Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Mmm mmm, not bad

To make the chicken spaghetti from Pioneer Woman Cooks, you poach chicken, pull the meat off the bones, then boil spaghetti in the broth. Drain spaghetti and mix in a big bowl with pimentos, onions, cream of mushroom soup, the chicken, and a mountain of shredded cheddar cheese. Top with more cheese. Bake. Growing up, I enjoyed many such soft, mild, cheesy casseroles at the home of my paternal grandmother. I always wished my mother, who eschewed processed foods, would take some pointers.
Of course, I have grown up to be just like my mother. Covering that warm, freshly poached chicken with canned ecru sludge made my skin crawl. Did you know Campbell's mushroom soup contains MSG? Until yesterday, I did not.

Everyone liked the casserole, as Pioneer Woman promised. But my husband loved it. He informed me that he's having the leftovers for dinner tonight, which is nice, I guess, though I find his zeal for this foray into old school American cuisine just slightly disconcerting, like I put on a naughty schoolgirl outfit for kicks and now he never wants me to go back to grown-up clothes.


  1. Tipsy, I am with you, that (with one exception, that being the poppy seed chicken casserole) that culinarily I can't go home again. The feasts of my youth are too gloppy for my snooty evolved tastes.
    But. You are married to a man who is happy to eat Lunchables. You had to know he would adore everything in this cookbook...right? Nothing against him or the cookbook. It's just not a surprise, really.
    Enjoy the blasts of the past!

  2. I've found over the years that the dinners that make my family the happiest are the ones that would make a "foodie" cringe. The best dinner conversations happen when we are eating something like that chicken spaghetti, or shake and bake pork chops(I do make the coating mix myself rather than buy the packaged stuff). Everyone's laughing and talking, and before you know it we've been eating dinner for well more than an hour. When I make something more exotic(my seven-year-old's word), everyone is concentrating so hard on what they are putting in their mouths(or on controlling their gag reflexes, I'm not sure), that dinner is pretty quiet and over awfully fast. I'd prefer adventurous and talkative eaters, but if homestyle cooking is the trade-off to get my kids talking with me and each other every night, then it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make. By the way, that chicken spaghetti was a day after Thanksgiving tradition growing up, subbing leftover turkey for the chicken, of course, and velveeta for the cheddar.

  3. I am with you too. But I usually sub out the can of soup for home made sauce. Just last night I made a similar dish -four cheese chicken pasta- I made white sauce, added garlic to the flour and butter mixture (heavenly BTW) and after the white sauce thickened, added fontina, pepper jack, parmesan and romano cheeses, mixed with cooked chicken and pasta, add panko, bake and it was amazing. The original recipe was supposed to have blue cheese in it, but my husband does not like... so we improvise.

  4. Tipsy, you probably have enough going on, but it would be much appreciated if you'd create an RSS feed for your blog!

  5. I can't do it. I make a simple white sauce and add mushrooms and any seasoning that seems appropriate. I just cannot feed canned soup to my family. It gives me the creeps. Look at the sodium quantity even in the low sodium versions!

  6. Besides the salt, I hate the preservatives and whatnot that I know is in there.

    What's an RSS feed?

  7. I had to read this one to my husband and we both had a belly laugh. Thanks for the naughty schoolgirl line - that was great!

  8. I guess there will always be a place for comfort food. The idea of making one's own white sauce is appealing..but I have to say that my husband absolutely LOVES mushroom soup and uses it constantly as a sauce. It looks terrible to me and I do not try it, but he does love it, and it sure is easy!

  9. Laughed out loud at this comment! What is it about Pioneer Woman's recipes that brings out the old school in my man? Dang, I have never cooked the way she does. I'm a cookbook freak! Heard about her blog, have tried a few recipes and my husband begs..begs I tell you.. for more...Who knew?

  10. Whoa. I just found your blog and you are freaking hilarious!

  11. occasionally, you just have to go old school. but like some of the other posters, we make our own soups. we'll make a big batch of cream of mushroom soup, and freeze it off in ziploc bags for these types of occasions. i just cannot stand canned stuff!

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