Friday, January 12, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 01/11/18: Moving the Files, Soupless Chicken Casserole, No Static at All

1. The Deke and I decided we would use the file cabinet Mom had in the basement and not move it. We had considered purchasing a smaller one and putting it in the front bedroom on the ground floor. Today I organized our files, got rid of a few obsolete ones, and, most important, moved all the files out of the plastic basket I've been using and out of the front bedroom -- a very satisfying project and one that has now given us more room in the front bedroom, making it even more hospitable to being turned into a sparely furnished office.

2. When news flashed on Facebook a week or so ago that the Iron Chef of Clackamas County, Terry Turner, had made a tuna casserole without using condensed soup, I remembered having once done the same back in the old days when we lived in Greenbelt, MD.

I have been making a chicken broth in the slow cooker since Saturday. A day or two ago, I thought the meat was getting dry, so I removed it, but the broth kept bubbling away and darkening, getting more intense. Today I used the broth, in addition to water, to make rice and then used the broth, undiluted, and built a chicken casserole, guided by the tuna casserole recipe I used in Greenbelt. That recipe is here.

When the Deke and I ate the casserole, I wished I ran a test kitchen because I wanted to see if I could figure out ways to give this casserole a little more kick, some added pizzazz. Maybe some white wine in the sauce? Maybe it would have more kick if I'd had the Dijon mustard on hand the recipe called for? Maybe different vegetables? Spinach? Broccoli? I used corn, green beans, carrots, celery, and onion. I'm not sure. Since I don't have a test kitchen, I'm going to do some reading and see if I can figure something out and test it next time around.

I will say this, though: using the chicken meat and the broth was awesome. So is making tuna or chicken casserole without condensed soup. Making a sauce with flour, milk, and broth is lighter and much less salty.

3.  Listening to Steely Dan's Aja and a variety of cuts from their compilation album, Citizen Steely Dan, made cooking all the more enjoyable. I didn't exactly break out the hats and hooters or rev up the motor scooters, but I had a lot of fun reelin' in the years while I cooked away.

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