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April is Stress Awareness Month

 

1 stress 4I have done several posts on stress and how to deal with it the last few years.  The links are below if you care to look any of them over:

Pets Help Alleviate Stress

Send In the Clowns

Stress Busters

Stress Management

Two Minute Pick Me Ups

LAUGH     SMILE      WALK

I have discovered the best and easiest way to deal with stress is to just laugh. That’s it. Just laugh.

I get a funny movie or two for free at the library and watch them. Or I watch my favorite TV sitcom shows. Everybody Loves Raymond always makes me laugh no matter how many times I have seen the episode. And I mean deep, hearty, belly  type laughs.  And all these years later M*A*S*H still does the same thing. Frasier does too.

I literally can feel the stress leave my body when I laugh. It is the cheapest way for me to let go of stress.

There is some research that shows the act of just smiling can also let go of stress. When I am out driving in traffic and get stressed I just smile. It really does work.

Going for a walk is another excellent way to deal with stress. There is some new research that says that walking is just as good as jogging for your heart. That makes me smile and laugh. I walk at a nice yet brisk pace while all these out-of-breath, sweaty, huffing and puffing joggers pass me on the walking trail and I just smile and smile and smile. A twofer! The lazy way to exercise and get rid of stress at the same time.

And then, let’s not forget friends. Smiling, laughing, walking are all better when sharing with friends.

How do you deal with stress?

What do you do to relive stress?

Featured Recipe        Chicken Divan

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Today’s recipe is most definitely a stress buster. Chicken Divan will make you smile and say, “Ahhhhhhhhh. That’s what I needed.”

This is Sunday best dinner fare too. Yet is quick and easy enough to make on weekdays too.

There must be thousands of Chicken Divan recipes in “The Universe.” And I think I have tried about ninety-nine percent of them. And about ninety-eight and half percent of them are simply blah, bland, uninspiring, tasteless blobs of mushy cheese.

I always go back to this recipe.

I don’t know or remember anymore where or who I got it from.  It harkens back to my college or early teaching days in the late 60’s and early 70’s. I lost it once. Or more accurately misplaced it. I found it years and years and years later during one of my many moves. It was in my copy of Alistair Cooke’s great American history, America. What it was doing in there I have absolutely, positively no idea!

In any event, I am happy to share this delicious and easy recipe with you today.

This is what you will need for 4-5 people:

1-2 skinless chicken breasts*

1 cup fresh broccoli florets

¼ cup butter

1/3 cup flour

Pinch of ground nutmeg

1 cup heavy cream

2 cans chicken broth

¼ dry white wine

1/3 cup shredded Swiss cheese

¼ cup Parmesan cheese

¼ cup bread crumbs

Salt and pepper to taste

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*NOTES ON THE INGREDIENTS

I sometimes use about a pound or two of chicken tenders since they cook faster and are sometimes less expensive. Using chicken tenders also means I don’t have to slice the chicken when it is done. I am SO lazy!mmmmmmm

This is a great dish to make to use up left over chicken or turkey.

I often get the broccoli florets off the salad bar; saves time and often less expensive since I only have to get the exact amount I need.

You can use ground nutmeg or whole nutmeg and zest your own, which I do. I just eyeball it. Remember with nutmeg, less is more.

If you don’t have white wine you can substitute Sherry or white grape juice.

I sometimes use Gruyère cheese, a type of Swiss cheese. It is more expensive.  I could not find shredded Swiss at the store today so bought a chunk and shredded my own.

You will also need a bit of spray cooking oil which will add about five cents more to the cost.

Serve over rice or noodleswhich will add another fifty cents or so to the cost of the dish.

Here is what you do:

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

 PREPARE CHICKEN AND BROCCOLI

Reserve 1 cup of the chicken broth.

Then cook the chicken in the remaining broth. If using chicken breasts this will take about 20-25 minutes. Chicken tenders will take less time. About 3-4 minutes per side. RULE OF THUMB: Cook until the juices run clear.

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While waiting for the chicken to cook I shredded the cheese. If you can find it, buy already shredded Swiss cheese.

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Remove the chicken from the broth and let cool slightly and then slice the chicken breasts if you used breasts. No need to slice the chicken tenders I used, which is why I use them. I am so lazy!!

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Wash the broccoli and steam until crisp tender about 3-5 minutes, or until it turns a dark green. I used the microwave.

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Lightly spray a 9×13 baking with cooking oil. Arrange the broccoli florets in a single layer in the baking pan.

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TO MAKE THE SAUCE:

Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat.

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Stir in the flour, salt and pepper, along with the nutmeg. Mix together until all is well mixed and thick. This is a called a roux.

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Add the chicken broth and cream to the pan……….

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…………. and cook and stir until bubbly and thickens. Continue to cook and stir another minute or so after it gets bubbly. Can you see the bubbles in the pan?

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Stir in the wine, then add the Swiss cheese and stir until just melted. Your sauce is now done.

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Pour, or take the lazy easy way like I do,  and using a soup laddle spoon half of the sauce over the broccoli. In my defense….that pan is very hot and heavy.

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Then top with the sliced chicken.

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Pour, or spoon,  the remaining sauce over the chicken.

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Mix the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese together. Then sprinkle the mixture on top.

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Bake uncovered about 15-20 minutes or until heated through and bubbly.

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Then turn the heat up to 500 degrees until lightly browned or about 2 minutes. Hot out of the oven.

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Serve with a salad and/or another veggie.

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Bon appétit!!!

Cost

1-2 skinless chicken breasts            $5.80

1 cup fresh broccoli florets             $1.48

¼ cup butter                                 $0.31

1/3 cup flour                                 $0.09

Pinch of ground nutmeg                 $0.39

1 cup heavy cream                        $2.39

2 cans chicken broth                       $2.00

¼ dry white wine                           $1.02                          

1/3 cup shred Swiss cheese            $1.62              

¼ cup Parmesan cheese                 $1.53

¼ cup bread crumbs                      $0.33

Salt and pepper to taste

Total cost = $16.96
Cost per serving 4 = $4.24
Cost per serving 5 = $3.39

QUOTE OF THE DAY

When you find yourself stressed, ask yourself one question: Will this matter in 5 years from now? If yes, then do something about the situation. If no, then let it go.

Catherine Pulsifer

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