What comes to mind when you think of comfort food? To some, it might be meatloaf. Still others will say mashed potatoes. And I’ll guarantee that mac ‘n’ cheese is high on a lot of people’s list.
A number of casseroles also rated high in the survey, and that’s not surprising. They are one of my favorite comfort foods, regardless of what the star ingredient is.
Here’s a casserole recipe that I fixed recently. It’s from Ree Drummond, also known as The Pioneer Woman, who on her website (www.pioneerwoman.com) describes herself as a moderately agoraphobic ranch wife and mother of four.
Ree lives on a working cattle ranch, where she spends her days wrangling children, chipping dried manure from boots, washing jeans and making gravy, and she describes this recipe as one of the all-time greatest “make-before” comfort foods.
Chicken Spaghetti Casserole
2 cups cooked chicken
3 cups dry spaghetti, broken into 2-inch pieces
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 4½-ounce can sliced mushrooms
2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
¼ cup finely diced green pepper
¼ cup finely diced onion
1 4-ounce jar diced pimentos, drained
2 cups reserved chicken broth from pot
1 teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
1/8 to ¼ teaspoon) cayenne pepper
Salt And pepper, to taste
1 cup additional grated sharp Cheddar cheese
Cook 1 cut-up fryer and pick out the meat to make two cups. Cook spaghetti in same chicken broth until al dente. Do not overcook. When spaghetti is cooked, combine with remaining ingredients except additional 1 cup sharp Cheddar.
Place mixture in casserole pan and top with remaining sharp Cheddar. Cover and freeze up to six months, cover and refrigerate up to two days, or bake immediately: 350 degrees for 45 minutes until bubbly. (If the cheese on top starts to get too cooked, cover with foil).
Yield: Serves 8.