Monday, May 28, 2012

I scratched my cornea on a shredded carrot

So, last yummy monday I made my confession.  The one where I admitted I was just like everyone else.  You know, trying to stick to a food budget?  Not dancing around in an apron and high heels with tons of energy to make braised lamb?  

I should have just turned that into a series.  Because tonight's dinner is ALSO cheap.  And easy.

Actually, you probably have a lot of this in your pantry already, so you won't even need to run to the store.  I know I had everything I needed for the casserole, anyway.  

So, I found the chicken casserole on here, the side dish of beans on here and the sounds crazy but is delicious dessert on here.  

I changed the casserole up very slightly.

Chicken and Rice Casserole
1 C uncooked white rice
1 C cream of chicken soup
1 7/8 C water
1 Package onion soup mix
1 bag frozen peas
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves

Preheat the oven to 350.  Spread the uncooked rice over the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan - for casseroles I usually use both.  Cut the chicken into bite sized cubes.  Layer it over the rice.  Mix the cream of chicken soup and the water together.   Pour it over the chicken and rice.  Sprinkle dry onion soup mix over the top.  Layer the peas on top.  Cover with foil.  Cook for about 1 hour.

This really was easy to make and I loved that I already had everything I needed.  This one will definitely go into the regular rotation for those reasons alone.  BUT it was also really delicious.  Most chicken casseroles have a super creamy, rich sauce.  I like that, too, but this was much more savory.  It was great for a change of pace.

For the sides, I decided to go a little crazy with my beans.  

Parmesan Green Beans
1 LB fresh cut green beans
2 T butter
1/4 C dry bread crumbs
1/2 tsp paprika
1/3 C grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Wash and trim beans. Measure 1 inch water into large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Add prepared beans; return to boil and cook 3-4 minutes. Cover and steam until beans are tender but still crisp, up to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt butter in small pan. Add bread crumbs and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until light golden brown (about 5 minutes). Sprinkle with paprika; stir and remove from heat. Add grated Parmesan cheese; toss to combine.
Drain cooked green beans thoroughly and turn into serving bowl. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper; toss, then sprinkle with Parmesan topping. Serve immediately.

This was a really fun and yummy way to fancy up the beans.  The kids loved them.  (actually my kids love green beans, anyway, but they really loved these.)  I don't think I would do this every time I have green beans, but it was a fun treat.

Now.  You may already know about this crazy dessert.  If you are LDS and from Utah, you definitely do.  Because apparently they put everything including shredded carrots in their jello.  (I kid, guys, I kid.  But did you catch the "Singles Ward" reference?)  Anyway, I'd never had this dessert until I went to a potluck and holy cow.  I was smitten.  mr has made it a few times for us since then - he loves the salty and sweet together.  I will admit that he does a better job than I do.  With this ONE thing.  I changed mine a bit from theirs, so here it is:

Pretzel Jello Dessert
1 stick melted butter
1 1/2 C crushed pretzels
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
1 small container Cool Whip
1 C sugar
1 (6 oz) package raspberry Jello
1 bag frozen mixed berries

Mix melted butter, pretzels, and 1/2 cup sugar together and press into 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake 6 minutes at 350 degrees. Dissolve Jello in 2 cups boiling water and add frozen berries. Let gel. Combine cream cheese, Cool Whip, and 1/2 cup sugar; put on top of crumbs. When Jello is starting to set, pour over cheese layer and refrigerate until firm.

Ok.  A few notes here.  I don't think I made my water hot enough in the first place.  I'm pretty sure the heat is essential to the whole "setting up" thing.  It looked a little fishy and I was unsure so I added a little Knox unflavored gelatin, which I had in the cupboard.  I'm really glad I did.  Because I'm pretty sure that as the berries thawed, it added even more water.  If I made this again I would thaw my berries first and run them through a strainer.  Anyway, once I made it, and it looked unlikely that it would congeal, I stuck it in the freezer.  That combined with the Knox did the trick!  Phew!  It was really yummy.  Still a fav.  These pictures don't do it justice.

So the moral here is to never give up, be resourceful and just carry on hoping for the best!

*Be sure to check the right sidebar for all the fun parties I link to!


Jillian @ Hi! It's Jilly said...

Oh, man! I haven't watched "The Singles Ward" in forever! "Are you serious?!?!" Bahahaha!

The Fall Creek Chicken Coop said...

Hello Kim!
I was just over at the SYTYC site and see you were not voted further.. BOOOOOO!! I was outed earlier on and had been hoping you would make it all the way!
Loved your projects and your blog... really love the map wall!!!!

The Fall Creek Chicken Coop said...

Hello Kim!
Was just over at SYTYC and saw you were not voted forward.. BOOOOOO!
I was outed a few weeks ago and was hoping you would be the one who made it to the end! Loved your projects, especially the map!
formerly creationsbyjune now

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