Grief and pain is no respecter of the calendar. I’m struggling this week during a time of year I should be helping my children pull together Halloween costumes and organizing my son’s class party. Instead, my mind is occupied by thoughts of friends struggling with real life crisis and unforeseeable events. Just the other day I learned of the sudden passing of a dad in my former neighborhood leaving behind a family of four children under the age of six years old and his wife. He died earlier this week – random and unexpected. Then another friend shared the financial burden of being a single mom of three children just learning she may not be receiving any more child support. She works full-time, but her ex-husband is unable to contribute because he is unemployed.
I realize tragedy and bad things happen each and every day to people all around me, but the closer it hits home the heavier the burden I have. I want to do something to make those hurting around me feel better, knowing fully well there is really very little I can do to ease the grief or suffering. However, as someone who has gone through her fair share of unforeseeable tragedy I do know that loving acts of kindness can lift spirits, even if only for a moment.
Today I am sharing a recipe for Chicken Spinach Bacon Rice Casserole. I made this today for a friend to give her a night off from having to cook dinner for herself and children. Handing off the dinner at a softball game in a brown paper grocery bag, there is no expectation for us to discuss the details of what’s going on in her life. Instead, if it helps her to breathe a sigh of relief from having to cook for one night, I’ve done what I can. To offer a hand of help, show a little compassion, and to feed the souls of the weary in times of need can never be underestimated. It is an expression of caring that can lift the human spirit and provide some reprieve, which we can all use in times of trouble.
Recipe: Chicken Spinach Bacon Rice Casserole
A flavorful savory rice casserole dish made with chicken, bacon, and spinach.
1/4 pound bacon
1 medium onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
10 oz bag frozen spinach, cooked according to package instructions and drained
3 cups cooked rice
1 pound cooked chicken, cubed.
1/4 cup mayonnaise
4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup chicken broth
2 chicken bouillon cubes
3 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon dill
1 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Cook the bacon until crisp, then crumble.
Discard all but one tablespoon of bacon grease and saute the onions and celery for 5 minutes until soft. Season with salt and pepper.
Transfer the onions and celery to a large bowl. Add the bacon, spinach, rice, and chicken.
Stir in the cheddar cheese.
Heat the broth on medium high in a small sauce pan. Add the bouillon cubes and sour cream.
Stir the broth mixture and add to the large bowl.
Stir in the thyme and the dill.
Spray an 8x8 casserole dish with non stick spray.
Add the casserole mixture.
In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs and the butter.
Evenly sprinkle the buttered panko bread crumbs over the casserole.
Bake for 30 minutes before serving.