For someone that loves the holidays, I'm not particularly fond of winter. I hate being cold and I could really do without four months of snow and frigid temperatures. A perfect winter season would last from December 22nd to December 27th; this would provide just enough frost to get you feeling festive and make Christmas feel like Christmas with a little hint of white. Sigh... if only. Since I cannot change Canada's climate, I embrace winter for what it is and for the happy things that come along: oversized sweaters, fuzzy slippers, warm knitted mittens, and comfort food.
Note: Winter is Mother Nature giving us permission to eat more cheese.
Roger and I have started a wonderful new tradition in response to the cold. We make a different casserole every Sunday night and portion it for lunches to last us through the week. So far, each creation has been a heavenly mix of healthy meets hearty--the quintessential combination for taking winter's chill out of your bones. I would attribute our culinary success to teamwork, but I shouldn't misrepresent the truth: I simply motivate the chef.
(And grate copious amounts of cheese alongside him.)
The feature of the week is a Chicken & Rice Casserole with Broccoli, Mushrooms, Tomatoes and Cheese!
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb cubed chicken
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 large can tomatoes, diced
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1.5 cups rice
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- mushrooms, broccoli, peas, corn (whatever you have in the fridge!)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- salt & pepper to taste
- oregano & italian seasoning to taste
1.) Heat a cast iron pan on high. Add olive oil and brown chicken 30 seconds per side.
2.) Reduce heat to medium low. Add onion and caramelize until soft.
3.) Add diced tomatoes and finish cooking the chicken.
4.) Add chicken broth and bring ingredients to a boil. Add veggies and rice and let everything simmer for 20 minutes. Add more chicken broth as needed. Stir in cheese.
5.) Remove from cast iron pan and bake in casserole dish @ 350 degrees for 30 minutes. More cheese on top is totally optional, but very recommended. Go big or go home, right?