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, December 3, 2012

Slow-cooker Chicken-and-Squash Casserole helps slow down at least part of life

“Slow things down!” That cry seems to emerge again and again as the holiday steamroller begins its annual procession toward us. All we really want for Christmas is more time—and more time to savor our experiences.

I liked a recent magazine feature that rounded up some good slow-cooker recipes. While activity elsewhere is at a fever-pitch, preparing the family meal doesn’t have to be. Throw some healthy items into a slow-cooker and let that kitchen appliance put at least part of your life on a crawl.

We enjoyed Chicken-and-Squash Casserole that featured slices of yellow squash and zucchini and cooked chicken with a sauce layered around it. It can be left simmering all day. At mealtime you’ll thank yourself for getting this little jewel assembled hours beforehand. (In a pinch, the meal also can be layered into a casserole dish and baked in the oven on 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.)

Chicken-and-Squash Casserole

2 pounds yellow squash, sliced
1 pound zucchini, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
4 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of chicken soup
1 (8-ounce) container sour cream (I used fat-free)
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups soft, fresh breadcrumbs
3 cups (12 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) shredded Parmesan cheese

Place first 3 ingredients in a large microwave-safe bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap; fold back a small edge to allow steam to escape. Microwave at high 8 minutes or until squash is tender; drain. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drain tomatoes well. Press between paper towels. Stir together tomatoes, chicken, and next 4 ingredients. Layer one-third each soup mixture, squash mixture, breadcrumbs, and Cheddar cheese in a lightly greased 6-quart slow cooker. Repeat layers twice. Top with Parmesan cheese. Cover and cook on high 4 hours or until bubbly and edges are golden. Uncover and cook on high 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before you serve. Makes 6 servings. (Source: Southern Living, November 2012)

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