Dinner in a pinch: Busy nurse and mother counts on Chicken Pieorgi Casserole – Lifestyles

Dinner in a pinch: Busy nurse and mother counts on Chicken Pieorgi Casserole – Lifestyles

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JASON FARMER / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Lake Ariel resident Denise Ace is this week’s Local Flavor: Recipes We Love contest winner for her Chicken Pierogi Casserole recipe.

After a 12-hour shift, Denise Ace wanted an easy meal.

The registered nurse at Allied Services looked for a fast meal for her and her son Derek, 16, that didn’t involve hitting the drive-through or costing a lot of money.

Enter Chicken Pieorgi Casserole.

Ace doesn’t remember where she got the recipe, but it’s become a staple in the Lake Ariel woman’s home ever since.

“When you got to make something easy and quick, this is it,” Ace said of the recipe which earned her a grocery gift card.

Ace is in good company here at Local Flavor, as her mom, Linda, won last month for her Eclair Cake.

The recipe for Chicken Pierogi Casserole is simple and straightforward, Ace said. She only advises cooks not stir the mixture too much to avoid breaking up the pierogi. Otherwise, she typically just makes it on the stove and serves right from there.

“This is an easy meal you can just throw into the pot after a long day at work, cook it up and put it on a plate,” she said, adding she mixes in veggies like peas, carrots and more to give it a little more flavor. “It’s fast but still delicious.”

Pierogi Chicken Casserole was the apex of comfort food. The mini pierogies were hearty and a perfect complement to the flavorful veggies and juicy chicken. A little gravy topped the whole dish off for an easy meal with all the fixings.

Ace likes to cook more than bake and her son will say her tacos and fajitas are two of her best dinners. A multi-sport athlete, Derek’s constantly fueling up and has certain dishes of his mom’s he likes best. Though he’s not a cook, Derek even gave his mom some pointers.

“He said I needed to make rice to put inside the fajitas,” she said. “That’s something he came up with and he loves it.”

Ace admits she learned by example, counting her sister and mom as the best cooks she knows. While Ace and her son lived with Ace’s mom and dad, the two grew accustomed to grandma’s cooking. Though, Ace expanded her cooking prowess by making classics like a Chicken Scampi.

She has her specialties, but there are certain dishes Ace leaves up to her mom, like some of Derek’s favorites: Tandy Cake or homemade spaghetti and meatballs.

“I tell him, ‘That’s something you can have grandma make you,’” she said, laughing. “She has all kinds of recipes she makes just for him. She’s great.”

Contact the writer: [email protected]; 570-348-9127; @gmazurTT on Twitter

Denise Ace’s Chicken Pierogi Casserole

1 pound boneless chicken breast

1 26.5-ounce bag mini pierogi, any flavor

1 12-ounce bag frozen mixed soup vegetables

2 12-ounce jars chicken gravy

Garlic, salt and pepper, to taste


Cube chicken and brown in large skillet with garlic, salt and pepper. Drain.Add pierogies and vegetables to skillet with chicken and mix on medium heat. Add in chicken gravy. Cover and stir occasionally, being careful not to break up pierogi, for 20 minutes or until cooked through. Add salt or pepper to taste. Serve from pot or place in casserole dish to serve.