Or, the Happy Husband, Chicken Alfredo, yum-yum casserole
For lunch today, I made a chicken Alfredo casserole. This is a mostly, from-scratch recipe with a few helper items to speed things along cuz as much as I love cooking, I have a life to live! and so do you.
Maybe it is the cooler weather combined with the cloudy days, and the leaves that have begun, whatever the reason, it is beginning to feel fall-ish here in the Rocky Mountains. time for some rib-stickin’ food.
I made not only the casserole, but a Caesar salad and Texas toast French bread. What fun is it being married if I cannot go all out for my wonderful husband?
Despite the intermittent fasting trend, our busy lives, keto, carnivore, vegan, etc. I still believe in the importance of breakfast. Not smoothies. Smoothies are not real food. No one ever needs to eat a vegetable and smoothies are just the worst. The only thing worse than vegetable sis liquified vegetables. I’m not an invalid… yet, I will take my food straight up and with butter & meat thank you very much.
I will continue to eat real meat for as long as it is available. To that end, here is a tasty breakfast casserole that is easy enough to cook that pretty much anyone should be able to make it.
1 – 12 oz tube of Farmer John pork sausage (cooked- fry it up in a skillet, drain and set aside)
1 bag of Simply potato hashbrowns any flavor (divide bag in half and use the reduced amount unless cooking for a crowd) I precooked mine a bit in the microwave oven before putting them in the casserole dish. Five to six minutes if frozen 3-5 if not frozen.
5-6 mushrooms cleaned and sliced (I cooked these in the Instant pot on the ‘saute” setting after I cooked the sausage the same way.
a splash of 1/2 & 1/2
1/2 a block of gouda cheese shredded (or some bagged shredded cheese it doesn’t matter what you use).
Seasonings; a tsp of dried rubbed sage, about 1-2 tsp of dried onions (you can use chopped fresh onion but then you have the tears and another ingredient to cook.
Fry up the sausage in whatever way suits you best. I used my Instant pot on saute’. Set it aside to drain in a separate dish. use your fry method to cook up the mushrooms. You can either use the mushrooms as a layer or cook them into the sausage. It does not matter. At this point I add in my spices; garlic powder, dried onions, sage, etc.
While all of this is going on, I heated up the hashbrowns in the microwave and prepared the other ingredients.
Crack the eggs into a bowl and add a splash of 1/2 and 1/2. About 1-2 table spoons. Mix it all together with a fork and set aside while you grate your cheese if needed. Once everything is cooked that needs to be cooked it is time to assemble your casserole.
I sprayed my casserole dish with non-stick spray. You can butter yours with real butter if you wish. Just do something to the dish so that the food will not stick.
First in is the layer of hashbrowns. Spread them out on the bottom of the pan and flatten them with the back of the spoon or use a spatula. You’re not trying to mash them, just make them flat and even in height.
Next layer is the sausage and mushrooms. layer those out like the hashbrowns. Nice and flat and even. Top it all off with the cheese and then pour the egg and milk mixture over the whole lot allowing a bit of time for the mixture to seep down into the other ingredients. I maneuvered a fork in between it all there and there to give extra room for the mixture to seep down then I covered the holes back up and smoothed it all out.
Back in the preheated oven at 375 until done. About 25-35 minutes but keep an eye on it so that it does not burn.
When the edges of the casserole have pulled away from the sides of the pan a bit and it is golden brown on the edges and no longer runny in the center, it is ready to be removed from the oven.
Set the casserole dish on either your stove top or a heat proof trivet or tray. I use cookie cooling racks. Let it cool a bit to finish cooking and solidifying. You don’t want to cut into it and have it run everywhere.
Finish up whatever needs finishing. You can cut some fruit to serve with this or make some toast. We just ate the casserole with fresh, hot coffee to drink.
Now comes the important part: sit down and eat this with your husband and/or family. Even if it is just you, sit down and eat this wonderful food you made. Put it on a pretty plate and use real silverware, a cloth napkin, etc. Do it up right. Treat yourself well. You work hard. It’s ok to enjoy the fruits (or breakfast casserole as it were) of your labor.
Top tip: clean up as you go. After you have cracked your eggs and used the cheese and 1/2 and 1/2, put it back into the fridge. Wipe up spills. Toss trash into the trash bin. Put composting items in that bin. When you are finished eating put the left overs into a proper container or baggie and put those into the fridge to be eaten later. You do not need to make a fresh meal for every meal. Left overs are perfectly ok to eat.
I am sure you have seen those ladies who always look put together. They are ready for anything at anytime.
I see them when I am out running errands. Older women in particular who never leave the house without a face full of make up or at least their, ‘lips on’, meaning they are wearing lipstick always.
I on the other hand have been known to shovel snow off of the driveway in my pj’s and house slippers. I’m not going anywhere so why bother? What does it matter? Why put in the effort?
If you are a Downton Abby fan, you know that these ‘rich people’ dressed for everything. Just as there is an appropriate piece of cutlery for every dish, there is an equally appropriate outfit for every occasion.
Going riding, there’s an outfit for that. Fishing? Hunting? Going for a picnic? You know there is something cute to wear for all of that, for every activity. But what about the stay-at-home woman?
I follow The Darling Academy blog run by Alena Pettigrew, the British housewife making waves with her positivity and enjoyment, yes actual enjoyment at being a housewife. Not a working mom, a housewife. She stays home and takes care of everything else while her husband brings home the bacon.
The other day, she wrote about women wearing dresses. It has inspired me to wear dresses more. After all, housewives from the past did everything, if not more due to a lack of modern conveniences, that we do today but they did it in a dress and with their hair and make up done to some extent everyday.
Putting oneself together for the day is an effort. It is an effort I don’t usually do unless I am visiting a client. The other day I was getting ready to go out and I was amazed at the effort required just to look as if I had not fallen out of bed and crawled to my car!
To that end, making the effort daily to do hair and make up and dress like a woman everyday, or as many days in a row as possible, I went shopping online yesterday and purchased 2 skirts, 2 dresses, an assortment of small scarves for hair or neck, a couple of purses and 2 tops. I shop cheap y’all. I can’t afford to pay top dollar for anything so I went to Shein and picked up all of that for the price some people would pay for one shirt on sale at Nordstroms or wherever they sell expensive shirts. There will be a fashion show of the items I bought.
How about you? Are you interested in getting back to your beautiful self… whatever that looks like? Are you interested in wearing skirts/dresses more, or exclusively? I almost have myself convinced but that really depends on if we can get the swamp cooler working this summer or not. I know, I’m wimpy, but comfort matters. For now, I think I will get going on the ‘dress challenge’. I own dresses and skirts already, I just wanted some new pink things for spring. I wanted to update the wardrobe. Its been while since I bought any new clothes.
I think these days we have all become so casual that dressing the way people did in the past seems like too much. It seems special and well… it IS special. Are you not worth that specialness? Dressing like a grown up is a gift you give to yourself. No hoodies, no sweats, no leggins or yoga pants. A skirt. A nice blouse. Perhaps a dress. Some accessories. Hair curled, combed, whatever, and make up on with earrings and any other jewelry you wish to add. Your home and family are your community. You have/had standards at work. You dressed for those people you worked with, why not for your family? Why not put the same effort in for yourself?
Anyone else want to join me for the adventure? A dress a day in 2021?
To celebrate, national Hot Tea Month, I am featuring this book by Tea Exemplar, Emilie Barns who sadly passed away in 2016 at the age of 78.
In this book, Mrs. Barnes includes, recipes, teatime stories and inspiration. I highly recommend it for your tea loving friend or traditional housewife.
I had the great opportunity to work in two tea establishments almost 20 years ago. One was a tea room and the other a tea shop. Both were in the historic district in my city. They filled that spot inside of a woman that needs to create and make things pretty, and tasty. In the tea shop we carried many of, Mrs. Barnes’ books on teatime. I purchased a few and have treasured them ever since.
During that time, I learned all I could about tea and eventually wrote about it for an emagazine site. I love tea. Everything about it makes me happy. Truly, the 1980’s and 1990’s were a great time of revival for this lost art. People are so coffee obsessed these days, running around buzzed up from caffeine that tea is often over looked. Tea is so gentle, so genteel. It is refined in ways coffee will never be. Perhaps that is why it still has not caught on in America as much as coffee despite the best efforts of many tea lovers.
Emilie Barnes did not only write about tea. A devout Christian wife, and mother; she also wrote devotional books, books on home making, organization & decluttering, and decorating one’s home.
There is a current trend right now that I hope grows and grows… it its that of women going back to the roles of the traditional wife. Emilie Barnes was traditional when traditional was not ‘cool’. She was traditional when women were beginning to be pressured to go into the workplace. She was writing about home management when women were getting into corporate management. When women were being convinced they needed to be competitive with other women, she was writing about making friends over a cup of tea and some scones.
Emilie Barnes wanted to change things for the better. She wrote over 30 books on topics she wanted to read and that she thought other women needed to know about as homemaking became out of fashion to the world.
Today, right now, I am baking two loaves of banana nut bread with chocolate chips inside. I will make lunch while the loaves cook, and later, at about 4 p.m. (traditional teatime) I will be toasting Mrs. Barnes with a cuppa and a slice of banana bread.
Happy National Hot Tea Month. If you have a favorite teatime story, I would love to hear it.