Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Chicken Cheese Casserole

3-4 cups cooked chicken, chopped (I like a lot of chicken so I use 4 cups)
2 cups chopped baby asparagus, chopped (1 bunch, cut stalk down about 1/2 way)
2 cups baby Portabello Mushrooms, chopped (8oz pkg, I didn’t use stems)
2 tbls butter & 1 tbls olive oil
¼ cup butter
¼ cup flour
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup milk
¼ cup onion, minced
½ teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon dried Oregano
A pinch of black pepper
1 cup (8oz) Mozzarella cheese, grated
½ cup parmesan cheese (1/4 cup for sauce, ¼ cup for top)
1 cup ricotta cheese (I sometimes mix in a little mozzarella &/or parmesan with it for extra flavor)

In large sauté pan heat butter & olive oil, add chopped asparagus & mushrooms. Saute on Medium High heat for about 4 minutes., set aside with cooked chicken.

In large saucepan melt ¼ cup butter (1/2 stick). Add ¼ flour, garlic & salt. Whisk until smooth. Let cook for a minute or two until bubbly. Add chicken broth & milk to pan, stirring constantly for about 3-4 minutes until it starts to thicken. Then add onion, basil, oregano, pepper, ¼ cup of the parmesan cheese, & the mozzarella cheese. Stir until the cheese melts. Add chicken & vegetables to sauce. Stir well until everything is combined.

In a casserole dish (4 quart or 13 x 9 x 2) pour half of the mixture. Top with dollops of the ricotta cheese, try to distribute evenly but does not have to be perfect. Top with the rest of the chicken mixture. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup of parmesan cheese on top.

Cook in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes until hot & bubbly. Let cool about 15 minutes before serving.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Moving on.. or not

I am working hard to help Hunter with his grief. He has so many rampant emotions that I want to help ease what I can for him. This Thursday would have been, should have been, Kierra's 30th birthday. We have done different things to commemorate/celebrate June 9th over the 5+ years since her death. I have gotten varying opinions from his therapist & mine on how best to ease the grief this day brings to us.
Hunter is affected quite differently than the twins. They have almost no memories of her. They were too young to have the emotional impact that Hunter has. I keep hearing that it gets easier over time, I am still waiting! Thursday is also the last day of school for the kiddos. The tentative game plan is to let Hunter stay home & have a Mom & Dad day. Tristan & Alexa don't want to miss their parties at school. I am glad they can enjoy the day. Kierra would want that for them too. I want to give Hunter the ability to enjoy the day in some way, although I want him to be able to acknowledge his sadness too.
My practical self thinks I am handling this all quite well. Yet my emotional self is rolling her eyes even as I type this. I have taken months to get the house in order after a betrayal of someone I thought was a dear friend. I got the bed back upstairs & put clean sheets on it. Kierra's fairy sheets & her purple & white quilt. Why those? Because it makes me feel close to her. It continues to include her as part of our home. That may seem silly to you, & at times even seems silly to me.. but it is what it is. The effects of grief can often make no sense at all. Our hearts over ride our minds more often than not.
I hear all about "moving on", but am not sure what that really means! I wake up every day & put one foot in front of the other. Most days are busy & I can claim them as good days. There are moments that still catch me. Things that bring on the rain & make my heart ache. My heart doesn't bleed as much as it used to, but I know the part of it that was ripped out when she died will never really heal. Moving forward may not be the same as moving on, but for now it's the best I can do!