Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Summer Love

There's nothing like summer love and I'm giddy with the two new recipes I discovered this week and feel like inviting John Travolta and Olivia Newton John over for a taste of these super delish dishes. My mom used to make a dish like this first one- fresh cucumbers and onions with a tangy, somewhat sweet vinegar dressing. She never left me the recipe, but Amy H from Just a Pinch recently posted her version of her family's recipe and Yes! it's just like my mom's. And it's simple and takes no time at all. What a great accompaniment to just about any summer meal. I recommend you double or triple the ingredients though, because I made these last night and have to make some more by tomorrow.  They are a great side dish to have on hand.

Easy Pickled Cucumbers and Onions
adapted from Amy H from Garden City, MI

1 large seedless cucumber peeled and sliced thin
1/3 sweet white Spanish onion sliced thin
2 cups cold water
1/4 cup Splenda or sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp celery salt

Place cuke and onion slices in medium size bowl or jar. In a seperate bowl whisk together the water, Splenda, apple cider and celery salt until combined. Pour over the cuke/onion mixture and let the veggies bathe in the fridge for a few hours. You will be very happy later.


Next up, a super simple chicken casserole that I also got from a Just a Pinch member- Millie J from Valley Head, AL. You know I love my casseroles and anything that can be made ahead and reheated. And this little darling was just the new casserole that I was looking for! I down-sized Millie's version and cooked it in an 8x8 inch pan.

Garlicky Chicken Casserole
inspired by Millie J

Cooking spray
2 chicken breasts cooked and chopped or shredded- I used store bought rotisserie
1 can cream of chicken soup- I used the low fat low sodium
1/4 soup can water
4 oz low fat sour cream
1-1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese grated and divided
1/2 tsp garlic powder (or a 1/4 tsp more if you like- that's what I did)
salt and pepper
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp celery salt (Millie uses celery seed, but realized I didn't have any and used the celery salt and it was wonderful)
1 sleeve of Ritz crackers crushed
1/4 stick of butter melted and slightly cooled
2 bags of Uncle Ben's Boil in Bag Brown Rice cooked 6 minutes- this was not in Millie's original recipe, but I thought I'd give it a try and ...yes, yes! it worked

Spritz an 8x8 inch pan with cooking spray and pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Set pan aside. Now let's get cooking! In medium large bowl combine chopped chicken with soup, water, 1 cup of the cheese, sour cream, garlic powder, salt and pepper, onion powder and celery salt. If you have some dried or fresh parsley add some. I didn't, so had to do without. The nice thing about this casserole is that there are no eggs in it and you can actually take a taste and not feel like you're eating raw eggs. So take a taste and season to your liking. I added a tad more celery salt, just because I like the flavor!

Cook your rice on the stove and remove after 6 minutes, cool a bit, and add to the chicken mixture. It's not fully cooked, but will finish it's cooking in the oven. That looks good already.

In a zip lock bag or bowl crush your crackers and add the slightly cooled melted butter. Mix with your clean fingers. Ooh, this is where I always fall in love in the kitchen. Ritz crackers are buttery on their own, and with this small amount of butter added in, you'll be right there falling in love too.

Let's get to the assembly. In sprayed 8x8 pan add half your cracker mixture. Now add the chicken mixture and top with the rest of your cheese. Finish with the remaining cracker mixture and bake 30 minutes uncovered. Now this is what I call summer love!

The re-mix possibilities are endless with this casserole. I say chopped bacon would be simply loveable (sticking with the theme). And even some veggies tossed in- maybe some fresh peas from the garden would be nice, I love fresh peas in a casserole. Anyway, give this quick casserole a try, and add some new twists of your own. I'm lovin' summer and especially these two new dishes I discovered!


Melissa said...

Cucumber salads are so scrumptious! I make one but, I've never used celery salt, I bet that's tasty, thanks!

Linda said...

Funny, Melissa I bought celery salt a while back, just to have it around and ended up using it in both recipes. I think my dad used to put it in bloody marys. Thanks for stopping by:)