Sometimes I find myself in a meal-time rut, especially when I’m busy (which is a frequent occurrence as a wife, mom, actress, and writer). So every now and then I rummage through my recipe box for forgotten gems. Many of these are from my carnivore days of yore.
But now, with the advent of some very tasty imitation meats, I’m able to substitute the fake stuff for real beef, chicken, ham, etc. CAUTION: Not all of these products are created equal. Some are excellent, some are nasty. Try different brands to see which (if any) appeal to you.
A bonus to using imitation meats is that they’re already cooked. When I used to make the original Chinese Chicken Casserole, it would take me 30 minutes to boil the breasts, then they’d have to cool, and finally I would cube them (an unpleasant job). All that took about an hour. By using faux chicken, this recipe becomes one of those throw-everything-into-a-casserole dish, mix, and bake recipes. Fast and easy – my favorite!
Note: My fake chicken of choice is by Worthington (see photo). It may seem a little pricey at first glance, but unlike real chicken, every bit is edible – no skin, fat, or bones in this baby! Plus it’s already cooked. Of course, there are other brands out there that are also good.
CHINESE “CHICKEN” CASSEROLE
- 3 cups cubed fake chicken
- 8 oz pineapple rings (save the juice), cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 vegetable bouillon cube
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 2/3 cup sherry
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 scallions, sliced
- 1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
Drain the pineapple juice into a measuring cup. Drop in vegetable bouillon cube and smash with a spoon to break it up. Add in enough water to equal 2 cups.
Into a casserole dish combine all the ingredients. Cover with lid or foil and bake at 375º Fahrenheit for 40-45 minutes, stirring now and then.
Serve over rice.