LOOKING for: Need casserole (maybe?) for company

annova914December 26, 2008

For some reason, I can't seem to come up with a casserole to serve company, something to make my entertaining a bit easier so we can enjoy our guests, but not end up with dried out grilled stuff. It cannot have alcohol in it or hot spices (based on the different guests in this 8 person group). For some reason, when we grill for ourselves, it turns out fine but when company is here, the pork or chicken is never juicy enough and I'm frustrated. I was thinking maybe Chicken Paprikash over noodles, but how would I keep the noodles from sticking together and how would I serve it (do noodles at last minute, pour on large platter and pour chicken paprikash over noodles??) I like to have most things done just before they arrive so I can visit with people. Any suggestions? Thanks! Hope everyone is enjoying the holidays :) Ann

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How about oven fried chicken? There are many ways to make it, but it's basically roll chicken pieces in something ( egg, evaporated milk, yogurt, sour cream, butter milk) and then in seasoned crumbs ( bread crumbs, panko, cracker crumbs, crushed corm flakes, crushed taco chips etc.) then place on a baking sheet and bake at 375 for about 45 minutes....but when this is ready it can't sit in the oven a while or it will get tough and dry out.
To have a really good dinner you always will have to do something at the last minute....either cook pasta, dress the salad, grill the meat or whatever.
You can always make a curried chicken or lamb and then put it over cooked rice....but unless you have a rice cooker, youw ill have to cook the rice....or else haves ticky, gooey rice.
Linda C

    Bookmark   December 26, 2008 at 4:29PM
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To keep noodles from sticking together, make sure you're cooking them in plenty of water & stir several times while they boil. You can add a bit of butter to the drained noodles & toss them.

You can make the following recipe early in the day up to the point of adding the sour cream. When you add the noodles to the boiling water, heat the Chicken Paprikash, add the sour cream & just heat through. The noodles should be done at the same time as the chicken. Just don't boil the mixture after you've added the sour cream or it may curdle.

2 TBL butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 TBL paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tomato, peeled & chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded & chopped
3/4 cup chicken stock
3 lb broiler/fryer chicken cut into pieces
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup sour cream

In a heavy kettle heat the butter, add the onions & garlic & saute until light brown. Add the paprika, salt, tomato, green pepper & stock. cover & cook 10 minutes.
Add the chicken; cover & cook until tender, about 40 minutes. Remove the skin from the chicken breast & thighs & return the meat to the kettle. Add water or additional chicken stock, if necessary to make 1 1/4 cups broth.
Add the flour blended w/the half-and-half & a little of the hot sauce & cook, stirring until thickened.
Add the sour cream & cook until heated through. Do not let boil. Serve over noodles or rice.~~Craig Claiborne

    Bookmark   December 26, 2008 at 7:40PM
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I don't have a T&T recipe to share, but my cousin had a holiday party at her house one year and made a big pot of boeuf bourguignon, which can be made the day before and just warmed up before the party. I remember that she had some French baguette and a large platter of various cheeses wedges of brie, sharp cheddars), grapes and pears, a cracker variety so people could just slice off what they wanted.

I can't remember what else she served, but I'm sure she had a green salad too.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2008 at 10:12AM
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Sorry, I meant to post a link to this recipe I found at Epicurious that sounded good.

Here is a link that might be useful: Boeuf Bourguignon

    Bookmark   December 27, 2008 at 10:15AM
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What about lasagne, salad and french bread? All can be prepared before guests arrive.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2008 at 12:09PM
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Chicken tetrazzini is another tasty make ahead casserole, served with a green salad and rolls and a nice make-ahead dessert and you'll be able to enjoy your company. If you need a recipe for the tetrazzini I can post one for you.


    Bookmark   December 27, 2008 at 2:27PM
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Beef Bourguignon, and Coq au Vin are great "casserole type" company meals that can be made ahead and reheated in the oven. Beef Stroganoff is another but you have to wait until just before serving to add the sour cream.

Sorry no recipes available to me here but Julia Child's recipes for all three are wonderful and you can likely find them on line. I'm sure Epicurious would have some great recipes too.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2008 at 3:31PM
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I've made this a ton of times & prefer this to Julia Child's which is also good. It looks harder than it is & can be done the day before:
5 lbs chuck beef, cut into large cubes
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup cognac, warmed
1/2 lb bacon, diced
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 leeks, coarsely chopped
3 cups coarsely chopped onions
2 TBL chopped parsley
1 bay leaf
1 tsp thyme
1 bottle Burgundy (I've also used Bordeaux)
5 TBL butter
36 whole small pearl onions (or just quarter larger ones)
Dash of sugar
36 mushroom caps
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Roll the beef cubes in flour & brown on all sides in a skillet over high heat in the olive oil.
Sprinkle the meat with salt & pepper, pour the cognac over it & ignite. When the flame dies, transfer meat to a 3 qt casserole. Add a little water to the skillet & deglaze over high heat, scraping up the brown partickles clinging to the pan. Pour over the meat.
Preheat oven to 350°. To the skillet add the bacon, garlic, carrots, leeks, chopped onions & parsley. Cook, stirring, until the bacon is crisp & the vegetables are light brown. Transfer to the casserole with the meat & add the bay leaf, thyme, Burgundy & enough water to barely cover the meat. Cover & bake 1 1/2 hours.
Prepare a beurre manie by blending 1 TBL each butter & flour & stir into the casserole bit by bit. Return the casserole to the oven & continue cooking 2-3 hours longer.
Brown the small onions in 2 TBL butter with a dash of sugar. Add a little water, cover & cook until the onions are almost tender.
Saute the mushrooms in 2 TBL of the butter until light brown on 1 side. Sprinkle with lemon juice & turn to brown the other side.
To serve, add the onions to the casserole & garnish w/the mushrooms & additional chopped parsley.~~ (I serve over egg noodles.)~~Craig Claiborne

    Bookmark   December 27, 2008 at 3:46PM
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I love doing my mother's Chicken Divan for dinner parties. Serve with rice or noodles- rice can be cooked by the absoprtion method in the oven alongside the casserole. Omit the sherry if you prefer.

Chicken Divan
Serves 6-8
This is great for dinner parties, functions or casserole dinners

1 3lb chicken, cooked, boned and cut into bite sized pieces
1 head of broccoli, broken into florets and cooked
2 cups white sauce*
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup cream
3 tbsp sherry
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Parmesan cheese

Choose a shallow oven-proof dish suitable for serving from. Arrange cooked broccoli over the bottom of the dish, then scatter the cooked chicken evenly over the broccoli. Sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese. Mix remaining ingredients together and pour over the top, covering well. Again sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese. May be refrigerated at this point. Place in 400F oven for 10-15 minutes, or until lightly browned and bubbling. If it has been refrigerated this will take longer. Serve immediately.

*To make white sauce, place 4 tbsp butter in a saucepan or micro-safe dish and melt on stove top or in microwave. Add 4 tbsp plain flour, mix well. Away from heat, whisk in 2 cups of milk, then return to heat and gently bring to boil. (Microwave in 3-minute bursts, whisk well between zaps.) Cook until thick. Season to taste.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 12:30AM
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Thanks everyone! What great recipes you've given me, which I've copied and saved and will use this winter. Seagrass, I'd love your tettrazini recipe too. I think I'll go with the chicken paprikash premade except for the sour cream, warm it up, have the water (for noodles) simmering, then when almost ready for dinner I can cook the noodles quickly, add sour cream to the chicken mixture and be ready to go!! I really do appreciate the recipes and advice :) Happy 2009 to all. Ann

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 4:47PM
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Ann...I'm like you and most everyone. When I have family and/or friends for dinner, I want an easy meal with little clean-up. A favorite casserole around here is Chicken Rotel. It's simple to make and delicious! It's my Mom's old recipe (hers is the best!) I make it a day ahead, pop it in the fridge, then the next day, take it out until it's room temp, then cook. If you'd like the recipe(there are several variations), I'll be glad to post it here.


    Bookmark   January 6, 2009 at 6:26PM
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Hi Donna-yes I'd love to have your Chicken Rotel recipe. I love dishes I can prepare in advance. Thanks! Ann

    Bookmark   January 6, 2009 at 9:33PM
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Giada DiLaurentis' Chicken Tetrazzini recipe is one I like to make ahead and bake off while my guests are having hor d'oeuvrs. Some crusty bread and a good salad are all you need. Sorry, I don't know how to link, but you will find the recipe at foodnetwork.com.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 5:13PM
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Thanks. I'll look it up. Two of her recipes that I make frequently are her spicy baked macaroni and spaghetti with a fresh tomato sauce (cherry tomatoes, parmesan, green onions, fresh basil, and olive oil).

    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 10:02PM
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Please be conscious that some of those recipes do have alcohol in them and I think you said you needed alcohol free for some guests. It is important to know alcohol takes a long time to really burn off in the cooking process and for someone with an alcohol allergy it is not worth the risk .You can find substitutions online If you watch labels it is amazing the things wine and other alcohols are in that most consumers are unaware of .Check your mustards etc. Even non alcoholic beer has alcohol in it ...its just that the ratio of alcohol is under the amount that needs to legally be claimed , yet could affect a person with an allergy . Have a great dinner party.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 2:28PM
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I'm making the chicken paprikash and that doesn't have anything with alcohol in it (my recipe calls for a little red wine vinegar but I'm thinking of using Ginger's which is a little different). One of these days I need to find Napa Vinjus which is supposed to be very much like a dry white wine but has no alcohol in it...so you get the flavor of the wine but not the alcohol. Thanks for your post.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 4:45PM
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I'm doing pastitsio for 10 tomorrow night. I'll let you know how it turns out.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 6:30PM
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I made a nice Ham and Potato Casserole for my last party guest. Here is the recipe:


Here is a link that might be useful: Ham and potato Casserole

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 2:31PM
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More great ideas and recipes that I'm going to use this winter. That ham and potato casserole sounds good. I love casseroles! Thanks everyone. Ann

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 12:03AM
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Beef tips with mushrooms is similar enough to boeuf bourguignon that no one could claim it isn't fancy enough for dinner among friends, but can be made without alcohol. It's easy and looks just lovely over egg noodles and sprinkled with fresh parsley. I don't even use a particular recipe for it anymore, but there are tons to choose from (I tend to just read dozens of recipes and combine them in some way that appeals to me.) I do prefer to incorporate some demi-glace in dishes like this, and I would definitely make sure to use it if wine is forbidden.

Just like bouef bourguignon/beef burgundy, you don't have to time everything perfectly, as it does just fine sitting on the stove until you and your guests are ready to eat. Serve over egg noodles with a nice bread of your choice.

The only caveat is that an inordinate number of people are die-hard mushroom-haters, so I'd hesitate to serve this to a crowd of unknowns.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 2:14AM
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This sounds good (and I love mushrooms!). I've combined recipes, using the parts that I like and substituting preferred ingredients for other parts. I'm going to do this with beef tips. Thanks!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2009 at 7:31PM
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