Aunt Sarah’s Broccoli Casserole

Aunt Sarah is my grandmother’s sister, and when I was younger, she had a restaurant in our little hometown called the Kountry Kitchen. The restaurant was a lunch buffet where they would have a couple different meat choices each day and about five or six different sides to choose from. Fridays were always my favorite, because Friday was broccoli casserole day.

When I was little, I was extremely picky, so everyone was amazed that I would even eat broccoli casserole. I loved the stuff so much that Aunt Sarah started making it for all of our family get-togethers. She makes a pan without the cheese topping for me because I don’t like cheese (yes, I’m spoiled).

This recipe is one of my favorites, especially around the holidays.

Ingredients:

  • 2 one pound packages of frozen broccoli
  • 1 small yellow or white onion, diced
  • 1 stick butter or margarine
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup white rice, uncooked (we use MinuteRice for this recipe and it works great)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  • Place broccoli in a large boiler. Add about 2 cups of water and cook until the broccoli is very tender (the pieces should be falling apart).
  • Melt the stick of butter and sauté onion in the butter until they become transparent.
  • Stir together the cooked broccoli, butter and onions, soups, and rice until mixed well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Pour into a greased 9×13 casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until the edges of the casserole start to bubble. (This recipe also freezes well, so you can divide the mixture into smaller dishes and freeze some for later, which is what I usually do).
  • OPTIONAL: Add grated cheese or a butter cracker crust on top before baking.

Five on Friday – What to do with Thanksgiving leftovers

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! If you’re like me, you have a fridge full of food leftover from yesterday’s feast. Today, I’m sharing five quick and easy ideas for serving up those leftovers!

  1. The Leftover Sandwich – Have you ever seen the episode of Friends where someone eats Ross’s leftover Thanksgiving sandwich and he loses his mind over it? It had a “moist maker,” after all! I can totally relate, because I love a leftover sandwich. I found a recipe that recreates Ross’s sandwich, but I keep my leftover sandwich pretty simple. Toast some bread and layer on leftover turkey, spread on a couple scoops of dressing, then add lettuce, some red onion, and a little cranberry sauce. The toasted bread and lettuce give it a nice crunch to contrast the soft turkey and dressing.
  2. Open-Faced Turkey Sandwich – I’ve been making this copycat recipe from Bates House of Turkey in Greenville, AL, for years. This week, we actually got to stop at Bates on our way to the beach and try the original. It’s probably been 20 years since I’ve eaten there, but it was just like I remembered it (although, Jeff says my copycat recipe is actually better than theirs, but he’s a little biased).
  3. Thanksgiving in a Blanket – I found this video on Facebook this week and can’t wait to try it. I’ll roll anything in a crescent roll if given the opportunity, so leftover Thanksgiving food in a crescent sounds perfect.
  4. Thanksgiving Egg Rolls – Because the only way to make Thanksgiving food any better is to roll it all up together and fry it. Whoever made up this recipe has to be from Alabama. I’m actually wondering why I never thought of this…
  5. Turkey and Stuffing Muffins– So, we don’t do “stuffing” at my house. We have dressing instead, but I think you could use dressing in this recipe, too. These muffins would make a great snack or lunch.

I hope you enjoy these leftover recipes! What do you do with your leftovers? Let me know in the comments!

Open Faced Turkey Sandwiches with Mamaw’s Chicken Dressing

This is one of my favorite treats! I rarely make these because I don’t usually want to spend the money to buy the thick sliced turkey I use for these sandwiches, but sometimes, I just crave them and decide to treat myself. This weekend was one of those times.

This recipe is actually a copycat recipe of one of my favorite dishes from Bates House of Turkey in Greenville, Alabama. I lived in Greenville during my middle school years, and this amazing little restaurant was owned and operated by a classmate’s family. It is absolutely the best place on the planet to get your Thanksgiving food cravings satisfied all year round.

Bates made the most amazing open faced turkey sandwiches, and that’s almost always what I ordered when my family went there. Since we have moved back to north Alabama, I often wish I could just run by Bates on the way home and pick up one of these beauties, but nowadays, I have to settle for making them myself.

I start out with my great grandmother’s chicken dressing recipe. There are many chicken dressing recipes in my family, but Mamaw Hall’s is my favorite and the one my mother always makes, so it’s the one that I can make without having to dig through a recipe box or open up a cookbook. It’s really the easiest dressing ever. My one tip for this recipe is to make sure you DON’T overcook it. It needs to be moist when you take it out of the oven. This is not a cakey dressing. You want to scoop it out of the pan, not slice it like a cake (I am NOT a fan of those kind of dressings, but to each his own, I guess…)

Here’s what you need for the dressing:

(Note: This is my great grandmother’s recipe and is made for feeding a large family. When I make this just for myself and my husband, I either separate it into smaller pans and freeze some or I cut the recipe down to avoid waste.)

1 large pone of cornbread, crumbled

1 sleeve saltine crackers, crushed

1/2 white onion, chopped

6 eggs, beaten

8 Chicken thighs, boiled and shredded (I like white meat, so I usually use 4 chicken breasts for this part. Also, a mixture of white and dark meat is awesome!)

Chicken broth (reserved from cooking chicken)

Salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning to taste

Crumble the cornbread and crackers into a LARGE mixing bowl. Add the onions and stir until mixed. Lightly beat the eggs and add them to the bread mixture. Stir until mixed well. Add the shredded chicken, and then slowly add the chicken broth as needed.

*Make sure you add the hot chicken broth slowly and mix it up after each addition or it can boil the bits of egg and you’ll end up with scrambled eggs in your dressing, which  nobody wants.

The mixture should be pretty wet. Last, add seasonings to taste. I usually add about a tablespoon of each, then taste a forkful and adjust as needed.

Pour the batter into a buttered baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until just starting to brown on top.

 

Now to assemble the sandwiches!

For each sandwich you will need:

3 pieces of toasted sandwich bread

2 to 3 slices of thick sliced deli turkey, heated (I love Sarah Lee or Butterball – this can be expensive, but I have found that they usually have a coupon at the grocery store deli and they always have a special running, so ask before they slice it to see what their deals are for that day)

Turkey gravy, heated (I buy this in a jar at the grocery store and heat it up in the microwave- making gravy is my nemesis)

Mamaw’s Chicken Dressing

Slice the toast into triangles and layer on the plate. Spread some of the gravy on each piece of toast, then lay the turkey on top. Scoop a couple large scoops of dressing in the middle of the sandwich, then drizzle on some more gravy.

 

Like I said, this is a RARE treat. It’s enough food to put you into a Thanksgiving food coma, but it is SO GOOD. It’s almost like being back at Bates in Greenville. I think the first time I made this for my husband is when he decided he was going to ask me to marry him. It’s that good.