It’s August and it’s birthday time for my hubby. So, the question is, what do you want for birthday lunch? His request is King Ranch Chicken and Yellow Cake with Chocolate icing. The cake is easy. It’s from a Duncan Hines mix. I don’t make King Ranch Chicken Casserole often because it’s a night- before process if you want it for lunch. It must have turned out really well, since just about everyone had seconds including Julie, our daughter-in-law. She doesn’t go for seconds unless it’s red Jello with fruit cocktail and bananas with whipped topping. It’s lunch time, and the first of our family start to arrive. Our oldest son Todd and family arrive from McKinney, Texas.
Oh, here’s the King Ranch Chicken Casserole recipe, if you like.
Ingredients: 2 lbs. chicken white meat, 10 corn tortillas, one can cream of mushroom soup, one can cream of chicken soup, one can Rotel tomatoes, 1 cup chicken broth, 2-3 cups shredded cheddar cheese, 3 garlic cloves chopped, 1 onion chunked, 3 stalks celery cut into 3 pieces each
Instructions: Low boil chicken with skin on with garlic, onion, and celery added to water. Cook until chicken starts to fall away from bone. Remove chicken to cool. Strain onion and celery from broth. Puree in blender with 1/3 cup chicken broth. Refrigerate until ready to use. Strain 1 cup chicken broth and reserve in refrigerator. Discard chicken skin. When chicken is cool to touch debone chicken and cut into chunks.
One hour before serving combine in medium saucepan pureed mixture, soups, Rotel tomatoes, and chicken broth to make sauce. Heat to a slow boil.
In large rectangular casserole dish alternate layers of heated sauce, torn tortillas, chicken, and cheese. End with cheese. Bake uncovered in 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes. It should be bubbling before removing from oven. Serve with green salad, tortilla chips, and salsa.
King Ranch Chicken Casserole is ready to take out of the oven, and Julie has made the salad. Yippee! Our second family arrives from Seabrook, Texas, and we can eat birthday lunch.
Lunch is finished and now it’s birthday cake delivered to Granddaddy by our FIVE grandbabies. We thank God for them every day. We are so blessed.
Here are our boys…Tyler Murrah who is 13 and about to start the 8th grade and football plus Ashton Huebner who is the baby for now at 5 years old and starts kindergarten in a few days.
Our girls…so much fun for a Grammy in her sewing room. They are Lindsey Huebner, our softball player, who is 10 going into her last year of elementary school, and Sydney Huebner who would rather do cartwheels than anything else, but will start third grade and Madison Murrah who is 16 and thinking about colleges and her next theater performance as she starts her Junior year at Ursuline Academy in Dallas.
Lunch celebration is complete and Todd takes over the clean-up while I can visit with the girls. I love it when someone else cleans-up. Don’t you? Thank-you, Todd.
Dishes done and Todd was ready to take his Dad and son away to see an open scrimmage of their alma mater, Texas A & M in College Station. The Huebner family had to be on their way to another birthday party, so the rest of the afternoon was spent introducing Julie and Madison to Downton Abbey. I don’t think I was able to make fans of them, however. How could that be?
The next day, August 18, was Tommy’s real birth date. Todd and Julie took off, and Madison and Tyler stayed with us for a few days. They have spent a little summer time with us every summer, and we feel so fortunate that as teenagers they still think it’s fun to come for a stay at Grammy and Granddaddy’s house. They started the day with a little piano playing and singing for the birthday boy. Tyler still rides around the house on “Giraffey,” an inside riding toy we have had since Madison was a toddler. All five grandchildren drag it out of the closet each time they are here.
We took Granddaddy to the movie to see “Jobs” a movie all four of us highly recommend about Steve Jobs, the Apple creator. After a late dinner of Tommy’s bar-b-que ribs, we had ice cream (Yes, we are huge fans of Bluebell ice cream.) and cake again. Tommy got to blow out candles again on his “real” birthday with a little help from Madison and Tyler. He’s had lots of wishes come true in the last 9 months, but maybe there’s more in store. As we started our traditional Monopoly marathon, a Happy Birthday phone call came from our youngest son, Troy, who lives in LA. Now Tommy’s birthday was complete with good wishes from all three of our children.
There was still more fun for Madison and Tyler to have on their vacation with us. We spent several hours at Zuma Fun Center playing miniature golf, arcade games, and riding go-carts. We also saw “Sea Monsters” and they played Laser Tag. They are such fun-loving, happy kids that we were sorry when it was time for them to go back home.
So it’s Happy Birthday to my hubby. We all hope it’s your best year ever.
We know it will be ever-changing with our growing family as the year zooms faster than we can imagine. As I’ve said before “Family is Best” and always will be at the top of our list. Love you all, and thanks for making Dad’s birthday such a happy one.
Happy Birthday to my friends out there when it’s your special day, too. Hugs and stitches, Judy