Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Champagne Cocktails for the New Year

I love the You Tube channel "Preppy Kitchen." Mostly, it is about cakes. Incredible cakes. But it is all about John's journey. Once a middle-school math teacher, his full-time career is now You Tube and food. He, his partner, and twin boys recently moved (leapt) from LA to Connecticut to begin a brand new life. His mom, Rita, was often a guest on the LA channel. It was great to see her reunited with her son. Smiles say it all!

I don't know about you, but these champagne recipes are certainly ones I am more than willing to try and to keep for upcoming holidays. What will be your favorite?

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 9, 2019

Pulled Pork Butt with Sauerkraut and Potatoes in the Instant Pot

The only thing missing was a smidge of sour cream.

If you don't already own an Instant Pot, I hope it is on your Christmas list. Now that colder weather has arrived, I love my IP to prepare meals such as this. Slow cooked or oven cooked, a cheap cut of meat this size would normally take hours. In the Instant Pot, it took 45 minutes! It was delectable!

This certainly isn't the prettiest dish to photograph; but, what it lacks in visual appeal, it more than compensates in taste appeal.  This was delicious. Throw in a cold, dreary wet winter day to make it even more enjoyable. Warm. Friendly. Comforting. A frosty glass of beer ...

How good was it? Well, I'm making it again tomorrow. But I will throw in some carrots for color.

Oh, I already hear the naysayers who think they do not like sauerkraut. Trust me, you will enjoy this. The secret is simple. Drain the kraut, wash well under cold water. Add brown sugar. You will still get some "tang," but it will not be sour or overpowering. Instead, it is a happy marriage of tastes that play off each other. The sweet with the sour. Just a tad bit of heat. And don't skip the caraway seed!

I avoid so-called "fresh" sauerkraut sold in plastic bags. America's Test Kitchen showed that those plastic bags had to use many "artificial" ingredients just to keep their product fresh. Canned did not. If you can find it, Libby "Bavarian" brand is my choice. 

I was lucky enough to snag a close-dated, two-pound pork butt for $3.40. It's a cheap cut of meat. Usually on the fatty side, seek one that does not have humongous clumps of white fat. And only use pork butt. Anything else will simple be dry and unpalatable.

I prefer lots of onion with this dish, so use a big one! If you forgo the potato and prefer mashed (my personal favorite), do use more onion since it makes for a killer gravy. For this recipe, I used 1 large russet simply because it was on hand. I would have preferred baby potatoes or fingerlings. Just be sure not to cut them too small. You do not want them falling apart under pressure. 

Use bread to sop up the lovely gravy. This particular piece of bread is a stale heel piece. I save
lucky pieces like this for their amazing "sopping" quality. The butter doesn't hurt.

  • 1, 2-3pound pork butt with the bone
  • 1, 15-ounce can sauerkraut (I highly recommend Libby brand, Bavarian style)
  • 1, 14.5-ounce can chicken broth, reduced sodium
  • 1 large onion, (the bigger the better) sliced in half, then sliced into thin halfmoons
  • 1-2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 large garlic clove (or two medium), thinly sliced
  • 1 good pinch red-pepper flakes (less is better than more) and do not omit
  • 3/4 teaspoon caraway seed, slightly crushed
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and Pepper

Wash and pat dry your pork butt. Why? Meats with an attached bone are sawn. They can have bits of "bonedust" and usually the bone bleeds once it is cut. You just want to clean all that up. 

Season the meat well on both sides with salt and pepper. Place in the Instant Pot. If you wish, use the rack and place it on top--it's your call.

Drain your sauerkraut into a small bowl. Squeeze it dry. Save the juice.

Run it under cold water and squeeze dry again. Place it in a medium bowl. Mix in the brown sugar a little at a time along with the caraway, red-pepper flakes and garlic. Taste. If too sweet, add a bit of the sauerkraut juice. If too sour, add a bit more brown sugar. 

Place the sauerkraut mixture over the pork.

Peel and slice your potatoes. Cut into chunks. Place on top. Now add your chicken broth.

Dot with butter. 

Place lid on IP. Be sure the valve is on "sealing" mode. Process for 45-60 minutes (less time for a smaller butt, longer for a larger). Allow a natural release. 

Remove the meat. Remove the bone and shred. Add meat back to IP. Stir. Serve. Enjoy.

Saturday, November 30, 2019


I grew up in a tooth-oriented family. My father was a dental technician--he made false teeth (in fact, he had one of the oldest dental labs outside of Chicago). My siblings grew up with great, healthy white pearls. I did not. Mine were never "white" and, as a child, I had severe, deep cavities that haunt me today as the outer remnant of each affected tooth breaks off and falls away as I age. Ironically, those deep fillings remain.

Needless to say, I have severe dental phobia. As a young adult, I once had a terrific dentist who understood. She was understandably shocked at my behavior once I had to sit in that chair, even after I had warned her.

On my first visit, my body was so taught and rigid that she and her assistant kept pushing my outstretched legs down to force me to relax. My eyes squeezed shut. My fists clenched. My heart pounded. When I left the chair, it was sopping wet as was my shirt. She told me she had never seen anything like it.

On subsequent visits, I was quietly ushered into a quiet room all by myself.  Gas was affixed to my nose and I sat there for a good 30 minutes until I was totally and fully relaxed. When procedures began, they slipped wads of Kleenex into my hands so I had something to grip and something to keep my hands dry. Once, I almost fell asleep. 

My childhood diet was no different than that of my brother and sisters, yet my mother always singled me out and my horrible teeth. My entire childhood she threatened to brush my teeth with cleanser. One day, I finally gave in. Comet with bleach was the cleanser of choice. Needless to say, it burned like hell--not to mention what it must have done to my tooth enamel. She was not happy. Go figure.

Unfortunately, it did not whiten my teeth.

People do not realize, but teeth are hereditary. It is rare someone is actually born with white teeth. My father had "color wheels" of tooth colors--like paint chips. 

I love this video. This obviously intelligent woman is angelically soft-spoken. She is creative. Her grammar and diction is spot on.

When I see videos like this, I yearn to be a teacher again. I would certainly show it to my students.--from middle school to high school. And I have no doubt it would spark conversations from all them about toothless relatives who are, quite simply, like this beautiful woman, most likely, loved to death.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Lime and Pear Jello Mold

Happy Thanksgiving. (Think about cooking in this "kitchen"!)

Thanksgiving is, without a doubt, America's most iconoclastic celebration and holiday. Even now as the ripe age of 70 looms just ahead of me (2022), I still remember, with excitement, creative grade-school projects redolent with construction-paper, scissors, crayons and Elmer's Glue as we re-created Pilgrims and Indians. Hats. Feathers. Turkeys. Pumpkins. Corn. Dried leaves. Acorns. Old wooden desks on old wooden floors. In beautifully constructed red-brick buildings.

Oh, the nervous eagerness of sitting on the bus with one's Thanksgiving creation to show one's mother! A work of art! ART! And then visiting relatives to whom to show it off!!!


As a child, I was obsessed with anything  Native American. I read every book I could lay my hands on in my meager, small-town library.

Of course, much was idealized. Truth be told, what saved those scrawny, ill-and-silly prepared Pilgrims from starving to death back then was not a turkey or pumpkin pie (sorry, no sugar back then for pie, let alone butter, even milk). Instead, it was a dude called Squanto who spoke English who had been abducted as a slave and sent to Europe before returning. He told them what crops and how to to plant them in this new world.

More importantly, Squanto taught them how to catch eels.

Yes, it was eels that saved those scrawny white people from the East.

In the foodless-producing "R" months that extended well into spring, eels hibernated in mud banks of rivers and creeks. It was Squanto who taught them how easy it was to catch them. No gun. No arrow. No knife. Hands and bare feet were all one needed. And a very warm disposition in freezing waters.

Eels were abundant. I mean really abundant. Today, rivers as far west as Indiana are named after them. And, they were easy to dry and to smoke for future months when provisions dissipated and there was nothing else to eat. The protein bars of their time, they also lent themselves to simple stews and soups.

Yes, eels should be a part of every Thanksgiving celebration. Along with shell fish. Oysters and clams were also abundant on the seashore. Even children could "hunt" for them. The coveted "meat" at that first Thanksgiving was not turkey. It was venison. And water fowl: duck and geese. Since my father hailed from Long Island, smoked eels was a treat I still remember when we visited as children.

But, I digress.

Every family has a favorite Thanksgiving recipe, which includes stuffing (more on that in a later post). For me and my family, this "green jello" recipe is a staple. I have no idea when it first appeared on our family table. But, for every Thanksgiving thereafter, it was required. Period. It became a part of our history and family memory.

I have no doubt, whatsoever, it's popularity was dependent on the culinary technology of its time: Tupperware!

Tupperware, named after Earl Tupper, was all the rage in the 60's. Stay-at-home housewives could, like Avon representatives, have a kind-of career that was not-so-much outside the home-- but inside--with an entire captive and burgeoning suburb culture as neighborhood customers.

Tupperware was plastic. It was cheap. It was stylish. More importantly, for the moms of baby boomers, it did not BREAK! When my mother died and we emptied her kitchen, I was still kind of shocked to see how much Tupperware she had saved. And that included the all-important "jello mold" (below) whose sacred use and decorative tops was basically used only for this recipe.

I still see people using the Tupperware measuring cup below.  My mother's was so old, one could barely read the red measurements that had been worn away since the 1970's. Once it was white. Most, have now yellowed with age. I now wish I had salvaged it if only for nostalgia, certainly not its utilitarian advantage.

So, the other day, (and the real reason I am writing this blog) is because I read an article that tried to argue Thanksgiving was bad and it left a negative carbon footprint:

Whatever. Like I said, I'm pushing 70. My time on this planet is limited. If young people want to "de-colonize Thanksgiving because its "narrative" is "harmful," so be it. Good luck with that kind of future and with what you replace it. But, for as long as I am alive, this Pilgrim is celebrating, without any apologies, and that includes time-honored recipes from my family history.

I cherish the story of Squanto and the Pilgrims uniting under the necessity of food. A feast that blended friend and foe. Mr. Tupper came to the aid of many a suburban housewife. American capitalism and ingenuity made him wealthy. Yes, my education was Norman Rockwell-ish. I loved it. I make no apologies for it. It was what it was. My father worked very hard to provide for all us. Including my grandparents.

Be Happy For What You Have, When You Had It, and When You Learned It.
As the American poet Anne Sexton said, "The joy that isn't shared dies young."'
Share Your Joy.

This recipe is also known as "Sea Foam Salad." Cool Whip is a "modern" addition. It was not available "back then." We always used real whipped cream. Mash the pears to a consistency you prefer. With the advent of "stick blenders" this is now an easy step. It is important to have the cream cheese at room temperature. If not, nuke at 10-second intervals until softened.

  • 1, 29-ounce can halved pears in heavy syrup, or 2, 15-oz cans, drained, syrup reserved
  • 1, 6-ounce package lime jello (some people use raspberry or strawberry)
  • 1, 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped, or 2-3 cups Cool Whip.

Drain the liquid from the pears into a small saucepan. Bring the liquid to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in Jello powder until dissolved. It is not necessary to have the full amount of liquid called for in the Jello instructions.

Beat cream cheese until smooth. Slowly add in the Jello mixture and mix until smooth and blended.

Cover. Place in fridge just until partially set, around 40 minutes.

In the meantime, place pears in a bowl and mash to a consistency you want. I like smooth with the added texture of a few pear bits still left in. An immersion blender makes easy work of this but do not mix the final product with it or you will end up a zillion tiny bubbles.

If using fresh whipping cream, beat until stiff peaks form.

Remove gelatin from refrigerator, lightly mix with a fork. Blend in the pear and whipped cream/topping until well combined and the color is homogenous.

Pour into a lightly greased mold. Refrigerate until set, usually overnight. 

When ready to unmold, dip the mold in warm water for a few seconds to loosen the sides. Invert onto a platter. Hold your breath and pray it easily slides out.

Garnish as desired.

One year I used both lime and raspberry jello. First I put down a one-inch layer of the red jello into the mold I was using. When it was completely set, I added the lime/pear mixture. It was gorgeous when unmolded.

Interested in making an eel stew: check out the video below:

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Super Easy Apple Crisp

My local grocery store stocks LUCK brand "fried" apples and peaches. These are not to be confused with "pie filling." Instead, these are still a bit on the "crunch" side and canned in a simple syrup. I use a drained can of each to make this simple cobbler. They are also available with cinnamon.

I love apple cobbler. It's like apple pie but without the labor of making a crust. But, even peeling apples can be time consuming. Instead, I simply butter a dish or pan, drain some of these delicious apples and peaches and top with a store-bought packet of "crumb" mixture. What could be easier?

Most grocery stores now offer a premixed brand of "crisp" or "crumble" to add to fruit. I use this one made by the Fresh Gourmet Company. It even has oats!

  • 2 cans, LUCK'S fried apples and/or peaches
  • (I use one can of apples and one of peaches)
  • 1 tablespoon flour or corn starch
  • Fresh lemon
  • 1/16 teaspoon almond or vanilla flavoring (optional and use less, not more)
  • 1 packet fruit "crumb" topping
  • Lemon

Drain the apples and/or peaches
Arrange in a buttered dish or pan.* Sprinkle with flour/corn starch. Sprinkle with a bit of seasoning of your choice such as nutmeg, apple pie spice, cinnamon. Squeeze in a bit of fresh lemon juice and, if using, almond flavoring. Gently mix.

Prepare cobbler mix according to package directions. Spread on top. Bake according to package directions. Allow to cool a bit. Enjoy

*Use a pan or dish so that the fruit is about two-layers.

Of course, it's cheaper to make your own apple crisp. My full "from scratch" recipe is here:


Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Let's Go Shopping! Part 1

Do you know what this is? I think you need it in your kitchen!

I've reached that point in my "kitchen life" when tools and gadgets have served their purpose. They, like my "biological life" are just worn out, tired, chipped and broken. Some were given to me as gifts by my mother. Sorry, mom, time to go on .... Some by family members past ....

So, about a year or two ago, I began to throw out the old to replace with the new (wish I could do that with my corporeal life).  I relied mainly on recommendations from America's Test Kitchen (ATK) and Amazon's great sales since I am a Prime member. If you know a cook, these make for great gifts. Some are expensive. Most are not. I did not pay full price for any of them. Nor am I a paid Amazon sponsor of these products (but I should be!).

This really began with my old-but-faithful crock-pot. And I mean old! It was an original Rival with a stoneware inset. The lid was chipped (but I always save lids; you should, too!) The rim of the insert was chipped. The controls were not the best. There were only two. HIGH or LOW (sorry, I'm not a druggie). The glaze on the interior of the crock was crackled and gross.  It was inconveniently cylindrical, not oval, so I could not configure certain cuts of beef, pork or chicken. I had it since the late 1970s when I was a teacher. It served its purpose admirably well. Back then, it was like a miracle. I could put in food. Set it. And come home from school or night classes to an incredible meal! Back in the day, that really was unheard of.

After some research, I finally settled on the Kitchen Aid 6-quart slow cooker because of its accurate temperature control and it's clean, sleek oval design. And it's easy to clean. True to ATK review, technologically and electronically, it's settings are true. A simmer is a simmer. And it has a warm cycle.

Unfortunately, this came along about the same time and has pretty well replaced my crockpot for the current generation. Good for them!

I have now had my Instant Pot since 2016. It's almost time to get a new one because I have used it so often. If you purchase one, be sure to buy the plastic lid to pop on to easily store leftovers in the fridge and the clear cover with handle for when you just want to simmer or keep items warm. I still like my crock pot for whole chickens and slow roasts. But for convenience and flavor, nothing beats the convenience of a pressure cooker. Don't be scared. It will not explode. It is computer-safe. Yes, you really need to buy one.

For a guy, a toaster is kind of like his favorite pair of boxers and t-shirt. Why get rid of either? When the handle of my decades-old toaster came off, I didn't really care. I improvised with a wine-bottle cork for a while; but, then, even that fell off. There was a metal thing I could still use to pop it down and up. But then I just became tired of looking at it and constantly cleaning its mirrored aluminum surface.

My heart was set on an English Dualit toaster which I discovered years ago at the home of great client/friends (Hi Bob and Lisa Sessa!) but I could not justify the over 200-dollar price for toast (but they're just so cool!).

Instead, I took ATK's advice and got a DASH Clearview Toaster. It's cool, too. And very affordable.

The shape is not traditional, but it's narrow footprint snugs alongside a kitchen counter wall.  The slot is so wide, I can fit in hamburger buns! The side of toast facing the glass does not darken as much. Still, I just kind of like it quirkiness.

While I did not buy a Dualit toaster, I did buy a Dualit electric hand-held mixer. ATK's advice was for a Kitchen Aid ... but I had had something similar for years. I'm not a great fan of the diminutive wire whisk-like beaters that now come with so many electric mixers. I wanted muscle! These beaters are extra long and wide, so you can dig deep into the bottom of the bowl of what you are mixing and the batter won't creep up the stem ends. Plus, the cord is retractable and it winds inside to keep things tidy, such as your cabinets.

While I have not yet used this, I know I won't be disappointed. ATK did not review this particular mixer (why?). However, I've seen it used by several cooks I follow on YouTube. Bottom line? I'm vain. I just like the looks of it. It is obviously handsome. It is muscular without showing off. I saved almost forty bucks with an Amazon deal. My second choice would have been a Breville. I love all things Breville! You should, too!

While I am glad I have a new electric mixer, my arthritic hands and shoulders sometimes just get tired of holding it. Like most home cooks, I have always coveted a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer. It is the poster child of mixers on any cooking channel. I wonder why? Hmmmmmm ..... Seriously?

ATK always chooses this as their top choice. But, define choice. I spent almost one year researching and trying to figure this out.

My first stand mixer was actually an old Sunbeam from my parent's basement. My mom just never ever used it. When I moved out and began cooking, I grabbed it! I just loved it for whipping up cakes and anything with a "batter." I have no doubt she got this from her mother, my grandmother. Maybe even older, my great grandmother. In its day, it was the Cadillac of mixers. The tines of the mixer had obviously been re-soldered. Interesting. That told me someone used it frequently. And who did the work? Most likely, one of my great uncles whom I never knew.

I read many reports of Kitchen Aid mixers with gears that failed. Many from cooks I watched on YouTube. Also, it's very very heavy.

I kind of settled on this choice, a Cheftronic. I almost bought it. It has way more power than a Kitchen Aid at half the price.

Then I found a channel on YouTube where a woman, Amy, tests appliances for you. I like Amy.


She gave this Bosch Mixer an "A." It's awesome. The beater moves in a  'planetary' movement. In other words, it whisks up, down and along the sides of the bowl which is very cool instead of being stationary and just going around and around like a merry go round.  And it is lightweight. It will also mix a loaf of bread.

In my old age, I no longer really drink coffee anymore. Not sure why. I prefer tea. In fact, even mundane places like McDonald's serve up decent hot tea (although most taking your order have no idea where that button is!). So, I bought an electric kettle and I absolutely love it! It heats faster than a microwave. The interior is metal, no PBA plastic. It stays cool to the touch. The heating element remains behind when you pick it up, so there is no cord to get in the way. It will boil 1.5 liters of water is like 5-8 minutes! I only use a few cups and I am always shocked at how fast it boils. (As an aside--waves from a micro wave change the molecular structure of water so that the body does understand it is water. As such, the body sucks needed water from your bones instead which can lead to serious rheumatoid arthritis.) This unit shuts off automatically when it comes to a boil. Also great for oatmeal, hot chocolate, Jell-o, clean out your drains.

Before I purchased the electric kettle, I puchased a regular, stove-sitting kettle. It's a beauty and it's built like a tank! Previously, I owned a small tin enamel kettle whose shape and color I loved. But, I wanted something bigger and sturdier, so I puchased this beautiful OXO tea kettle:

I love all things OXO. They are beautifully engineered with the convenience of the cook in mind and, often, like this kettle, their products border on art. The lid is large enough so your hand can fit into it to clean it. It has a great whistle. The silicone handle and knob stay cool to the touch.

Speaking of OXO, I bought this flat whisk which is so convenient for mixing sauces and gravies. It wonderfully gets to the bottom of the pan without splatters! I purchased it for almost half price. Totally worth it! If your hand is wet, it will not slip on the silicone handle. Metal handles are slippery. Wooden handles get moldy. Easy to clean.

Do you have a potato masher? I never owned one. My mom never owned one. I just used a wire whisk and a fork. Sticky and clumpy. I debated to buy a "ricer." Then I saw this beautiful baby! Oh, yea! Do yourself a favor and buy one. Buy a few for gifts. It is very very sturdy. Ergonomically, it is  perfect. It has a rubber scraper on the side so you can scrape the side of the bowl or pan.  Mash apples for apple sauce. Mash bananas for banana bread. Mash beans for Mexican dishes. It's a beauty. If you have stiff arthritic hands, this is for you.

Mash or squeeze? I love spaetzle. I spent forever seeking a good spaetzle maker. I finally decided on this beauty. It is not cheap, but I did get a good buy on Amazon. Also, I had incredible customer service from Germany. The English was not the best, but I was impressed they contacted me personally. You can also use this for potatoes, apples, etc. It is built like a tank and will last for generations. Easy to clean. When it arrived, it was wrapped in German newspapers. Totally authentic. Unlike cheaper ones, your hands won't be scaled from boiling water. It has several guages for different pot sizes. Danke!

Mixing a stiff dough? Don't want to get out your mixer which most likely can not hand the job? You know the wooden spoon is a joke and may just break. Spatula and whisks are useless. Guess what? Got you covered. Use this inventive little beauty from Scandinavia. I mean, just look at it! Simple, ergonomic technology. Think chocolate chip cookies ....  Thick batter-breads. Need I say more? If anything, buy it for its beauty.

Part II. Knives and cookbooks.

If you enjoyed this post, please send the link to others. Happy cooking.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

And Now for Something Completely Different ...

A simple recipe for life--only three ingredients!

I really enjoyed this little video. I think, in many of our quiet, personal, small ways, we all unconsciously practice the mantra of this "trinity" outlined in the video below.

This so reminded me of Emily Dickinson who was way before her time. Poem below. In age of "globalism," I welcome her thought and New "Englandism."

Here's the original!

This man, Stefan Verstappen, and his books, interviews, and lectures, are brilliant. Sadly, he is very censored by YouTube. More pathetic, I doubt he would be welcomed on today'sl University campuses.

Enjoy your day. Share if you got something out of this post!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Italian Sausage with Onions and Peppers in the Instant Pot

Pressure cooking simple ingredients such as this ensures the sausages are infused or pressured with flavors one could not get from a traditional long simmer on the stove top. And the sausages remain juicy.

Cut the peppers and onions into wider widths than usual since pressure cooking "shrinks" veggies.

Serve on a hoagie or over rice. Fresh pasta, if you can get it or know how to make it. The veggie/sauce mixture by itself is wonderful piled on a nice thick slice of artisan bread.

  • 1 pound Italian sausages (I use Johnsonville brand"mild")*
  • 8 ounces sliced onion
  • 8 ounces sliced peppers (I used green and red)
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced, fire-roasted tomatoes, juice and all
  • 2-3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 7 ounces (1/2 can) water or stock of your choice
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasonings
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • A few shakes Ancho chili powder, Cayenne or, my favorite, Aleppo Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon white sugar

Put a bit of olive oil in the instant pot. Switch on saute mode and lightly brown the sausages. Do not cook through. Remove to a plate. Add peppers and onions. Saute just until they begin to lose their crispness. Add tomatoes and garlic. Mix tomato paste with water in the can. Add to pepper/onion mixture. Add seasonings.

Return sausages to the pot. Turn off saute mode.

Set manual mode for five minutes. When done, do a quick release.

No instant pot? No problem:

Lightly brown sausages in a 12-inch skillet or Dutch oven. Remove. Add pepper and onion mixture and stir until they lose their crispness. Add tomatoes and garlic. Mix tomato paste with water in the can. Add to pepper/onion mixture. Add seasonings. Cover and simmer for at least one hour. Add more water if needed.

*I suggest mild or hot sausages. I have used "sweet" but the dish lacks in flavor. 
Update 2023: Consistency is now rare for American food products. Use sausages you love and know to be good. 

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Easy Chicken Alfredo Casserole

Move over, Olive Garden! Oh, yea, this is that good! Not difficult to prepare and the result is spectacularly delicious.

I used a grocery-store rotisserie chicken that was on sale. The pasta was on sale. The cheese was on sale! The Alfredo sauce was on sale! This makes quite a bit and it's filling. Perfect for a family. In fact, I would not hesitate to serve this to guests. A nice green salad with fresh tomatoes, an artisan loaf of bread, a chilled bottle of Rose or a nice Zinfandel and this is a meal guests will brag about for days afterward. Have printed recipes available.

I have made this with spaghetti and mini penne. Both are fine.  Had I fresh basil, I would have swapped it for the parsley. This is a great "make-ahead recipe." For this recipe, I used three 5 x 5 baking dishes, because I gave some away; otherwise, use an 11 x 7 pan or dish or something comparable.
Use judgement on the fresh garlic. Since it is added raw, it can be sharp.  It only cooks once it is placed in the oven, not before. One could use garlic powder, instead.

I saved the crispy chicken skin and cut it up fine to add to the chicken. The skin has lots of flavors!

  • 8 ounces pasta, (spaghetti or penne or what you have on hand)
  • 1 and 1/2 cup jarred Alfredo sauce (I use mushroom Alfredo sauce) divided
  • 4 ounces sour cream (1/2 cup)
  • 8 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 to 1.5 cups cubed rotisserie chicken
  • 1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced, pressed or zested
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Parsley for garnish

Cook the pasta less one or two minutes before done. Drain. Transfer to a large bowl. Add a bit of butter so it doesn't stick. Season with salt and pepper.

In a medium bowl, mix the chicken with one cup Alfredo sauce and sour cream. Add pepper to taste. Add the garlic and parsley/basil. In another bowl, combine the ricotta, egg, and Parmesan. Mix thoroughly. Add to the pasta. Now add the Chicken mixture. 

Place mixture in a lightly-oiled pan or dish. Drizzle with remaining 1/2 cup Alfredo sauce. Top with a thick layer of mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until bubbly. If the top is not brown, broil for about two minutes. This is best served hot. Enjoy!