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Chicken Plus Rice Plus Some Other Stuff December 18, 2008

Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Food, Home.
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Yeah, doesn’t that sound inviting?  Just makes you want to grab a fork and come running, huh?  😆

Here’s the thing.  I learned to cook, first, for a family of six.  That’s a lot different from a family of two.  Then I cooked in a restaurant for a while.  Again, a whole different thing.  🙄

Consequently, we often have leftover, uh, stuff.  Leftover actual food, within reason, we can deal with.  After all, we do need to eat lunch, and there’s no better lunch than a good leftover dinner, right?

Buy there are also leftover ingredients.  So the quick answer is to freeze it.  Whatever “it” is – if it can be frozen, it often is.

Leftover soup?  Frozen in single-serving sizes for later lunches.

Leftover rice?  Frozen in 1-cup increments either for a soup application or for puppy, erm, issues, and we’re good to go.

Then there’s leftover chicken.  A while back, we did an herb-roasted chicken that sounded really good.  However, we used dried herbs instead of fresh (our herb garden just wasn’t up to the task yet).  And the recipe did say

Note: Dried herbs and seasonings may be substituted for fresh. Substitute 1/2 tsp. garlic powder for minced, but use the same amounts for the other herbs and spices.

OK, so here’s the thing.  Don’t do it.  Just use fresh herbs.  Don’t substitute dried – cup-for-cup – for fresh.  Ever.  No matter what the recipe says.  That is all.  You’ll thank me later.

Anyway.  This recipe was for 2 whole chickens.  For two people, that is a fricking lot of chicken.  We might eat half a chicken at a sitting between the two of us.

So we had leftovers.  🙄

About 3 packages of leftover herby chicken.  As I recall, we made chicken salad, then we tried a pot-pie sort of thing, then the last package (at least I hope think it’s the last package) somehow got buried in the freezer, and I just dug it out this week.  😯

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Oh, hey, look at that.  More of that herbed chicken. . . yay.  🙄

OK, so we’ll do something with that this week.  Right.  And most of it is dark meat.  Oh boy.

All right then.  Chicken.  Highly seasoned chicken.  Here’s my thinking on this – we need something that would otherwise be fairly bland, because the chicken will bring quite enough to the party, thank you very much.

Anyway, I put about 3 seconds of thought into it and decided to do some sort of chicken-rice-creamy sort of thing.  😀

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So we’ve got our chicken.  And we’ve got our rice.

And we’ll put them together.

Now we need the creamy part.

Neither of us is a huge fan of condensed cream of fill-in-the-blank soup.  I mean, there are times, sure, when it’s indispensable.  I mean, come on, I was raised in the midwest.  Of COURSE I have a couple of recipes tucked away where Campbell’s Cream of (blank) soup is vital.

But that doesn’t mean I have to be proud of it.  😳

Fortunately for all of us, I found a recipe for a substitute and have some stashed away in the cupboard.  😀

PhotobucketThere’s just about 2/3 cup there, or enough to equal 2 cans.  That should be enough, I think.

And I had partial cans of chicken broth and evaporated milk in the fridge – that will certainly bring more to the party than water.  😀

I dumped both into a measuring cup and added enough water to bring the level to 2½ cups. . .

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You know, I picked this measuring cup up at Weggies several years ago – it was cheap, and it was green.  I had no idea, then, how handy a measure that went to 2½ cups would be – there are just times that a 4 cup measure is just overkill, you know?  😛

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Anyway, I whisked together the soup mix with the liquid mixture, and before I knew it, it had actually thickened almost to the consistency of condensed cream soup. . . go figure.  😯

Just to be on the safe side, I also whisked in an ounce or so of light cream cheese.  It was in the fridge, and hey, waste not want not, you know?  🙂

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Hey!  We’re going to need some vegetables!  I’ve got just the thing!

As it happens, our local Tops Markets often runs these frozen veggies on sale at 10 for $10.  That’s, uh, a buck a piece.  And as it happens, about every other week, there are coupons in the Sunday paper for $1 off one.

For those of you not keeping up on the math, that would be, on sale, a final price of FREE.  Yeah, I’ll take it.  😆

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So, let’s recap.  Large stainless steel bowl.  Pile of rice, another pile of leftover herby chicken (or you could probably easily use non-herby chicken with, well, herbs of your choice, if you chose to, that is) a package of frozen veggies, and the equivalent of 2 cans of cream of whatever soup.  Oh, and some black pepper.  I like black pepper.  😀

Stir this all together and dump into a sprayed casserole.  I don’t know if it necessarily needs to be sprayed, but I’m a great believer in “better safe than sorry.”  Just saying.  😉

Meanwhile, we combined what was left of a package of shredded cheddar (don’t you love the precise-ness of my measurements?) with a scoop of breadcrumbs.  Sprinkle over the top of the casserole, and cover with foil.  (or a lid, if your casserole has a lid.

Shove the whole thing into a medium-ish oven, say 350°, for about 30-45 minutes.  In my case, 30 minutes left the casserole warm-ish, and that was it, but I baked it at 325°.  Do with that information what you will.

PhotobucketOnce you deem the casserole to be sufficiently hot, remove the foil and stick it back in the oven until the cheese in the topping  has had a chance to melt.  And brown. You probably could run it under the broiler, but be careful with that.  You really don’t want to burn it, do you?  😯

And there you have it.  I got a bunch of  crap out of the fridge, some stuff out of the freezer, AND we had dinner, besides.  While it wasn’t necessarily my favorite dinner ever, it was certainly edible.  😀

And plentiful.  We’ve got leftovers for a few days. . . but they it was already leftovers. . . 🙄

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