Kay Wheeler Moore

Welcome to my blog

Hello. . .

The Newfangled Country Gardener is for anyone who has a garden, would like to have a garden, or who simply enjoys eating the garden-fresh way. I don't claim to be an expert; in this blog I'm simply sharing some of the experiences my husband and I have in preparing food that is home-grown.

About the author

Kay Wheeler Moore is the author of a new cookbook, Way Back in the Country Garden, that features six generations of recipes that call for ingredients that are fresh from the garden. With home gardening surging in popularity as frugal people become more resourceful, this recipe collection and the stories that accompany it ideally will inspire others to cook the garden-fresh way and to preserve their own family food stories as well. The stories in this book center around the Three Red-Haired Miller Girls (Kay's mother and aunts) who grew up in Delta County, TX, with their own backyard garden so lavish that they felt as though they were royalty after their Mama wielded her kitchen magic on all that was homegrown. Introduced in Kay's previous book, Way Back in the Country, the lively Miller Girls again draw readers into their growing-up world, in which a stringent economic era--not unlike today's tight times--saw people turn to the earth to put food on the table for their loved ones. The rollicking yarns (all with recipes attached) have love, family, and faith as common denominators and show how food evocatively bonds us to our life experiences.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Chicken and Broccoli Noodle Casserole powerfully addresses comfort, leftovers

Sometimes comfort food is just called for—especially at the end of a wearisome week. Having half a head of broccoli left over from my Slow Cooker Broccoli-Cheddar Soup of last week’s post sped the whole idea along. Having a plastic container filled with shredded, cooked chicken bits also contributed to the plan.

A small Internet search turned up Chicken and Broccoli Noodle Casserole from www.skinnytaste.com. I was ready to go to work on this combo of comfort/broccoli/and chicken. The recipe proclaimed it to be “a simple dish the whole family will love–even the little ones!” The little one that has a standing grandparental visit on Friday nights made that a true statement. He loved it as we did.

No-yolk noodles, a creamy sauce of fat-free chicken broth and skim milk, and reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese were the pull-togethers for this lightened version of an old standby. I love recipes (as this one did) that call for breadcrumbs, since I can retrieve from my bread bin a couple of leftover heels I have stashed away and pulse them in a blender to make the topping.

We were comforted; good use was found for leftovers. Happy us!

Chicken and Broccoli Noodle Casserole

6 ounces noodles (I used no-yolk)
2 teaspoons oil
4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
12 ounces fresh broccoli florets, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium shallot, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1-3/4 cups fat-free chicken broth
1 cup 1-percent milk (I used skim)
12 ounces cooked shredded chicken breast
4 ounces shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese
cooking spray
3 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons seasoned breadcrumbs (I used whole wheat)

Cook noodles in water until al dente, or slightly undercooked by 2 minutes. Set aside. In a large skillet heat oil. Add garlic; cook over medium heat until golden, about 1 minute. Add the broccoli and a little salt; sauté and cover the broccoli for about 3 minutes on medium heat until the broccoli begins to soften. Set aside. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Use cooking spray to lightly spray a 12-inch-by-9-inch casserole dish. In a large pot heat butter over medium-low heat; when butter is melted add the shallot. Cook until soft, 2-3 minutes. Add the flour and a pinch of salt (or salt substitute) and stir well. Cook an additional 2-3 minutes on medium-low heat. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth until it is well combined over medium heat; whisk well for 30 seconds; then add milk and bring to a boil. Simmer on medium heat; mix occasionally until it thickens (about 6-7 minutes). Remove mixture from heat and add reduced-fat sharp Cheddar and 1 tablespoon of the Parmesan cheese. Mix well until the cheese melts. Add to the sauce shredded chicken, noodles, and broccoli; mix well until they are evenly coated. Pour into a casserole dish; top with Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs. Spray a little more cooking spray on top; bake for about 20-25 minutes. For a few minutes place the casserole under the broiler to get the crumbs crisp and golden (careful not to burn). Makes 6 servings. (Source: http://www.skinnytaste.com)

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