Recent newspaper and magazine articles tout the convenience and versatility of rotisserie chicken. You have hundreds of meal possibilities when you have cooked chicken on hand. But this convenience food, like so many others, has shot up in price.
In my area, rotisserie chicken went from $5.99 each to $7.99, quite an increase. Stores have specials, thank goodness, and I watch for them. Last weekend I bought one for $6.99, midway between the former price and current one.
Before you reach for the package, think about food safety. Ask the butcher or sales associate when the chicken was put in the display case. Don’t buy a chicken that is more than two hours old. Refrigerate the chicken as soon as you get home. I put the bird in a large plastic bag to contain odors. Delicious as cooked chicken smells, I don’t want everything in the refrigerator to smell like it.
Instead of cutting the meat, I shred it. In fact, I shred the entire bird and freeze half of the meat for later. I use the shredded meat for tacos (which are so delicious), salad, and sandwiches. But this time I used it for a macaroni and cheese casserole, or as we say in Minnesota, “hot dish.” This recipe isn’t absolute and you have lots of options.
Instead of asparagus, you may substitute defrosted broccoli florets.You may replace one cup of asparagus with cooked mushrooms. If fresh asparagus isn’t available, use frozen and defrost it under cool water. Cut green beans would also work in this recipe. As for cheese, use the kind you like best.
Just as my mother taught me, I swished out the soup can with chicken stock to get all the goodness. We had the casserole for dinner, along with a salad and cooked carrots. It tasted even better the next day, when we had it for lunch. Before I heated the casserole in the microwave, I drizzled it with half and half to keep it moist. I think everyone in your family will enjoy my recipe.
1/2 rotisserie chicken, shredded
2 cups cooked elbow macaroni
10 3/4-ounce ca of fat-free cream of chicken soup
10 3/4-ounce can of unsalted chicken stock
8-ounce carton fat-free sour cream
2 cups shredded cheese (I used a combination of Colby and Monterey Jack.)
1/2 cup roasted red pepper from a jar, drained and cut into strips
2 cups cut asparagus
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter (or light olive oil)
Cook macaroni according to package directions. Rinse with cold water, drain, and set aside. Cut asparagus into 1-inch pieces. Place in a heat-proof dish, add 2 tablespoons of water, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on high for 2 minutes. In a large saucepan, combine chicken soup, stock, shredded cheese, and sour cream. Whisk over medium heat until the cheese has melted. Remove from heat. Add red peppers, asparagus, ad chicken. Coat casserole dish with cooking spray. Transfer mixture to dish. Melt butter in microwave and add to bread crumbs. Sprinkle crumbs over casserole. Cover with release foil and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake another 15-20 minutes, or until the edges bubble and the bread crumbs are brown. Makes 8 servings.
Copyright 2012 by Harriet Hodgson