Saturday, June 26, 2010

June Round-up

I tried a few things this month that worked and didn't work. This one was a fail, but it was an inspiration for a win, so that balances it out. I tried a tuna noodle casserole from a low-sodium, heart-healthy cookbook and it was gross. Don't do it, it's just not good. But, the sauce I made for it I thought would work, if tweaked, for chicken divan. Chicken divan is one of my favorite recipes but it relies heavily on mayonnaise and canned cream of chicken soup, which is a dairy no-no for me. It's really hard to find recipes that replicate that creaminess but don't have cream in them. This one was for a thickened milk sauce. I tried it with rice milk for the tuna casserole and found it a bit too sweet, so I tried dairy milk, acidophilus kind, for the chicken casserole.
This was the result. The sauce was delicious. Milk thickened with cornstarch as opposed to a traditional bechamel. I added cheddar cheese to the sauce, since cheese is an important element to chicken divan, as well as a bit of curry powder and lemon juice, other essentials to a good sauce. I was very pleased with the results. I'd been nervous that the lemon juice might make the milk sauce curdle, but I added it at the very end and it did just fine.
I used fresh broccoli instead of frozen, which I am not a fan of. Frozen broccoli has very little flavor or texture, it's basically pointless, in my humble opinion. However, I should have steamed the broccoli instead of assuming it would cook enough in the oven. It didn't. But the flavor of the entire dish was what I wanted, and it was dairy friendly and at least slightly healthier since there's no mayonnaise in it. I used reduced fat cheese also since it doesn't matter too much when melted into a sauce like this. And I used one chicken breast for the entire dish. I will definitely do this one again.

I have a table-top oven that we got last year to try out in hot weather. Boy is it ever a life-saver! It doesn't heat up the apartment and I can bake and roast things year round now. This will be getting a lot of use. It already has.
My sister and I went to the Edmonds farmers market last Saturday where I found these little treasures. They just look like potatoes in this shot, but they're actually the size of marbles. They are adorable and delicious! I steamed them, then fried them up in a bit of butter so they got a bit crispy on the outside, but were mealy in the middle. I wish I could go to farmers markets all the time, but I doubt I could afford it. So, I'll have to satisfy myself by going once in a while.

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