Saturday, September 12, 2009

Quick & Creamy Chicken Stew

Recipe #7:

I know it's been a few days since I attempted something blog-worthy. Will you accept the excuse of a busy week gone a little crazy? I also figured that opening a can of mushroom soup and adding milk was not something that you'd want to read a blog entry about.

Today I finally had the time to make a recipe I picked out earlier in the week. I spent part of the morning watching my cousin-in-law Ted playing in a provincial slopitch tourney down the highway. Since I usually only see my family at the cottage in the summer, or at Christmas and Easter in the winter, it was a nice chance to chat a bit more with him. We talked about New Zealand (I'm headed there in Feb 2010 - see Travel Diaries blog, he played rugby there), the differences between his slopitch league (men's, better skill) and mine (co-ed, wreck, er rec players who are in it just for fun), some of the wild and exciting plays made by his team, their hilarious trip to a bar in London last night. He even made appropriate noises of interest when I mentioned how excited I was to watch twin lambs being born at the Western Fair last night. It's a bit hard to impress a guy whose parents have a sheep farm.

Since my meatatarian friend was coming over for dinner tonight, I figured I had better make the broccoli soup recipe earlier in the week and save the chicken one for tonight. You'll note those jokesters at Kraft have the total time for this particular recipe pegged out at 25 minutes. I still don't know where they come up with these numbers, but I suspect they have some fun in the process. I timed myself this time and came in at about 50 minutes, plus time afterward to make a salad. Double the Kraft projected time... yep, seems about right to me. I had awarded myself an hour so I guess I'm improving?

This is the first time I've cooked potatoes in the microwave. I got smart at the Superstore this week and only bought enough potatoes to make the dish so that I wouldn't be stuck with half a bag later and end up eating potato salad for days. I didn't quarter mine as the recipe says but I did take my own advice and try to cut them up all about the same size so that they would cook equally quickly. Chop potatoes into dish, get bigger dish from cupboard and accidently scratch arm on sharp door catch in the process. Set microwave for 7 minutes, start assembling rest of ingredients, wince when hot water from potato lid drips on bare foot, reset potatoes for another 3 minutes, wrestle hot, slippery potato piece out of dish, set microwave to cook another 1.5 minutes.

While the potatoes were taking their sweet time in the nuker, it was time to rip the bones from the chicken breasts. I could have saved myself some effort and just bought the boneless chicken but this package was already the right weight and cheaper. I'm sure there's a more refined way to dig the bones out of cold, slimey, slippery-as-hell chicken but my default setting is smash, followed by brute force, so I just dug in and hacked the bones out with my trusty yellow paring knife. If you don't tell, then no one will know.

Things are progressing well, thanks in part to my iPod having randomly chosen a good mix of songs to cook by. Nothing like some Euro Pop and Eighties stuff to get the body moving around the kitchen. Added chicken to pot without burning myself, had just enough salad dressing, I'm making more room in the fridge by finishing up the cream cheese too. Stop long enough to pick rogue, mashed, half-frozen pea off foot, wash the cutting board and knife vigourously while visions of salmonella poisoning dance in my head.

Stir it all together, looks pretty gloppy but fairly close to the recipe picture thankfully. In case you were wondering by the photos I've taken, yes I (almost) always use the same pot. It's my version of the "medium saucepan" that the recipes often call for. It also cleans easily. Stir in cream cheese, looks slightly less gloppy. I used plain cream cheese because I only ever eat it on crackers, and I wouldn't eat herb & garlic cream cheese on crackers which means I'd be stuck with 2/3 of a container in a flavour I don't normally buy. Instead, I had a Julia Child moment and added a couple of shakes of paprika, quickly stirring it in before I could evaluate the intelligence of that decision.

Well, I'm about to dine now. I'll have to weigh in on taste later. Wish me luck that my guest and I don't show up in Emerg overnight. I have a coffee date with some friends in the morning.

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