On Sunday morning, my husband left for a 5-week training course 3 hours away. I feel a bit guilty when I tell people about being lonely without him, because let's face it: we're both pretty lucky he's in Virginia, not Afghanistan or Iraq. I miss him like crazy, but at least I don't have to fear for his life. I guess I'm luckier than the other army wives in that regard.
Even so, I do miss him like crazy. It's hard to be alone at night when you're used to being around someone. I am hoping he'll be able to get weekend passes to come home here and there, but at this point it's not looking too likely, so it's going to be a lonely month for me.
Comfort cooking, for me, means making something warm and gooey. I've made a chicken and rice casserole called "Comforting Chicken" before, and it's always been a winner - even Andy likes it, and that's saying something. The name is incredibly lame, true, but for me it brings to mind a mental picture of a slightly overweight woman in her 60s cooking for her husband, adult children, and possibly even a few young grandchildren. It makes me think of the giant wooden spoon and fork on the wall of Marie's kitchen in "Everybody Loves Raymond," of a warm and worn dining room table that has witnessed innumerable family moments, of kids chasing each other through the house while giggling like hyenas. I guess it's not a surprise to learn that the name of the recipe's submitter on allrecipes.com is Edna, from Illinois. I think I like that as much as the lameness of the recipe title itself.
Because I've made this dish before, I didn't feel the need to measure anything other than the spices. For me, this is HUGE! Because I don't trust my own judgment, I normally follow recipes to the letter except for deliberate changes that I decide to make, but this time I just didn't have the time or energy so I threw stuff together. Here's what may or may not be a half-cup each of onion and green pepper...
I sauteed those veggies with cubed chicken breast and some sliced mushrooms, though those aren't in the original recipe, just because I like mushrooms.
When that's ready, mix in a can of cream of mushroom soup, water, chili powder, paprika, salt, pepper, and uncooked rice.
I suppose I should mention that I whipped up this meal in record time. I was making it for the ooey-gooey comfort, not for the pleasure of cooking, simply because I was pressed for time between a workout, picking up the dogs, and doing homework. Luckily, it took only a few minutes to get this far and to put everything in the dish.
Cover it with foil and bake for an hour, sprinkling with cheese in the last few minutes, and behold:
I've attempted other chicken and rice casseroles before and have been told that they're bland. This one has a good blend of chili powder, paprika, and salt and pepper, not to mention the sauteed onion and green pepper, so it is flavorful without any one flavor standing out. And it doesn't make enough for an army, which is nice when you're just cooking for one or two.
In general, it's pretty much exactly what I needed at the end of my first full day without hubby being home. Thanks, Edna from Illinois.
I won't be posting the recipe to this in my recipe book because I've already had it printed, but if you send me your email address, I will send it to you.