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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Someone had a baby, I'll make a ham!

Actually, I am making a casserole, but it is such a Southern tradition, you know a friend or acquaintance or anybody in your circle, no matter how tangentially, new birth, loss of life, devastating injury, somebody, somewhere is making some food. In fact the nicest present I got after my first kid was born was that my great-grandmother took a 10 pound bag of potatoes and made 10 pounds worth of twice baked potatoes. Then she individually wrapped them and put them in my freezer. So while I was in the midst of the hazy, crazy days of baby *if* I remembered to eat all I had to do was pull one out and microwave it. Sometimes I added some frozen broccoli to it or some leftover chili, but basically I ate potatoes and nursed the baby and that was how I spent my first 3 months postpartum.

So tonight I was able to fulfill my Dinner Every Night commitment AND go out for wings with some friends because a colleague of my husband's had a baby last week! So veggie/chicken casserole was made and frozen for delivery. Hopefully when I drop the casserole off (with some homemade bread and a bag of salad greens) I will get a chance to see the new baby too! She looks glorious from all of the pictures. But then all babies are amazing little creatures.

I usually make a casserole in 9 x 13 pan, but if I am making for a new little family like this I make the same casserole in 2 disposable aluminum pans so that it can be more easily frozen and they don't have to defrost the whole thing all at once.

Chicken-Veggie Casserole

3 C of cooked rice (I usually make some brown rice in my pressure cooker)
2 C of assorted vegetables, cut up (mine were broccoli, onion, and carrots)
1 -2 cans of cream of something soup (or an equivalent amount of white sauce)
2 chicken breasts, well-seasoned, cooked and cubed
1 C of shredded cheese (swiss works well, as does 4 cheese Mexican blend)
breadcrumbs for the top (optional)

Mix all of the ingredients together, place in lightly greased pans, add bread crumbs to top; cover and freeze. Write in Sharpie marker the heating directions right on the aluminum foil lid. "Heat in oven at 350 degrees 1 hour or until brown and bubbly around the edges, then remove foil and allow to brown under broiler for just a few minutes."

If you season the chicken well, and cook it until JUST done and make the rice in veggie or chicken broth it helps the casserole come out much tastier. If you are making this for a family of vegetarians skip the chicken, use only veggie broth in the rice and increase the amount of vegetables and cheese.

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