Mushroom Soup Mix Chicken and Rice Bake

To use your frozen homemade cream of mushroom soup try this version of a old Campbell’s chicken and rice dish. You need to thaw the cream of mushroom soup in the refrigerator overnight. I used fresh thyme but dried thyme or another herb will work just fine. If you wish to omit the cream sherry just leave out. We like the flavor the sherry gives the rice and chicken, but it is fine without it. Since I froze mine in smaller amounts I used two containers of soup for this recipe. A total of 1 1/4 cups or 10 ounces. A good one dish meal served with your favorite vegetable or salad.
Chicken and Rice Mushroom Bake
1 container of Frozen cream of mushroom soup (1 ¼ cups) or 1 can of Campbell’s condensed mushroom soup 
1 cup chicken broth or water (1 ⅓ for creamier rice)
¾ cup uncooked long grain white rice
¼ teaspoon paprika (optional)
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 ¼ pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves about 4 ounces apiece
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup toasted pecans
2 sprigs of thyme or 1 teaspoon of dried herb of your choice
salt, pepper and paprika for chicken pieces
 Heat oven to 375°. Season chicken pieces with salt, pepper and paprika and brown in small amount of oil. 
Stir the soup, sherry, chicken broth, rice, pepper and paprika if using, toasted pecan pieces and celery in a 11x8x2 inch baking dish. Top with the chicken. Cover pan with foil and  bake at 375°F for 45 to 50 minutes until chicken is cooked through and rice is tender. Check near end and if rice is too dry add some more broth or water. 
 Stir the rice before serving and remove thyme sprigs.

Use It Up...Mushroom Soup to Freeze

 The Southern Living 2014 Annual cookbook has a recipe for Cream of Mushroom Soup which can be used instead of the red and white can we are all so familiar with.
It needs to be kept frozen and thawed to use. There is flour in the recipe and of course it is thick so it can not be canned.
 After reading the recipe I decided to try it. It is easy to do, has no preservatives, and with cream, butter, cream cheese and mushrooms how could you go wrong. It does use the concentrated chicken stock in the tubs or sticks. I use Knorr Brand because we like the flavor. Do not use liquid stock or it will dilute the soup too much.
  My Grandson and Bettie liked it made into soup, use like the can and add a equal amount of milk and heat. You can use this in any recipe calling for condensed cream of mushroom soup. 1 and ¼ cups is equal to each can called for in your recipe.
  I froze ours in 5 ounce amounts (by weight) to equal a ½ can as we like to make a smaller amount of most casseroles. You can always thaw two or more as needed. We like it so well that I am going to see if I can make a version of cream of celery. 
Sue made this after I did and froze hers in flat freezer bags Makes amount equal to 4 cans 
Cream of Mushroom Soup
½ cup butter divided
24 ounces fresh mushrooms (3-8oz. containers)
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 cups whipping cream
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese softened
2 (1 ounce) containers concentrated chicken stock (from a 4.66-oz. package)
Clean and chop mushrooms.  Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a dutch oven over medium-high heat; add chopped mushrooms and sauté 10 to 12 minutes until most of the liquid is evaporated. Transfer to a bowl. 
 Lower heat to medium. Melt remaining butter in dutch oven you used for mushrooms. Whisk in flour until smooth; whisk one minute more. Gradually whisk in cream and than cream cheese and concentrated chicken stock. Cook, whisking constantly, 2 minutes or until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in cooked mushrooms.
 Use immediately, or cool completely.  Freeze in 1 ¼ cup portions in plastic freezer bags or containers. Thaw before using.
To use for soup add an equal amount of milk and heat.
Use in any hot dish the same as any condensed soup called for.

Cookbook Reviews...Bake Sale Favorites

 Here's another book I picked up at a book sale, Bake Sale Favorites.  If you’re looking for a recipe from a box or label, or that really good recipe someone brought to share, they are often in books like this, where the recipes came from companies like Dole, Libby’s, Nestle and Toll House, Crisco, Nabisco, Hershey’s, Duncan Hines and more.
There are pies, cookies and bars, quick breads and muffins, cakes and some quick tricks with mixes, when you child comes home and tells you that he needs something for the soccer team bake sale in the morning!  

Here are recipes we tried from this book:

Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes

Deep Dark Chocolate Cake

Amaretto Coconut Cream Pie

No Fuss Bar Cookies

Family Favorites...Dorothy Lynch Salad dressing

  Our local pizza and broasted chicken place has a nice salad bar where they serve Dorothy Lynch Salad dressing.  I always get it; it’s very good.  I searched on the internet for a recipe and found this one in a multitude of locations.  We tried it and liked it a lot.  Even my husband likes it, and by making it myself, I can control the type of oil used (I use olive oil), and it’s relatively low calorie for a full-fat dressing.  I used a little instant clear gel in place of the cornstarch and it worked OK too.  I mixed it with the sugar so it wouldn’t clump. 
 From the company website is the following info:  "Yes, there really and truly was a Dorothy Lynch. In the late 1940s, Dorothy and her husband ran the restaurant at the local Legion Club in St. Paul, Nebraska. This is where the original recipe for Dorothy Lynch Home Style Dressing was born. As the Legion Club members were introduced to this delicious recipe, the legend of Dorothy Lynch began to grow and the dressing fast became a "must-have" favorite. Stories of local people bringing their own bottle or jug to town to have it filled with "that delicious Dorothy Lynch salad dressing" were quite common."  The dressing is sold in stores today throughout the midwest.
Dorothy Lynch Style Salad Dressing
  1           Can  Condensed Tomato Soup -- 10.75 oz
  1           Cup  Salad Oil or Olive Oil
     3/4    Cup  Sugar
     1/2    Cup  Vinegar
  1           Teaspoon  Dry Mustard
  1           Teaspoon  Salt
  1           Teaspoon  Celery Seeds
     1/4     Teaspoon  Black Pepper -- coarsely ground
     1/8     Teaspoon  Garlic Powder
     1/4     Teaspoon  Cornstarch -- optional
Combine in a jar with lid.  For thicker dressing, stir in cornstarch.
Refrigerate overnight for best flavor
Cost: $1.99 for 24 ounces.
  "3 Cups"
Per Serving: 57 Calories; 5g Fat (71.7% calories from fat); trace Protein; 4g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 74mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 1 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

Italian Sausage and Potato Skillet

When you don’t want to go out to the store try a hot dish using what you have on hand. This recipe is a combination of two different recipes using what I had to hand. I took the Italian sausage out of the casing before cutting it in pieces. Either way would work. I had a few small potatoes to use up and had just made chicken stock. A few pepper strips from the freezer and some onion and there was supper. 
 Slicing the potatoes lets them cook faster and while they are not brown the casserole was just fine. Served with garlic bread and canned fruit for dessert. Easy to get and by plating it myself very few dishes afterwards. 
Italian Sausage and Potato Skillet
  3 Servings
2 Italian Sausage links cut in 1 ½ inch pieces
¼ cup thinly sliced onion
⅛ to ¼ cup red pepper cut in strips
3 small (4 ounce) potatoes peeled and sliced
1 cup chicken broth or stock
¼ teaspoon thyme or Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
Dried or fresh parsley to sprinkle on top
 Brown cut up sausage, remove from pan and sauté onion and pepper strips until opaque. Add the seasonings and the sausage. Add the sliced potatoes, pour chicken broth in and cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

 You could add any stray veggies you have on hand. If you add a lot more just increase the amount of chicken broth. You want it to cook away while it is simmering.

From the Garden...Peas, Carrots and Mushrooms

This is a delicious, very pretty vegetable presentation.  I confess, I reversed their directions and cooked my mushroom mixture first, and poured a tablespoon of cognac over them and let it evaporate before setting them aside.  In the same saucepan, I cooked the carrots and peas, then returned the mushroom mixture to the pan.  
I used my mandoline for preparing the carrots and I made my gremolata first in a small sauce dish so it was ready.    I served this basil and lemon-flavored vegetable with baked fish – perfect.                 
Peas, Carrots and Mushrooms
     ½    Cup  Carrots -- sliced
  10     Ounces  Frozen Peas
  2       Cups  Fresh Mushroom -- sliced
  2       Each  Green Onion -- 1/2" pieces
  1       Tablespoon  Butter
  1       Tablespoon  Fresh Basil -- or 1/2 tsp. dried basil, crushed
     ¼    Teaspoon  Salt
            Dash  Black Pepper -- freshly ground
                        Basil Gremolata
  2        Tablespoons  Fresh Basil -- finely snipped
  1        Tablespoon  Lemon Peel -- finely shredded
  2        Teaspoons  Garlic -- minced
In a medium saucepan, cook carrot, covered, in a small amount of boiling water for 3 minutes.  Add frozen peas.  Return to boiling; reduce heat.  Cook about 5 minutes more or until carrot and peas are crisp tender.  Drain well.  Remove carrot and peas from saucepan; set aside.
In the same saucepan; cook mushrooms and green onions in hot butter until tender.  Stir in basil, salt and pepper.  Return carrot and peas to saucepan; heat through, stirring occasionally.  To serve, top with basil gremolata.
Basil gremolata:  In a small bowl, combine the basil, lemon peel and minced garlic.
6 Servings
  "Better Homes and Gardens Holiday recipes 2011”
Per Serving: 68 Calories; 2g Fat (27.8% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 10g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 5mg Cholesterol; 167mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1/2 Fat.

Sautéed Potatoes with Bread Crumbs

Here’s a simple recipe that Grandma probably made…it’s a good use for dried-out bread, combined with potatoes and onions, which everyone had from their garden.    I like the combination of butter and olive oil for best browning and flavor, but bacon fat is perfect, something else Grandma probably had in her drippings jar or can right on the stovetop!                   
Sautéed Potatoes with Bread Crumbs
  1        pound  red potatoes -- parboiled
  2        tablespoons  oil
  2        tablespoons  butter
  2        tablespoons  onion -- chopped
     1/4 cup  bread crumbs
To parboil potatoes, I usually cook 2" diameter whole new potatoes 10-15 minutes.  Drain well.  Chill several hours or overnight. 
Coarsely chop a small slice of bread in your food processor, or use Panko bread crumbs.
Dice potatoes. In large skillet, where you can spread them out, sauté in fat until lightly brown; add bread crumbs and cook until well browned and crisp. Add onions and sauté for 2 minutes.

4 Servings