Thursday, May 17, 2012
Close to Nowhere
I’ve been thinking about recipes a lot lately. I love Martha Ruth Leonard’s recipes (now found permanently, we hope, on Page 5). Sometimes, when I pick one that I think is particularly yucky, several in the office will say “oh, that sounds good.” Sometimes, when I think one sounds really good, I’ll hear some say “oh, yucky!”
Sunday, I made chicken pot pie, the first time I’ve ever made “real” pot pie. The few times I’ve made it, I’ve used one of those recipes where you dump everything in, make a crust with flour, milk, etc., pour it over, bake it and voila’ “easy chicken pot pie.” I got that recipe from a friend and co-worker Carolyn, who swore up and down she didn’t give it to me. Even though I brought it from home with her name on it, she still doesn’t believe me!
Monday night, I came home a little later than usual and whipped up some really fast chili mac – you know – the kind with macaroni and canned chili. It’s good and filling and quick and easy! That’s important on a Monday or Tuesday night!
I have a recipe for that kind of chili mac! My mother’s – she used elbow macaroni and Wolf brand chili with no beans. There is no other way to make chili mac! Chili dogs call for the same Wolf brand chili.
I used to drive my mother crazy calling her and asking for her fudge recipe. Long distance phone bills were terrible and why would I waste a phone call for something as silly as a fudge recipe, when I could just keep up with it. I always figured we got to talk while she was getting the recipe and I always got to laugh at her for fussing, so didn’t seem like a wasted call to me.
I’ve actually written her recipe down now -- I haven’t been able to call her since she passed away in 1975. I did modify it a bit. I combined my friend and neighbor (and still co-worker) Carolyn’s fudge recipe with Mom’s. Makes pretty durn good fudge! I rarely make it though. It’s just not as happy a treat since I can’t make my mother mad anymore.
But, back to the chicken pot pie! We’ve talked a bit about it around the house and I thought, you know, I can do that if I want to! After all, Pillsbury pie crusts are pretty easy and how hard is it to boil chicken, etc. I immediately Googled “chicken pot pie” recipes and found several I liked. So, I took bits and pieces of two or three recipes and voila’ – chicken pot pie that was really, really good!
Of course, I cheated. I used canned diced potatoes, canned English peas (LeSueur are all I can use – as a small kid, daughter Dana called them “sewer” peas and wouldn’t eat any other kind).
My brother Dennis was on his way down from Memphis, Tenn., so I called him and asked him to pick me up some of those kid cups of diced carrots. I did use my own onion and real chicken and real flour, butter, milk, etc.
One of the recipes said to saute the fresh veggies in margarine, so I drained and dumped my “fresh” veggies in simmering butter and sauted them. I added flour (I forgot to measure, but it came out OK anyway) and browned that. Dumped in the chicken stock that I’d just boiled the chicken in and some milk (I never have half & half, which is what one of the recipes called for). Dumped in some more chicken broth, stirred around a bit, dumped in the chopped up chicken (you have to use fresh cooked chicken – canned is against the law, I’m sure). Dumped it all in a casserole dish, topped with the “store bought” pie crusts, baked until brown and that chicken pot pie was wonderful!
I made an extra-large casserole and there wasn’t a scrap left. I’d thought about carrying some to Trey, who’d left earlier, because he was the one who brought it up and said he really liked it. Sadly, that’s what he got for going home early – no chicken pot pie!
Unless you’re a precise measurer, the above recipe works really well. Do add salt, pepper and I love Mrs. Dash in just about everything, especially chicken stuff. And remember, garlic and Cajun seasoning never hurt anything!
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