October 19, 2018 at 7:29 a.m.

Comfort foods for colder days

Comfort foods for colder days
Comfort foods for colder days

Brrrr! I didn’t think I would be wearing my winter jacket at this time of the year. I had kept it in the back of my closet to put on just in case. ‘Just in case’ came earlier than I thought it would. As I write this morning, keep in mind that I write this column about a week ahead of publishing time, I’m looking out the window at a beautiful golden tree, swaying, really swaying, in the wind. A lot of trees have lost their leaves in the past two weeks taking a lot of the beauty of the autumn colors away. Don’t even think about what’s down the road. We will still have some comfortable sunny days... speaking from a ripened Minnesotan!

The colder days bring me to recipes for casseroles (hot dish as some of us say), soups, or anything that comes out of the oven, ready to be brought to the table to warm us up. This week it’s recipes for casseroles... or hotdish.

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CHICKEN CRESCENT ALMONDINE
1 can cream of chicken soup, undiluted
2/3 c. mayo or salad dressing
1/2 c. sour cream
2 T. instant minced onion
3 c. cooked, cubed chicken
1-8 oz. can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1-4 oz. can mushroom stems and pieces, drained
1/2 c. thinly diced celery
1-8 oz. tub refrigerated crescent rolls

Topping:
2/3 c. shredded Swiss or American cheese
1/2 c. slivered almonds
2 T. butter or margarine, melted

In a large saucepan, combine soup, mayo, sour cream and onion. Stir in chicken, water chestnuts, mushrooms and celery; cook over medium heat until hot and bubbly, stirring occasionally.

Pour into ungreased 9x13 inch baking dish. Separate crescent rolls into two rectangles, trimming to fit dish. Place dough over chicken mixture. For topping, combine cheese and almonds, sprinkle over dough. Drizzle with butter.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until crust is a deep golden brown. Let sit 15 minutes before serving. Makes eight servings.

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BEEF AND NOODLE CASSEROLE
1 lb. ground beef
1 T. butter or margarine
1 large onion, diced
1 c. diced green pepper
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 - 10 oz. pkg wide noodles, cooked according to package directions and drained
2 cans tomato soup, undiluted
1 can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese

In a large skillet, brown beef. Drain; set aside. In the same skillet, melt butter. Saute onion and green pepper until tender. Add beef, Worcestershire sauce, noddles and soups, mix well. Spoon into a greased three quart or 9x13 inch baking pan; sprinkle with cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Makes eight servings.

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ITALIAN SAUSAGE CASSEROLE
1-1/2 lbs., Italian sausage
1-1/2 c. sliced carrots
2 c. canned cut green beans, drained
2 c. Alfredo pasta sauce
2 t. dried Italian seasoning, crushed
1 c. shredded Mozzarella cheese
1-7.5 oz. pkg. refrigerated biscuits
1/4 to 3.4 c. milk
Dried Italian seasoning and/or grated parmesan cheese

In a large skillet, using a wooden spoon, break sausage into small pieces. Stir in carrots; cook just until sausage is brown and carrots are tender. Drain off fat. Stir in green beans, Alfredo sauce and the two teaspoons Italian seasoning into meat mixture in skillet. Heat through; stir in cheese. Turn meat and veggie mixture to a two quart casserole or 8x8 inch baking dish. Put biscuits onto a lightly floured surface. Quarter each biscuit; arrange biscuit pieces on filling. Put milk in a small dish; brush biscuits lightly with milk and if you wish, sprinkle with a bit of Italian seasoning and/or Parmesan cheese.

Bake, uncovered, about 30 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown and bubbly. Remove from oven and cover lightly with foil. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving. Makes six servings. Note: A little tip about preventing spills carrying a casserole dish or a two handle container with a knob on top: Stretch one rubber binder from each handle to the knob on top of the cover. Do the same for each side. The lid will stay tight and will be easy to carry. I’m certain that many of you already know this but pass it along to others.

Thought for the Day: It’s important that people should know what you stand for. It’s equally important that they know what you don’t stand for.

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