Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Comfort food

I knew I'd be working a bit later than usual this week, but managed not to plan dinners beyond what is already on the "stuff to make for dinner this month" list on the white board on the refrigerator. In theory, most of the ingredients for those dishes were purchased during the beginning of the month grocery run. But a number of the recipes are new to me (don't really want to try those on a late, stressed weeknight) and the rest just didn't appeal.

Yesterday, I realized I had a partial bag of shredded swiss cheese in the cheese drawer (hey, I'm from Wisconsin - the lunchmeat drawer is officially the cheese drawer). There's always chicken breast in the freezer, as well as broccoli...

...why not make Chicken Divan?

While I have done the extra-fancy presentation (thin pounded chicken breast wrapped around steamed broccoli spears, baked and covered with mornay sauce), it's super easy to convert the recipe to an easy to make, quickly prepared casserole. Steam a pound bag of broccoli, put it in the casserole dish. Prepare 2 cups of mornay sauce (bechamel made with half milk or cream, half chicken broth, a splash of white wine and a third of a cup of swiss cheese). Pour half the sauce over the broccoli, top the broccoli with chopped up cooked chicken, then the rest of the sauce. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top along with a bit of paprika. Bake at 350 for twenty minutes or so.

The result?

Yum. While the chicken and broccoli are tasty, it's the sauce that makes the dish. I've seen "shortcut" recipes that use cream of whatever soups; please, people, learn to make a basic white sauce. It's one of the four "mother" sauces, serving as the base for all sorts of other delicious goodies. It's easy to make, healthier than the canned junk and doesn't take all that much time to prepare.

One shallow 9 x 9 pan was more than enough chicken divan for dinner and a few containers for lunch for the rest of the week.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Just made this tonight and it was wonderful. I wish I hadn't sat on this for over 2 years!