Saturday, October 11, 2008

Downsized

Kitchen Prod is an interesting class of mine. One one hand, it's one of my favourite classes because, hey, I get to cook for 3 hours with a great instructor and a chef who actually "get" my love for food and cooking. On the other hand, the class is a pain to attend because all our work is in groups. Now, anyone who knows me and how I work knows that I do best all by me onesy in most things, especially when it comes to cooking. I don't mind help in the kitchen if it comes from competent assistants, but those poor souls in my group, well... let's just say that it wasn't me who added dry pasta to cold water and then put it on the fire to boil. The pasta's soggy? Well, yeah, that would be what happens in that case... who hasn't cooked pasta?


But I digress... I'm sure there are others out there who have been in the same boat. My friends in KP wound up in a group together *jealous* and a couple weeks ago they made this recipe for a baked chicken and pasta casserole. It's been scaled down from a foodservice recipe in our textbook to serve 8, and it's a pretty healthy and economical meal too! Everything is baked together in one dish and leftovers freeze wonderfully, so you can make the whole recipe and portion it up for later dinners where it's too late or busy to bother hauling out pots and pans.

Though I couldn't taste test, I did bring home a gratuitous amount for the rest of the family, and it got some pretty good reviews with them! I'll give you the "real" recipe (i.e. not what my group did) for our assignment after the long weekend, since it uses pre-cooked poultry which all of us Thanksgivingites will have plenty of!

Pink Macaroni, Chicken And Pea Casserole
Serves 8
16 oz dry whole wheat macaroni
1/4 cup water
1 small onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 oz raw skinless, boneless chicken breast, cubed
1/2 cup frozen peas
10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
6 oz tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1/2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp cornstarch
1/3 cup cold water
1 cup chicken stock
2 cups 1% milk
1/2 tsp pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
3 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil, cook the pasta 4 minutes. Drain, but do not rinse. Pasta should still be firm.
  3. Heat water in a large non-stick pan. Saute the onion, pepper, and garlic until tender.
  4. Add chicken, cooking until almost done.
  5. Add in the peas, spinach, tomato paste, and water.
  6. Continue to cook, stirring, until chicken is no longer pink. Season sparingly with salt and pepper and remove from heat while preparing bechamel.
  7. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
  8. Mix in the stock and milk, season with pepper.
  9. Whisk the cornstarch and water until smooth, then stir into sauce.
  10. Stir in 1/2 cup of the mozzarella, and cook until the sauce coats the back of a spoon.
  11. In a large bowl, mix the cooked pasta with 1/2 the bechamel sauce.
  12. Mix the chicken saute with the remaining bechamel and parsley in another bowl.
  13. Place half the pasta in a foil-lined baking dish, then top with half the chicken mixture, and half the remaining mozzarella.
  14. Add the remaining pasta, chicken and bechamel.
  15. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese.
  16. Bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 384.8
Total Fat: 6.0 g
holesterol: 26.9 mg
Sodium: 670.2 mg
Total Carbs: 61.4
Dietary Fiber: 7.7 g
Protein: 22.2 g

2 comments :

DaviMack said...

Oh, industrial cooking, where are the spices? Where is the cayenne pepper, the tarragon, the sage and thyme? Chicken is about the blandest thing on the planet! It positively screams for seasoning!

Sigh.

Rant over.

I think you could manage the same type of dish with a seitan / gluten product. It wouldn't be gluten-free any more, but it'd be critter-free, which might be better. ;)

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Yup, they're kamut puffs! I loooove those things too... glad I'm not the only one :o)