Chicken Divan

This is one of my all time favorite recipes.

I’m not a big fan of frozen dinners, but I do recall, back when I was in high school, my mother used to buy Stouffer’s Chicken Divan, and it was really good. In fact, it was awesome. I don’t know if they still make it or not, but I’ve tweaked a couple of Campbell’s Soup recipes to come up with my own version, and I think I’ve come pretty close. It’s easy to prepare, and tasty. And, best of all, it uses ingredients most of us probably already have. Enjoy.

GM

CHICKEN DIVAN

(inspired by Campbell’s Soup recipes)

  • 2 or 3 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter (melted)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen broccoli (thawed)
  • 2 cups cooked noodles
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese or cheddar cheese blend
  • 1 small can fresh mushrooms (optional)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons bread crumbs

Chop broccoli, (if using fresh), and prepare noodles according to package directions. Clean chicken breasts thoroughly and cut into small cubes. Saute in a skillet until they are cooked all the way through. Remove from heat.

In a 2-quart casserole dish stir milk, melted butter, and cream of mushroom soup. Add pepper and canned mushrooms, if desired. Add broccoli, cooked noodles and cooked chicken, mix well. Top with generous layer of grated cheddar cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake in 350°oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until top layer is brown and sauce is bubbling.

Alex’s Macaroni and Cheese

maccheeseWhen I’m not in the kitchen I’m busy writing romance novels under the name, Marina Martindale. And, interestingly enough, each novel includes a scene with my characters enjoying a home cooked meal, so I include the recipe in the back of the book.

In my novel, The Deception, Alex, the leading man, is reunited with Carrie, his long-lost childhood best friend. When he comes to her apartment to prepare dinner he makes his mother’s macaroni and cheese; their favorite childhood dish.

They say art imitates life, and macaroni and cheese is one of my favorite childhood dishes too. Problem was, I had no family recipe, and, ding, ding, ding, I’d been buying the prepackaged mac and cheese dinners for years. I confess. It was a bad habit I picked up back when I was a starving college student, and it was time to break it. So I compiled different recipes, did test runs and tweaks, and soon came up with a mac and cheese recipe that was absolutely delicious. No wonder Alex and Carrie loved it. You will too.

Enjoy.

GM

ALEX’S MACARONI & CHEESE

  • 2 cups macaroni, cooked and drained
  • 2 ½  cups milk
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 ½ cups grated Mexican cheese blend
  • (or 2 ½ cups cheddar)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs.

Preheat oven to 350° and cook pasta in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain. While pasta is cooking whisk milk and sour cream together in a medium-sized mixing bowl and add seasonings. Set aside. Chop two tablespoons of butter into small pieces. Chill in refrigerator until needed. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a small mixing bowl. Add breadcrumbs, blend thoroughly and set aside.

Layer half of the cooked and drained macaroni, butter and cheese into an 8 x 8 baking dish. Top with the remaining macaroni, butter and cheese. Pour in the milk mixture and sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top. Bake for approximately 30 to 40 minutes, or until the top is crispy and brown.

If desired, ham or sausage may be added. Low-fat milk, sour cream and cheeses may also be used.