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Monday, October 6, 2008

Aunt Sandra's Chicken Dish

Or Making Do in Hard Times

This recipe comes to the neighborhood from my Aunt Sandra. She’s part of the Neighborhood as a resident of Shelton and a reader of both the TNT and this blog site. She received the recipe from someone else and the McAllen, Texas cookbook, but she gave it to me and at that point, as far as I’m concerned, it became hers. She sent it to me as part of a recipe exchange, but it’s good enough to share with the neighborhood and fairly economical. “Back-in-the-day,” as the kids say, I would have saved bread heels, made my own breadcrumbs and stuffing. But back in the day I was a stay-at-home mom without a couple of jobs I have now.

Everyone should have an Aunt Sandra in their life. My pleasure in my family is well documented in this space. Today’s nod goes to my Aunt Sandra. She’s young enough to be more like a sister or friend than a mother, but old enough to have taught me most of what I know about rearing children and running a home. I practiced on her children when I was too old to play with the Betsy McCall paper-dolls she saved from her McCall’s magazines for me.

This recipe calls for boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Chicken is definitely an economical option when attempting to stretch a budget. I always troll what my mother refers to as “the dented and scratched” meat bin at Fred Meyer. We have a large family and I may not always find a package big enough for our big family, but if the discount is good I throw it in my freezer waiting for another package to come my way or a recipe that only needs a little meat. You could substitute some other chicken part as long as it was boneless and skinless.

1. 2 or 3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2. a pkg. of sliced swiss cheese (preferably lowfat)
3. a can of mushroom soup
4. 1/4 cup white wine
5. 1 box StoveTop Stuffing (chicken flavor
6. 1/4 cup melted butter

Spray a 9 x 13 pan. Heat oven to 325. Slice chicken lengthwise and cover the bottom of the dish with raw slices of chicken. Cover the chicken with slices of Swiss cheese. Combine soup and wine and pour over all. Add the melted butter to Stuffing to moisten Stuffing. Sprinkle on top of dish. Bake for 1/2 hour uncovered. It can be left in the oven longer. Can also be assembled ahead and refrigerated until baking (same day). Grandchildren love it!!

This recipe is not big enough for our family who needs enough leftovers the next day for lunches so I doubled it and baked it in a larger pan. I liked this recipe enough (and has purchased enough Stove Top Stuffing at Costco) to try it, with some alterations, with pork chops and in a crock-pot. My love of the crock-pot is almost as well documented as my love for my family. Nothing beats, especially this time of year, coming home to the smell of dinner already prepared filling the house. Here’s my pork chop version:

I sprinkled a package of Lipton’s Dry Onion Soup Mix over a layer of small red potatoes in the bottom of the crock-pot. On top of that I layered my pork chops. I used two cans of the condensed cream of mushroom soup to which I added ½ cup ketchup and 6 tablespoon of Worchester sauce, mixed it altogether and poured it over the chops. The last layer was one package of the stuffing mix which I tossed with ¼ cup melted butter. I set the crock-pot for seven hours, but six might have done, and went off to my daughter-in-law’s baby shower. The result was that my daughter and I returned to Gig Harbor on a dark and stormy night to a lovely smelling house and most of dinner already prepared.

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