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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Casseroles are okay........

Over the years, casseroles have got a bad name.
The name alone shrieks of 70's dinners that included a week's worth of leftovers smothered in a can of cream of mushroom soup.
Now, I have to be totally honest here...I was not raised on casseroles.
My mother never made casseroles.....she was so totally against them.
As children, we always wanted her to make a casserole.....we wanted to be just like the neighbors, we wanted to be modern and not eat the old fashioned Italian foods she put on the table each night.  We wanted her to make Tuna Noodle casserole on Friday nights instead of her Italian tuna cakes, her polenta , her home made pizza and pasta with aglio oilio.....
(yeah, I nuts were we?)
She declared casseroles off limits in her house.  She would slave all day to make a dinner she felt was suitable for her of any canned soup (she considered serving anything that came in a can bad mothering....). 
We even wanted Hamburger which she would claim was junk food.....poison!!! 
Again----only bad mothers served their children Hamburger Helper.  
(yeah, no wonder I am a foodie....)
Years later, after my mother passed away and I become chief cook and bottle washer for my dad, my sisters and I, I found how right my dear mother was.....Hamburger Helper was not good.   It made for another night of eating cereal.....which was not very popular.  It was bad enough we missed our mother terribly and ached to taste just one more of her wonderful meals....but there we were...3 motherless girls with their widowed father eating cereal for dinner.  A sad site indeed.

Although I will admit to making a few casseroles in my time and I will come clean that I have used canned soups in those casseroles, I don't talk much about those just feels wrong. 
Once my mother's daughter, always my mother's daughter.  
But, today, I am going to break my casserole silence and share a  casserole recipe with you that I am not ashamed to talk about.
And, I am going to cross my fingers that my mother in heaven is too busy focusing on some of my other misdeeds that she won't even notice!  Fingers crossed. 

As I told you....this past weekend, I had the opportunity to sneak in  some girls weekend fun with some of my gal pals.  One of the events that I had to miss was the Welcome Brunch on Saturday.  With all the banter about how fabulous it was, I know I missed something incredible.  The friend who hosted this weekend at her amazing castle of a home has always been known to be a master of creativity and style.  She always had a certain knack to turn even the most ordinary piece of junk into something beautiful, classic and elegant.  She even made hangovers look good in college by sporting a jaunty red beret....tilted to one side with a fancy broach attached  and wearing a fabulous pair of Jackie O. sunglasses.  While the rest of us just looked like hellrunnethover....
 Her entertaining style---even during her days as a young single, divorced mother of two trying to make ends meet--always exuded elegance and great taste.  She has  always had this seemingly effortless fabulousness.  (All that and a small waist and long legs, you would think I should hate her.....)
So, when I heard that the brunch menu was  built around a chicken casserole...of all things.....I couldn't help but be intrigued.  My classiest friend does not make casseroles.....does she?  
But, when my gals pals could not stop raving over this particular  casserole, I just had to find out what all the hallabaloo was about.
I called the hostess and demanded that she spill the beans on her menu because I just needed to know....
Well, not only did she spill the beans and not only did I find out what the hallabaloo was about.....I got to experience it first hand.
Dinner was waiting for me on my FRONT PORCH when I arrived home late Monday night......
Well, to be more was enough food for several dinners!
I wish I would have taken a picture of the gorgeous basket display that awaited put a huge smile on my day.  I could feel my body sigh with delight.....
It was a complete remake of the Saturday morning brunch that I missed.....
(with all the links to the recipes included.....does my girlfriend know me or what???)

Aren't my friends the bestest?  

So, I'm paying it forward.....ENJOY!!!

Butterscotch Sticky Buns  (these look and smell amazing.....I put them in my freezer to enjoy over the weekend)
Pumpkin Fritters  (I never heard of these before!  yummy!)
Butternut squash, raisin and pine nut  lasagna    (this stuff was seriously good...even leftover! I have enough food for a few more meals...yippee!)
Chicken Cobbler Casserole  (totally good and yes there's  cream of mushroom soup in it....and wine.....true comfort food! I'm definitely sharing this with my father!)
Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Sherry-Walnut Vinegarette  (seriously addicted to the roasted beets now!  who knew???)




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