Lunch was too pretty to eat today. We had to photograph it first!
Eloise's Easy Chicken Casserole
2 cans better grade asparagus spears (or fresh asparagus or fresh or frozen broccoli)
1 family size package of chicken breasts
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 cup mayonnaise
3 Tbs. lemon juice
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Pimento pepper (chopped or in strips)
Salt & pepper
Season boiling chicken with rosemary (1 Tbs fresh chopped or 1/2 tsp. dried and crumbled) and Savory (either 1 Tbs. fresh chopped or 1/2 tsp. dried and ground). Salt & pepper to taste. Sometimes we live dangerously and exchange dill for the rosemary.
Steam asparagus (or open cans). Drain You can substitute broccoli as in the photo above.
Line chicken in a casserole dish in individual servings. (You may need to split the chicken breasts, depending on size).
Place asparagus spears over the individual chicken servings in a "sheaf of wheat" pattern. Sprinkle pimento pieces or criss-cross pimento strips over the asparagus.
Mix together cream soups, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Add marjoram and parsley flakes, approximately 1/2 tsp each.
Pour over chicken and asparagus servings, leaving the asparagus tips and ends exposed. Sprinkle with shredded white cheese. (We were out of white cheeses today, so Dollie used shredded cheddar. It was another fabulous variation! I think we will try Pepper Jack cheese next time.)
You can thank Unc for saving the dish from hungry mouths so that we could shoot it and then share the recipe with you.
He has a good "eye". I'll have to share some of his photographs here on the blog.
There would have been more photos. I had even picked out an interesting plate and fork, but hungry tummies prevailed.
You should have seen the excited, silly little parade of Unc, Gordon, eight dogs, and me following the casserole from the kitchen to the little antique marble top table in the front hall of the old farmhouse where I take so many pictures.
You probably remember that I try to name recipes shared in friendship after the person who generously shared it with me.
Think "Friendship Gardening" but for the kitchen.
This family favorite is named after my friend Eloise.
Eloise was a dear, dear lady with whom I worked in Alabama in the 1980's. She came from a good, solid, old line Mississippi family, and she had some of the most beautiful antiques.
I wish I could share with you a picture of one of her bedroom sets, Victorian era, made of a light burled wood. I wish I could remember now the light colored wood. It was a buttery tan color with inlaid darker woods. Stunning!
Another tidbit I remember with fondness about Eloise was her collection of blue glass and her dining room with its pink ceiling. I never saw the actual dining room, but she told me about her whole adventure with the decorator and the pink ceiling and her surprise that it "worked"! Eloise was a great story teller!
Eloise had survived some very painful life experiences...stuff most folk could not imagine. When I met her, Eloise had learned to keep moving forward with a mellow, easy going attitude. There was just so much in life that she could control, so she did not fret over the bad stuff she could not avoid.
I learned a lot from Eloise during our friendship, and I consider her one of the jewels of my life experiences. Through the years, I visited her as she moved from Alabama to Louisiana and then Florida, and she came to visit here on the farm.
(In other words, she was one of those treasured friends well worth traveling to see. Not stopping to visit on your way somewhere else, but traveling just to see Eloise. She was that special!)
She died in the 1990's from cancer, and I miss her very much. Thankfully, I have gotten to know one of Eloise's cousins in Mississippi who is another jewel as well as a friend!
When you make this easy, laid back recipe, think of Eloise and her dining room with the pink ceiling...and share this recipe with one of your friends.
Other recipes on this blog:
Eugenia's Farm Fresh Spinach Casserole
Cousin Marjorie's Herbed Cheese Daisies
Mississippi Pecan Praline Cookies