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, April 8, 2013

Pasta-Chicken-Broccoli Bake a jewel among new casserole recipes

Sometimes the ole casserole recipe file just needs a little inspiration. I was happy to find this new idea, which used 4 cups of healthy chopped broccoli and turned out just delicious. 

The addition of chopped red bell pepper, plus the spinach tortellini, made this dish oh-so-colorful. Chopped pecans in the topping, along with crushed crackers, gave some additional crunch.

This was designed to be baked in a long oblong baking dish, but I divided it into two smaller ones, so we had one to eat and one to freeze for later. 

The recipe billed it as kid-friendly—an added plus. We look forward to pulling the next round from the freezer. This dish was truly yummy.

Pasta-Chicken-Broccoli Bake

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth (I used the lower-sodium variety)
1 1/2 cups half-and-half (I used skim milk)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup (4 ounces) freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (20-ounce) package refrigerated cheese-and-spinach tortellini
4 cups chopped broccoli
4 cups chopped cooked chicken
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
15 round buttery crackers, crushed (I used Ritz hint-of-salt)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt 1/2 cup butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add onion and next 2 ingredients. Sauté 5 to 6 minutes or until tender. Add flour and stir until smooth. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Whisk in broth, half-and-half, and white wine. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly for 6 to 8 minutes or until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat; add 1 cup cheese and next 2 ingredients. Stir until cheese melts. Stir in tortellini and next 2 ingredients. Spoon into a lightly greased 13-inch-by-9-inch baking dish. Stir together 1/2 cup grated cheese and next 3 ingredients. Sprinkle over casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until bubbly. Makes 6 to 8 servings. (Source: Southern Living, December 2012)

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