Chicken Mushroom Hotdish

I seldom rave about a recipe, but this is one recipe to rave about!

A “hotdish” is the colloquial term for a casserole in some parts of the Midwest.  It’s ideal comfort food ~ warm and wholesome, and suited to feed a crowd.  

For those of you familiar with the casseroles of years ago, the ones with an abundance of canned cream of mushroom or celery soup, this version will be a revelation.  The recipe is from Martha Stewart’s Martha’s American Food cookbook, one of my favorite cookbooks, that’s filled with treasured dishes, from coast to coast.

In cooking the hotdish, first off, I browned the chicken, transferred it to a plate, then, with the drippings left in the skillet, sautéed the cremini mushrooms, with green onions (Martha used leeks) and diced celery, until golden.  Finally, the sauce ingredients of flour, sherry, milk and chicken stock, were added to the mushroom mixture and simmered until thickened.  

Dark brown, full-flavored cremini mushrooms, ummm, mmm!

But, here’s what is so special and delicious about this hotdish:  the chicken pieces and mushroom sauce are layered in the baking dish, on top of overlapping triangles of dense bread, with the bread absorbing some of the delectable sauce during baking. 

Ready for the oven

The finished dish results in succulent layers of flavor!

As I said in the beginning, this is truly a delicious hotdish, a dish to rave about!

Just imagine, if you’re lucky enough to have leftovers…

Chicken Mushroom Hotdish


2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Coarse salt and fresh pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 green onions, sliced    
1 celery stalk, cut into ½” dice
10 ounces, cremini mushrooms, halved if large
3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons dry sherry
2¼ cups low-sodium chicken stalk
¾ cup milk
8 slices dense bread, cut into triangles*
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Pat dry chicken with paper towels and season both sides with salt and pepper.
In a nonstick sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat and add chicken.
Sauté until golden brown on bottom, 3-4 minutes.
Turn over chicken, reduce heat to medium, and cook 10 minutes more.
Transfer to a plate.
Heat remaining oil in pan and add onions, celery and mushrooms; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and tender, about 8-10 minutes.
Stir in flour and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes.
Add sherry, stock and milk; cook, scraping up browned bits from bottom until sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper.
Arrange bread on bottom of a shallow 2-quart baking dish, overlapping slices slightly.
Spoon half of the vegetables and sauce over bread.
Slice chicken crosswise, ½” thick, and arrange on bread.
Top with any accumulated juices from the chicken.
Spread remaining vegetables and sauce over chicken.
Sprinkle with Parmesan and parsley.
Bake until golden brown and bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes.
Let stand 15 minutes before serving.
*I used Pepperidge Farm original, you might want dense multigrain.


Bubba's Shrimp Étouffée

If you’ve never gone to Louisiana, you need to go down to where the Cajuns live to experience for yourself what fine eating is ~ where delicious food is an “everymeal” occurrence.

If that’s not in the stars for you, this recipe of Bubba's is about as close as you can get to being there:

Ummm, mmm!
In French, étouffée means smothered ~ and that perfectly describes this dish ~ shrimp that is smothered in a thick gravy and served ladled over rice.  Compared to gumbo, which is made with a dark roux, the color of chocolate; étouffée is made with a lighter roux, orange/brown in color.

Like many dishes down Louisiana way, this one includes the Cajun holy trinity:  bell peppers, onions and celery.  This spicy dish is stew-like and seasoned to perfection with paprika and other good seasonings.

Slow boil
Here’s what goes into Bubba’s étouffée, Bill loves it too, but I’m not that adventurous yet:

Shrimp Étouffée is a hit here any time!  

Shrimp Étouffée 


4 tablespoons butter
¼ cup flour
1 large onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups seafood stock
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon seasoned pepper
½ teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon hot sauce, optional
1 pound crawfish tail meat or 1 pound lump crabmeat
1 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined (I used jumbo shrimp)
1 cup rice, cooked per package directions
4 sliced green onions, for garnish.


In a 4-quart Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat.
With wooden spoon, gradually stir in flour until blended, stirring constantly, until mixture is brown, the color of peanut butter, not a dark roux, about 30 minutes.
The roux will be thinner by now and bubbling slower, the aroma will be sharper and the flavor smoky.
Add bell pepper, onions, celery and garlic.
Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are tender, about 5 minutes.
Stir in stock and tomato paste, heat to boiling.
Add all of the spices.
Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add shrimp and cook for 5 minutes.
Serve ladled over rice.
Sprinkle with green onions.
Makes 6 servings


Balsamic Chicken

When you’re short on time, this is an easy one-pan entrée!

The chicken gets its delicious tangy flavor from balsamic vinegar.  Golden caramelized onions, red bell pepper, and fire-roasted tomatoes add some sweetness to the dish.

The good thing is ~ this Joy Bauer recipe makes a healthy dish containing 6 super foods:

Chicken breast is a low-fat protein.
Tomatoes contain cancer-fighting lycopene.
Bell peppers are rich in fiber and Vitamin C.
Onions and garlic are antioxidants.
Vinegar is a blood sugar regulator.

The bad thing is ~ I was so busy eating, I forgot about taking another photo after it was plated!

Balsamic Chicken


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
1 large red bell pepper, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon seasoned pepper
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 (15-ounce) can Hunt’s Fire-Roasted Diced Tomatoes


Coat a large sauté pan with oil and preheat over medium-high heat.
Add onion and bell pepper and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Season chicken with salt and pepper.
Add chicken breasts to the pan and cook for 4 minutes on each side.
Add vinegar and tomatoes and bring liquids to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium-low.
Simmer uncovered for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Easy Cornmeal Honey Biscuits

You can whip up these little biscuits in no time!

I’m pretty much hooked on anything cornmeal, and these tasty biscuits fill that craving perfectly.

You can use plain cornmeal, if you prefer ~ I’m a fan of stone-ground cornmeal for its crunchier texture.

With this easy recipe, from Food Network Magazine at hand, it's a piece of cake to have freshly-made biscuits on your dinner table. 

They’re plush, lip-smacking goodness with a little crunch, and a little heat!

Easy Cornmeal Honey Biscuits 

1 1/3 cups flour
1/3 cup stone-ground cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt1/8 teaspoon cayenne
6 tablespoons butter, cold and diced
2/3 cup milk*
1 tablespoon honey


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cayenne in a large bowl.
Work in butter with your fingers until crumbly.
Stir in milk and honey.
Let sit for 5 minutes.
Roll dough into 8 balls, place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Brush with milk.
Bake for about 12 minutes until golden.

*Food Network recipe calls for half-and-half.  I use 2% milk.


Simple Oven-Baked Tenderloin Pork Chops

They’ve done it again; new pork labels were in the grocer’s meat case the other day.  This time, the chops I bought were called "Tenderloin Pork Chops."  Never heard that one before, but here it is, the same chop as always:

Same, just a new name

The pork chop has a T-shaped bone running through it, similar to the T-bones of beefsteaks.  The chop is loin meat, separated by a t-bone, from a bit of tenderloin meat. 

Bill and I are both pork chop fans and this recipe, from Zweber Farms, is one of the best recipes for delicious, moist oven-baked pork chops that I’ve made.  

The chops are coated with a spicy rub and baked in a moderate oven, with the bone itself retaining moisture as it cooks, keeping the meat from drying out. 

The chops were tender and juicy; great tasting bone-in pork chops!

Is “Tenderloin Pork Chop” a new label to you?

Simple Oven-Baked Tenderloin Pork Chops


4 bone-in pork chops
2½ tablespoons Kosher salt
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon paprika
¼ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon sweet basil
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon fresh cracked black pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine seasonings in a small bowl and sprinkle chops on both sides.
Arrange them on a baking sheet.
Bake for 20-30 minutes flipping them half way.
When nearing the end of the baking time, use a meat thermometer to check for doneness.  A done chop is 145-150 degrees.


Ground Beef and Bell Peppers w/Egg Noodles

Everyday Midwestern home cooking means simple hearty dishes.  Beef is a major part of it, as well as noodles…

I don’t know what it is about egg noodles, but I think they’re great.  They’re flavorful ~ my favorite pasta.

This is a simple supper that’s substantial and full of good taste ~ perfect comfort food for the cold weather here now ~ which is all of 0 degrees now!

The good thing is that it can all be made on the stovetop, with it coming together quickly.  

You can probably have dinner on the table in 25 minutes, or maybe even before you can get the table set.  

Ground Beef and Bell Peppers w/Egg Noodles


1 pound 90% lean ground beef
1 Vidalia onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
1 (8-ounce) can sliced mushrooms
2 (15-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon seasoned pepper
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
8 ounces uncooked extra-wide egg noodles
Parmesan cheese, optional


Cook noodles, al dente, according to package directions.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, over medium heat, brown beef, breaking it into bite-size chunks.
Add garlic and onions, cook until tender.
Stir in bell peppers and mushrooms, cook for 2 minutes.
Add tomatoes and seasonings, bring to a boil, and simmer for 3-4 minutes.
Reduce heat, stir in noodles and heat thoroughly.
Serve with Parmesan cheese, if desired.
4 servings


You know,

nobody can ever

cook as good as

your Mama.

~ Paula Deen

You know, nobody can ever cook as good as your mama. Paula Deen
Read more at:
You know, nobody can ever cook as good as your mama. Paula Deen
Read more at:


Jules-Alexandre Grun

ᴡᴏᴏ ʜᴏᴏ!!!

ᴡᴏᴏ ʜᴏᴏ!!!



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