Not Every Recipe Works....Exactly For Me


I decided to make dinner for my parents again a fee weeks ago. I saw a recipe on Pioneer Woman which I really liked and it looked easy. So I decided to attempt it. On the side of fairness, I have to admit that not every recipe is a win-win for me. It was actually pretty good. But instead of being nice and cheesy and thick, my sauce was watery (I'm so ashamed.) I didn't wait long enough for the sauce to thicken before I put it into the casserole dish. My parents said it was good, and I admit it wasn't bad. It tasted good. Just not my crowning moment when it comes to cooking.

I will include the recipe and I hope you'll share whether it worked for you. Above is the picture of the casserole prior to cooking. The chicken was dark because I cooked it oil. It tasted fine. I should have just cooked it. I also did what was suggested, which was to take the ham and put it on a paper towl in the microwave for three minutes* - ham tends to have excess water so if you don't do this the casserole will be watery And take the time to make sure the sauce is thick before putting it in the casserole. THAT is the secret.

We've had a very weird winter. Not much snow (thank heavens) And even some days so warm I was out on the porch in bare feet basking in the warmth and sunshine. Then we got snowy ever couple of days in the beginning of April. In April I am SOOOO ready for spring. SOOOO NEEED spring. My dreams are full of gardens and blooming herbs and veggies not boots and shovels. I had to bring some spring into the house and my little herb pots weren't doing it for me, though they are greening up nicely. So I brought out my new spring tablecloth. Spring has SPRUNG no matter what was going on outside.

Ah, yes, pretty flowers herald the spring. And if your eagle eye noted that that tablecloth matches my casserole dish, you are right. It also matches my dishtowels and my dish drying pad. Next up, eventually, the matching table settings. I know, groan. I'm not a matchy, matchy person. More a what the hell, I like it kind of person. But these are part of the Pioneer Woman collection. I love the design, what can I say. As long as I don't get the matching apron, I'm good.

Anyway, here is the recipe, courtesy of Ree Drummond, Pioneer Woman. REMEBER: microwave the ham for three minutes to get out the access water AND BE PATIENT - let the dang sauce thicken!


6 tablespoons of salted butter

2 cups small-cubed ham

1 1/4 cups grated Swiss Cheese

1 1/4 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese

4 cooked, skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes

1/2 cup of panko breadcrumbs

1/4 cup of all-purpose flour

2 cups of milk

1 cup chicken broth

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon of cayenne

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


Preheat the over to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-by-13 inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon of butter.

Put ham on a paper towel-lined plate and microwave for about 3 minutes to reduce the moisture content. Mix together the Swiss and Monterey Jack cheese in a bowl.

Put about a third of the chicken in a layer in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Top with half the ham. Spring over 1/4 cup of the mixed cheese, Repeat 1 more time, then finish with a layer of chicken.

Melt the remaining 5 tablespoons in a skillet over medium heat. Put the panko into a bowl, pour in half of the melted butter, mix well and set aside.

Add the flour to the remaining butter in the skillet and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, whisking out any lumps. Whisk in the milk, Dijon and cayenne and let it cook until it begins to thicken. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 cup of cheese until melted. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour the cause over the casserole. Sprinkle the remaining cup of cheese, then the panko mix over the top. Bake until the top is browned and the casserole is bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes.

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