I’m honored to have been asked to be a judge at this year’s National Cornbread Festival in South Pittsburg, Tennessee! If you’re planning on coming to this fun event, be sure and RSVP on my Facebook page by clicking here so I can keep you updated on my whereabouts because I’d love to get to meet you!
Christmas and New Years behind us, and most folks are in the middle of winter, snuggling within their quilts and homes, cooking up stews and cobblers. Oh I’m doing the cooking part but not the rest of it, my mind is on other things. You see, soon as January hits, I get to expecting spring.
I can’t help it, it is my absolute most favorite time of year for a number of reasons but one in particular – I get to see my daffodils. Now before you go to thinking that I’m looking pretty far off you gotta understand that daffodils are usually in bloom here by February and the first sign of yellow, my heart up and declares SPRING!
I go by my own time table with the seasons, I’m just a wild woman that way.
I love flowers of all sorts, I am female after all. Oh Alright, I’ll confess to not being a huge red rose fan but toss a pink one my way and I’ll throw that sucker in my teeth and do one heck of a tango. Okay, not really. If anyone shouts out requests for a tango at my next speaking engagement I’m afraid you’re gonna be let down. Holler out that you want me to sing instead, I can’t refuse that, of course you might still be let down once you hear me but that wasn’t my point…
When we moved here to Bountiful a few years back, I was delighted to find a well thought out and beautifully planted ring of spring flowers around each tree in our front yard. Tete a tete daffodils, crocus, and hyacinth came up in unison, presenting the perfect blend of spring colors and fragrance. It really warmed my heart to walk around those trees, kneeling by them and lovingly taking in the flowers, knowing that someone had once cared so dearly for this house.
So that very first fall, I ordered more bulbs. King Alfred, tete a tete, orange throat, every variety I could find (and afford). I ordered around a hundred that year and got out with my little shovel and planted each and every one of them myself. The following spring the beautiful flower rings around my trees were joined by others out and about in the yard. I had planted them as my mother advised, randomly, with no set pattern so they just popped up in the yard like little surprise blooms of sunshine. They were absolutely breathtaking and I dearly love those few weeks of looking out my window and seeing the happy little flowers waving back at me in the breeze.
A few months back I was in Lowe’s and walked by a bag of 100 more bulbs. They hopped in my buggy and came home with me where Katy Rose and I went about planting them, wherever she felt we needed them to be.
My goal is to eventually have an entire yard filled with daffodils for a few weeks out of each year. They’ll slowly spread from the road right up to my front doorstep . After a few decades of this, and with my kids moving out and more cats coming to live with me (isn’t that the natural evolution of things?) no doubt people will start to talk. I’ll begin wearing a hat with a giant silk daffodil in it and trade in my preferred red shoes for daffodil yellow ones to match. Folks will start calling me the Crazy Daffodil Lady as I walk around town in my finest daffodil yellow regalia. But hey, I can think of worst things to be called. By then I’ll have so many that I can make large bouquets and deliver them to nursing homes and other spots around town that need brightening and then come back home to a yard still filled to the brim. We all gotta have dreams.
If you’ll excuse me, I found some daffodil bulbs at Wal Mart yesterday and I think I’ll plant a few before the sun goes down. I know that technically this isn’t the time of year to plant daffodils but I like to live life outside the lines. Heck, I even wear my watch on my right hand, even though I’m right handed and my engagement ring is on my finger first, THEN my wedding band (I’ve gotten more emails on this than I can count).
You see, at the end of the day, I’m just a rebel to the core. Oh yeah, I even eat raw cake batter. I do shocking things like that…and I plant daffodil bulbs in December.
And THAT, my friends, is why I’m gonna make a great Crazy Daffodil Lady someday! I hope I can count on your vote 🙂
While I am still pretending to be partially sane, let me bring you a casserole today. There are so many variations on this casserole that you could throw a rock at the internet and hit fifty on any given day. This is mine, it’s pretty easy and awfully good. Modify it, play with it, make it your own. Just let me know what time it is served and try to have plenty of tea when I show up, please 🙂 Or Diet Dr Pepper…Diet Dr pepper is always good, too!
You’ll need: Long Grain and Wild Rice (with seasoning, such as Uncle Ben’s), Cream of Mushroom Soup (can use fat free), French Style Green Beans, Chicken, almonds, and Ritz crackers and a wee bit of butter to pour over the top, which isn’t pictured.
If you don’t like Cream of mushroom soup, just use Cream of chicken, cream of celery, or cream of whatever-cranks-your-tractor. You can also use fat free or low fat or i-don’t-wanna-get-fat, if you can find it :). For those of us already there, just go with the recipe because it tastes so good :).
Nowadays Uncle Ben’s make quick cooking long grain and wild rice as well as the traditional featured here. Use whichever you pick up first.
The almonds are optional but I gotta tell you, I love what they do to this dish!
NOTE: You can also add a cup of sour cream to this and it will be wonderful! This is completely optional, but I love it. I’m not including it in this tutorial but I will list it as optional in the recipe below.
Cook chicken until done.
Note: Normally I wouldn’t have used chicken tenders for this because they are a little more expensive. This is a great recipe to use cooked chicken leg quarters (deboned and shredded), leftover chicken, or a whole fryer (cooked, deboned, and shredded) in, but since I did have this chicken on hand and company was a coming (did I mention I like to make this for company) that is what I used.
Dump chicken, cooked rice, green beans, cream soup, and almonds into a big old bowl.
Give it all a stir until it is good and mixed.
Spray baking dish lightly with non stick cooking spray.
Spoon casserole filling into baking dish.
Sprinkle crushed crackers all over top.
Drizzle melted butter over the cracker crumb topping.
Bake at 350 for thirty minutes.
- 1 box long grain and wild rice mix I use Uncle Ben's, which is currently 6oz
- 1 cup fresh shredded chicken
- 1 can cut green beans mine is 15 ounces
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup 10-ounce, fat-free is fine
- 1 teaspoon onion powder optional
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1 cup Ritz crackers crushed
- 3 tbsp melted butter
To make casserole
- Cook and cube or shred the chicken. Drain the beans. Cook the rice according to the package directions in a pot big enough to mix the casserole (no sense in dirtying up more dishes).1 cup fresh shredded chicken, 1 can cut green beans, 1 box long grain and wild rice mix
- Once the rice is cooked, stir in all other ingredients (except Ritz and butter) until well combined. Spoon into a pie plate or casserole dish.1 can cream of mushroom soup, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- Cover the top of the casserole with crushed Ritz crackers. Pour melted butter evenly over the Ritz.
- Bake at 350 for 20 to 30 minutes, or until heated through and bubbly. Serve warm.