Twofers for an old standby
August 2, 2015
I’d been intending to make chicken and dressing for at least half a week, and kept delaying it. Last night, with Child C on hand, I decided to go ahead and do it. And in a rare attack of good sense, I decided to split the recipe into two pans, one for that night, and one for later.
These little pans are Da Bomb. They come three in a pack from the Dollar Tree, and I try to keep them on hand at all times (and I opened my last package of them last night. DT run coming up!). They’re about 6 1/2 inches long by 4 1/2 inches wide, and hold two good-sized servings, or three smaller ones. Four, I guess, if you were dealing with really small appetites.
And they’re great to help both cut down on food waste, and give you a quickie dinner later on.
A lot of times, I’ll just put leftovers in one of these to be frozen and rewarmed later. That works nicely for an entree that’s a two-parter, like, say, baked chicken over rice or spaghetti and meatballs. But it’s even better if you use them for something that can be frozen before it’s cooked, like lasagna, or enchiladas, or…chicken and dressing. They have cardboard lids that the foil pans crimp down over, that you can take a Sharpie and write on the top what’s in it, and they stack nicely in your freezer. If you can remember to take them out to thaw a few hours in advance, it doesn’t take long to heat/bake them; if you’re working from frozen, you still have to allow an hour, but it’s an hour when you don’t have to do anything to it except maybe make a salad or side dish to go with it.
After a fruitless 10 minutes of searching for the cornbread I’d frozen a few weeks ago, I said heck with it and made a fresh skillet. There is a school of thought that says one needs stale cornbread for dressing; I’ve never seen that it makes much difference. I made a six-inch skillet full, let it cool well, broke it up in a bowl, and poured a pint of defrosted chicken stock over it. Looked a little dry, so I added about 1/3 cup of water, and let that sit while I chopped chicken.
I’d roasted a chicken earlier in the week, and still had half of it in the fridge. I pulled it out and pulled the meat off the bone, then chopped it up fine. That went in to the cornbread bowl. If you don’t have frozen chicken stock and leftover chicken, you can achieve the same thing with a couple or three pieces of chicken, boiled with basic seasonings (salt, pepper and an onion, cut in quarters), for both the stock and the meat. And if you have left-over cornbread, stop by the grocery and get you a rotissiere chicken and go with that.
To that I added (and here is where your preference may well diverge from mine) onion powder, a little seasoned salt, two eggs, and two or three tablespoons of rubbed sage. I do not put chopped onion in my dressing; don’t know why, just don’t. I don’t put celery in my dressing, because I don’t freakin’ like it. And I don’t usually put chopped hard-boiled eggs in my dressing, although occasionally I will. (Generally, though, if I’m making giblet gravy to go with it, I put hard-boiled eggs in THAT. Because Mama did.)
I will make plain dressing to go with a whole roasted chicken, or a Thanksgiving turkey. But if I’m making chicken and dressing because I’m in the notion for chicken and dressing, I just shred/dice up the chicken and stir it up in the dressing. Works for me.
And I make certain I go to the grocery and get a can of the jellied cranberry sauce. Now, I love cranberry salad, about which I’ve blogged before, but you make it with raw, fresh cranberries, and you can’t GET those this time of year. The jellied stuff works. I like it better than the whole berry sauce; go figure. I guess it’s because those berries are cooked.
So. The dressing/with/chicken (or without), gets spread in a pan of whatever size you’re using, and baked in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour, when it has gotten a tad brown around the edges and crusty on top. And then it gets carved out in a semi-square, topped with a slab of cranberry sauce (no gravy, please, though I’ll put it on my sliced turkey if I’m eating that) and there you have it.
Should be, for some reason I’ve never really understood, be served with green beans and some other kind of starch. In this case, it was a squash casserole, which was underwhelming. Can’t understand why. Last time I made one, I thought it was pretty doggoned good. Don’t know what I did differently.
And I have chicken and dressing for the next time I get in the mood, along with just enough leftovers for me to have one more meal off of it….right here in a few minutes.
You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em think about this as an option the next time you have leftover chicken.