It’s dinner time and I have a fridge full of leftovers. I hate (dislike) leftovers. They are okay for lunch, but not for dinner. In my head, dinner requires its own meal. So what do I do? I make something. What do I have? I have boiled chicken breast, milk, eggs, cheeses, noodles, onions and flour. Now my dad would have made Chicken a la King with these ingredients. That’s what we would eat when I was a kid. And I was thinking of doing the same. But I don’t know how to make Chicken a la King. I know how to make Pastitsio. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pastitsio So this is what I do:
· I start boiling the water for the elbow macaroni and set the oven to preheat at 350 degrees.
· I chop and sauté Vidalia onions.
· I chop the chicken breast and put it in a bowl.
· I find another pot and melt a stick of butter.
· I put the elbow macaroni in the pot with the (salted) boiling water- I salt the water after it starts to boil.
· I pull out a medium sized bowl and add 1 maybe 1/2 cup crumbled feta, 1 maybe 1/2 cup shredded asiago, and 1 maybe 1/2 cup parmesan cheese.
· I pause to find my recipe for Pastitsio so I don’t ruin the crème sauce. (And this is when I should have just stopped for a moment till the macaroni was finished and drained. But I didn’t and my crème sauce, professionally known as béchamel, cooked too much and was too thick. But anyway…)
· With cookbook open to correct page… I add 8T flour (one tablespoon at a time) and whisk into the butter.
· When the butter/flour is smooth and turns brown, I slowly add 4 cups of warmed (from the microwave) milk. We had fat free in the fridge. You have to stir it over a med heat till it thickens.
· I then add 4 eggs. The recipe calls for 4 eggs or 6 egg yolks. To be honest I didn’t want to mess with leftover egg whites (maybe because I don’t like leftovers) so I used the whole egg. Keep stirring over a LOW heat till thick. Now you can add salt and pepper.
· At this point, add the chicken to the translucent onion and season. This time I chose to use a shake or two of ground turmeric, ground garlic and salt.
· Now assemble. In a large buttered casserole dish, add:
o ½ the macaroni
o 1/3 of the crème sauce
o spread out the chicken mixture
o then the cheese mixture
o the rest of the macaroni
o and the rest of the crème sauce.
· Put in the middle of the oven for 50 minutes. This is a good time to clean the pots and bowls, then with a clean kitchen you can enjoy your dinner.
This dish is great because after it’s done cooking it retains the heat for a while after you take it out of the oven… so if your salad isn’t ready or the table isn’t set yet, you still have time before you serve.