chicken, spinach and tortilla bake

I created this recipe based on a similar recipe that never turned out quite right for me.  This one works much better. 🙂

Chicken, Spinach and Tortilla Bake

  • 3 C. cubed, cooked chicken
  • 8 corn tortillas, ripped into small pieces (or use crushed tortilla chips)
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1/3 soup can milk
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 of a 4 oz can of diced green chiles
  • 1 1/2 – 2 C. shredded cheese (cheddar or taco blend of cheese)
  • fresh spinach leaves, chopped (as much or little as your family likes)
  • taco sauce, optional (add to taste)

Grease a 2 qt. baking dish.  Mix together chicken, soup, milk, onion, chilis, spinach, and optional taco sauce.  Layer pan with 1/2 tortilla chips, then 1/2 chicken mixture, then 1/2 of the cheese.  Repeat layers, finishing with cheese on top.  Cover (you don’t have to, but I usually do) and bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.


creamy chicken (or turkey) rice casserole

This recipe comes from the 1977 Salem Ev. Lutheran Church Landmark cookbook.  The cook book was bequeathed to me from Grandma Marvel, who wasn’t really my Grandma, but she was like a Grandma to me, and I grew up calling her “Grandma” just the same.  Obviously, you can’t find this cookbook in stores anywhere, but it’s a gem.  Of course, all those old Lutheran church cookbooks are marvelous, but in my never-to-be-biased opinion, this one is exceptionally so!

Creamy Chicken (or Turkey) Rice Casserole

  • 1 C. uncooked wild rice (any kind of rice will do, but I like the taste of wild rice)
  • 1/2 C. chopped onion
  • 1/2 C. butter
  • 1/4 C. flour (for wheat-free, substitute 2 Tbsp. arrowroot powder)
  • 6 oz. can mushrooms
  • chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 C. half and half
  • 3 C. diced cooked chicken (or turkey)
  • 1/4 C. diced pimento (always optional)
  • 2 Tbsp. parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 C. slivered almonds

Prepare rice according to package directions.  Cook onion in butter until tender but not brown.  Remove from heat, stir in flour.  Drain mushrooms (reserve liquid, adding enough chicken broth to measure 1 1/2 cups.)  Add this liquid to the flour mixture.  Add the Half and Half.  Cook and stir until thickened.  Add rice, mushrooms, meat, pimento, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.  Pour into a greased 2 quart casserole dish.  Sprinkle with slivered almonds.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.  Serves 6.

(This recipe was contributed to the Salem cookbook by Liz Saye.  I have no idea who she is, but thanks, Liz!)

pasta with broccoli and sausage

(originally posted September 9, 2009)

I originally found this recipe here.  When I recently made this for supper, it was such a hit that after the rest of the family had eaten what they wanted, Lyd finished off the entire bowl herself.  That NEVER happens, which prompted me to teach her the new phrase “growth spurt.”  Now she loves talking about how she’s having a growth spurt.  And, wow, she really must be having a growth spurt because she is really getting tall!!

Pasta with Broccoli and Sausage

  • 1/2 lb. of pasta (penne or fusilli – I used Trader Joe’s brown rice pasta fusilli)
  • 1 lb. Italian sausage links
  • 2 C. broccoli, chopped
  • 1 C. (1/2 pt.) grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • olive oil
  • freshly grated romano or parmesan cheese
  1. Slice the sausage into discs. Brown them in a large skillet, takes about 8 minutes or so. Drain the grease off.
  2. Slice your grape tomatoes in half and toss them into the hot skillet. They will take about 5 minutes to warm and soften up. Add the sausage.
  3. Cook your pasta according to the directions.
  4. You can steam your broccoli, or you can toss your broccoli florets into the boiling water with the pasta. They only need to be in the boiling water a few minutes.
  5. When pasta (and broccoli) are finished cooking, drain and return it to the pot. Dump the contents of the skillet into the pot along with the pasta. Pour in a bit of olive oil and stir well.
  6. Serve into bowls, and grate cheese on top.


black bean and pumpkin chili

I originally posted this recipe to my blog back in March ’09 on a cold, rainy day.  Not surprisingly, I made this recipe again last week on another cold, rainy day.  We ate up the leftovers today on a sunshine-filled day, and it was still good!

Black Bean ‘n’ Pumpkin Chili
(from Taste of Home magazine)

1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium sweet yellow pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced (I used more)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 C. chicken broth
2 cans (15 oz each) black beans, rinsed and drained
2 1/2 C. cubed cooked turkey (I used 2 C.)
1 can (15 oz) solid-pack pumpkin
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained (consider dicing them further if your kids are picky)
2 tsp. dried parsley flakes
2 tsp. chili powder (I used 1 tsp.)
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano (I used a little less of this, too)
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin (and less of this as well)
1/2 tsp. salt

In a large skillet, saute the onion, yellow pepper and garlic in oil until tender.  Transfer to a 5-qt. slow cooker; stir in the remaining ingredients.  Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until heated through.  Makes 10 servings (2.5 quarts).

pasta primavera

I discovered this recipe in the book Better Baby Food.  Our whole family enjoys it!

Pasta Primavera

  • 3 C. (8 oz.) uncooked wheat-free pasta (fusilli or rotini work well)
  • 3 1/2 C. mixed vegetables, cooked (I steam whatever fresh veggies we have on hand)
  • 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
  • 1 C. (4 oz) shredded cheese (I usually use cheddar, but any kind will do)
  • 1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 slices (1-2 C.) ham, cut into strips (or cubed. Whatever you’ve got.)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta according to package directions or until tender but firm.  (If necessary, add vegetables and cook for 5 minutes more.)  Drain.  Return pasta and vegetables to the pot.
  2. Over medium-high heat, gently add the evaporated milk, cheeses, and ham.  Cook, stirring, until cheese has melted and sauce thickens.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  (OR, while pasta and vegetables are draining, heat up the milk and cheeses, stirring until thick.  Then add the ham, and then add the pasta and vegetables.)  Sauce will thicken further as it cools.

honey-mustard chicken with roasted new potatoes

I found this recipe in our local newspaper, tried it, and we all loved it!  Jujubee kept eating the chicken and saying “Mmm!” after every bite.  It was pretty cute. 🙂

Honey-Mustard Chicken with Roasted New Potatoes

  • 4 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I used bone-in chicken thighs, and skinned them myself)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
  • coarsely ground black pepper (I used regular pepper)
  • 4 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 minced shallot (I used a green onion)
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 tsp dried thyme (I used dried)
  • 1 pound small red potatoes, cut into halves
  • olive oil cooking spray (I used actual olive oil) 
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Sprinkle chicken thighs with 1/4 tsp salt and pepper.  Place in a 13×9-inch baking dish.  Combine mustard, honey, shallot and thyme in a small bowl to form a paste.  Spread over thighs, covering them completely.
  3. Add potatoes to the pan and sprits with olive oil spray.  Sprinkle potatoes with 1/4 tsp salt and pepper.  (I combined potatoes, about 2 Tsp olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl, mixed thoroughly, and then added the potatoes to the pan.)
  4. Bake about 50 minutes, stirring potatoes once, until potatoes and chicken are tender.  Serves 4.     ~ Recipe by Greg Patent.  (Thanks, Greg, whoever you are!)

I did six chicken breasts rather than four, increased everything a little bit, and it worked out just fine.  Delicious!

sirloin tips and mushrooms — and rhubarb cake with lemon sauce

Tonight I attempted to make a slightly fancier dinner than normal.  We had the congregation president over, although that’s not too unusual.  He lives in the East Bay, works in S.F., and when there’s a Church Council meeting, I usually invite him over for supper so that he doesn’t have to scrounge for supper on his own.  Tonight I made two good recipes, and they turned out okay, despite the fact that I forgot to put the rhubarb in the rhubarb cake!  Oh, well.  It actually tasted fine without it, although I think the addition of the rhubarb would have made it even better. 🙂

Sirloin Tips and Mushrooms (slightly adapted from this recipe)

  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.25 lb. beef sirloin
  • just over 1/2 pound of fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 3/4 to 1 C. red wine (I just use ordinary red cooking wine, nothing fancy)
  • salt & pepper to taste

Cut beef into cubes.  Brown beef and garlic in olive oil.  Add mushrooms with liquid, tomato sauce, wine salt, and pepper.  Cook for 30 minutes or until beef cubes are tender.  Serve over egg noodles.  (I cook up 6 oz uncooked noodles.)


Rhubarb Cake with Lemon Sauce (from Taste of Home magazine)

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups chopped fresh or frozen rhubarb
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon-sugar


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Fold in rhubarb.

Transfer to a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar. Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Place on a wire rack.

For sauce, in a small saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, water and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Whisk a small amount of hot mixture into the egg; return all to the pan, stirring constantly. Cook and stir until mixture is thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Stir in lemon peel and nutmeg. Serve warm with cake.

Yield: 12 servings (1-1/2 cups sauce)