SHAGADELIC EATS

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Melissa Brown

Sep 11 2006 12:00AM

One of my mom’s favorite sayings is, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”  Apparently she’s got something there, because my parents were unhappily married for 29 years before they divorced. must’ve been her excellent cooking that kept them together so long.  At any rate, I inherited my mom’s skills in the kitchen and am able to feed my family scrumptious, nourishing meals on a college student’s budget.

This week’s recipe is one that I created by combining three of my favorite foods: chicken, rice, and lots of cheddar cheese.  This savory casserole is a meal-in-one that is sure to please (and leftovers are easy to freeze).  The condensed soups are packed with salt so don’t add any, and if you don’t like it with a kick just leave out the red pepper.

Chicki-cheese Casserole

1 « C uncooked rice (3 C cooked)

1 « lb. boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

2 Tb extra virgin olive oil

« C yellow onion, chopped

3-6 garlic cloves, minced

1 « C fresh mushrooms, sliced

1 « tsp salt-free all purpose herb seasoning

1 tsp black pepper

« tsp ground red pepper

2 C fresh broccoli, steamed (or use frozen spears and slightly thaw)

1-10 _ oz can condensed cream of mushroom

1-10 _ oz can condensed cheddar cheese soup

1 C shredded cheddar cheese

Cook rice according to package directions.  Preheat oven to 350.  Meanwhile, over medium heat in a nonstick skillet, lightly brown chicken pieces in the olive oil, taking care not to let the chicken get crispy (see photo 1).  Add the onion and garlic, and turn up the heat to medium-high (see photo 2).  Cook for about 3 minutes, then add mushrooms and sprinkle with the herb seasoning, red, and black pepper.  Continue cooking about 2 more minutes until mushrooms begin to gain color, then remove from heat (see photo 3).  In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked rice and soups, coating rice well; then add the broccoli and the chicken mixture.  Mix well and spread into 9×12 dish (see photo 4).  Top with shredded cheese and take a spoon or spatula and poke cheese down into rice mixture.  Bake for about 20-30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly (see photo 6).

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