Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Chicken Pastries with Potatoes Au Gratin

This meal is one of my all-time favorites. One primary reason for this is because I can make it so neatly, all in one oven, at one temp. The recipe for "Chicken Squares" actually came from my mother's cookbook (when I say cookbook, what I'm actually referring to is this gi-normous rubbermaid box that she haphazardly shoves all her recipes in, some dating back to nineteen-dickety-two), and I think she used to make it for my dad back when they were all young and newlyweddy. So it makes me smile to make it now, as a newlywed myself.

First, preheat your oven to 350. This is the baking temp for both dishes. Move the racks so that you can have enough room lower-down for the potatoes in a casserole dish and for the chicken pastries on top (but not right under the broiler). Then spray a large casserole dish (2.5 qt) with Pam.

Potatoes Au Gratin
You'll need:
2 big fat baking potatoes, clean and thinly sliced, divided into 3 even portions.
1 -- 2 shallots, depending on how much you like onion in your taters, thinly sliced
3 T. flour, divided in half
2 T. minced fresh parsley
2 T. chopped chives
2 C. HOT light soy milk
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
1/2 C. 75% Fat Free White Cheddar Cheese (I like the Cabot brand)
2 T. freshly grated parmesan cheese

Arrange 1/3 of the potatoes and onions in bottom of dish, sprinkle with 1/2 the parsley, 1/2 the chives, 1/2 the flour, 1/2 the PARMESAN cheese (only). Repeat once more and then top with last 1/3 of the potatoes and onions. Sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper. Pour hot milk all over and sprinkle with white cheddar. Bake, uncovered, until tender and top is golden brown, 1 hour, 10 min.
You can also toss in some sliced mushrooms or diced pimentos if you like, add them to the middle layers.
This is so, so good. Serves 4. Now, once that's happily baking away, move onto your Chicken Pastries!

Chicken Pastries
You'll need:

3 oz. Fat Free Cream Cheese, room temp.
2 T. No-Calorie "butter" spray (i.e. Parkay or I-Can't-Believe-It's-Not-Butter)

Beat these two together until very blended.
2 C. cooked, cubed chicken (For this, you can totally use canned or from a package -- it's getting pretty mixed up with other things)
salt and pepper to taste
2 T. Reduced Fat milk
1 T. chopped chives (See! You can use the leftovers from the bunch you used in the potatoe recipe above!)

Once you have your delicious filling, divide it into 4 in the bowl.

8 oz. can of low-fat cresent rolls (I use Pilsbury)
2 1/4 C. fat-free croutons, preferably garlic-flavored, crushed nearly into powder (My favorite part -- I get out the mallet and beat them to death in a plastic bag)
More no-calorie butter spray, melted

Seperate the cresent dough into 4 rectangles and REALLY seal those perforations. It is nigh on tragic when you don't -- I know. I've had a pile of smoking, charring chicken goo welded to the bottom of a pan in my time. It ain't pretty. So seal 'em up! You should now have 4 roughly square-shaped sheets of dough. Spoon your filling evenly onto each square and pull the edges up all at once. Again, SEAL YOUR PERFORATIONS! When they're good and sealed, sort of twist the top bits together and press into the square. Brush each one with melted "butter" and top with a generous helping of the crouton crumbs (press them gently into the tops to make sure they stick).
Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet until golden brown, 20 -- 25 min. By this time, your stars should have aligned and you should be right on target, time-wise, with the potatoes.

Here's the kicker -- each meal (chicken pastry plus potatos) is only 500 calories. And this really is one of those low-cal recipes that you can serve to guests and they'll feel all gourmet with their bad selves.

Plus, maybe the magic is in the recipe -- all that gooey goodness with make you feel all gooey and newlywed again! Just to be on the safe side, you might want to carry your place settings into the bedroom. That's all I'm saying.


jenny vorwaller said...

nice "dad" picture...took me a minute to figure out why he would be on my blog...:o)

The Dainty Deb said...

LOL -- it's a great picture!!