When All Else Fail’s – Cook

A few of the dolls my Mother-in-law has made.

We are visiting Tom’s parents (Sir and Mom) in Morro Bay, CA.  Neither one of them are getting around very well these days and household chores have become hard for them.  We are trying to do what we can to help out.

Mom spends a lot of her time making dolls and bears.  She does beautiful work.  Making dolls is therapeutic for her and they convey her personality – whimsical, quirky, free spirited and very creative.

My father-in-law spends much of his day resting, watching television and reading.  He has been oxygen dependent (due to a pulmonary fibrosis) for the past 10 years or so.  Over the years he learned how to deal with this “annoyance” and was able to get around town well.

Around Christmas Sir started having trouble with one of his feet – gout and ulcers related to diabetes – which has him fairly housebound.  He has to keep weight off of his foot and is in pain most of the time.

Sir does his best to stay positive, but he is no longer able to walk his beloved dog, Duchess, or make daily trips to the local stores as was his practice.  He is a retired doctor and has always been “in charge” of his household.  It is obviously  difficult for him not being able to do all of the things around the house that he used to do.

I generally cook  when I visit Sir and Mom.  I enjoy cooking and they seem to enjoy eating what I cook.  Since I did not know what else I could do to help, I spent the day cooking meals to freeze.  It comforts me to know that they will have some home-made dinners that will be easy for them to heat up whenever they like.  It makes me feel that I am helping make things easier in some small way.

Chicken. Brown Rice, Mushroom and Broccoli Casserole for a Crowd

4 cups cooked brown rice

2 shallots – finely chopped

3-4 cups of Roasted Chicken – cut into bite sized pieces

3 cans mushroom soup

1 cup milk

8 oz-12 oz shredded cheese

2 cups cooked broccoli- chopped

1 ½ cups mushrooms -chopped

1 large can french fried onions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a large baking dish or casserole pan with cooking spray.

Mix the rice, shallots and chicken together in a large bowl or pan.  Mix the soup and milk until well blended.  Add the cheese to the soup mixture and stir well. If the mixture seems “stiff” add a bit more milk. Combine the chicken/rice, soup/cheese mixture and stir well.  Fold in the mushrooms and broccoli.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake until the casserole begins to bubble.  Top with french fried onions and return to the over for 5 minutes.  Serve.

I used healthy choice soup, low fat milk, 3 cheese blend and a pre-roasted chicken, but you can certainly use “regular’ soup, full fat milk and roast your own chicken if you prefer.  This recipe makes enough for a crowd or enough to freeze.