I always let my kiddos dictate what they want to eat on their birthday.
“Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
They are allowed to bark out orders. “French Breakfast Puffs for breakfast!”, “Hot dogs for LUNCH”, “and chicken with ham chunks and that rice with black specks in it for DINNER”.
I slap my heals together, wiggle my nose, salute to the birthday child and get to work. I really love it. Cause, well you know I love making people happy with food. Especially my little peeps. It’s usually pretty predictable what they will want. But this year for Cece’s eighth birthday the chicken rice request threw me for a loop. I could not for the life of me figure out what she wanted.
We did the big game of “you mean that one chicken thing I made for…..”, “NO”, “Oh that one casserole I made when we had so and so over???”, “no”, “HMMM you mean the one we had a couple weeks ago with mushrooms, I thought you didn’t like mushrooms”, “NO(whining/irritated with me). “I want the one that’s cheesy too!”. “Oh yeah with spinach in it.” “Yeh only I don’t want the spinIsh in it……”
So we were heading to our rental on the Lake Michigan with Big D and her family the day before my babies birthday….and this chicken dish is super easy to make ahead and throw in the oven…so I thought BONUS! Sure that’s perfect I can make that and it will be an easy meal to throw in the oven, giving us extra time to play outside and not be messing around in the kitchen. This “casserole”, I hate that word, because it says to me canned soup and lots of stuff dumped into a white dish and baked silly. I think casserole is actually French for just that, what I said there in the previous sentence. I have nothing against canned soup mind you, just well….OH forget it…..
So her it is my “casserole” Chicken Fontinella, because of the fontinella cheese…..you can use an italian blend already grated if you like, that would be a time saver if you are not into grating cheese.
2 box Uncle Ben’s original recipe long grain wild rice (not the fast cook)
4 cups of water
6 oz ham steak cubed
1 lb. of chicken breast or ground chicken
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 cup fontinella cheese grated
1/2 cup mozzarella
1/4 cup Parmesan
1 stick of butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup milk
2 cups of spinach washed and chopped finely
Give your ham a cubin’. I know this is more than the above noted 6oz, I was making enough for 11 people, so I kind of doubled the recipe.
There it is ready to take to the cottage along with alot of other baked goodies there as you see in the background. You can freeze it too, just make sure it’s fully thawed before you bake it. It’s one of those meals that is good to double and then put one in the freezer for a busy day when you know you won’t have time to make a meal OR to have just to give to someone you needs a little comfort.