This casserole looked yummy. Thankfully, it tasted semi-yummy just very bland. It needed seasoning. Salt and pepper is not enough. The funny thing too is that in their picture of the dish there is a green something on top, probably parsley. The recipe has no mention of anything green. But as usual, I followed the recipe exactly. My only changes were that I used precooked chicken from Costco instead of a roasted chicken and I made my own brown rice rather than buy microwavable brown rice to prepare. I will say that the cream cheese and milk mixture over the rice gave the dish a creamy texture. However, I am still pondering what I would add to give it a bit of flavor. Maybe thyme. Not rosemary or dill. If anyone has ideas, let me know. I suppose you could make it a spicy dish and add salsa to the creamy sauce. I prefer it to stay mild though. I highly doubt I would make it again because it took a lot of prep time. The rice is no problem in my rice cooker. Yet, the time preparing and cooking the garlic, leeks and carrots took forever. Oh yeah, wayyyyyyy tooooooo many carrots in this dish. Use less. My kids were like, “seriously Mom, this is carrot overkill.” I agreed. I will say that I like the panko with oil or butter topping. It really gives a casserole a nice crunchy texture on top which I plan to incorporate in tried and true casseroles in my recipe file. If you want something different, give this a try. Add seasoning. Let me know what you add and what works. Here the picture of my version of it. (Notice nothing green because I have no idea what they added.)
I think part of my dilemma with this dish was the fact that I rushed it. It turned out as it should but the process wasn’t a fun one. I had been helping my son practice baseball in our front yard. It was a nice afternoon. However, at four o’clock I needed to start preparing the dish in order to eat by five o’clock. We eat early because of other sports practices in the evening. We strive to eat together as a family as much as possible. If we eat early, we can accomplish this. The preparation of this dish didn’t look time consuming but it was. Also, it used so many dishes to prepare so cleanup was a bit much. I had my sweet son out front waiting patiently for me to come pitch him some wiffle balls. I felt the pressure. I think if I had prepared this in a less time crunch environment, it would have made it into my keep file. Originally, when I planned this meal, we had nothing to do that evening. An extra practice came in at the last minute. It still was the only night that I could prepare a new dish. I had time but it wasn’t leisurely. I enjoy cooking new items in that type of environment. If it’s a known recipe, I can do a home cooked meal even if rushed. However, I have learned that these new dishes have a better chance of survival on a day I can enjoy the process. I guess that is my lesson this week, I need to enjoy the process. My son was patient, I was rushed. I did get to pitch him some balls while the casserole cooked. It all worked out. We had a nice dinner but had to add a lot of salt and pepper.
This recipe suffered the fate of rejection because of my rushing. What else suffers in my life when I rush? My kids? My husband? My friendships? My time with God? All of those things. I was rushing for a good reason (to be with my son) but still rushing. Cooking should be enjoyed. Relationships should be enjoyed. I have of late been cutting back in over-scheduling. I won’t meet a friend for breakfast and another friend for lunch. One friend a day. Even if the amount of time I spend with her is the same as before, I enjoy the moment more. I am more present. Rushing keeps my thinking “what’s next?” Savoring keeps me thinking “what a lovely moment.” I hope you have lovely moments this week. Savor each thing you choose to invest your time in. I encourage you to invest most of your time in relationships. Especially God. We are in the season of lent where we anticipate Jesus’ death and resurrection. My Bible study just ended and I am seeking a new way to interact with God during the next few weeks. I don’t have my answer yet but daily I savor Him in different ways. I read an online devotional, listen to a podcast of a pastor from another church, or I just sit in His creation, pray, and savor. Savor your relationships this week.