.

Yummy food and a great playdate.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Chicken Piccata

I love chicken piccata, but I love it best when it is cooked right. I have been on a quest to cook this dish as good as I have had it in some restaurants. I have made several attempts, and recently (pictured above) I think I have gotten pretty close.

I found the recipe on Allrecipes.com (submitted by a Allrecipes's user, Terry C) and then changed it a little each time I made it.

Here is the original recipe:


  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon powder
  • 1/2 cup boiling water


  1. In a small bowl, beat the egg together with 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice. Set aside.
  2. In a shallow bowl or dish mix together the flour, garlic powder and paprika. Dip the chicken in the egg/lemon mixture, then in the seasoned flour.
  3. In a large skillet, melt butter/margarine and brown the coated chicken pieces.
  4. Dissolve the bouillon in the boiling water, then add the remaining 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Pour liquid into skillet. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes, turning chicken pieces after 10 minutes, until chicken is tender. Garnish as desired and serve.
The original recipe works pretty good. However, I discovered something obvious in my first attempt. The meat needed to be thin and tender. I have never had much look with beating meat with a rolling pin (or cutting it) to thin it out. And let's face it, it is just easier to pick up thinly-sliced chicken breast, which I did. (I used Natures Promise thinly-sliced chicken breast because I like how it is a little healthier without the hormones etc.)

The recipe tasted much better with the thinly sliced chicken breast!

I also tweaked the recipe a bit with adding a little more lemon (I like the taste of lemon) and using real garlic (fresh minced) instead of garlic powder. I might have used both actually. (My partner loves garlic. He will eat it raw with meals!)

The chicken - I liked. I am not sure it is as good as I have had it in some restaurants but it is pretty close.

I, as you can see, served it over wheat pasta topped with fresh shredded Parmesan cheese and with asparagus on the side. Served this way the recipe seems to need slightly more sauce to give the pasta more flavor. I was thinking it might taste better with traditional pasta (not wheat). The asparagus, however, turned out so bad, that I could not even eat it. I steamed it and it ended up tasting like rubber. I have had better luck sauteing asparagus in oil and garlic, but sometimes I overcook it that way. I love asparagus when it is cooked right, but I find it tricky to make, and when it is cooked wrong - YUCK!

I almost forgot. I also added mushrooms to step 3 of the directions, but not at the same time as I put in the chicken, but a little later so as to not overcook them.

How can you serve chicken piccata without mushrooms?!

I am going to continuing playing with this recipe: try changing the pasta, making more sauce, and maybe maybe I will finally figure out how to make asparagus right.

Oh, and if you are in the Boston area and like chicken piccata type recipes, I highly recommend the Lemon Caper Chicken at Boston Beer Garden in South Boston, a fun place with yummy food.

This picture does not do the place justice. It is particularly nice in the summer time when the doors are left open to the sidewalk. Lots of yummy food, beer, and a great atmosphere - one of my "happy places".

Uhm... that reminds me, maybe I will add capers next time. :-)