A quick, easy dinner for the non-cook in all of us

By Emily Patton Published:

Let me begin by saying that I am no cook. I live off of frozen dinners and deli-ready-made clearance meals. But what that really means is what I’m cooking for you today is so easy, simple and delicious that even I can ­ – and want – to make it. 

My college roommate, Jennifer Gates, would make this recipe for us every Monday night in school. We would take a break from homework, turn on the TV and have a “family dinner.”

I will always associate this casserole with positive memories and I hope you will too. It is a good dish for two people and a plate of leftovers too. At graduation, she passed on the recipe and two baking dishes for me to try it for myself. So far I haven’t had any problems.

Betty Crocker

Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup shortening

1/4 cup softened margarine

1 egg

1 1/4 cup flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Now, I’m no cook, but I am a baker. Big difference, huh? I’ve made peanut butter cookies many times in my life, but this may be my favorite recipe. 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 

Mix the sugars, peanut butter, shortening, butter and egg into a large bowl. I like to add a little spoonful more of peanut butter just to really give it the taste. Once it is starting to blend together, add in all your remaining ingredients. 

Now, the recipe asks that you let the mixture chill in the refrigerator at least two hours. I let mine sit for about four, because I had to run to cover the Ladies Golf Club Championship at Juniper Hill. When I returned to the kitchen, it was perfect. It was easy to mold and place into one-inch spoonfuls without the sticky mess. 

Place the dough balls three inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Use a fork dipped in sugar to make a criss-cross pattern. I had to use two cookie sheets with the serving size. Place both in the oven for 10 minutes. 

When the timer buzzes, you’ll have about 30 delicious and very soft peanut butter cookies. 

Chicken Casserole

Ingredients:

1 can of Campbell’s cream of chicken

1/2 cup sour cream

3-4 chicken breasts

1/2 stick of butter, melted

1/2 sleeve of Ritz crackers

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees. 

First I fill a pot with water and turn it on high for it to reach a boil. While I wait, I begin to work on cleaning the chicken breasts. I like to remove any fat. As I finish, I place each into the boiling water. Set a timer for 30 minutes when you place the last one into the pot. 

While the pot’s boiling, combine the cream of chicken soup and sour cream into a mixing bowl. This takes only a minute. Next, melt the butter in the microwave for about 20 seconds and get to work on crushing the crackers. To do this, use your hands and try to get them as fine as possible, almost like a graham cracker mix.

Put the crumbs in a small bowl, then pour the butter over it and mix with a spoon.  I tend to use half a sleeve of Ritz for the mix and then use the other half to sprinkle on top of the dish.

At this time, your timer for the chicken should be buzzing. Drain the water and let the chicken cool in your empty baking dish. Once it isn’t miserable to touch, begin shredding with a knife into small pieces. And if you’re impatient like me, use your hands. Smaller pieces are better. 

Once you have attacked your three-to-four pieces of chicken breasts, move them into the mixing bowl with sour cream and cream of chicken. Start stirring, making sure the chicken is well mixed.

When your blend is completed, carefully spread the mixture into your baking dish. Cover the whole bottom of the dish, then take the crackers/butter mix and layer it over your main ingredients. 

If you see spots that the Ritz crackers don’t fully cover, this is when the other half-sleeve of crackers can be crushed over to fill the area completely.

With your oven preheated to 350 degrees, you’re ready for the casserole to cook. Set the timer for 40 minutes. Use a spatula to serve your plate and enjoy. 

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