August

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December 5, 2010

Classic Winter Comforts!

The Maine House prepares for winter! Baby it's cold outside! Now being from the south, you can only imagine how excited we are anticipating the first snowfall! A New England winter will be quite different than anything we have experienced before and we are a bit nervous, however, we have purchased the snowblower and contracted with Kirt to plow the driveway....we are ready, so let's go into Estelle's kitchen and start the supper!

My Mother, Miss Helen, made this casserole often. It is southern, creamy and delicious! I don't remember anyone who did not make some version of a wild rice chicken casserole. It certainly brings back warm and happy childhood memories! I have passed this recipe down to my daughter who often makes it for husband and baby.....makes a great and easy comfort food supper!

Estelle's Southern Chicken and Rice Casserole
4 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 package (6 ounces) Uncle Ben’s Long Grain and Wild Rice Original Recipe
1 can (10.75 ounces) cream of celery soup *
2⁄3 cup Miracle Whip salad dressing*
1 can (8 ounces) sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 jar (2 ounces) sliced pimiento peppers, drained
1 package (9 ounces) frozen French-cut green beans, thawed and drained

11⁄2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (from one 14- to 14.5-ounce can)
2 tablespoons pre-grated Parmesan cheese
1 large can french's canned onion rings
Grated sharp chedder cheese


 Preheat the oven to 400 °F.
 Combine the chicken, rice with its seasonings, celery soup, salad dressing, water chestnuts, pimientos, green beans, and chicken broth in a large bowl. Transfer the mixture to a 13-by-9-inch (3-quart) glass or ceramic baking dish and top with the Parmesan cheese. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil.
 Bake the casserole until it is bubbling and the rice has cooked, 25 to 30 minutes. During the last five minutes of baking, top with onion rings and chedder cheese. Let cool 5 minutes, then serve.
* It is important for the flavor of the casserole not to substitute another type of soup for the cream of celery or mayonnaise for the sweeter Miracle Whip.

Estelle's Shrimp and Wild Rice Casserole
1 (8-ounce) package wild rice
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 (10 3/4-ounce can) condensed cream of mushroom soup
2 cups grated sharp Cheddar
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Cook the rice according to package directions minus 1/4 cup water.
 Drain and cool. Bring 2 cups water and 1/2 tablespoon salt to a boil in a medium saucepan and cook the shrimp for 1 minute. Drain immediately and set aside.
Heat the butter in saucepan and saute the pepper and onion until soft, about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the rice, soup, 1 1/2 cups of cheese, shrimp and vegetables. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Mix well. Spray a 9-inch square aluminum cake pan or an 11 by 7-inch glass casserole dish with vegetable spray. Place the mixture in the pan and top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, until bubbly.

"Christmas Eve was a night of song
that wrapped itself about you like a shawl.
 But it warmed more than your body.
 It warmed your heart... filled it, too,
with a melody that would last forever." - Bess Streeter Aldrich




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