In Walmart the other day, I walked by a giant, towering display of Raman noodles. You can get a huge, 12 pack of them for about $2.00. Not the healthiest meal. Packed with sodium, and void of nutrition. But a meal nonetheless. I have some in my cabinets. I purchase it because it is dirt cheap, my kids gobble it up, (as I hide my face in shame, horrified at what I am serving them) and they praise my culinary skills. I usually doctor it up. I add vegetables, and sometimes grated cheese. Whatever leftovers I have on hand, usually winds up tossed in.
I roasted a chicken last night for dinner. It was a big one. Almost 7 pounds. I got it for about $5.00. It was on sale. As I was carving it up, I thought of my Mom. I thought of chicken dinner after chicken dinner we would be served, night after night, growing up. My Mom would roast a chicken, and all week long, it would be served to us in a variety of ways. My absolute favorite meal was Chicken Pot Pie. Hands down. When I would get off the bus, and enter the kitchen, and be greeted by that smell wafting from the oven, I was delighted, to say the least. Chicken Pot Pie night was the best.
My Mom made her own pie crust. And she used frozen peas and carrots. She made her own Bechamel sauce. She added the tiniest bit of nutmeg to it. There were chunks of chicken. She would even cut out a chicken, made of dough, and place it in the center of the pie. Sometimes, she even made leaves draping around the crust from the dough too. I used to think it looked like something on the cover of her Woman's Day magazines. The whole meal, from start to finish, was delicious. I thought my Mom was the best cook in the world.
What I didn't know then, that I know now, was how stressed my Mom was. How she had no choice but to take a single chicken, and make a weeks worth of dinner out of it. I thought of her as I served dinner last night, and made mental notes to myself about what I was going to be doing with the leftovers. Chicken salad, and soup. A casserole. The girls do love my casserole. Adore it, actually.
It might even get tossed into Raman. The girls do LOVE my "noodles", as they call them.
They think that meal is the greatest.