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Thursday, February 9, 2012

February 8, 2012: Casual Casseroles at Paige's Casbah!

I am really proud of my eldest niece, Paige. Not only is she a terrific specimen of humanity, she is an ICU nurse and an adopted dog-mom to two animals no one else wanted. And she has given them a comfortable and loving home.

The two beauties in this photo are my niece and her aged teacup greyhound, Luna, who has a bum leg, but is sweet and loveable.

This is Paige and Peanut, the overactive but really adorable dachsund.

Despite all the hours she works and spends being a great dog foster parent, she wanted to have me and hubby over for dinner.

This is a real opportunity for things to come full circle. ABout the time Paige moved out to her own appointment, unfortunately, Paul's dad went to 'the great reward' and Paige was lucky enough to inherit Mr. Parris's dining table which just so happened to be the table that Paul ate around for family dinner when he was a kid. So when Paige serves Paul, it is full circle for him. THe gift that keeps on giving. So it's fun and nostalgic.

If you listened to Paige, you would think she belonged as a contestant on WORST COOKS IN AMERICA. But she exaggerates. She made us a beautiful green salad and a trio of casseroles.

Isn't this a gorgeous photo? Not only does my niece have the prettiest face and the most beautiful smile EVER, she put out this spread just for the three of us.

We had crispy romaine salad with crunchy accompaniments, a chicken/crescent casserole (my personal favorite), a green bean casserole and a Paula Deen pineapple casserole (hubby's fave). These dishes were loaded with flavor.
And they contained the secret ingredient of all fine cooking: LOVE!

My spouse's opinion of this lovely meal:

The salad: "Fresh ingredients!"
The green bean casserole: "Reminds me of mom's thanksgiving and christmas casseroles."
The chicken/ crescent roll casserole: "Tasty!"
Pineapple casserole: "My favorite. An interesting blend of favors."

Here are Paige's recipes. Thanks for sharing with us:

Pineapple Casserole
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups grated sharp cheddar
2 (20-ounce) cans pineapple chunks, drained, and 6 tablespoons pineapple juice reserved
1 cup cracker crumbs (recommended: Ritz)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted, plus extra for greasing pan
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease a medium-size casserole dish with butter.
In a large bowl, stir together the sugar and flour. Gradually stir in the cheese. Add the drained pineapple chunks, and stir until ingredients are well combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish.
In another medium bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, melted butter, and reserved pineapple juice, stirring with a rubber spatula until evenly blended. Spread crumb mixture on top of pineapple mixture. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Classic Green Bean Casserole
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup (Regular, 98% Fat Free or Healthy Request®)
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Dash ground black pepper
4 cups cooked cut green beans
1 1/3 cups French's® French Fried Onions
Stir the soup, milk, soy sauce, black pepper, beans and 2/3 cup onions in a 1 1/2-quart casserole.
Bake at 350°F. for 25 minutes or until the bean mixture is hot and bubbling. Stir the bean mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining onions.
Bake for 5 minutes or until the onions are golden brown.

Chicken Crescent Roll Casserole
2 (8 ounce) cans Pillsbury Refrigerated Crescent Dinner Rolls
1 (10 ¾ ounce) can cream of chicken soup , undiluted
¾ cup grated cheddar cheese (or any cheese of choice) or ¾ cup swiss cheese (or any cheese of choice)
½ cup 18% table cream (or use whipping cream)
4 ounces cream cheese (very soft)
4 tablespoons butter (very soft but not melted)
½-1 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
1⁄3; cup onion , finely chopped (can use green onions)
2 large cooked chicken breasts , finely chopped (or use about 2 cups, can use cooked turkey)
½-¾ cup finely grated cheddar cheese
½ teaspoon seasoning salt (or use 1/2 teaspoon white salt or to taste)
½ teaspoon ground black pepper (or to taste)
2 -4 tablespoons mayonnaise or 2 -4 tablespoons whipping cream
1 -2 cup grated cheddar cheese (for topping)
Set oven to 350°F.
Butter a casserole dish (any size to hold crescent rolls).
In a saucepan, mix half and half cream, 3/4 cup grated cheese (can use more cheese if desired) and undiluted chicken soup (can season with black pepper if desired).
Heat just until the cheese melts (do not boil).
For the filling --- (make certain that the cream cheese and butter are very soft) in a bowl, mix the soft cream cheese with butter until very smooth, then add in garlic powder (if using).
Add in the chopped chicken, onion and cheddar cheese; mix well until combined.
Add in 2 tablespoons whipping cream or mayonnaise; mix to combine (add in a little more if the mixture seems too dry).
Season with seasoned salt or white and black pepper to taste.
Unroll the crescent rolls.
Place 1 heaping tablespoon chicken mixture (or a little more) on top of each crescent triangle, then roll up starting at the thicker end.
Drizzle a small amount of soup mixture on the bottom of the dish.
Then place the crescent rolls seam-side down on top of the creamed mixture in the casserole.
Drizzle the remaining sauce on top (you don't have to use the full amount of cream sauce, just use as much as desired) and sprinkle with 1 cup (or more) grated cheese, or amount desired.
Bake for about 30 minutes.

Whenever you spend time with good friends, family and food made with the secret ingredient....ENJOY!


  1. Glad you had a good dinner. I overindulged this week - as usually happens when I'm out of town. Do you actually give Paul a short interview about each dish you share at dinner?

  2. It is pretty hard to stay on a diet when you are travelling. Takes a lot of mental energy. A number of years ago, Alan Alda had a show about science---it was a pretty general show...sort of like myth busters but not really. During the course of the show, he did a scientific study of what it took to lose 10 lbs. He wasn't really 10 lbs overweight, but he had ten to spare, so he went on the "journey" with a group of slightly overweight people trying to lose. There were no morbidly obese folks in this group. They were able to lose the weight over about a month or six weeks--some 2lbs a week goal/schedule. One of the things he noted was that during the whole time he was making an attempt to lose the weight, he spent a lot of his time thinking about and planning his meals and what he was going to eat to the point that it was fairly mentally exhausting. So losing weight is hard physical and MENTAL work.
    Yes, I do actually interview Paul about the meals. I don't think he really enjoys these interviews all that much, but he is trying to support my "blogwork." Most of the photos are actually taken during the interviews, as well. Although he is occasionally not as taciturn as the comments make him seem, he usually IS! :)

    1. I agree 110% with Alan. One of the reasons I think I've gained weight over the past couple of years is that I don't think about food until I get hungry. When I was in better shape I was spending a great deal of time planning my meals and workouts.

    2. Yeah, buddy! WE are so lucky to have so much food around us, but it definitely creates the hazard of weight gain, if you DON'T take diet and exercise into regular consideration.

  3. I have made that same pineapple casserole before. It's yummy! Now I'm craving it..... Off to the kitchen I go.

  4. Hope yours turns out as good as Paige's!