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Cheerful Casseroles and No-Bake Desserts

Addie Gundry, Food Network Star competitor and author of a new series of cookbooks, joins the Clever Cookstr to talk about her first two books, cooking on TV, and her culinary journey.

By
Kara Rota,
July 25, 2017
Episode #160

Hot on the heels of her appearance on the 13th season of Food Network Star and the publication of her first two cookbooks, No-Bake Desserts: 103 Easy Recipes for No-Bake Cookies, Bars, and Treats; and Family Favorite Casserole Recipes: 103 Comforting Breakfast Casseroles, Dinner Ideas, and Desserts Everyone Will Love, Addie Gundry joins the Clever Cookstr to share her top tips for easy, elegant entertaining in the kitchen.

1) Rely on the basic skills in your pocket. Whether she's entertaining friends and family or beating a 30-minute challenge on a Food Network show, Addie relies on muscle memory and her culinary experience to cook while she thinks. At home, boiling a pot of water or chopping an onion to saute before you're even sure what you're going to make for dinner can save you precious minutes.

2) Presentation goes a long way. Addie's signature is easy, elegant entertaining, and she excels at creating recipes that are as beautiful and delicious as anything you'd eat at a restaurant, but are also easy, achievable timesavers for the home cook. In No-Bake Desserts, showstoppers like edible glitter and edible silver sugar pearls take treats from mundane to glam. 3) Sometimes, “shortcut” ingredients lead to an even better result. Canned tomatoes make for a reliably tastier tomato sauce than making sauce from scratch with tomatoes that might be out of season, watery, and bland. Similarly, fresh-frozen products can be treated with integrity and taste even fresher.

4) Make-ahead recipes are key for entertaining. When your guests arrive, you don’t want to be crouched over the stove or running around putting together a salad and a dessert. Recipes like make-ahead casseroles and no-bake desserts are easy to prepare in advance so you can focus on spending time with friends and family.

5) Desserts in a jar are the ultimate crowdpleaser. Assemble single-serving desserts ahead of time and stick them in the fridge. You can serve dirt cups or beach cups in disposable clear plastic cups for easy serving and cleanup. Kids of all ages love reliving the joy of eating their own decorative dessert.

6) Expecting houseguests? Make a make-ahead breakfast casserole like a Cinnamon Roll Casserole. You won’t be a short-order cook in the morning, and your guests will be treated to a breakfast that feels indulgent and kicks off the day on the right foot.

To hear the full interview with Addie, listen in the top right hand player, or on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Spotify. And check out Addie's books: No-Bake Desserts: 103 Easy Recipes for No-Bake Cookies, Bars, and Treats; and Family Favorite Casserole Recipes: 103 Comforting Breakfast Casseroles, Dinner Ideas, and Desserts Everyone Will Love.

Bonus recipe: Unforgettable Buffalo Chicken Casserole

Yield: Serves 6 to 8 | Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 45 minutes
 
I can’t count on my hands how many times my husband has asked for this casserole, not only when
we entertain, but also on any given weeknight. Potatoes, chicken, cheese, and bacon—that
foursome is indeed unforgettable, and when I make this at home on a weekend, I set the scene for
our own little sports bar.
 
INGREDIENTS
 
Chicken Filling
1 ∕3 cup olive oil
5 tablespoons hot sauce
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, unpeeled, cut into cubes
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
 
Topping
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
6 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
8 scallions, sliced
½ cup chopped celery
 
DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat the oven to 450ºF and lightly coat a 9 × 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
 
2. For the chicken filling: In a large bowl, mix the olive oil, hot sauce, paprika, garlic, pepper, and
salt. Add the potatoes and mix well to coat. Using a slotted spoon, remove the potatoes from the
bowl (but don’t wash out the bowl yet!). Place the potatoes in the baking dish and bake for 25
minutes, until the potatoes are almost tender and beginning to crisp. While the potatoes bake,
add the chicken to the bowl with the spice mixture and toss well.
 
3. For the topping: Mix the topping ingredients together in a medium bowl.
 
4. Remove the potatoes from the oven and lower the oven temperature to 400ºF. Stir the potatoes
and place the uncooked chicken cubes on top in an even layer. Sprinkle with the topping mixture
and bake for 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Serve.
 
Copyright © 2017 by Addie Gundry and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Griffin.

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