Saturday, January 26, 2013

January 24, 2013

Modifying a  Pinterest Junk-Food Casserole

Yes, it's been awhile since I've blogged a recipe. I won't go into reasons why. I'm back and it's a good thing.
I've been following Pinterest again lately-- mostly indulging in food porn. Frequently I come across a recipe that looks really horrible from a food aesthetic but appeals to the junky in me in when it comes to fat, salt, and overall cheese content.
I decided last week I would have a "Junk Food Friday". My daughter cam up with the day based on when her boyfriend comes to visit for the weekend. He, with his youthful, boyish metabolism and his willingness to try nearly everything with the exception of broccoli, would contribute a large part toward the consumption of whatever messy, cheesy, processed mess I might come up with, thereby saving my husband and me from caloric overload. 

Tonight was the first Junk Food Friday and I went to the grocery store armed with a list of ingredients for this recipe ; a popular Doritos chicken casserole. I've since discovered variations but this was the one I came across first. The ingredients are:
3 cups cooked chicken, chopped 
8 oz sour cream
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 cups salsa or 1 can Rotel
1 can of corn, drained
2 cups Mexican cheese, shredded
1 bag of nacho cheese Doritos

I took this cook's prompting and used a rotisserie ingredient (I'm an on-and-off vegetarian but I absolutely love rotisserie chickens for the convenience even if I sacrifice sustainable quality for it--I feel guilty but I do it any way). 

When I got to the canned soup section and actually got a look at the ingredients in a can of cream of mushroom soup, even in the low-sodium variety, I just couldn't bring myself to buy it. It's just way to easy to make a tasty bechamel sauce and that is really the only reason to use a cream of crap soup in a recipe. It is the easiest thing in the world to make a bechamel sauce and you can make it as low-fat or as fattening as you like depending on your choice of liquid and your method for making the roux.

For this recipe I chose to make a low-ish fat bechamel sauce and pre-mixed my milk and flour and seasonings, rather than melt a lump of butter in the sauce pan and stir in the flour.

I used 1/4 cup of flour, 2 cups of whole milk ***I considered using almond milk for about 2 seconds and then figured, "Who am I kidding?" and went with the whole milk that we keep in the 'fridge for my dad's cereal. 

To the flour and milk mixture in the saucepan I added:
1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp ground mustard 
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried thyme 

I whisked the mixture until smooth and then turned the heat to high, just long enough to bring to a boil, then turned it down to low, cooking and stirring occasionally until the sauce was thick enough to coat a spoon.

In the meantime, I removed most of the breast meat and the thigh meat from the chicken and shredded it with my hands. I put about 2 cups of Cool Ranch Doritos in a gallon sized zip-lock bag and crushed them until coarse. I sprayed a 9"x 13" baking dish with canola oil spray and spread the crushed chips in an even layer.
I added 1 cup of frozen corn to the bechamel, tested for salt (I added teeny bit more) and added the shredded chicken. I added about 2/3 cup of grated colby cheese and spread the mixture over the Doritoes.
I grated another 1/2 cup of cheese over the top, added sliced cherry tomatoes and diced jalapenos, sprinkled the top with smoked paprika and baked in 375 degree oven for 30 minutes. 

My husband pronounced it to be 'Crack' and my daughter's boyfriend had two servings. I feel like I could have added about 1/2 cup of sour cream to the bechamel* with the cheese and perhaps a bit of salsa on the side or an avocado garnish. Otherwise, it was very good, Nicely creamy, not overly salty as it would have been with the two cans of cream of crap soup, and the Doritos provided a nice crunch. 

*In reading over the ingredients, I see that I neglected to add the sour cream to my shopping list. It definitely would have added something. I'd probably have gone for low-fat sour cream for this recipe.

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