Let it be known that I now have a new understanding of why canned foods are also known as convenience foods. Seriously. Who thought of this? Chicken broth--in a box. Cream of mushroom soup--in a can. Cheese--already grated. My hat goes off to you.
Last week, while sitting at my desk, I signed up to take meals to two different families. On the same day. These brilliant ideas come when I am sitting at my desk and only when I am sitting at my desk. So today was the day. What do you make for a family of six, a family of four, and your own family? Frozen pizza? Carry-out? Delivery?
No. None of these would do. I decided I wanted chicken. And noodles. And some kind of creamy sauce. Chicken Tettrazini, if you will. I also decided I was going to make it all. From scratch.
I would boil the chicken to get chicken broth. I would make my very own cream of mushroom soup (with the chicken broth I had already boiled). I would even grate my own cheese. How hard can it be?
Well when you live in a 100+ year old house with two fairly lousy window unit air conditioners and it is 300+ degrees and humid outside, it is really not that easy. But I did it!
I boiled a chicken from our CSA to get the meat and the broth. I made my own mushroom soup with real mushrooms. Let it also be known that I hate mushrooms in my mouth but I realize they provide a delicious flavor that cannot be substituted. I cut them into big chunks so I could pull them out when it came time to eat. I even adapted the recipe enough that I feel comfortable sharing it with you later this week in case you ever get the urge to make Chicken Tettrazini for Twelve.
It was a lot of work--hot work in my hot kitchen. But when I got home from dropping off the other meals, I finally got to taste the fruit of my labor. Note to self: Next time you make a meal for others, whether you are trying a new recipe or not, you should definitely taste it before you take it to their house. Ahem, back to writing. I served up our plates, we gave thanks, and we proceeded to eat. And oh. my. gosh. did we eat. It was magnificent. Well, as magnificent as Chicken and Noodle Casserole Chicken Tettrazini for Twelve can be.
Let it be known that I also now know why making something from scratch really and truly is that much better. It was so satisfying to know that all of those tastes were ones that came about through the hours I spent in that hot, humid kitchen. Thank you, God, for giving us taste buds and so many wonderful flavors to combine for our enjoyment! And thanks for the friends who give us reasons to cook!
The best part is that now I know that my options aren't just whether to buy the "name brand" soup or the store brand. I can make my if I want to! I am sure there will still be times when I use the canned soups, but it is good to not think that is the only option. And yes, I did think that until very recently.
Later this week or next I will share with you the recipe, in case you are feeling slightly insane or just have the desire to make your own Chicken Tetrazzini for 12.
If you want a little more "fun" reading, check out my Five Things Quiz answers on the Irene Design blog. You just might learn something new about me. I would love to read your answers if you do it!