That’s exactly what I’ve had. A very fine weekend. The type that actually feels like a weekend, like I’ve had a bit of a break. Things at home have been seriously busy lately, and due to a sick kiddo, even post holiday they didn’t slow down much. So a quiet weekend was much needed.
I’ve realized that on quiet weekends I rather enjoy trying new recipes. New to me, that is. Old favorites that I am confident about are perfect for weekdays, but I save the new stuff for the weekend. For about a month, I’ve had Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese on my radar. Here’s the deal. I am not a huge fan of chicken. I don’t like the flavor. Chicken in various sauces is acceptable, but leftover chicken tastes “too chickeny” for me and often turns my stomach. Now, I don’t think anyone can fault me for this, as I regularly try new chicken dishes, and often “suffer” through leftover chicken anyhow, just because I can’t stand waste. But I digress. The buffalo chicken mac & cheese required a rotisserie chicken. This really should have been a clue for me, but I ignored it. Jeremy and I made the parts of the dish, deemed the mac & cheese sauce completely amazing, assembled it, and put it in the oven. It was amazing, the entire dish. Except, it was rather chickeny. I’d read a lot of the comments on the recipe and so many people thought it was too spicy hot, so I avoided my instinct to add cayenne peppers from the freezer. If I have a do over, I’ll add the peppers. I need to come to terms with the fact that Jeremy and I like our dishes spicier than the average person and it is completely OK to add those peppers, pretty much every time. (except maybe the hot link split pea soup, but that’s a story for another day, and an unusual case.)
That being said, what I’d really like is to try this dish with the veggies, cayennes, and the mac & cheese sauce. I’d love to leave out the chicken completely. Forget the chicken, give me the pasta! Jeremy thinks we can shred chicken breasts and get a result that I’d like. And while I think he is right, it may be awhile before I try it again. One more note about this one, you could TOTALLY make this lower fat (Won’t ever be low fat) without giving up any flavor. Skim milk, low fat sour cream, cook veggies in olive oil, all of these subs would still make a perfectly respectable dish.
But really, all that talk there above? It was just so I can talk about the next meal. The above dish did not use all the chicken, and it is pretty rare that we have a chicken carcass around the house. I got to thinking what I really should do with the rest of the chicken was make it into chicken pot pie. Not….the stuff with crust but our traditional family recipe involving homemade noodles. I’ve never created that before, but it is true comfort food for me. So I called mom to make sure I got the idea of making the soup portion correctly, and then we set out to make a soup yesterday morning. I started with my veggies, added some leftover chicken broth, the chicken, and added water. I eventually added cayenne peppers, two of them, and we added some bacon sausage grease after breakfast. We basically left that simmering all day.
Then I made the noodles. That went better than expected. I used the dough blade on my food processor. I don’t know if that was the correct thing to do, but it worked and made the process easier. I rolled them out on the counter to rest for the day.
When it was time for dinner, we checked on the soup. Quite frankly, the chicken did not give it enough flavor. We ended up having to add about 4 bullion cubes. That combined with some salt and pepper and fresh parsley brought it up to snuff. Then we added cubed potatoes and the noodles. Oh my gosh, what we ended up with? Beautiful delicious comfort food, and not too chickeny for me. (At least not the day we made it, I don’t yet know about leftovers.)
In all honesty? This felt like such a triumph meal for me. There was a little dancing and squealing over how well it turned out. JUST like I grew up with (except spicier, of course.) But the point being that sometimes I don’t give myself enough credit in the cooking department. I often need a lot of encouragement to try cooking various dishes, and remain surprised when they turn out well.
While food was part of the awesome relaxing weekend, it wasn’t the only thing that made it so fantastic. There was a lot of great crafting going on, so I will actually have a decent number of pictures and updates this week. And of course, spending the majority of the weekend with my favorite person, that certainly made the weekend special.