Monday, September 22, 2008

The perfect thing

When you're moving, it's customary to eat icky delivery pizza and cold chinese food, or so I've heard. Thanks to my fantastic mom, I didn't have to suffer one bit this week in the kitchen.

Last weekend, my parents drove to the city from Connecticut to drop off some old family furniture, stock up my brand new fridge, and take Peter and me to a nice dinner in our new neighborhood. For a moving weekend, it was pretty fantastic.

On Saturday night, we ended up at a table in the garden of Franny's and then at the Chocolate Room for dessert. It was a lovely welcome to the neighborhood.

But it was the homemade food that really made the weekend. My mom makes fantastic breakfast casseroles, and she brought one with new potatoes, spinach, sausage, eggs, and cheese to have for brunch on Sunday. And she also gave me one all time favorites to have on hand this week while unpacking -- chicken and rice casserole. It was a more knock-out version than usual because she added roasted red peppers, mushrooms, and then covered the top with almond slivers. It's so gooey and comforting, and it's something I never make for myself. It was the perfect thing.

Mom's chicken and rice casserole

You will need:
1 cup uncooked rice
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup cream or whole milk
1/2 soup can water
4 chicken breast halves
1 cup mushroom, sliced
1/2 cup roasted red peppered, sliced thinly into strips
1/2 cup slivered almonds

Boil 1 1/2 cups of water, add rice, turn down the heat to medium and cover until the rice has absorbed the water. There will be some bite to the rice. Stir in a few tablespoons of butter and set aside. In another pot, boil water and add chicken breats. Cook until done. Cut chicken into bite sized pieces. In a pan, saute mushrooms in butter until tender, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine flour and butter in a small sauce pan. Stir until it forms a roux. Add cream, stir until combined, and remove from heat. In a large bowl, combine the rice, chicken, mushrooms, roasted pepper, and the cream sauce. Add this to a large casserole dish and sprinkle almond slivers on top. Cover and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

*This casserole isn't really much to look at, so I didn't bother to take a picture. Plus, I'm not 100% sure where my camera is among all these boxes and crates. But trust me, it's fantastic.

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