Monday, December 28

Chicken-Egg-Cheese Casserole - KFC Redoux

Recipe Starts with KFC Leftovers
The only leftover I really enjoy is lemon meringue pie. That doesn't mean I don't use leftovers -- that would be throwing away money -- I just prefer my leftovers to look like something new.

As a special after-holiday treat, my sister and I decided to order take-out from KFC. It was just supposed to be two three-piece chicken dinners, with sides of mashed potatoes and kernel corn. Turns out it was cheaper to buy the eight-piece bucket of chicken that came with two sides, biscuits, and a half gallon of sweet tea -- and, ta da!, built-in leftovers. Time to get creative in the kitchen.

Chicken-Egg-Cheese Casserole Is Born

There really wasn't enough chicken for two people unless it became part of a different dish, entirely. I wanted to use the solar oven because it was such a beautiful, sunny, day, with a temperature of 46°F. The chicken was already cooked, it was simply a matter of using fresh binders.

Discarding both skin and bones, the chicken was chopped into small pieces and placed in a bowl. Next, came one 10-ounce can of cream of
chicken soup, 2/3 soup can of very hot tap water, the leftover 1/2 cup of kernel corn, three slices of cubed white bread with crusts removed, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, 1 tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon basil, 1/2 teaspoon tarragon, and three medium eggs (room temperature). Mixture was then poured into a 8" x 8" lightly greased casserole dish. Spread 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese over the top with three slices of cheddar cheese, torn into strips, arranged over the mozzarella cheese, followed by a light sprinkling of parsley flakes and paprika for color.

A Light Solar-Cooked Dinner From Leftovers
It was 1:55PM when I placed the casserole in the 200-degree sun oven, using the SolarWear(tm) Heating Bag under it to create surrounding heat in a winter oven. I'm not sure the winter sun gets higher than 60 degrees in its trajectory here in North Carolina. I only had to wipe the inside of the door twice to remove the accumulated condensation, but lost very little heat. And, at 4:10PM, just as the sun slid below the top of the six-foot privacy fence, the casserole was done.  This was just a little over two hours and not bad for a late start. Timing would have been closer to 1-1/2 hours and oven temperature around 225-degrees if it had been put in between 10:00AM and 2:00PM.
 
For a soft casserole dinner, I decided a fresh cabbage salad would add the much-needed color and crunch. Chopped Lime pickles was added to chopped fresh cabbage, then mixed with fresh mayonnaise and a touch of salt and pepper. Red and orange pepper rings held the cabbage salad in place.
 
All in all, a very delicious and thorougly satisfying meal from leftovers.

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