Our bi-weekly menu planning and grocery shopping routine works very well for us – until we come to the end of the second week (or the end of the menu, which often ends up stretching for another several days). Then we have to plan and shop, and it’s easy to put off, particularly if you’re super pregnant. Long story short, we did not have any meals planned or shopped for today.
Luckily my mom armed me with a good numbers of easy meals that can be put together from things we tend to have around anyway.
She armed me in the form of an adorable, bird-filled notebook with hand-written recipes. Thanks, Mom!
Tonight we ended up enjoying one of my old favorites, biscuit-top casserole. My mom’s recipe is pretty easy to make out in the picture above, but I’ve sort of amended it as I’ve made it in the past few years. Here’s what I did tonight:
I started by poaching the one chicken breast we had left in our freezer. It wasn’t thawed, so I just tossed it in a pot with some water and boiled it for a long time. While that was going, I boiled a bigger pot of water and tossed in three big handfuls of egg noodles. After a few minutes, I added the frozen vegetables we happened to have on hand – corn and peas. I probably put in about two cups total.
The noodles and veggies were done before the chicken. I drained them and tossed them into our dutch oven with 2 or 3 tablespoons of butter. I grated a couple handfuls of cheese (part cheddar, part mozzarella when the cheddar ran out) and mixed it in. By this time the chicken was done, so I cut that into cubes and added it in as well. I seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Noodley casserole, all ready to top
While everything was boiling, I mixed up the biscuit dough. The recipe calls for 1.5x the dough you see on the left page, but I find it easier (and more delicious) to double it. For the sake of convenience, here’s a double recipe:
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
4 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar (if you don’t have this, I’ve made it without and it turns out alright)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup margarine *or butter, which I always go with*
2/3 cup milk or plain yogurt
I used yogurt for the first time today. The biscuit was, according to Brian, a little tangier than normal. I didn’t really notice a difference in the baked biscuit, but the dough certainly had a yogurtish taste.
The pastry cutter is a favorite kitchen tool of mine. Brian doesn’t care for it though.
Once the casserole is all mixed up, top it with biscuit dough. If you were so inclined, you could roll it out nicely to fit your casserole dish. I took clumps of dough and flattened them on my hand, then pieced them together in the dish. Domestic goddess in the house!
Allow me to pause for a moment and mention how wonderful this dutch oven is! The original cracked through somehow (and started a small kitchen fire…) but the manufacture warranty was very good and we got it replaced at no charge. We really missed it while it was out of action!
Bake for 15 minutes or so at 450 degrees, or until the top starts to brown.
Serve with more butter – more butter is always best – and enjoy!
One final note: this is an extremely flexible dish. Season it differently; add meat leftover from last night’s meal, or another protein like beans or tofu, or leave it out; make it cheesier; experiment with the vegetables; you get the picture.