Sunday, April 1, 2012

Recent Cookery

Prologue: Ode to a Rotisserie Chicken

O, Rotisserie Chicken, You champion of the deli.  I celebrate your thrifty value and sing of your endless versatility.  O, how many nights have you, in your juicy tastiness, saved me from a cold cereal dinner...

Chapter 1: What We Ate Last Week

Rotisserie chicken with salad and wild rice
Rotisserie chicken chopped up with pasta and white sauce
Leftover taco meat and/or rotisserie chicken meat in tortilla wraps with cheese
Shredded rotisserie chicken mixed up with barbecue sauce on buns with cheese

Variety.  Affordable.  Delicious.  I am a culinary genius.  But WAIT, there's more!

Chapter 2:  Mayonnaise-Based Salads, or My Signature Dishes

I love a mayonnaise-based salad.  And I am happy to share two recipes that Matt and I practically live on in the summer months. 

Rotisserie Chicken Salad: 
Disclaimer - I made this up.  I bet there are a lot fancier versions out there, and Hy-Vee sells a delicious one in the deli case called Napa Valley Chicken Salad.

Take a rotisserie chicken, and pluck its delicious bones.  Save whatever you want to make whatever you want later.  Put it in a big bowl with purple grapes (I slice them in half), and chopped celery.  Put in a blob of light mayo and mix until everything is moist and nothing is mushy.  If you're feeling fancy, squeeze in some lemon juice or add chopped cashews. Salt and pepper if you like. 

Macaroni Salad:
I have no idea where this recipe originates, but I've eaten it for many, many years.  I own a large Tupperware bowl whose sole and sacred purpose is mixing and storing this salad.  There are no exact measurements included.  Mayonnaise Salads are not an exact science. 
Boil and drain a box of elbow macaroni.  Put the noodles in your large Tupperware bowl.  Brown a package of cubed ham with some butter and brown sugar.  Pour ham into the noodles with the juice - this is critical.  It makes everything nice and sweet.  Add cubed cheese (I like colby jack), a can of pineapple tidbits, green grapes, red grapes, and equal parts sour cream and mayo.  I usually do a glob of each and mix, adding more if needed, again until we're nice and coated, but nothing is slimy or gloppy.  As a child, I ate this salad chilled, but as an impatient college student, I learned that it is also really good when it's still warm from the ham.  The good news is, you don't have to choose. 

Now reader, you know the secrets.  But please don't make and bring either of these to a baby shower or block party that I am also attending, because then I'd have to learn to make another reliable standby.  

Chapter 3:  Bread and Jelly

One of my favorite things in this world is Cooking Club.  It's also Board Game Club, Adult Beverages Club, Girls Talk and Cook and Boys Walk Around Back Yards and Plan Elaborate Projects Club.  It's awesome.  And just last week, I was quite proud to be a part of a team of bread bakers and jelly makers.  There isn't much in life better than a homemade roll hot out of the oven that I kneaded myself.  I added too much salt myself too, but it turned out perfectly anyway.  And when that roll is spread with homemade jelly, and then homemade cinnamon rolls follow for dessert, it's carbohydrate heaven.  So thanks for teaching me to make these flaky bits of paradise!

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