Tuesday, March 28, 2017

CHICKEN POT PIE CASSEROLE

I hope you have been enjoying my "travelogue" of our recent road trip visiting family and sight-seeing. While in New Orleans, we went down to the French Quarters and I fell in love with Mary Foreman's Best of the Best Presents Deep South Dish Homestyle Southern Recipes cookbook. I usually buy my cookbooks at estate sales where I can get them at tremendously reduced prices. It didn't have a price on it, but I was sure it would probably be around $20 (and it was). My husband offered to get it for me and I am so glad.

One of the recipes I first wanted to make was for a Chicken and Dumpling Casserole. I LOVE chicken and dumpling, especially my mother's. I guess because this was a "casserole", the "dumplings" were different. (They had two pictures of the casserole on the two pages.

After we got back home, I found myself opening the cookbook to make the casserole. Below the recipe was the information to make a Chicken Pot Pie Casserole with the recipe by adding some veggies. Knowing my husband doesn't share my love for chicken and dumplings, I decided to make it instead. 

Well, we loved it. Think of chicken pot pie without all the crust. That's what we enjoyed that night and for several nights afterwards as leftovers. (It does make a lot!)  The recipe called for 3 - 4 cups shredded chicken and 1 - 2 cans mixed vegetables. I used the larger amounts and it meant we had a very meaty, very veggie casserole. I had so much in the dish, I couldn't get all of the liquid (chicken stock and soup) mixture in it. I couldn't even add the frozen peas the recipe called for. This meant the casserole didn't have as much "liquid" in it as a pot pie has. If you want more liquid, I would suggest that you use the less amounts. Trust me, it was really good the way I made it. I kept the stock/soup mixture that I couldn't use in the refrigerator and poured a little bit of it in the bowl when I warmed up some for leftovers in the microwave. Worked out great!


CHICKEN POT PIE CASSEROLE

1/2      stick unsalted butter, melted (1/4 cup)
3 - 4   cups cooked shredded chicken
1          cup milk
1          cup self-rising flour
2         cups low-sodium chicken stock or broth (I used the "stock" made from cooking the chicken in the slow cooker. I had added a little water to the frozen chicken when I cooked it for 4 - 5 hours on HIGH in the slow cooker. I made some broth with one chicken bouillon cube and 1 cup hot water to make up the difference.)
1        (10-3/4 ounce) can original cream of chicken soup (I did use a fat - free one - sorry, can't help it)
1 - 2  (15-ounce) cans mixed veggies, drained.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Pour melted butter into bottom of a 9 x 13 - inch baking dish.

Layer the chicken in the bottom of the baking dish.

Top with the mixed vegetables.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk and four, and slowly pour over the chicken/veggies. Do not stir!

Whisk together the chicken stock and cream of chicken soup. Slowly pour into baking pan over mixture. Do not stir! (I poured in as much of the mixture as I felt I could dare. I would have liked to have covered the ingredients though.)

Bake, uncovered, 35 - 45 minutes, or until top is light golden brown.


Let casserole rest before serving. (This will allow the liquid to thicken more.) (Since I used the larger amounts, I didn't have enough liquid to cover the casserole as I think it was supposed to and so my casserole looked differently than I think it was supposed to. And I didn't even use the frozen peas the original recipe called for.)


Tomorrow I will continue with my travelogue of our trip so I hope you will check back tomorrow and "join" me at the Lady Bird Johnson's Wildflower Center - Texas' Botanical Garden . 

Monday, March 27, 2017

PILGRIM PIE

For our anniversary (45 years) I decided to make a pie for my husband. He has always said he prefers pie over other desserts. I considered making a lemon meringue as that used to be his favorite, but when I was looking through Wanda E. Brunstetter's Amish Friends Cookbook - Desserts and saw the recipe from Mrs. Chris Beachy of McIntire, Iowa for Pilgrim Pie, I knew I had to finally give it a try. (I had marked the recipe earlier but just hadn't gotten around to trying it.)

There was another recipe a few pages earlier in the cookbook called Coconut-Oatmeal Pie that was very similar. It uses 3 eggs but has half as much coconut and oatmeal as the Pilgrim Pie uses. As far as I am concerned you can't have too much coconut in any dessert so I decided to make the Pilgrim Pie instead of the other one. (The Pilgrim Pie also called for a little water.)

Well, neither of us were disappointed with my choice. It is really interesting. Because of so much coconut, it is almost like a coconut cream pie without the cream - if you know what I mean. The oats also give it an added taste. I used organic unsweetened coconut and can't imagine using sweetened coconut. It is definitely sweet enough as I made it. (Of course, we are used to less sweet desserts.) I think if I ever used sweetened coconut, I would reduce the sugar called for in the recipe.


PILGRIM PIE

1/4       cup margarine (I used butter)
1           cup sugar
2          eggs
1           cup light corn syrup
1/2       cup water
1           teaspoon vanilla
1           cup flaked coconut (I used organic unsweetened flaked coconut)
1           cup rolled oats (I used old fashioned)
1/2       teaspoon salt
1           (9 inch) unbaked pastry shell

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Cream butter and sugar. (I thinly sliced the butter to help it cream faster and better.)


Add remaining ingredients and
mix well.

Pour into unbaked pastry shell.

Bake for 10 minutes.

Reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake 30 minutes longer.

Cool on wire rack.

Serve.



FLAKY PIE CRUST 
(For one 8 - or 9 - inch pie crust)

1-1/4     cups unsifted flour
1/2         teaspoon salt
1/2         cup shortening
3           tablespoons water (about)

Combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening with a pastry cutter or 2 knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal. 

Sprinkle in the water, a small amount at a time, mixing lightly with a fork until all particles are moistened and cling together when pressed into a ball. (Amount of water varies with flour.)
(I did use the 3 tablespoons of water and using my hands,
formed the mixture into a ball.
)


Cover and let stand a few minutes. (I made the crust first and let it stand while I mixed up the pie.)

Roll out on a lightly floured surface til very thin so that it is bigger than your pie pan.

Place in pie pan having an extra inch over the sides. Trim excess off.

Fold the extra inch back under the edge to make a double thickness around the rim. "Decorate" (flute) as desired. 

Fill with pie filling or bake at 450 degrees F for 12 to 15 minutes for baked pie crust.

 General Foods Corporation

Friday, March 24, 2017

LBJ PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY/TEXAS STATE CAPITOL

After leaving New Orleans, we headed to Austin, Texas. We had originally planned to stay in the Houston/Galveston area for a few days. I say originally because when we couldn't find a place to stay, we discovered it was Spring Break in Texas. Hearing that was enough for us to decide we would just go on to Austin. Finding higher hotel rates in Austin than publicized, we discovered Austin was hosting a film, music, and comedy festival called SXSW ("South by Southwest). We did manage to find a hotel to stay that was reasonable once they gave us a discount we qualified for. We were told parking would be atrocious downtown because of the festival, but the only problem we found was traveling on I-35 through town. It was like a parking lot. We soon discovered side streets to take to avoid it so it wasn't too bad.

The first place we went was to the presidential library of President Lyndon Baines Johnson. It is located on the campus of the University of Texas and only a mile from the state capitol and a few more museums. Parking was not a problem there and it was free.



This was my 6th or 7th presidential library to tour. As always I leave amazed and overwhelmed at the accomplishments of the president. 

President Johnson, became president following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He served from 1963 - 1969. He refused to run for another term and retired to his ranch in Texas. With President Johnson, unfortunately, our involvement in the Vietnam War overshadowed all of his great accomplishments. I took a few pictures of some of these as displayed in the library.









This is a smaller scale version of the Oval Office while he was president.




The view of Austin from the top floor of the library  with the U of T football stadium on the right.



His limousine...



As I said it was only 1 mile to the Capitol, so we decided to just leave the car parked in the parking lot by the library and walk.



Not so far....and we are there at the North entrance....



The Texas Capitol is the largest capitol building in the country. It doesn't necessarily look like it but once you get inside you learn how they dug down 4 stories and have offices located there. The two small buildings on the right are actually elevators that will take you down there and by-pass the main building. On the other side of the street you can see some shrubbery and a wall. There are skylights to below at the shrubbery and it is actually opened to below at the wall. There are two "buildings" on the other side (you can see the edge of one of them on the left side of the picture) that also house elevators.

Even though you can enter the building on each side, we walked around to the other side (the South side) and what is called the main entrance. We only had to wait a few minutes for a tour to start. Unfortunately (because it was Spring break) there were lots of people visiting the capitol that day and our tour group was so big that I missed out on most of what our docent had to tell us. 

Here are a few pictures inside the capitol....


Looking up in the dome
On the floor below the dome

The House of Representatives....






The Senate....




From the gallery

One more look at the floor 



Walking back to the car, we passed the Bullock Museum. We would have toured it, but it was going to close in an hour, so we decided we would wait and do it the next day. (Our plans got changed though and we didn't make it back. I think it would have been a good museum and we would have learned a lot.)

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

THE FRENCH QUARTERS OF NEW ORLEANS

A few weeks ago my husband and I sat off on a combined trip to see family and friends and do some sight-seeing also. My extended family was first on the route and after that it was sorta my husband's trip. (That's what I told him, anyway.) I basically left it up to him to plan the trip after we left my extended family in Southeast Arkansas and Northeast Louisiana. I must admit this was a new experience for me. While he has input when we generally travel, I probably do most of the planning (what we are going to see and do once we get there). I usually make the plane reservations if we are flying and also the accommodations. He does make the rental car arrangements. The one time I did reserve a car, we ended up cancelling it and he got us cheaper rates. Since this was a road trip and I drove some, I generally was the navigator. We settled into those "roles" when we first got married and I think he likes it that way.

After spending the first few days with my extended family, we headed to New Orleans to visit with his cousin and wife, Jim and Alice. It has probably been at least 10 years since we last saw them. Then they were living in Orlando. Now they are in NOLA though. The last time we were there was several years ago when we took a cruise out of there. Jim is retired but Alice is the Director of Religious Education at the Archdiocese of New Orleans. Since she is over all of the Catholic schools in the area, she really knows her way around. She made our plans for the days we went downtown and what a fun day it was. 

I hope you enjoy some of the pictures I took.

Here comes our street car/trolley.

I love the architecture of New Orleans and took several pictures of different buildings.
Add caption







Could still see some evidence of  Mardi Gras


Lots of things going on at Jackson Square...



Can't pass up taking pictures of pretty flowers....


One last picture of the busy-ness of Jackson Square.

Across the street from Jackson Square, is the Cathedral-Basilica of Saint Louis King of France. It is one of the oldest churches in the country. You can read about it and its history (plus see more picturesHERE.







Everyone going to NOLA must partake of Cafe du Monde's beignets ("ben-yays"). It was on Alice's list of stops but the line was soooooo long, we would probably still be in it today. At the awning, the line turns and runs down the end of the building and then turns left and runs down the side of the building sorta on the inside the length of the building. Most of the building is seating.


(We did partake at one of their other locations in the area the next day. They were so good. They were our lunch. You get three in an order. After the four of us finished, their was one left. Well, only for a short time. Right after I took the picture, my husband decided he would eat it. We bought a box mix that I plan to make. Also bought a cookbook with a recipe in it that I plan to try and will share with you.)

At the entrance to the French Market...



This was fun to see. While we were in Jackson Square, we saw two different wedding parties wondering around to take pictures. Later we met one of them after the ceremony parading down the street followed by a band. Even the wedding guests were included. Alice said it is called a "Second Line" and is very popular in New Orleans.

We didn't eat here, but this is the Famous Historical Restaurant, The Court of Two Sisters. You can read more about it HERE.

There was so much more I could have photographed, but then this would have been a really lllllooooonnnnnnggggg post.  Not wanting to "wear out the welcome mat", after three days it was time to head to Texas and our next stop. (But that is for another post.)

Until next time....