Wednesday, January 29, 2014

mom's chicken and rice casserole revisted

To say that my mother wasn't much of a cook when I was growing up would be an understatement. She only made a few dishes and they were as follows...
  Shit On A Shingle (boil in the bag chipped beef poured on toast)
  Beef Stew (a can of UNDRAINED Veg-All mixed with ground beef)
  Hot Beef Sandwiches (can of brown gravy poured on toast-no beef or potatoes)
  Chicken and Rice Casserole (made off the Campbell's soup can)
She served Twinkies as breakfast or mixed cereals in one bowl.  Nothing like thinking you scored Fruit Loops for breakfast only to find soggy Corn Flakes four bites in.  The only fresh vegetable we ever had was potatoes.  Boiled.  You could smash it yourself at the table with butter. We always had bananas, though.  Or fruit cocktail. HA!
Her chicken and rice casserole was the only thing edible.  Most nights we just had TV dinners (Kid Cuisine, anyone??) or ate out.  We were regulars at Grandmother's and Julio's.  HOWEVER, despite this...I still crave that damn chicken and rice casserole.  Especially the one's she made where, just to be crazy, she added slices of American cheese.  The casserole wasn't even cooked properly half of the time.  Often, the Minute rice managed to be under-cooked, even though, it had spent a hour in the oven. I'm sure my brother does not crave it since she insisted on making it with Cream of Mushroom even though my brother abhors mushrooms.  He still does.
That all being said, I have never successfully recreated that culinary abomination. I have followed the directions on the back of the can, looked it up on All Recipes, everything.  She must of been doing something nuts. Or it as simple as, sometimes you cannot recreate the tastes of childhood.
On A Chef's Life, Vivian Howard made chicken and rice with her mother and admitted to her mother and viewers that her mom's was better.  Vivian is an extraordinary executive chef at Chef and The Farmer in North Carolina.  So I suppose if she has a hard time recreating her mother's dishes, so would I.
Recreating OTHER people's childhood dishes seems to be much easier.  Mike grew up eating these meatballs that had macaroni in them.  They were made in a sweet tomato sauce.  They are very similar to the DALS porcupine meatballs.  I finally made them.  They were delicious and just as Mike remembered them. so there you go.
I wonder what dishes my children will remember and crave when they fly the coop?  Will it be my Magic Macaroni & Cheese? Or Pasta with Bacon & Peas (pasta carbonara)? Who knows.  The point is all children remember something their mom or dad made them when they were growing up.  No matter how much or little their parents cooked.  Or how well.
This Mom's Chicken and Rice Casserole 
{I had a fierce craving last I made my own version.}
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken
1 can of cream of chicken
3 c. cooked rice
2 heads of broccoli, cut
Shredded Cheddar
Cook chicken in cream of chicken soup in Crockpot on high for 3 hours.  Remove chicken and chop up.  Put back in crockpot, add cooked rice, cheese, and broccoli.  Combine well.  Pour into greased 9x13 baking dish. Top with more cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

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