Swiss Chicken and Orzo Casserole


This is a creamy, delicious casserole dish that was inspired by Creamy Swiss Cheese Chicken Bake on Mel’s Kitchen Café, adapted to make the recipe easier and in a smaller amount, but with the same cheesy flavor.


  • 1 cup dry orzo pasta
  • 1 cup shredded cooked chicken breast
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese (approx. 4×4 inches)
  • ½ cup light mayonnaise
  • ½ cup light sour cream
  • ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Spray a 9×9 baking pan

Cook orzo in boiling salted water according to package instructions.  Drain but do not rinse.  Lay the orzo in a layer on the bottom of the baking pan.  Top with the cooked, shredded chicken breast and then with the slices of Swiss cheese.

In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, ½ cup of Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Spread this mixture over the mixture in the casserole.

Top with the remaining ¼ cup of Parmesan cheese.

Bake uncovered @ 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.
4 servings 


Rye Bread and Reubens


My daughters say they have never found a restaurant version of the Reuben Sandwich that is as good as the one I make, mainly because of my insistence on very lean, good quality corned beef, and because of my homemade rye bread.  They like this rye bread, called “Modest” probably because it is a light rye with no caraway or other strong flavor.


  • Servings: 2 7-1/2-inch loaves plus 4 large rolls
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  • 5 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 1 package fast-rising yeast
  • 3/4 cup non-fat dry milk
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tblsp. molasses
  • 3 Tblsp canola oil
  • 2-1/4 cups water heated to 130 degrees F

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, place 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 1 cup of rye flour, yeast, dry milk, and salt.  Mix to blend and add molasses, oil and 130 degree F water.  Beat on medium speed with regular beater for 3 minutes.  Insert dough hook and beat another 6:30 minutes, adding flour as needed to make dough elastic and not sticky.

Place dough in oiled bowl, cover and let rise in warm place for 30 minutes.

Punch down dough and form into loaves.  I like to divide the dough in thirds and place a third in each of two loaf pans which measure 7-1/2 x 3-3/4 x 2-1/4 inches.  This size makes a nice size slice for making the Reubens.  The remaining third is usually made into large hearty rolls to eat with dinner.

Cover the bread/rolls and let rise 30 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Bake this size loaf for approximately 25 minutes and the rolls for approximately 12 minutes.  Let cool on a wire rack.



  • 1 lb. good quality corned beef, sliced thin
  • 1/2 lb. sliced Swiss cheese
  • 1 cup sauerkraut, drained
  • Rye bread

To make the sandwiches, I prefer to bake the bread a day ahead of time so it’s more manageable to divide into thin slices (cut off the heels and cut about 12 slices).  Butter a slice of bread and place butter-side-down in a skillet, add a layer of corned beef, a slice of Swiss cheese and a spoonful of sauerkraut, add second slice of buttered bread.  Grill, browning on each side, at a medium high heat to give the beef and cheese a chance to warm before the bread gets too brown.

Serve immediately.  My daughters like to add Thousand Island Dressing to their sandwiches.  The two loaves of bread are about right for the quantity of corned beef, Swiss and sauerkraut, depending on how thick you make your sandwiches.