Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What's Cooking at Little Merry Sunshine?

One of my favorite pastimes is cooking. I love trying new recipes and seeing what works and what doesn't. I enjoy learning new things in the kitchen.

I have to be honest, it's not clear where this love of cooking comes from. I recall that my mom was a pretty good cook when we were kids, but it was never something she truly loved, so she didn't spend time trying new things like I do. My dad's idea of cooking is opening up a can, tossing a frozen dinner in the microwave, or if he's being fancy, cracking the lid on the jar of Prego.

Wait, I do know where my love of cooking came from. Like so much else in my life, it came from Watervale. The summer after my sophomore year at Lake Forest College, I spent the summer working at Watervale. I worked in the kitchen, which didn't thrill me at the time because I had wanted to be a waitress (that's where the real money was and wait staff spent their days at the beach while I spent most of mine in the kitchen). On a daily basis, I made all the bread, all the salads, and all the salad dressings from scratch. I also made Creme Brulee every week, which may explain my snobbery about it now. While I didn't really appreciate it then, the culinary skills I learned that summer have really served me ever since.

Because I love to cook, I thought I'd start a new feature on Little Merry Sunshine called "What's Cooking at Little Merry Sunshine?" featuring some of the meals I've cooked or creations I've baked recently. If things turn out, I'll even share the recipes.

This week, I have been busy in the kitchen. I made Chicken Pot Pie, Spaghetti and Beef Stew, all from scratch.

Chicken Pot Pie
3 cups mixed frozen vegetables
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked & cut-up
2 cans Cream of Chicken soup
1 cup Bisquick mix
1/2 cup milk
1 egg

1. Pre-heat oven to 400.
2. Mix first 3 ingredients in a greased glass pie plate.
3. In a separate bowl, mix last 3 ingredients together. Pour over chicken mixture in pie plate.
4. Bake about 30 minutes.

All together this took about 35 minutes to make including cooking time. I served it with a salad. It easily would have fed a family a four. Mom and I had tons of leftovers. I think we got 3 meals for two out of it. This wasn't the best Chicken Pot Pie I've ever had because it was a bit bland, but it was quick and easy and hit the spot on a freezing cold January night.

The beef stew and spaghetti were outstanding as well. I'll share those recipes later.

Finally, I can't finish today's blog post without wishing a very happy birthday to a dear friend of mine. Words can't describe how much I treasure our friendship.

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