Image: Cheesy Chicken Casserole

Again, not too much going on in our neck of the woods except the daily rain. I went out this morning to check on the pumpkins and the squash, and there were mushrooms growing right beside them in the pots. I did manage to get the sheets and towels washed and dried out on the clothesline Saturday, and they smelled outrageously good.

Casseroles are one of the things that I love to cook because I love simplicity and ease of preparation. This cheesy chicken casserole is delicious, and I love to have green beans and a fruit salad as side dishes when I cook this. I do not cook eggplant because I am the only one who eats it, but I always appreciate recipes that contain eggplant. My mom cooked it, but she and I were the only ones who ate it; therefore, she would cook a small amount and either baked it or broiled it. The recipe for the Japanese chocolate pie is one that I love, and I use the milk chocolate chips instead of the semi-sweet.

CHEESY CHICKEN CASSEROLE

4 cups cooked, chopped chicken (I love using a rotisserie chicken from the deli)

1 (1-ounce) package ranch salad dressing and seasoning mix

1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup chopped cooked bacon

1 ½ cups sour cream

1 (10.75-ounce) can cream of chicken soup

1 ½ cups crushed Ritz crackers

¼ cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9 x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Combine chicken, ranch seasoning, cheddar cheese, bacon, sour cream, and cream of chicken soup. Spread into prepared pan. Combine crushed crackers and butter, sprinkle over chicken mixture. Bake uncovered 30 to 40 minutes.

BAKED EGGPLANT

1 medium-sized eggplant

2/3 cup evaporated milk

2 eggs

1 cup cracker crumbs

1 cup grated American cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Peel and slice eggplant, and drop into boiling salted water. Cook covered until tender. Drain and mash coarsely with fork. Beat eggs, add milk, and stir into eggplant. Stir in coarse cracker crumbs and grated cheese. Salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a 2-quart buttered baking dish and cook 25 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

JAPANESE CHOCOLATE PIE

2 sticks margarine

4 eggs, beaten

2 cups sugar

1 cup chocolate chips

1 cup coconut

1 cup chopped nuts

Melt butter and chocolate chips. Add remaining ingredients and stir. Pour into two uncooked pie shells. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

Enjoy, Mary Ann McCrary

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