Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I am a piano teacher and sometime substitute teacher in the local public school. My piano students are on break right now between the summer session and the fall term. I haven't gotten any work yet as a substitute teacher because the school year just started. The kids are back to their routine and I have "time off." I'm definitely making time for lunch with friends, but the "time off" isn't as leisurely as I always fantasize it will be. There are always plenty of things to do.

Like stockpile food. I don't know how many would agree with me, but according to my piano studio, I have to say, "What recession?" My studio has grown by about 20% every year for the last four years. This fall, I have to add a third evening of teaching to my schedule. This is both good and bad. I'm happy to have a reputation that grows my business without any advertising on my part. I'm happy that I get to contribute financially to my family and that I can do it without leaving home. I'm blessed that I can teach about five hours of lessons to homeschooled students during the school day when my kids are in school. But with the rest of my 31 students, my work day can't begin until MY children are home from school.

At this point, the third day of teaching looks like it will just be two hours between school and dinnertime. My work hours will be cutting into my food prep time and I'm making extra meals as I can and putting them in the freezer. I thawed a whole heap of ground beef this weekend and made four meatloaves, one which we ate that night and three that I put into the freezer. Last night I made a favorite chicken and rice casserole and made three extra for the freezer. I can pull one of these out in the morning of a busy day and have it baking during my lessons. Won't my students wish they were staying for dinner when they smell it?

Here is the recipe for Chicken and Rice Casserole, as given to me by my Mother-In-Law, Karen.

1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2/3 c. water
1 package of dry onion soup mix
1 1/2 c. Minute Rice

Mix these ingredients together and spread in a greased casserole dish. Lay chicken pieces on top of the rice, cover with foil and bake. This is a good dish to have baking while you're at church because it can either be baked for 2 hours @ 350 or 3 hours @ 275. It smells and tastes great.


  1. The latest Real Simple (which isn't either....but I digress) has an article on swapping food. There were some really tasty looking, large-serving recipes.

    I have fond memories of my own dear Mrs. Shull hopping up from my lesson to go stir the soup or some such in her knotty pine, 1950's kitchen.

  2. I had no idea you were a piano teacher! I play piano too and I'm a teacher, but not of piano. Well, we have more in common than I realized.

    When I took piano lessons, my teacher never seemed to have either a bathroom or a kitchen. She was straight out of 1950s in propriety, so I wonder what in the heck they did eat for supper. As I recall, I took lessons after school and I did so for 10 years and never smelled or saw a whiff of food. But maybe my memory lies.

    I have never in my life worked with Minute Rice. Do you think think there's another way to do your casserole or must it be Minute Rice? I adore the idea of meals waiting in the freezer :)

  3. @Reb - My students will certainly remember me getting up to stir. Or maybe those memories will be overshadowed by my trudging off to go refill my coffee.
    @Margo - You never saw a kitchen OR bathroom? Who cares what she was eating, where did she poop?!
    OK, even as I was typing this out, I knew my people wouldn't like the Minute Rice. I have a pork casserole recipe from my mother that uses regular rice, but that needs to be stirred every half hour or so. The reason for that is that the regular rice sinks to the bottom and packs tight together. It has to room to absorb the liguid and expand unless it's stirred, so that adjustment would need to be made if you used regular rice. Of course, then it wouldn't have the delightful "Fix it and Forget It" characteristic.

    The only other thing that might be problematic is that if you were stirring the casserole, the chicken pieces on top would be disturbed. I think my MIL has made the dish before using shredded chicken IN the dish instead of whole chicken pieces ON the dish. You could make this change and then be allowed to stir the dish.

  4. Hey girls...I've subsituted regular rice straight across in this kind of casserole. Even brown rice. I guess it does kind of sink to the bottom in a pile but everything gets tender.


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