Frugal cooking has often eluded me when I try to make my meals flashy, new and fun. That kind of cooking, while fun, is often expensive and for me sometimes wasteful. My family, as dear as they are, is not always appreciative of my culinary experiments. Plain and simple… they don’t like new and ‘weird’ food.
Sometimes the simple is the best way to go. Simplicity keeps my grocery bill down. Simplicity also keeps the bellies filled. Simplicity makes clean up easier. All combined.. simplicity is a blessing. Isn’t it great to learn a life lesson in the real, through simple acts of serving a meal.
Images of my grandmother come to mind as I go to my kitchen counter. The white measuring cup which held a vast array of dried staples. The wooden spoon which was the main utensil for a myriad of uses: the well-appointed mixer, a microphone, an extension of the pointer finger when I was being ‘instructed in righteousness’, and the container of sweet somethings for me to test and analyze.
I hope to give my children some of those images, to teach them to cook well and to serve others with the gift of food. Like the gift of God’s Word, which is the bread and life to our souls, so can serving others with a well-thought meal filled with prayer be to those in need of a simple healing touch.
Food has a way of touching the sacred when it is basked in love touches of heaven’s heart.
Enjoy the suggestions for some simple Chicken Meals.
- Sour Cream Chicken
( I got the original recipe from friend in passing, which she got from a friend…. so the following recipe is my own adaptation from an original.)
There are two ways I have made this and 2 versions of soup. I will include both and let you decide what you prefer.
The easy method:
Crock Pot Sour Cream Chicken
Frozen Chicken Breast
1 can of Cream of Chicken Soup
1 -2 c. of Sour Cream
1 stick of butter
Cook the frozen chicken in a 375 degree oven for 30-40 min. ( or follow the directions on the back of the package).
Arrange the cooked chicken in the bottom of a crock pot, then mix the soup and the sour cream and pour over the chicken. Add about 1 c. of water or milk for additional liquid. Melt the butter and pour over the top.
Cook on Low all day. Check periodically to make sure there is adequate liquid or it is not scorching.
The extended method:
With this one everything is the same except I make my own cream of chicken soup and I bake it in the oven.
Home Made Cream of Chicken Soup:
1 stick of butter
1/4 c. flour
Chicken broth,Milk, salt, pepper.
Melt the butter and add the flour to make a roux. Cook till the color darkens and the roux thickens a bit.Add the broth and the milk, whisking as you pour. Add the seasonings. I also add parsley, sometimes a bit of garlic and onion seasoning and celery salt.
With that done.. follow the first recipe but this time put the chicken in a 9×13 pan and pour the sauce over the top. Melt the butter and pour that over the sauce and chicken. If you want to add crushed crackers before the butter it makes a yummy baked chicken dish. You will probably not have left-overs, however.
Extending the chicken:
I prepare a lot of chicken for this because I have teenagers and they seem to think that food must be devoured. 🙂 Also, I love to make meals out of left-over food. It is a challenge, I guess.
So, with the extra chicken that I am cooking I plan for a few more meals, so I often double my gravy as well.
- Pot Pie:
Left Over Sour Cream Chicken
Potatoes, Celery, Onion, Carrots, ( whatever veggies you want to throw in. Perhaps you have left over veggies from previous meals which you froze for a pot pie.??)
Put the veggies and the broth in a pan to cook. If you have saved veggies from previous meals in the freezer( sometimes I do this) then throw them in the pot. ( Freezing left over veggies make a simple and cheap addition to pot pies, soups and casseroles)
Cook till veggies are tender but not over done.
Take the left over chicken and gravy cut it into smaller pieces.
Thicken the base by adding the chicken and gravy from the previous dinner. If you need to thicken it more, add some cornstarch to cold water and whisk into your pot pie mixture. Always use cold water. I use about 1-2 Tablespoons of corn starch to 1-2 tsp. of water. Make sure your liquid in the pot is boiling when you add your corn starch or it won’t thicken right away.
Line the pie plate with the bottom crust; fill with the pot pie mixture; top with the 2nd pie crust( don’t forget to vent the pie). Cover with aluminum foil which as been cut in the middle to allow the steam to rise. ( I do this by folding the foil in half and then creating a tear, then folding in half the other way and doing the same. It makes an ‘x’ which I pull open when I put the foil loosely on top of the pie.)
Bake at 400 for 20 min. then lower to 375 for 30 min. or til done. Take the foil off and allow the crust to golden for about 5 min.
- Chicken and Noodles:
Left-Over Sour Cream Chicken
*Throw it all together , cook till the noodles are done, and thicken to your taste. Yum!!!