The Best Make-Ahead Recipe, so it was something that could be frozen as well and had a option of eating some now and freezing some for later: my kind of deal! I only used about half of the same ingredients, cut out a lot of the work, and made it a heck of a lot cheaper than the original recipe though, especially since I used leftover Thanksgiving turkey I had frozen instead of chicken, chicken stock I made instead of store bought chicken broth, milk instead of cream, and veggies gleaned from my mom's garden. Oh, and I used mild cheddar that I bought in bulk instead of the sharp cheddar the recipe I was working from, so I only paid about $2.50 for the entire recipe, which yielded two casseroles to be eaten on different nights, not a bad deal!
Cheesy Chicken & Rice Casserole1/4 cup butter1 medium onion, diced1 tsp salt3/4 tsp garlic powder1/8 tsp cayenne pepper1/2 cup all-purpose flour4 cups chicken stock2 cups water1 cup milk1 cup cooked chicken or turkey, shredded1 1/2 cups uncooked white rice1 1/2 cup carrots, sliced or diced1 1/2 cup peas2 cups Cheddar cheese2 tbsp lemon juiceblack pepper and salt, to taste2 cups Italian bread crumbs1/4 cup melted butterMelt the butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cayenne. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the stock, water, and milk. Bring to a boil and boil uncovered for about 10 minutes. Stir in rice; cover. Simmer 20 to 25 minutes, stirring frequently, until rice is just tender. While rice is cooking, preheat oven to 400 degrees. When the rice is done, remove from heat and stir in chicken, peas, carrots, Cheddar, and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour mixture into 2 casserole dishes. Mix together bread crumbs and melted butter until it becomes crumbly. Spread over the 2 casseroles. Cover one with plastic wrap and foil. The other, bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Label the covered one with instructions for serving: "Let thaw in refrigerator for 24 hours before baking. Bake, covered, at 400 degrees for 40-50 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Uncover and bake 15-20 minutes until crumbs are crisp." The second casserole can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 days or frozen for up to a month.
So now I have a yummy, homecooked meal in the freezer for another night. Yay!
After dinner (we had milk to drink with dinner, except my husband, who had water), I tried to make blueberry bagels, but apparently there is a reason I couldn't find a recipe for blueberry bagels using frozen blueberries, because it turned into a gooey mess that couldn't hold a bagel shape. Since bagel dough and bread dough are basically the same thing, just cooked differently, I just plopped that gooey mess into an oiled breadpan, let it rise and baked it like I would a loaf of bread, so it wouldn't got to waste and we could have blueberry bread for breakfast today. While the bread was rising, I made popcorn on the stovetop for the family to snack on.