This is a simple, fast and delicious meal. They are the absolute best. This recipes also ranks high in the ‘male favorite foods top 10’ here. Geez, I wonder why. Big plus for me; you can make it ahead of time, and it’s a soup based sauce rather than just heavy cream with a few floating mushrooms here and there.
I love to come up with exotic recipes, it’s a sport to think of new, crazy and fun things to cook. Now I’m blessed with a son who prefers Moroccan lamb tajine over french fries, so I’ve got it made. But seriously, spending hours sweating and slaving over a hot stove every single day is just not realistic, so here’s how I usually go about things.
Over the years I came up with roughly 10 to 12 standard ‘every day’, fool-proof recipes that are fast, easy and tasty. Dishes I can make with my eyes closed, recipes that require little preparation time and are the kind of food most people like. But the most important thing; they’re all meals that -with a little tweaking- constantly come out different so eating them never gets boring. It’s so important to get a standard repertoire of at least 7 dishes and work from there.
This is one of the recipes I came up with years ago. It usually pops up every 2 weeks and the ingredients have varied greatly over the years. I’m making it with potato slices now, but chances are next time I’ll replace the potatoes with pineapple slices, add a few hands of green peas and serve the exact same dish with rice or pasta.
1 pound potatoes
2 chicken fillets
8 slices ham
8 slices cheese
cream of mushroom soup
4 tbsp sour cream
1/2 cup grated cheese
Preheat your oven to 400 (200C)
It’s quite a caloric dish, so I don’t eat this too often. But you see, I had two hardworking men to feed! When you’re helping dad work in the yard, you just need a sound meal to replenish all those lost calories. It had absolutely nothing to do with my fat/cheese/meat/chicken cravings. Nothing at all. It was all about the kid! I mean, c’mon, look at the poor kid break out a sweat!
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
So mom went into the kitchen. Peeled the potatoes (about a pound), and cut them in 1/2 inch slices.
Give them a good wash, and preboil them until fork tender in lightly salted water. I always do my preboiling in the microwave and use these glass bowls you see them in, have tons of them in all possible sizes. I gave the potatoes 12 minutes at 1000 watts.
Use two pretty large chicken fillets and cut each fillet in 4 strips.
Now I know there are people who wash chicken before cooking it. Please, please, don’t ever do it again. I’m dead serious. It’s not only utterly ridiculous because you’ll cook/grill the chicken and that will kill all the bacteria leaving this to be a rather pointless action. But what’s far worse; it’s dangerous. You can cross-contaminate kitchen surfaces and other kitchen items (splashing water) this way, and that can cause real damage, especially to little children who are already far more vulnerable than adults.
I always use colored cutting plates for fish, chicken and meat that are dish-washer safe. My chicken plate is yellow. Also great for kitchen noobs, since the plates have little meat, chicken, fish and vegetable icons on them.
Lightly grease an oven dish. Forget about real butter, you just don’t want to waste that on something as trivial as greasing an oven dish. Over here in the Netherlands we have liquid margarine, I swear by it. But regular margarine or a drop of olive oil will be fine as well. Unless you’re determined to use real butter, then don’t let me stop you. (glares)
The bacon! Place about 2oz (50gr) on the bottom of your oven dish. You won’t really taste the bacon once the dish is cooked, but it gives just enough saltiness and flavor to miss it when it’s not there.
Ham and cheese were simply meant for each other. As always, I use an aged Gouda cheese, just grab whatever cheese you like. If your cheese requires slicing, you know the drill, right? Let someone else do it and pretend you’re making photo’s. This works for a multitude of things.
Put the cheese on top of the ham, and place a chicken strip on top. Use a fork to handle the chicken and make sure it doesn’t touch your cutting board or whatever surface you’re working on. Make 8 rolls and put them on top of the bacon.
Cream of mushroom soup. I’m using a large can, but I know from experience -before those bad, bad evil-doers took it off the Dutch market- that one of my cans equals 2 cans of Campbell’s. I think this dish will be fabulous (dahling <- always wanted to say that) with cream of chicken soup as well, probably even better!
Add 3 tbsp sour cream to the soup. This will give the sauce a little creaminess and zing. It will make it creamier but without making it heavy and greasy.
Don’t forget the pepper. Never forget the pepper! I almost did actually, which is why I have to whisk twice now. If my head wasn’t firmly attached to my shoulders, I don’t know what would happen.
Ladle about 2/3 of the soup mixture over the chicken rolls. Make sure to also get some in between the rolls. See that drop on the side of the bowl? Whenever I see something like that, I have this uncontrollable urge to run my finger along it and lick it off. Pathetic, I know, and not always a smart thing to do. Trust me, I learned that the hard way.
Layer the potato slices on top of the rolls and divide the rest of the soup mix over them.
While we’re at it, we might as well go all the way, right? Finish with 1/2 cup of grated cheese. You should see me take these photo’s. Gently shaking the measuring cup with my left hand while trying to capture the action with my right hand. It’s bound to look hilarious. I never use a tripod – I don’t want all the photo’s to look the same and constantly shoot from the same angle/height. Good thing I’m blessed with a steady hand.
You can pop it in a hot oven for 45 minutes now (until the top is golden brown and the rest is bubbly hot) but you can also cover the dish with foil and put it in your fridge.
After 45 minutes, this is what mine looked like. Comfort food with a capital C.
Ok, one more for the road. See the thick, creamy and bubbly sauce on the left? It’s right there, you can’t miss it, there’s lots of it. It’s really that good. This food is just sinful, I swear.