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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Poppa's Favorite Casserole

Wow. I have done fifty posts. When I started this blog, I knew that the first fifty posts would give me a feeling of how I would like it. I have found that I really like food blogging and am excited to progress in my photos and commentary as I become more comfortable with  a combination of blog posts and time. 

I have never really introduced myself. My name is Lisa and I am much closer to 30 than 20. I am a full time teacher of middle school math and science. I live outside of Pittsburgh, PA with my son, my husband, and our dog Duke. In no way did I always have a love of cooking. Throughout high school and college, I worked in food related jobs and ate mostly processed meals. When I graduated college, I found a love for Food Network and began to cook meals at home. The first meal I ever made was the first time I prepared garlic and the first time it had ever been in a family meal. Fast forward to this past November when my Grandfather passed away. I have always thought about starting a food blog to chronicle the recipes that I have tried, made, and loved. I decided to stop wasting time, take a chance, and start. 

Poppa rocked full tails for our wedding. Man, was he handsome.

Papa with his favorite "good guy"

When Poppa was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, his life expectancy was mere weeks. I had saved him once from congestive heart failure almost a decade before and it pained me to know that it was just a matter of time. I could in no way save him, but I was determined to help and make his days of hospice as comfortable as possible. I helped my mom by preparing meals that Poppa loved and would eat. This casserole was his favorite and the last thing I made before he passed. He called it his Thanksgiving. It is a simple recipe, something that my mom has in her meal rotation every other week. I know that it is possible to go to a recipe website and find similar recipes, but the recipe listed below is my Mom's own, and Poppa's favorite, creation

Poppa's Favorite Casserole
For the stuffing: 
One loaf bread, cubed
One stick butter
One onion, diced
One clove of garlic, minced
One egg
1/4 cup, milk
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the filling:
One tablespoon olive oil
Four chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
One can Cream of Chicken Soup
Splash of milk, approximately one tablespoon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

In a small sauce pan, melt butter on medium-low heat. Once melted (but not brown), add onions and cook until onions are tender, about five minutes. Add garlic with the butter onion mixture and cook until fragrant, about two minutes. Let sit for a few minutes to cool. 

In large bowl, combine bread, egg, and milk. Add cooled butter mixture to bread. Add salt and pepper to taste. Carefully combine and set aside. 

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until juices run clear, approximately eight to ten minutes. Add Cream of Chicken soup, milk, and allow to heat through. 

In an over safe bowl, pour chicken mixture in bottom. Carefully place the stuffing on top of the chicken mixture. Be very careful to not burn yourself. Cook for 20 minutes or until stuffing on top is golden brown. 

Source: My mom

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