Fixing Chicken Mistakes

Tonight I made Honey Baked Chicken for dinner. It is a family favorite straight out of the Mennonite Cookbook: More For Less. I loved it as a child and still do now as an adult, even when it is slightly overdone, like tonight. As we ate, Kurt began telling the children about his upcoming hunting trips.

"Next week, I will be going Grouse hunting. Do you know what a Grouse is?" he asked, followed by a round of no's.  "Grouse is a type of bird. We have to hope that I catch some this time so that I can bring them home and we can eat them," he said.

"Da-ad! I am NOT eating a bird!" Lily exclaimed, chicken in hand.

"Lily, you are eating a bird right now," we told her, explaining that chicken is a bird.

"Yeah, but chickens don't fly so they aren't like a real bird," Aidan said. What? What did you say kid? But before I had time to disown him, Kurt went on:

"Lily, they are going to die anyway so we might as well shoot them so that we can eat them," he said.

"Nice, Hun," I said, thinking through that logic and applying it to other things that "are going to die anyway" and why we don't eat them.... "And Aidan, chickens are real birds and they can fly, just not very far, or high, and they don't do it often," I corrected him.

"And then at the end of the month I am going quail hunting," Kurt went on. "Quail are cool because they are smart and know they will get eaten if they fly up so they run around on the ground instead. So we take hunting dogs who go chasing the birds up into the air and then we get to shoot at them." (Ok, I'm paraphrasing here but seriously, can you just hear the excited little boy in this? He then went on to talk about the well trained hunting dogs and how they are his favorite part etc. etc.)

The conversation then veered into when Aidan can learn to shoot guns (uh, never) to which Kurt told him he had to be 10 before he was allowed to learn to shoot.

"Well, my cousin had her boys shooting at like 5," I said, not making a good case for the gun ban I plan to impose on the house.

"Yeah, that's your cousin and that's Florida," he said. True 'nuff.

After that, the conversation took a turn toward animal intelligence, specifically dolphins and sharks and the bird talk was long forgotten.

Dinner finished up and I went to work fixing the chicken. You see, I had decided to use both boneless, skinless breasts as well as the usual leg quarters and I had overcooked the breasts slightly which of course dried them out a bit. But I have the perfect fix for overdone poultry which I thought I'd share with you (and no, it doesn't include the trashcan and try-trying again.)

Karen's Quick Chicken Fixer-Upper

Take left-over (or overcooked) chicken off the bone or if already boneless, just stick it in a glass baking dish. Cut it up into shreds.

Mix together a cup of mayonnaise with a half cup of shredded or grated parmesan cheese. Stir into the chicken. If you have a lot of chicken, you may want to double the mayo mixture. (Tonight, I had four thighs, a drumstick and four breasts left over which filled a 9x13 baking dish so I doubled the mayo and cheese.) It will look fairly disgusting, a bit like cat food, and my guess is the cat would love it but I wouldn't go there.

Smooth the chicken out so that it is flat and evenly distributed in the dish. Cover with a thin layer of parmesan. Bake at 350 degrees (F) for about 20 minutes, or until slightly browned on top and bubbling on the edges. The chicken will come out tasty and moist and no one will know it was ever overcooked. (You can also add breadcrumbs to the top before baking if you want to be fancy!)

This is how I use left over chicken to create a new meal. It is a crowd pleaser but I wouldn't go as far to say it is good for the waistline! And you can use just about any chicken: bar-b-que, rotisserie, grilled, baked. I probably wouldn't use Asian or soy-sauce based chicken but then, who knows.

Ok, that's all I got. Have a great day!

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