Lonnie offers vegetable casserole with chicken

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During the winter, it is often hard to come up with really good fresh vegetable meals. Tomatoes are never as good as the summer, however, I will buy the tomatoes on the stems because they do taste a lot better to me. I much prefer to use frozen vegetables because they also seem more like fresh vegetables, and frankly, the frozen vegetables do retain more of their nutrients. There are always good ways to cook the frozen vegetables and you don’t have to cook them to death, you can still have them al dente.

I was trying to be more creative with my meal the other day (right now it is hard to get inspired) and decided I had it in me to be really creative. I only used ingredients I had on hand, so I went shopping in my pantry and freezer. Here is the menu I came up with: Orange Glazed Cajun Chicken, Broccoli Supreme Casserole with Wild rice.

This meal was colorful and very tasty, the flavors blended together very well. I hope your family will enjoy it as well. Because I am trying to reduce calories and fat, I did use some lower fat items, however, for the recipes I will use the regular items and let you choose for yourself. I give you

Broccoli Supreme Casserole
2 c. frozen chopped broccoli, cooked and drained
3 carrots, sliced and cooked
1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 (10-3/4 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1-2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
Bread crumbs
1/4 cup melted butter

Place artichokes in a buttered casserole dish. Combine soup, mayonnaise, eggs, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce and mix well; set aside. Layer carrots, broccoli and cheese over artichokes. Pour soup mix over all. Sprinkle top with more cheese. Cover with bread crumbs (about 1/2 cup), then drizzle with melted butter. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until cheese has melted and top is lightly golden.

Orange Glazed Cajun Chicken
Makes 4 servings
2 large boneless chicken breasts, cut in half crosswise
1/2 cup flour
1 Tablespoon Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1-1/2 cups orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 Tablespoon canola oil
Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Place cut chicken breast between two pieces of plastic wrap; pound with meat mallet until flattened; Set aside.

Heat oil in oven proof skillet.

Mix flour, Cajun seasoning and garlic together in small baking pan. Coat chicken on all sides and edges in flour mixture. Sauté in skillet until lightly browned on both sides; about 3 minutes. Cover pan and place in oven, baking about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together orange juice, orange zest and cornstarch in small saucepan. Place on medium-low heat on stove, stirring often, until mixture has thickened. When chicken has baked for 30 minutes, spoon glaze over each piece, cover and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Place on serving plate with broccoli casserole and rice, spoon glaze over chicken. Garnish with a slice of orange to make it look festive and inviting. Enjoy!

FYI: Zest is used to add flavor (“zest”) to foods. For culinary use, a zester, grater, vegetable peeler, or paring knife, is used to scrape or cut zest from the fruit from the outer, colorful skin of citrus fruits such as lemon, orange, citron, and lime.

Lonnie Sundermeyer is a retired professional caterer residing in Ghent, Ky.