Hot meals for winter months

Okay, so we moved from balmy Nashville to frigid Madison, Wisconsin in April–right after the thaw. And so now we are experiencing our first blast of winter–which arrived with a fury right after Thanksgiving. It’s not so much the snow that is difficult to take–it’s the insane cold and wind chill. It’s 24 degrees right now and feels warm. Well, whatever…we chose to move here and the best part about the cold weather is making warm–no, piping hot–comfort food. Even if you’re a dude, you can enjoy stuff like these two oven dishes I created on’s Grub for Guys last year……

As the weather gets colder, we men retreat to the den and watch sports in the comfort of an easy chair. To sustain ourselves, we spoon up big bowls of rib-sticking hot casseroles. Below are recipes for kickass chicken and rice, and a dish that has everything manly in it except the kitchen sink. And yes, that includes beer.

Dude Casserole
Casseroles might bring to mind Betty Crocker, church potlucks or, well, the women who usually make them. But we’re here to put some testosterone in casseroles…not literally, mind you, but with four types of meat (including bacon), cheese, macaroni, cream of mushroom soup, jalapeno peppers and BEER among the ingredients, this casserole is made for the common man. It’s especially for the common man who likes to watch football and bulk up in the winter months. Make this for your buddies and you will suddenly have more buddies the next time you cook, I guarantee it.

1 lb. Elbow macaroni
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil (we use canola)
2 slices bacon, chopped
1 lb. Ground beef
2 bratwurst (we like Johnsonville stadium brats), chopped
4 pre-cooked breakfast sausage patties (spicy kind if possible), chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 poblano pepper, trimmed, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, trimmed, seeded and chopped
1 tsp. chili powder
¼ tsp. garlic powder
6 oz. beer
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
½ cup milk
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 cup ketchup
½ cup canned corn
1/3 cup sliced black olives (optional)
1/3 cup bread crumbs
Salt & Pepper to taste

Spray a large casserole dish or 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook macaroni according to package directions and set aside. In a very large, deep skillet, heat oil over medium/high heat. Add bacon, beef, brats, sausage, onion and peppers. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. When beef is browned and onion and peppers are softened, add chili powder, garlic powder, then beer. Stir occasionally and let simmer until beer is almost completely absorbed, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile combine cheese, soup, milk, soy sauce, and ketchup in a large bowl. Stir pasta, corn and olives into soup mixture and add salt and pepper to taste. Add that mixture to meat mixture, and then dump everything into the casserole dish. Bake, covered, for 25 minutes. Remove cover, sprinkle with bread crumbs and bake for 5 more minutes. Serve hot. Serves 4 hungry dudes.

Kickass Chicken & Rice
Chicken and rice go together like football and beer. And while we’re not advocating eating a football, you get the idea—it just works. Here we take this dynamic duo and add some creamy chicken soup, cheese and other bright flavors to make another great hot dish for a cold day.

1 pound boneless chicken breast tenders
salt and pepper
Cooking spray
1 can cream of chicken soup
½ cup milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 cup white rice
½ cup frozen peas
1 cup French fried onions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and coat with cooking spray. Sprinkle tenders with salt and pepper and brown in skillet for 2-3 minutes per side. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine soup, milk, cheese, Worcestershire sauce, onion power, parsley and more salt and pepper to taste. Spray a large (preferably a short and wide) casserole dish with cooking spray. Cover the bottom of the casserole dish with rice, and add more if it doesn’t quite cover the dish entirely. Place chicken tenders on top, then sprinkle peas on top of chicken. Then pour soup mixture evenly over everything. Cover and bake for 35-40 minutes or until soup is absorbed by the rice and chicken is completely cooked through. Uncover and sprinkle with onions, and bake for another 5 minutes. Serve immediately, and serves 2-4, depending on how hungry everyone is.


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